In a piece done no favors by the New York Times headline-writing person (“Gingrich Run Reflects His Sense of History”), Matt Bai tells us that this time, Gingrich is serious about running for President.
The thing you have to understand about Newt is that he is, by training and temperament, an avid historian, and he is as true a believer as you will ever find in the concept of destiny.
According to Bai, Gingrich dealt with his adolescent inferiority complex by fantasy:
He imagined himself — and, reasonably or not, still does — as a lead protagonist in the history of his own time, a consequential character in the grand American narrative.
But wait! There’s more:
In particular, Mr. Gingrich is a devotee of the historian Arnold J. Toynbee, who meditated on the concept of “departure and return” — the idea that great leaders have to leave (or be banished from) their kingdoms before they can better themselves and return as conquering heroes. One of Newt’s heroes, the French general and statesman Charles de Gaulle, embodies just this kind of romantic narrative, having spent 12 years out of power before returning to lead his country. So does Ronald Reagan, who traveled the country after losing his bid for the Republican nomination in 1976, then came roaring back to win it all four years later.
All this, despite having never been elected for anything on a national level (beyond his old US House seat — GA-06), as well as having three living wives, two of whom he divorced while they were experiencing chronic illness; in the case of his first wife, Jacqui, he served her with divorce papers while she was in hospital recovering from surgery. He met his third wife, Callista Bisek, when she worked for the House Agriculture Committee, and carried on with her while, as Speaker of the House, he helped lead the Republican investigation of President Bill Clinton for perjury in relation to Clinton’s alleged relationships with Paula Jones and White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Another good-to-know tidbit, Gingrich is the only US Speaker of the House disciplined for ethics violations. additionally, in the summer of 1997, the House GOP leadership — GOP Conference Leader John Boehner (R-OH), Republican Leadership Chairman Bill Paxon (R-NY), House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) and House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX –many of them former Gingrich disciples and allies, decided he had become too toxic to remain as Speaker, so they tried to depose him. One of them (that would be YOU, Dick Armey, current Tea Party leader) chickened out and squealed. Upshot: Gingrich stayed on, only to resign a year later after he was blamed for the GOP’s five-seat loss in the 1998 midterm elections. Here’s what he said at the time of
his tantrum resignation:
“I’m willing to lead but I’m not willing to preside over people who are cannibals. My only fear would be that if I tried to stay, it would just overshadow whoever my successor is.”
Cannibals! If he couldn’t handle the US House, how will he handle North Korea?
When we talked briefly about the presidency in 2009, Mr. Gingrich said that he had been thinking a lot about Mr. Reagan’s journey and his own. Mr. Reagan, he said, found his way to the presidency after emerging principally as the leader of a re-energized conservative movement. Mr. Gingrich considers his own following on Twitter and Facebook to be an emergent movement, too — although it’s not clear exactly what strand of Republicanism he represents.
Indeed. So. What we have here, me hearties, is a delusional former politician who wants to be taken seriously by his party and his country. He is what passes for a “substantial thinker” in the GOP today. Chew on that one.