Monday, April 06, 2009

Newt Gingrich twirls his baton

"Hey, everybody! Look at me!"
As the Republican party goes through the internecine blood-letting that is the inevitable consequence of having its ass severely paddled by the voting public over the last four years, there's a new game in town. I call it "Who's the Drum Major?"

Everybody who's anybody in the GOP is doing everything he or she can to get in front of the Faithful, to appear in public with a hopeful glimmer and an upbeat "conservative" message, to convince those befuddled and angry rednecks that (s)he is the next incarnation of Saint Ronald. Funny stuff. And, to make the scrum all the more entertaining, the various individuals are delivering plenty of snarky remarks and back-handed verbal digs, belittling themselves and each other.

Mitt Romney, Eric Cantor, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, Michael Steele and Sarah Palin (among others) are all vying to be the Drum Major. They all know that the GOP will eventually coalesce around some general set of (undoubtedly reactionary, ignorant, and regressive) ideas which they will then use to demagogue there way back into national consideration. Like drum majors without a parade, they're waiting for the GOP to figure out where it wants to go, so they can jump out in front of it to cavort and prance and pretend to lead.

It's fun to watch.

But none of these clowns is as entertaining for sheer obnoxiousness and buffoonery as the former Speaker of the House, the man responsible for the disastrous "Contract with/on America," the leader of the 1994 Republican Revolution, Newt Gingrich.

Newt's been in the media a lot lately. Recently, he replaced clueless Sarah Palin to be the keynote speaker at the annual Senate-House Dinner scheduled for June 8. This event is sponsored by the House and Senate Republican campaign committees and is one of the most important fund raising events for the party.

Newt has been on Fox News Sunday offering foreign policy advice to the Obama administration, converting to Catholicism, and complaining about media coverage of the so-called groundswell of tax-payers who are holding "Tea Party" protests.

His latest grab for headlines came on April 3, when he warned: "If the Republicans can't break out of being the right wing party of big government, then I think you would see a third party movement in 2012." Of course, it is unclear to whom exactly Newt is referring when he mentions Republicans, but I guess that means "Republicans who are not I."

His pathetic ploys for attention are laughable, but they're nothing new. Remember back in 2006 when he offered himself up as the savior for the Republican party if no leader emerged to take the mantle? He threw his name into the ring, then waited, apparently in the hopes that the party that deposed him from his leadership role in 1998 had seen the error of its ways and would pay obeisance to the man who led them into the majority in 1994. It didn't happen.

And that's what it seems he's doing now: dangling his name out there like some gaudy fishing lure, hoping that the piscine-brained red state rabble will remember him as a hero, rather than as the goat who squandered their opportunity by impeaching a popular president for trivial matters, the tin-eared would-be kingmaker who overplayed his hand.

It all reeks of a man who had a taste of glory and misses it. A man who wants desperately to be back at the center of things, where his every sentence is parsed for hidden meanings. There is always a degree of pathos in cases like this, but, in Newt's case, its mostly outweighed by comic disbelief.

Twirl that baton, Newt! Prance around in your drum major outfit like some uptight, bastardized Liberace! As someone who despises not just your politics, but your personality (after all, it takes a special kind of person to serve your wife with divorce papers while she's in a hospital bed recovering from cancer surgery) I wish you all the luck in the world. Get out in front of that parade of cretins and rubes. Grovel at their feet. Debase yourself even further.

Then, the rest of us will kick your moronic ass.

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