Newt Gingrich is a truly annoying quasi-candidate. As a self-styled conservative intellectual, he appeals to some of the more wearisome aspects of the conservative movement. His high name recognition distorts the early polling (and thus much of the analysis). Yet as an incredibly unpopular individual, he stands absolutely zero chance of winning a general election. Instead, he stands on the sidelines and offers up his own unique brand of weary condescension.
The latest example comes from a recent speech to the good folks at the John Locke Foundation. Here are two of Newt’s gems:
“We have shrunk our political process to this pathetic dance in which people spend an entire year raising money in order to offer nonanswers, so they can memorize what their consultants and focus groups said would work.”
“This idea of demeaning the presidency by reducing it to being a game show contest … is wrong for America, and I would never participate in it.”
I have to disagree with the Corner’s John Hood. These are not “wonderful put-downs”; they are cynical insults. How, exactly, does Gingrich (realistically) propose reaching 300 million people with a political message? Keep in mind, of course, that even our politically interested citizens have jobs and lives and families that prevent comprehensive and in-depth analysis of most issues. Those of us who are privileged to work full time in the conservative movement should never forget that our lives are made possible by the hard work and financial sacrifices of very busy people–people who often don’t have time for much more than a well-crafted sound bite or two.
As conservatives, whenever we see a problem with a present system, we should always ask ourselves, “compared to what?” The present method of selecting presidential candidates is problematic. But what’s the better way? And remember, the answer has to be grounded in reality–a reality that recongizes human nature.
Things are always easier outside the arena. That’s a lesson we thought Gingrich learned after taking the Republican Revolution (a revolution for which he admittedly deserve a large amount of credit) and then flushing it down the political toilet in record time.