Beneath the nitty-gritty, in the land of Newt


A garbage barge passes over Newt's domain.

One of Gingrich’s main themes in his columns and speeches over the past few years has been the need to stop the “secular socialist” takeover of America, which he blames for the demise of the family. Yet he had several of these affairs while attacking President Bill Clinton for his own. He justified his hypocrisy to his second wife once, telling her, “It doesn’t matter what I do.”

— Zaid Jilani, ThinkProgress, March 3

Picture a chasm in the North Atlantic, far beneath the spot where sludge pipes and garbage barges converge to relieve themselves. Descend to the floor of this foul locale and you’re in the spiritual home of Newt Gingrich, champion of unregulated markets, states’ rights and family values. That’s where the news is this week.

Newt is the the man who best illustrates the difference between Democratic and Republican styles of bad behavior. A politician in either party might belly up to the trough to take bribes. He (or she, rarely) might blow money on the horses, or go on a bender with a transsexual crack whore, using campaign contributions he hid in the freezer, next to the Stoli.

But nine times out of ten, it’s the Republican who does such things while presenting himself as a moral exemplar. Only a Newt-like creature will cheat on his wife and simultaneously call for the censure, or even the impeachment, of another politician on moral grounds.

There’s no time to get into the why of it, except to note that Republicanism made a deal with the devil when it joined forces with religious fundamentalism. Politicians who are beholden to religious absolutists must fake zero tolerance all the time, and are as scary and scabrous a breed in the United States as in Iran or Afghanistan.

A full squad of Republican uglies will run for president if it looks like Obama can be beaten. Almost all of them will reveal themselves to be hypocrites as soon as they start making speeches. One of them — the doughy-faced, philandering moralizer from Georgia — doesn’t even have to open his mouth. It’s a matter of public record.

Footnote: Just ran across this, from the inimitable James Wolcott:

Like a stripper too conceited to hang up the tassles, even though those tassles don’t have the twirl they once did, indeed they droop like limp silver spaghetti swaying to and fro, Newt Gingrich insists on parading his tired act down the runway, exciting no one except the political pundits for whom the sheer drop of a bra strap makes their hot dogs lose control.

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