Two Newts are Two Too Many

March 24, 2011


George Orwell coined the term “doublethink” for his model of a distopian society in his classic book, 1984. Newt Gingrich embodies it in 2011. Orwell was characterizing political thought in fiction, Newt does it in flesh and blood.

Orwell’s doublethink is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in your head at one time and accept both. It can reasonably be compared to schizoprenia or multiple personality disorder if we want to get clinical, or to plain old-fashioned hypocrisy in everyday human terms. In the political realm doublethinking and its expressive mode, doublespeaking, requires that practitioners have no shame. Having said one thing on tape one day then completely contradicting it a few days later (also on tape) for national TV without blushing requires a high degree of shamelessness. If there were a Nobel Prize for shamelessness Gingrich would be an obvious candidate.

But while doublethink may be a symptom of mental disorder, doublespeak is not necessarily so. One may doublespeak because one doublethinks as a result of brain disease, or momentary confusion caused by blunt force trauma, or by being born Newt Gingrich; but one may doublespeak without actually doublethinking. The first condition may evoke sympathy for doublethinkers, but the second should evoke nothing but contempt for doublespeakers —at least as much contempt as self-serving doublespeakers have for their targeted audience. Newt wears his contemptiousness as Muammar Qaddafi wears his military clown suits –and with as much dignity.

Before Obama joined with Europe to bash Qaddafi, Gingrich explained in an interview what he would do about Libya  (Think Progress):
 
“Exercise a no fly zone this evening. … We don’t need to have the United Nations. All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening.

 “This is a moment to get rid of him (Qaddafi). Do it. Get it over with.”
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Now that Obama has done what Newt castigated him for not doing, this is Newt a few days later:

“…it is impossible to make sense of the standard for intervention in Libya except opportunism and news media publicity. I would not have intervened.

“I think that two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a lot. I think that the problems we have in Pakistan, Egypt — go around the region. We could get engaged by this standard in all sorts of places. I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Qaddafi. I think there are a lot of other allies in the region we could have worked with. I would not have used American and European forces…” Today Show
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This along with his former hypocrisies (domestic and otherwise) show Newt Gingrich to be an opporunistic, amoral pig. Blunt force trauma or being born Newt Gingrich …not much difference.

by Jim Culleny, 3/24/11

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