The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Newt-poleon... the Great?

Newt Gingrich has always been egomaniacal. He's right up there with Tom DeLay in his ability to promote himself as a truly great human being, the only man wise and virtuous enough to see the correct path, and-- as much as it pains him to deal with hoi polloi-- the only fit regent of the nation.

Which you'd expect a serial adulterer fined $300,000 for ethical lapses when he did hold office to rethink a little bit. Or at least tone down. Still, there's one thing the disgraced, consummate bullshit artist does well: repeat focus-tested talking points with an air of authority.

"If, in mid-October, it's quite clear that one or more of the current candidates is strong enough to be a serious alternative to a Clinton-Obama ticket, you don't need me to run," the former House Speaker said at a breakfast sponsored by the American Spectator. "If it becomes patently obvious, as the morning paper points out, that the Democrats have raised a hundred million more than the Republicans, and at some point people decide we are going to get Hillary unless there's a radical change, then there's space for a candidate," he added. "So you'll know by mid-October one of those two futures is real."

See that? It's still waaaaaaayyyyy too early to know who will get the nominaiton in either party, but ol' Newtie knows how he's going to work the crowds: woman and black man.

But to give credit where it's due, the man makes an excellent point in describing the way debates are conducted:

Gingrich ridiculed "the idea of 10 or 11 people standing passively at microphones," and said he refused to "shrink to the level of 40-second answers, standing like a trained seal, waiting for someone to throw me a fish."

He added: "These are not debates, these are auditions. By definition, the psychology of an audition reduces the person auditioning and raises the status, for example, of Chris Matthews."

Can't argue with that. It fits rather nicely with a recent reminder of debates gone by:

You can forgive [Ted Koppel] for experimenting with a couple of questions about the horse race. But when the experiment failed and he persisted, that's on him. When he asked inside-baseball questions and got substantive answers instead, he chided the candidates for failing to stoop to his level. First he asked John Kerry why Howard Dean couldn't beat President Bush. Kerry talked instead about why he would make the best president. Koppel then turned to Dick Gephardt and said, "I'm not really asking you -- at least, I wasn't then -- whether you think you're the better candidate. I was simply asking you whether you thought that Howard Dean could beat George W. Bush." Later, Koppel asked Carol Moseley Braun whether Al Gore's endorsement of Dean would make blacks loyal to Dean. Braun talked instead about what Democrats should stand for. Koppel then said, "Sen. Edwards, what I was trying to get to with Ambassador Braun was whether loyalty can, in any way, be transferred by an endorsement." Edwards wisely ignored the question as well.

Are our blow-dried teleprompter readers really doing anything more than angling for a 'gotcha' moment? Koppel conveniently gets to play hard-nosed journalist even though he's dong nothing more than setting up the candidates with a totally irrelevant question.