Nancy Pelosi said that she knows something and that Newt Gingrich will never be president. Gingrich called her out, saying put up or shut up, and now Pelsoi's spokesman says that she didn't really mean that she has any secret dirt. She just knows that Newt won't be president.
Pelosi's rhetoric put two sentences together (I know something) and (Newt won't be president), and then left it to the imagination of the audience to connect them with some cause - which she then had to admit that she didn't have.
I've been hearing a lot of that lately.
- It frequently takes the form of "All the people who know Newt well don't want him to be president." OK ... why? That's the part that rarely gets explained.
- Then I hear that Newt has a colossal ego. Well, so do a lot of successful people. Still waiting for the big problem.
- Then I hear that Newt can't focus. David Frum has an article today that takes a Gingrich memo from 2004 where Newt was advising the GOP, and Frum chides Gingrich for focusing on issues that (now years later) seem irrelevant. Fairly selective editing, of course (I'm sure the whole of Gingrich's agenda wasn't limited to this one memo), but so what? Newt addresses a lot of issues. His pattern is classic extroversion ... he provokes an issue, runs all sorts of solutions up a flagpole ... and then waits to see who salutes what. Newt isn't an introvert. (Neither am I - that's why I recognize the pattern.)
- Then I hear that his divorces will defeat him. OK, but Reagan was divorced, and as we've seen, pretty much everything that could be said about him has already been said.
- And so on ...
I fully recognize that Newt's detractors may have very specific reasons why Gingrich is a leadership disaster. But at the moment, I'm hearing a lot of assurances that he's a disaster, but very few specific reasons. What few reasons I've heard don't justify the certainty of the assurances. Like the kid who sees a naked emperor, I have a lot of people running with assurances, but I don't see the clothes.
Now I may actually vote for this guy. At the very shaky moment, he's probably my number one out of the four GOP candidates. Of course, any GOP candidate will be better than Obama. If the election was held tomorrow, I'd probably vote for Gingrich.
So, to my fellow Ricochet members ... I'd never tell anyone to shut up, but I'd appreciate a little put up. Why is this guy so bad? Specifically. I don't need to hear how others don't like him ... I already know that they don't. My question is whether their antipathy is justified. Many people are certain that Gingrich will be a disaster, and that he'll turn people off, especially the independents. Why? Is it just because that's the Narrative? Has Clinton and the media tarred him so badly, fairly or unfairly, from the 1990s that he can't get rid of the feathers? Has the book been closed, even if he's not the same Newt?
It's not just a political task. In philosophy, the question is usually not what you know, but how do you know it? What's the basis for the assurance that he'll be a disaster? Or is it just an assurance that gets passed along, and its certainty comes from the frequency of its repetition rather than the quality of its reason?
If there are good reasons not to vote for this guy - tell me now.