Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Newt Gingrich's astounding ascendancy has taken over the box office in the national political theater. Just a few months ago, who on earth would have believed it? It's just another bizarre subplot in a Republican nomination epic whose unimaginable plot twists have surprised just about everyone and will, in another week or two, almost inevitably move in another as yet unforeseen direction. How about a Trump/Palin ticket from some as yet unnamed Independent Party? You like it not? Okay, how about a Palin/Trump card? Now that's a tandem with a ring.
You hardly dare to sleep, the drama is so intense.
Forgiveness--apparently that's the good word with Newt, at least among the Christian conservatives in my neighborhood, even women. Serial adulterer?--well sure, but that's the old Newt, the unrepentant. Given to blubbering braggadocio?--yeah, but no more; he's grown up now. Purveyor of bizarre social commentary?--sure he said some weird things, but someone has to make noise once in a while. The man is fearless.
Fearless all right--even of himself.
I'm guessing that the rule of thumb among Iowa Republican Christians--or at least so it appears to me--is that you can and should support Newt because, well, think of it this way: Newt is really not Newt. Well, he's still Newt because he's sharp as a stiletto and he can slay any Obama-looking dragon on stage with a thousand fancy cuts. He takes on Goliaths, like the Soviet Union, and decks 'em. Rotund as he is, he can out dance anyone, while skinning his opponents out as if they were muskrats. All of that he can still do. So listen--Newt is still Newt. He's just not the old Newt. He's the new Newt. That's it--vote for the new Newt.
He's 68 years old. That blond he's with these days doesn't have to worry all that much about his catting around. Those days are over. Today, the new Newt loves his country more moderately than he did in the days when he needed another woman just to temper his patriotism. That heavy-breathing stuff is behind him. Callista is married to the new Newt, who today is, of course, the old Newt, but in age only of course because in every other way, you might say the old Newt is really the new Newt. I think that's the way it goes. Try to stay with me.
Here's the real questions, of course: can humans being change? Can we become what we've never been? Can character be refurbished? Is it adjustable or repairable or transformable?--or are we stuck with what we are right from the factory? Can the old Newt really become the new Newt? Can any of us become something other than that which we've always been? There's the question.
Put me on forever on the side of those who believe we can be made new. Humanoids such as we are, really have to believe we can change--that, given the right circumstances, a pinto can become a zebra. Not to believe we can change is not to have faith, and not to have faith is its own kind of death.
So I believe, seriously, the old Newt can be the new Newt.
That doesn't mean I don't harbor some serious doubt. Belief without doubt is blindness.
"With all the power that a President has, the most important thing to bear in mind is this: You must not give power to a man unless, above everything else, he has character." So said a very famous former American President. "Character is the most important qualification the President of the United States can have."
There. Couldn't have said it better myself--the words of Richard Nixon.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 6:38 AM