Monday, January 23, 2012

Gingrich's Creepy Grandiosity

I don't recall a candidate for high office more in love with the sound of his own voice and more driven by a distorted sense of self-importance than Newt Gingrich - - highlighted by Gingrich's repetitive call for a series of seven, three-hour debates wherein Newt believes he would out-talk and out-shine President Barack Obama.

Gingrich's proposed format would duplicate the structure of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates that helped Douglas, a Democrat, win re-election to a US Senate seat in Illinois in 1858.

Slavery was the debates' dominant topic across the important Midwestern State of Illinois - - and long-winded oratory was more in vogue than in today's Facebook, Twitter and cable TV world - - so 150 years ago those debates made a lot of sense.

But it's painfully laughable that Gingrich thinks contemporary issues, as he sees them, are the moral and political equivalent to slavery, with disunion and war on the horizon, or that he's entitled to command so much of the nation and President's time, or that Gingrich's debating skills - - while substantial and entertaining  - - rate the exposure that modern electronic media would inflict on the nation.

For no doubt weeks - - on top of the rest of the campaign.

Granted that politics is an ego-driven profession, and debates are crucial, but Gingrich's proposal - - like so much of his persona - - reflects an out-of-control grandiosity absent even a hint of self-regulation.

This isn't 1858. And there's no way, since Douglas was the incumbent, that Gingrich - - who wants inner city kids to clean their schools' toilets - - gets to play Lincoln on the grandest stage imaginable against "the food stamp President."

Pomposity should have its limits. So should self-parody.

Newt, too.

Hat tip, David Maraniss.

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