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The courting behavior of the male Newt.
January 19, 2012 3:27 PM   Subscribe

The rise and fall (...and rise and fall) of Newt Gingrich. With just two days to go before the all-important South Carolina Republican primary, Newt Gingrich seems to have shaken off the spectre of past failures, is leading Mitt Romney in the most recent polls, and is on the verge of an amazing political comeback... assuming you overlook his ex-wife's new claims, set to air today, of Gingrich wanting -- and potentially having -- an open marriage.
posted by markkraft (558 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
The real truth... Newt sang her to sleep with a rendition of the classic Sisters of Mercy tune 'Marian' every night for the first year they were married. He sang it with a silent 'ne'
posted by biffa at 3:37 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


This post won't be deleted, it will just write a book and go on a subsequent speaking tour for a while and then show up a decade later, totally irrelevant but gaining in the polls!
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:39 PM on January 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Gingrich will likely win in South Carolina, but that won't get him the nomination. He's unelectable at the national level and, more importantly, party leaders don't trust him and don't believe that he has the temperament to successfully run for President.

The recent NYT article about the Tea Party in SC was informative. Basically, primarily because of Mass. health reform, they deeply despise and distrust Romney. Then secondarily, the ones who aren't hard-core Tea Partiers are evangelicals and they don't really like Romney, either. And they don't really like Catholics, so Santorum isn't much of an appealing choice.

So Gingrich it is.

But it won't get him the nomination and it won't stop Romney from getting the nomination.

These primaries have become less important than they once were. Gingrich himself is proving this, given that he's been amazingly disorganized locally and essentially hasn't campaigned in SC nor has any feet on the ground there, either. It used to be the case that these early primaries were important because you could influence national perceptions by a relatively small investment in local campaigning. But these days, the national media and the Internet dominate the discourse, even in places that had previously been notoriously parochial. Therefore, losing SC is not the disaster that it once would have been, just as is the case with Iowa.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:42 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


The link from the now-deleted thread is still important. From that link is this terrific paragraph:

This is the real story, which is almost the opposite of the one that's hitting the media now. (This happens so much on television and the Internet. Last week, I did a TV interview about another of my profile subjects, Ron Paul, and they wanted to focus on the racist newsletters he didn't write twenty years ago instead of the nutty ideas he says on TV every day.) The real story isn't that Gingrich committed adultery — an act every bit as offensive as sodomy to the actual Bible, if not to modern Christians — over and over and over again. The real story is that Newt Gingrich is so deeply conflicted and strange, so erratic and unreliable, so scheming and secretive, that he's way too much like a character out of Dostoevsky than a politician should ever be.

Again: wow.
posted by JHarris at 3:45 PM on January 19, 2012 [34 favorites]


timsteil volunteered to take one for the team, so we'll keep this one.
posted by cortex at 3:45 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now only the rest of the nation could lose South Carolina.
posted by Postroad at 3:47 PM on January 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Gingrich wanting -- and potentially having -- an open marriage.

ALL OF AMERICA WENT DEAF TODAY FROM THE JUBILANT SCREAMS OF ALL THOSE WITH A SEXUAL DRIVE
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:48 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Gingrich might win in SC and Romney still is to get the nom, but SC is interesting in that it is the first "Red State", and if Romney has trouble in 'Red States' it is at least a little red flag
posted by edgeways at 3:48 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


But this is from before he let Jesus into his heart, right?
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:48 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes, apparently all was forgiven by the big man.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:50 PM on January 19, 2012


I'll bet that Obama is hoping, praying, for the chance to take on Gingrich in the general election. I'd like to see that also. Won't happen, but I'd pay to watch Gingrich flame out in a national election.
posted by dfm500 at 3:51 PM on January 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


I can't believe it's January, the primaries have begun, and Republicans still haven't managed to scrounge up at least one candidate they don't feel deep ambivalence and/or hatred for. Did they ask everybody? Surely there's a governor or Senator somewhere they could've pulled out?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:52 PM on January 19, 2012 [12 favorites]


Regarding this post's title.
posted by timsteil at 3:53 PM on January 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


But this is from before he let Jesus into his heart, right?
That's right. Also, Limbaugh has come out on this topic with something like "Everybody has an angry ex-wife."

I'm guessing this isn't going to hurt Newt all that much, if at all. I could imagine that it might even help him, drawing attention to him as the non-Romney whom the dastardly Romney is fighting dirty against.
posted by Flunkie at 3:56 PM on January 19, 2012


I'll bet that Obama is hoping, praying, for the chance to take on Gingrich in the general election. I'd like to see that also. Won't happen, but I'd pay to watch Gingrich flame out in a national election.

I honestly can't get enough of him. I hope he never changes.
posted by empath at 3:58 PM on January 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Gingrich might win in SC and Romney still is to get the nom, but SC is interesting in that it is the first 'Red State', and if Romney has trouble in 'Red States' it is at least a little red flag"

Sure. There are few more red.

I've learned to stop confidently prognosticating Presidential elections (Bush's re-election deeply stunned me—I had spent months here on MeFi explaining how no sitting President had ever been re-elected with his abysmal approval numbers.) Even so, I really don't think that Obama will lose this election.

Mostly, I think it's because Republican turnout is going to be low. This is the worst field anyone can remember, and Romney is going to be the least-bad choice. And the one group that has had the most enthusiasm and brought the 2010 to the GOP, are the Tea Partiers. And they really don't like Romney.

On the other hand, all Republicans really hate Obama. Worse, Obama has an enthusiasm problem himself, with a loss of support from many of his most enthusiastic supporters from 2008.

So, in the end, this may be an election decided by which party has the least unenthusiastic voters. It could be a record low turnout election. I dunno. A lot can change between now and then.

"I'm guessing this isn't going to hurt Newt all that much, if at all."

It won't. It's sort of weird that people still haven't figured out that Republicans/conservatives never hold the sexual peccadilloes against their politicians for very long, if at all, and always forgive them or make excuses for them.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:58 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's creepy weirdos like Newt Gingrich who give the millions of Americans in healthy, normal open marriages a bad reputation.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:58 PM on January 19, 2012 [60 favorites]


Unless he actually wins, because that would be terrifying.
posted by empath at 3:59 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why should I fucking care about the sexual habits of a politician?
posted by shakespeherian at 3:59 PM on January 19, 2012 [12 favorites]


Why he not get better?
posted by hal9k at 4:00 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I heard the radio announce a "bombshell" earlier today and thought they were going to go one to talk about Santorum (possibly? definitely?) winning Iowa, but then they brought this up.

That said, can we please never talk about Nerwt Gingrich even potentially having sex ever again? Because that would be too soon.
posted by maryr at 4:01 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't believe it's January, the primaries have begun, and Republicans still haven't managed to scrounge up at least one candidate they don't feel deep ambivalence and/or hatred for. Did they ask everybody? Surely there's a governor or Senator somewhere they could've pulled out?

The Republican Party is in a weird state right now. The rhetorical combination of the hawks, the fiscally conservative libertarians, the centrist borrow-and-spenders, and Christian social conservatives is spinning apart, so now there is just about literally no Republican candidate who can speak for more than 60% or so of actual Republicans, let alone more than half of the electorate.

There are too many contradictions at play here. There is no logical reason why Rick Perry and Ron Paul should be considered part of the same political party. None. Picking one person out of that mess to serve as the figurehead of Republican leadership is a loser's game.

Not to say that Obama couldn't lose the election, but the Republicans aren't giving him much of a reason to sweat just yet.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:01 PM on January 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


I can't believe it's January, the primaries have begun, and Republicans still haven't managed to scrounge up at least one candidate they don't feel deep ambivalence and/or hatred for. Did they ask everybody? Surely there's a governor or Senator somewhere they could've pulled out?

The conventional wisdom is that no one on the Republican side with the credentials and pedigree to be a presidential candidate that the party can get behind wants to blow their shot by running against Obama; see Jeb Bush etc. This of course leaving a void, which is predictably filled up by mediocrity and crazy, just waiting for it's chance in the spotlight. If they can't come up with someone who at least resembles a reasonable candidate in 2016, it will then be time to start ringing the bell.
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 4:01 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


And wait... didn't he just sign some pact to protect traditional marriage or some shit?
posted by maryr at 4:01 PM on January 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Why should I fucking care about the sexual habits of a politician?

Because they care and have power over your sexual habits?
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:01 PM on January 19, 2012 [86 favorites]


Is this where we mention that ABC was scooped on this The Second Mrs. Gingrich thing by Esquire over a year ago?
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:01 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Debate at 8 eastern tonight on CNN, should be fun!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:02 PM on January 19, 2012


And wait... didn't he just sign some pact to protect traditional marriage or some shit?

sure...traditionally open
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:02 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I still think that some group will walk out at the convention - splintering the GOP. Possibly for a long, long time.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:03 PM on January 19, 2012


Why should I fucking care about the sexual habits of a politician?

Because it's a politician who led the charge to impeach the duly elected President of the United States over an extramarital blowjob.
posted by Tomorrowful at 4:04 PM on January 19, 2012 [105 favorites]


Why should I fucking care about the sexual habits of a politician?

Because he cares more about his sex habits than he does about his political career. And because he's a fucking hypocrite.
posted by rtha at 4:04 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Man, I was so hopeful this would be in the 'live boy or dead girl' class of revelations, but it's just having an open marriage? I mean, I know that the party of panty monitors has a great big double standard about what they can do versus everyone else, but this is still a really dull shocking thing.

I am disappoint.
posted by winna at 4:04 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Everybody has an angry ex-wife."

Really? Where can I find one?
posted by Danf at 4:05 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can think Gingrich's policy positions are insane and harmful and stupid without knowing that he is also a hypocrite. His policy positions are insane and harmful and stupid even if he is the very portrait of traditional heterosexual monogamy.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:05 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Never mind Ex-wife- A TV interview with my current, loving wife would end my political career.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:06 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I can imagine Huntsman and Romney sitting back and thanking Gingrich for helping them dodge that polygamy question.
posted by hanoixan at 4:07 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


What's oddest to me about Newt Gingrich is his ability to inspire his own attitude in his liberal opponents. He who once declared that Republicans need to be "nasty" now finds that details of his private life are trotted out as though they are some kind of indication of his ability to lead. They aren't. Bill Clinton had the same moral foibles, and yet was a successful leader; I'm sure Newt has privately reflected on that fact many, many times. And meanwhile Newt Gingrich is emphatically not a good leader. Even so, we should be talking about that; we shouldn't be talking about his private life as though it's our business.

And yet even now, quite often I'll hear some liberal pundit talk about how Newt Gingrich loves engaging in "dirty political attacks" and "below-the-belt punches" – and then go on in the same breath to say, '... and just look at his sordid divorce! Tsk, tsk...'
posted by koeselitz at 4:07 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would argue that had this news of an open relationship not been released, it could've jeopardizes Romney's chances... *if* if gave Gingrich the momentum to win the next contest in Florida, too. Santorum looks likely to drop out, and that would've likely benefited Gingrich over Romney.

(Oh, and I also wanted to share "the courting behavior of the male Newt", for those who didn't get the somewhat obscure reference.)
posted by markkraft at 4:08 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why should I fucking care about the sexual habits of a politician?

Talking Points Memo, 2010:
Undoubtedly, his mistress — a Callista Bisek, a former Hill staffer who was then 32 — would not have appreciated the comparison. Bisek and Gingrich had reportedly been having an affairs for 6 years before Gingrich told Marianne.

After Gingrich’s phoned-in confession, they talked at their home — just after he’d given a speech in Erie, Pennsylvania about the importance of family values. She told Esquire she asked him how he could give such a speech days after he’s admitted his affair to her and asked her to tolerate it

"It doesn’t matter what I do,” he answered. “People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live."
Whatever you think about his sexual habits, perhaps the rank hypocrisy and pervasive dishonesty is worth considering.
posted by mhoye at 4:09 PM on January 19, 2012 [56 favorites]


"The conventional wisdom is that no one on the Republican side with the credentials and pedigree to be a presidential candidate that the party can get behind wants to blow their shot by running against Obama; see Jeb Bush etc."

If that's the conventional wisdom, I don't agree with it. I can see how it's the inside-the-beltway conventional wisdom, though.

I'm more inclined to think that everyone's afraid of the Tea Partiers. Which is to say, because the TPs are notoriously uninformed and extreme and activist, all these potentially better candidates understand that to win the nomination they'd have to badly hurt their chances in the general election. No one can win this year's nomination without pandering to the crazies in the GOP. The inmates are currently running the asylum. And while that's the case, then sane people don't really want to get involved.

Leaving either the crazies or the deeply mendacious and opportunistic. Romney is clearly the latter, but that alone doesn't explain why he's running this year. I think the reason is that he understands that in an election year which isn't dominated by the crazies, he'd be up against stronger candidates and his Mormonism and his being a former governor of Massachusetts who implemented universal health care would doom him utterly from getting the GOP nomination. This is his best shot. So he's doing his best to pander to the crazies, while hoping that when the general election comes, he'll look more moderate and reasonable. This is what the party leaders are hoping for, too.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:09 PM on January 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Limbaugh: “Everybody has an angry ex-wife.”

Danf: “Really? Where can I find one?”

Oh, they're all over the place. For example, take my ex-wife.

Please.
posted by koeselitz at 4:09 PM on January 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


Can You Tell Me A LiIttle About Your Ex-Husband? An insider look at opposition research. Previously.
posted by timsteil at 4:10 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


What's oddest to me about Newt Gingrich is his ability to inspire his own attitude in his liberal opponents. He who once declared that Republicans need to be "nasty" now finds that details of his private life are trotted out as though they are some kind of indication of his ability to lead.
What liberal are you talking about? His ex-wife is the one who has done this, and she's a Romney supporter.

In any case, though, when a politician is a "family values" type, who means by that "fuck you gays, unwedded mothers, and assorted freaks", his hypocrisy is totally fair game.
posted by Flunkie at 4:12 PM on January 19, 2012 [12 favorites]


I'm awfully tired of Americans -- politicians and ordinary people both -- fiddling while Rome burns. Put me in the camp of those who don't give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut who Gingrich beds or how, and would prefer decisions about his suitability (or glaring lack thereof) to be President to be based on actual issues of importance, from which there are many to choose.

I base my doughnut-fucking lack of concern about his sexual preferences (regardless of whether I find them distasteful or not) on a desire to be consistent. If I refuse to discriminate against anyone on the basis of sexual preference, then I must include him. Politicians should be held to the same standards as anyone else, I believe. Not only nothing less, but also nothing more.

It's fun watching the Republic go down the toilet, in a guilty schadenfreudey way, though, I suppose.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:15 PM on January 19, 2012 [15 favorites]


I'm nervously watching Gingrich right this moment getting interviewed by Gwen Ifill of the Newshour/PBS (Chan. 13 here), and dreading his applying a similar tongue-lynching to Ifill of the sort he dealt Juan Williams, at the Myrtle Beach, SC debate.

Newt's pretty good with the giving a metaphorical stringing up to the uppity blacks in the media, because he's practicing for the ultimate debate tongue-lynching strange-fruit type experience he's going to give the ultimate of uppity negroes, Obama. He's showing the mighty angry whitey knuckle-dragger Jebus crowd who made up the audience at that Myrtle Beach debate that he's there man for ultimate Obama punishing.
posted by Skygazer at 4:17 PM on January 19, 2012


I can't believe it's January, the primaries have begun, and Republicans still haven't managed to scrounge up at least one candidate they don't feel deep ambivalence and/or hatred for. Did they ask everybody? Surely there's a governor or Senator somewhere they could've pulled out?

It's time to face the fact that many Republicans - at least those polled, and who vote in the primaries - are not conservative, but reactionary. Ironically enough given this latest imbrogolio, their own behaviour this season: surging from one political suitor to the next (Gingrich, Paul, Cain, Santorum, Perry, Trump, all of whom have led in the polls at one point or another in the last eight months) is somewhat polyamorous itself, or at very least the behavior of someone who is never fully satisfied with one partner... unwilling (or unable) to overlook perceived imperfections, unable to compromise on principles that are impossible for any one human being to achieve or embody.

Given this environment, if Jesus Christ Himself stepped forward for the Republican nomination he would be torn apart. (Inevitable Fox News headlines: "Consorts with tax collectors and prostitutes! Heals the sick - for free - what about letting the market work? Assaults entrepreneurs! Promotes the idea that the state should be provided with what it needs!")
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 4:17 PM on January 19, 2012 [14 favorites]


I kind of have to admire Newt a little. He's got that Nixononian ability to do or say anything to get what he wants and that poor kid made good drive. The Esquire article mentions that Nixon advised him on how to gain power in the party and I can imagine that old Dick saw a kindred spirit. They were both working class kids who worked their way into the blue-blood Republican establishment who clearly hated them. Not that I'd vote for the guy in a million years and he is truly a terrible person both personally and publicly but I still like the little guy.
posted by octothorpe at 4:18 PM on January 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm not trying to be glib or metaphorical, but Newt Gingrich is a huge baby. He literally looks like an Anne Geddes portrait of a baby in a suit, except enlarged to grotesque porportains.
posted by The Whelk at 4:18 PM on January 19, 2012 [30 favorites]


In any case, though, when a politician is a "family values" type, who means by that "fuck you gays, unwedded mothers, and assorted freaks", his hypocrisy is totally fair game.

Yeah, man, that's the thing. He can stick his little newt anywhere he wants to and I could care less. As it happens, the only reason I care that his gecko spends fifteen minutes or less with people other than his wife is because he is running on a platform that claims to be all about family values.

If he was running on the "let your lizard loose whenever" platform or even a "what your salamander does under the privacy of your own rock is our own business" platform I'd not give this a second thought.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:20 PM on January 19, 2012 [16 favorites]


Seriously, dude is butt ugly and sounds like a ten year old.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:22 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Open marriage? Nah, he just ignored it the legal condition in a prelude to how he intends to ignore disagreeable portions of the federal and state governments.
posted by Slackermagee at 4:22 PM on January 19, 2012


Walking through the cold last week, I heard on a podcast to which I was listening that Gingrich loves dinosaurs and that his life had taken another direction, something to do with them would have been his career choice.

Not only did I agree with the podcast that it was only thing they'd ever heard about him that I liked, but I started, as I'm prone to do, imagining that as the basis for an alternative reality novel.

In it, the Clinton presidency had taken a completely different path and had more successes (universal health care) and failures (the map of Europe was completely different after a much bloodier 1990s). The main character was an up-and-coming paleontologist whose new boss was a professor who was respected in the field but a complete and utter asshole in his personal life.

Then the light changed, the podcast moved on, and so did I, idea forgotten. But this thread reminded me of it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:24 PM on January 19, 2012 [21 favorites]


As I recall Clinton was actually impeached for perjury. Also the allegations Gingrich's his ex-spouse seem a bit unreliable. We already knew Gingrich was an impulsive and ambitious politician with a penchant for philandary.
posted by humanfont at 4:25 PM on January 19, 2012


Flunkie: “In any case, though, when a politician is a "family values" type, who means by that "fuck you gays, unwedded mothers, and assorted freaks", his hypocrisy is totally fair game.”

To believe that a person's right to private enjoyment of her or his own sexual proclivities is contingent on that person sharing our political beliefs – even if those political beliefs are very important – is to believe that the right to live our private lives the way we want is a very limited thing that can easily be taken away if we do or say the wrong thing. I don't believe that.

In fact, as strange as it may seem to some, I believe that even the most vile hypocrite has a right to private enjoyment of her or his sexual proclivities.

To be blunt: you can write a newspaper editorial about how male-on-male fellatio is a mortal sin whilst your boyfriend is under the table singing 'Amazing Grace' to your prostate for all I care; I still believe in your right to empty your scrotum into whomever chooses to do you the favor without getting shamed for it.
posted by koeselitz at 4:27 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Then why is it OK to shame others for it?
posted by maryr at 4:28 PM on January 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


I will support your right to consensually do whatever with your bits, but if you are stirring up hate against me for doing the same? If you are trying to pass laws against me doing that (but you keep on keepin' on)? Well, I wouldn't say that I'd shame you. But I'd point out that you're a lying sack of hypocritical shit.
posted by rtha at 4:30 PM on January 19, 2012 [16 favorites]


It isn't.
posted by koeselitz at 4:31 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Newt Gingrich is a huge baby. He literally looks like an Anne Geddes portrait of a baby in a suit

My baby comes out looking like THAT, I am putting it BACK.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:32 PM on January 19, 2012 [40 favorites]


Also, Limbaugh has come out on this topic with something like "Everybody has an angry ex-wife."

Well, Limbaugh does, anyway. Several, in fact!
posted by indubitable at 4:33 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


As I recall Clinton was actually impeached for perjury.

Blowjob perjury.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:33 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Poor Mitt. He wants to be President so bad and he's sooo close. Why won't Newt and Rick let him have his turn?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:34 PM on January 19, 2012


Best perjury ever?
posted by maryr at 4:34 PM on January 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Given this environment, if Jesus Christ Himself stepped forward for the Republican nomination he would be torn apart.

Jesus Christ - Wrong for America.
posted by Wet Spot at 4:40 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


To believe that a person's right to private enjoyment of her or his own sexual proclivities is contingent on that person sharing our political beliefs – even if those political beliefs are very important – is to believe that the right to live our private lives the way we want is a very limited thing that can easily be taken away if we do or say the wrong thing.
If by "if we do or say the wrong thing", you mean "say that others don't have such privacies and propose legislation to take such privacies away", OK.
posted by Flunkie at 4:43 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


To coin a phrase:

Newt Gingrich: A Little Bit Nutty and a Little Bit Slutty
posted by gwint at 4:43 PM on January 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


hey don't slut-shame Newt Gingrich.
posted by Hoopo at 4:44 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm awfully tired of Americans -- politicians and ordinary people both -- fiddling while Rome burns. Put me in the camp of those who don't give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut who Gingrich beds or how, and would prefer decisions about his suitability (or glaring lack thereof) to be President to be based on actual issues of importance, from which there are many to choose.

I was ready to take you seriously, but then I found out that you have sex with donuts and, ugh, no thanks.
posted by indubitable at 4:46 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


To believe that a person's right to private enjoyment of her or his own sexual proclivities is contingent on that person sharing our political beliefs – even if those political beliefs are very important – is to believe that the right to live our private lives the way we want is a very limited thing that can easily be taken away if we do or say the wrong thing.

What if we believe that if a guy says that people are obligated to behave a certain way in their private lives, and wants to use the power of the state to enforce those behaviors, that he should also live up to those obligations.
posted by empath at 4:47 PM on January 19, 2012 [20 favorites]


My baby comes out looking like THAT, I am putting it BACK.

Hell, Newt was the afterbirth. You wouldn't believe how ugly the actual baby was.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:56 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mr. Gingrich should endorse this product.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:04 PM on January 19, 2012


I have to admit, I would totally support Newt if he was that little girl from Aliens.
posted by Legomancer at 5:10 PM on January 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


To believe that a person's right to private enjoyment of her or his own sexual proclivities is contingent on that person sharing our political beliefs – even if those political beliefs are very important – is to believe that the right to live our private lives the way we want is a very limited thing that can easily be taken away if we do or say the wrong thing

What percent is it of liberals who seem constantly desperate for nothing more than to tie their own hands behind their back, unless of course doing so reinforces outmoded cultural ideas? I stand for your right to take away my rights, unless I no longer have the right to stand!

Bravo sir, bravo
posted by crayz at 5:12 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Newt Gingrich.... rising and falling... rising and falling...
posted by Artw at 5:15 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gingrich wanting -- and potentially having -- an open marriage.

Sticherbeast: ALL OF AMERICA WENT DEAF TODAY FROM THE JUBILANT SCREAMS OF ALL THOSE WITH A SEXUAL DRIVE

Stitcherbeast, I don't think there's as much sexual interest in Newt as you believe. I'm sure he has a fanclub and all, but I don't think it's as large as you imagine.

posted by filthy light thief at 5:15 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, hypocrisy--particularly of the brand that shows one advocating for untenable (to me) political positions while participating in behavior in direct contradiction to those positions--is a significant character issue for me. It has nothing whatsoever to do with my judgment of his behavior that's driving the hypocrisy.

I don't care who Newt Gingrich sleeps with, or how he sleeps with them. But the glaring hypocrisy that results from it is something I think is very worthy of critique when considering his bid for the presidency. Not being able to practice what you preach is a character flaw that detracts from your ability to be an effective leader.
posted by Brak at 5:16 PM on January 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


When pressed by reporters for a reaction to his second wife's TV interview, he said "I am not going to say anything about Marianne."

"My two daughters have already written to ABC complaining about this as tawdry and inappropriate," Gingrich said. "Both of my daughters are prepared to speak on the record with any of you who would like to talk to them. Several other people who knew the situation are prepared to speak on the record. I am not getting involved."

The letter to ABC from his daughters from his first marriage, Kathy Lubbers and Jackie Cushman, was released by the Gingrich campaign Wednesday.


"No comment, but ... oh, wait ... my daughters (not Marianne's) might want to say something."

Ew.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:16 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


That little girl from Aliens is currently 35 years old, which means she is just now eligible to become president.
posted by Flunkie at 5:16 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: " And they don't really like Catholics, so Santorum isn't much of an appealing choice."

Isn't Gingrich Catholic?
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:18 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I base my doughnut-fucking lack of concern about his sexual preferences...on a desire to be consistent.

I think we all need to stop and appreciatre stavros' genius for at least a moment.

Gingrich: Quite possibly an awful person in his private life, AND ALSO, has certain positions that should prevent him from ever having any power again.

He's a disgusting man who espouses some of the most vile, regressive, borderline insane things the likes of which degrade our political discourse unto utterly base id-vomit and rank anathema to what America is supposed to stand for. I can't muster anything resembling even a heavily-qualified defense for this unctuous, power-mad, amoral lunatic.
posted by clockzero at 5:19 PM on January 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


I have to say, I've been waiting a few days to hear this stupid Marianne Gingrich interview. With all the buildup, it's pretty disappointing to realize this was all over an open marriage. I was expecting to hear her talk about his habit of ejaculating all over the family's heirloom Nazi memorabilia collection. But ... open marriage? That's all? Really?

I do think it's interesting that, with Perry out of the race, the only options are a Mormon, two Catholics, or ... Ron Paul, who is apparently a Baptist. (Though when the evangelicals met over the weekend they obviously didn't see Paul's Baptist faith as a sign he should be the next president: they chose Santorum as their candidate.)

PS. Gingrich is worse than a regular Catholic. He was raised in a nice Protestant home, was a Southern Baptist most of his life ... and then he converted to Catholicism in 2009.
posted by brina at 5:24 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


That little girl from Aliens is currently 35 years old, which means she is just now eligible to become president.

The marital affairs mostly come out when opposing candidates perform investigations. Mostly.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:26 PM on January 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


@clockzero, it really isn't genius. If you are committed to the idea of consistency (where inconsistency is strictly defined as a set of propositions where it is impossible for them all to be true), then surely that prescriptive ideal of consistency applies to outside of the argument he is producing. This includes inconsistent politicians, which Gingrich is not.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 5:27 PM on January 19, 2012


Romney leads off with a wink and a nudge, mentioning that he's been married for 42 years.

Yeah, well, Newt's been married for 50 years. Except for a few months here and there.
posted by Flunkie at 5:28 PM on January 19, 2012


Watching the debate, it's striking to me how consistently and effectively Newt has gone for the sass-the-debate-moderators-for-applause play. I realize he doesn't have a lot of other choices when the opener is "so, that whole thing with your ex-wife", but it really feels like the prevailing Newtian dynamic over the last several months.
posted by cortex at 5:28 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


What if we believe that if a guy says that people are obligated to behave a certain way in their private lives, and wants to use the power of the state to enforce those behaviors, that he should also live up to those obligations.

If he did, does that add weight to his argument?

I don't care who Newt Gingrich sleeps with, or how he sleeps with them. But the glaring hypocrisy that results from it is something I think is very worthy of critique when considering his bid for the presidency.

That's valid. I see your point. But running for president is a positively vast endeavor. If you can find "glaring hypocrisy" in substantive aspects of that endeavor, that's directly relevant and I'll care a lot more than I would about private-life issues. And if you can't? If Newt Gingrich is a candidate who is flawlessly consistent on substantive issues, who truly practices what he preaches? Then I won't care about hypocrisy in his private life. Just like I don't care what JFK or MLK did in theirs. He'll be sufficiently unusual, as a public figure, that that fact would be all that's worth talking about.

So either (1) you can find something better to criticize him for, and should; or (2) you can't, which would speak volumes about his credentials. In either case, this amounts to a sideshow.
posted by cribcage at 5:28 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, Gingrich did a good job shaming CNN for asking him about this for their debate opener tonight.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:28 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why should I fucking care about the sexual habits of a politician?

Why should we care whether or not Mitt Romney tied a dog to the top of his car?

I wouldn't say it's so much about the sexual habits as it is about how he treats people. If that doesn't matter for a president, so be it. Most people care if a person is sleazy or does sleazy things.

Most honest people who want open marriages wouldn't wait to bring it up until after they got caught having a secret affair. I think it points to a serious character flaw. Whether or not he has an open marriage now is really no concern (as long as its consensual both ways) and just tabloid fodder.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:29 PM on January 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


This includes inconsistent politicians, which Gingrich is not.

whoops, meant to say is.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 5:29 PM on January 19, 2012


It's not new Cortex, don't you remember when Newt SLAMMED the media for caring about Bill Clinton's sex life?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:30 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sex and the Politician: "history has proved over and over that voters, right and left alike, will overlook almost anything if they think the sinning politician will carry out the policies they support."
posted by mrgrimm at 5:33 PM on January 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


We have physical evidence of sodomy by cigar and ejaculation on a dress. The blow job is speculative. The two may never have actually touched each other during these acts. Clinton tried to argue that only vaginal intercourse was sex in a legal sense as the other acts were sodomy. There was a legal precident for this apparently. So it wasnt blow job perjury. It was unknown acts of sodomy perjury.
posted by humanfont at 5:33 PM on January 19, 2012


The recent NYT article about the Tea Party in SC was informative. Basically, primarily because of Mass. health reform, they deeply despise and distrust Romney. Then secondarily, the ones who aren't hard-core Tea Partiers are evangelicals and they don't really like Romney, either. And they don't really like Catholics, so Santorum isn't much of an appealing choice.
Weirdly, Gingrich actually converted to Catholicism recently.

What's oddest to me about Newt Gingrich is his ability to inspire his own attitude in his liberal opponents. He who once declared that Republicans need to be "nasty" now finds that details of his private life are trotted out as though they are some kind of indication of his ability to lead.
Trotted out by other republicans.
posted by delmoi at 5:37 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's hard for me to believe that anyone who lived through the GWB administration would argue that the character of our elected officials doesn't matter.
posted by mhoye at 5:38 PM on January 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


Man, and Santorum just went on an epic Romneycare/Newt-the-liberal tear that he capped off with saying they've been "playing footsie with the left".
posted by cortex at 5:38 PM on January 19, 2012


If he did, does that add weight to his argument?

Of course. It doesn't necessarily make his argument good, but yes of course, not being a hypocrite adds weight to one's argument.
posted by rtha at 5:38 PM on January 19, 2012


Ooooh, boy. I said:
I'm guessing this isn't going to hurt Newt all that much, if at all. I could imagine that it might even help him, drawing attention to him as the non-Romney whom the dastardly Romney is fighting dirty against.
Sarah Palin said:
I call them dumbarses. They, thinking that by trotting out this old Gingrich divorce interview that’s old news — and it does feature a disgruntled ex, claiming that it would destroy his campaign — all it does, Sean, is incentive conservatives and independents who are so sick of the politics of personal destruction, because it’s played so selectively by media, that their target, in this case Newt, he’s now going to soar even more.
I feel like I should wash my hands or something.
posted by Flunkie at 5:39 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pierre Trudeau (former Canadian Prime Minister) put it thus:

"The government of Canada has no business in the bedrooms of the nation."

One wishes that America could find the maturity to get to this (now more than three decades since Mr. Trudeau said his piece). As for Mr. Gingrich, there are so many other ropes to hang him with. Please, open-minded folk, focus on these.
posted by philip-random at 5:39 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, If Santorum ruins sweater vests for me I will go apeshit. It's the only thing protecting my gut from the world.
posted by The Whelk at 5:40 PM on January 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


It's hard for me to believe that anyone who lived through the GWB administration would argue that the character of our elected officials doesn't matter.

It's hard for me to believe that anyone who has lived through adulthood would argue than any politician's character is better than another's.
posted by Trurl at 5:41 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've come to a conclusion - well, not a conclusion per se, let's call it a hypthesis I would rather gouge my own eyes you than to personally test - which is pretty horrifying.

Again, like I said, horrifying. Not pretty. Not savory. Might give you nightmares.

I propose that Newt Gingrich has a comically large penis.

Look at the evidence:
1. He has an absurd overconfidence in himself despite his clear failings.
2. He has an attitude that anyone bringing up his past indiscretions has no right to be in his company.
3. Despite looking like a bloated infant, he apparently has to swat away female callers with a stick.
4. He just generally acts like it, with no rational reason.

I'm sorry to bring it up, and I know some of you might never recover. But I think it's a fact we might have to consider, moving forward.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:43 PM on January 19, 2012 [20 favorites]


Man, and Santorum just went on an epic Romneycare/Newt-the-liberal tear that he capped off with saying they've been "playing footsie with the left".

Watch your analogy there, brownie.
posted by hal9k at 5:44 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


God fucking dammit, people.

STOP comparing affairs, which involve lying and sneaking and generally behaving like an amoral fuck with "sexual preference". Being gay is not immoral. Lying and cheating is immoral. They are fucking different.
You can condemn cheating without being a bigot because guess what: cheating is wrong, and people choose to be cheaters, and it hurts other people that they've made a commitment to.

My head is going to explode here. How are people not seeing a difference? No, not all "sexual behavior" is awesome and completely beyond criticism just because it involves genitals.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:46 PM on January 19, 2012 [67 favorites]


The Republicans are going to just pick a tea party favorite for VP and then it's on. Does anyone really think the tea party won't line up for a 1/2 conservative platform? Romney scare the hell out of me. He pulls in enough of the moderates and then the tea party VP electrifies the base.
posted by glaucon at 5:50 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's hard for me to believe that anyone who has lived through adulthood would argue than any politician's character is better than another's.

Seriously? Bush or Gore, it's a toss-up? That's your claim?

"They're all the same, there's no difference, they're all politicians" was Ralph Nader's argument.
posted by mhoye at 5:52 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, and in case anyone missed last night's Moment of Zen:

Newt: "Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear-cut idea about America's enemies. Kill them.
Crowd: ROARING APPLAUSE
posted by Navelgazer at 5:53 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I propose that Newt Gingrich has a comically large penis.

The (very few) men I've known with very large (flaccid) penises didn't act like it. They generally were less successful romantically. (To be honest, I have not see a gigantic hard penis in real life.)

It seems like it should be easy to check the size of Gingrich's penis, no?
posted by mrgrimm at 5:54 PM on January 19, 2012


It seems like it should be easy to check the size of Gingrich's penis, no?

I don't know why anyone would want to do that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:55 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


*looks hard at the TSA*
posted by cortex at 5:55 PM on January 19, 2012 [14 favorites]


I base my doughnut-fucking lack of concern about his sexual preferences...on a desire to be consistent.

I think we all need to stop and appreciatre stavros' genius for at least a moment.

@clockzero, it really isn't genius.


I can see how that was unclear. I think originating the phrase "doughnut-fucking lack of concern" merits applause.
posted by clockzero at 5:56 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


"They're all the same, there's no difference, they're all politicians" was Ralph Nader's argument.

Cite? That seems like a pretty reductive view of his platform.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:56 PM on January 19, 2012


Pierre Trudeau (former Canadian Prime Minister) put it thus: "The government of Canada has no business in the bedrooms of the nation."

Ironic context: he said that as Justice Minister in 1967 when he introduced Bill C-150 in Parliament. When this finally passed in 1969 as the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1968-69, it decriminalized homosexuality, decriminalized contraception, and legalized abortion under restricted circumstances. Considering the fervid interest of current Republicans in restricting such activities (when they take place in other people's bedrooms), I think this passes the Alanis test with flying colours.
posted by maudlin at 5:56 PM on January 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Here you go: "But on the central issue of are we going to have corporations be our government or are the people going to be our government, the principle difference between the Republican, Democratic parties, with certain exceptions, the principle difference is the velocity with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door." - Ralph Nader
posted by mrgrimm at 5:58 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


TPM just said a little bit ago: "Did Mitt just have a Rick Perry moment there?"

Does anyone know what that refers to? I wasn't watching.
posted by Flunkie at 6:01 PM on January 19, 2012


This Suck.com bit from 1997 lept into my brain for some reason. It was my only previous reminder of the guy's existence.
posted by kersplunk at 6:02 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Newt: "Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear-cut idea about America's enemies. Kill them.
Crowd: ROARING APPLAUSE


Really? President Trail of Tears? President Spoils System is getting roaring applause? I shouldn't be surprised I guess, but I really am. I guess I'm not as jaded as I thought I was (though I'm unsure if that's a good thing or not).
posted by Garm at 6:03 PM on January 19, 2012 [12 favorites]


I don't care about a politician's sex life. What I care about is how Newt says I should restrict my sexual contact to one man/one woman for life but that he is above that law. Makes me wonder what other laws he feels himself above and what other rules he is willing to impose on me and not himself.
posted by Foam Pants at 6:04 PM on January 19, 2012 [16 favorites]


Wow. That would be Andrew "Trail of Tears" Jackson?
posted by Artw at 6:04 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think originating the phrase "doughnut-fucking lack of concern" merits applause.

Unless, of course, you were on your way out to Krispy Kreme.
posted by jonmc at 6:04 PM on January 19, 2012


(also, there's a lot of conservatives I can simply view as people who I disagree with, but Newt's another proposition altogether, he's just such a slippery Machiavellian mother fucker. To quote Norman Lear, he's the type of guy who could follow you into a revolving door and come out ahead of you)

(and John Edwards was the same way. and he had similar hair. coincindence, I think not)
posted by jonmc at 6:07 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Newt: "Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear-cut idea about America's enemies. Kill them.
Crowd: ROARING APPLAUSE

So I guess he enjoyed Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:09 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


SOPA!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:11 PM on January 19, 2012


I think originating the phrase "doughnut-fucking lack of concern" merits applause.

Unless, of course, you were on your way out to Krispy Kreme.


That seems more like "lack of doughnut-fucking concern".
posted by clockzero at 6:11 PM on January 19, 2012


Just to be clear here, this is the American president that most resembled Hitler in terms of policies we are talking about?
posted by Artw at 6:11 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Rick.

Rick.

Rick.

Get out of the fucking race, Rick.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:12 PM on January 19, 2012 [18 favorites]


Yes, President Andrew Jackson, essentially the founder of the Democratic Party (!1) whose policy in this case was referring to slaughtering the Cherokee (!2) in Newt's home state of Georgia (!3) in direct defiance of a Supreme Court order in perhaps the most obscene example in American history of executive over-reaching (!4).

Yes, this is the Genocidal Despotic President who Newt is bringing up in getting the Christian Right to cheer indiscriminate slaughter in the same hour in which they booed the Golden Rule.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:14 PM on January 19, 2012 [36 favorites]


Newt gas served a useful purpose. He has taught us that you can lie, cheat, be hopelessly immoral and then say you are now changed and the lord forgives you ...and the folks with all their family values will follow a good religious notion and say: you done wrong but we are Christian and so you are forgiven if you can beat the guy from the other party.
posted by Postroad at 6:15 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear-cut idea about America's enemies. Kill them.

Fun fact. In 1833, after South Carolina (of all places) began rattling the sabers of succession over a tariff issue (which was really a states rights issue, which was *really* a slavery issue, but I digress), none other than Andy Jackson went before congress and got the Force Bill passed, allowing him to - should the need arise - form an army to crush the Union's enemies....

South Carolina.
posted by absalom at 6:17 PM on January 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


Artw: Just to be clear here, this is the American president that most resembled Hitler in terms of policies we are talking about?

Although, in his defense, he did whoop ass on the British at New Orleans.
posted by indubitable at 6:22 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was mainly due to bacon beans and a martyred alligator.
posted by jonmc at 6:23 PM on January 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


Unknown Acts of Sodomy Perjury

You leave my Joy Division cover band out of this!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:25 PM on January 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


"But on the central issue of are we going to have corporations be our government or are the people going to be our government, the principle difference between the Republican, Democratic parties, with certain exceptions, the principle difference is the velocity with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door." - Ralph Nader

Was he wrong?
posted by Jimbob at 6:29 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Yeah, well, Newt's been married for 50 years. Except for a few months here and there."

And if you count the years spent in overlapping relationships, it's kinda like he was first married in the womb.

Experience matters!
posted by markkraft at 6:33 PM on January 19, 2012


Old Hick'ry said we could take 'em by surprise
If we didn't fire our muskets till we looked 'em in the eyes.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:33 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


President Andrew Ignore the Supreme Court with impunity Jackson (what led to the bloody death march west).
posted by edgeways at 6:36 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not having an open marriage, or wanting one. It's about cheating on your wife who does not want you to sleep with other women. And also thinking you can legislate others from having consensual sex. Hypocrite and liar. The dinosaurs thing is likable but doesn't make up for rampant scumbaggregation.
posted by theredpen at 6:37 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Romney: "I'm not questioned on character or integrity very often"
posted by crayz at 6:38 PM on January 19, 2012


Gingrich scares the shit out of me, and here's why:

I think he trying to exploit the divisions left over from the Civil War and smart enough to do it. After eight years of Bush and war, the swing voters and youth were happy to break from no-drama Obama.

And lo! The world is still fucked up. The resources dwindling. The population growing. Other nations rising.

Like tha antebellum South, we want to preserve a way of life that is morally corrupt and limited in its ability to be maintained. Like the South, we see no way forward that doesn't lead to a dramatic change in our lifestyle. When I say 'we' I mean Americans, generally (and mostly not those of metafilter persuasion)

Just because Gingirch is so very deeply flawed, it is so damn hard to see if defeat Obama, and that's good. But the fact that he's doing as well as he is?

Scares the shit out of me, folks.
posted by angrycat at 6:40 PM on January 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


'break for'
posted by angrycat at 6:41 PM on January 19, 2012


the young rope-rider: "STOP comparing affairs, which involve lying and sneaking and generally behaving like an amoral fuck with 'sexual preference'. Being gay is not immoral. Lying and cheating is immoral. They are fucking different. You can condemn cheating without being a bigot because guess what: cheating is wrong, and people choose to be cheaters, and it hurts other people that they've made a commitment to. My head is going to explode here. How are people not seeing a difference? No, not all 'sexual behavior' is awesome and completely beyond criticism just because it involves genitals."

The fact that Newt Gingrich has had affairs is not news here. Everyone has always known this for many years, and it has gone utterly unremarked; apparently nobody cared at all, at least among his supporters.

What is being called out here, and tittered about in the news, and sneered about by liberal pundits, etc, is that he asked his wife for an open marriage. The horror! What a disgusting person, asking her such a filthy question. What a shameful thing to do.

That is the tone that I'm objecting to. And plenty of people can say 'oh, it's his cheating we're crowing about,' but the cheating doesn't apparently mean shit to voters. The important thing that everyone is harping on is the open marriage thing, which is still a mark of shame for plenty of people in our society.

It's just distasteful to me to find people gleefully counting on that kind of bigotry if it helps destroy their enemies. Shouldn't we be talking about how Newt Gingrich's family values talk is bad for sexual freedom, rather than cheering on the machines of oppression in the hope that they'll swallow themselves whole? Because - that hope seems more than a little silly to me.
posted by koeselitz at 6:44 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Newt: "Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear-cut idea about America's enemies. Kill them.
Crowd: ROARING APPLAUSE
Holy shit.
posted by craichead at 6:45 PM on January 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


Newt: "I have been very open about the mistakes I've made. I am 68 years old. I am a grandfather."

What, exactly, are the last two sentences doing there?
posted by Deathalicious at 6:47 PM on January 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


And wait... didn't he just sign some pact to protect traditional marriage or some shit?

Yup! Didn't leave himself much of a loophole this time, either:
I also pledge to uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others.
posted by argonauta at 6:48 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I like dinosaurs just like you."
posted by june made him a gemini at 6:49 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


As Sully likes to say: Reality Check

Gingrich will do well enough in South Carolina to provide a fig leaf for his determination to harrass Romney out of spite for as long as the money holds out. But Mitt Romney is going to win. And after that even the media will have a hard time pretending that his nomindation isn't the foregone conclusion all sensible people recognized long ago.
posted by Trurl at 6:51 PM on January 19, 2012


I think TPM is referring to Romney's answers (evasions?) about taxes.

I do believe in doing my civic duty and paying my taxes and all, but... wouldn't you want a leader who consulted experts, considered the fiscally wisest solution, and chose that?
posted by maryr at 6:51 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


That little girl from Aliens is currently 35 years old, which means she is just now eligible to become president.

Newt/Newt 2012!
posted by kirkaracha at 6:51 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


She's a teacher now!
posted by Burhanistan at 6:54 PM on January 19, 2012


What is being called out here, and tittered about in the news, and sneered about by liberal pundits, etc, is that he asked his wife for an open marriage. The horror! What a disgusting person, asking her such a filthy question. What a shameful thing to do.

IANP, IANYP, but I think that if two people go into a marriage wanting it to be open and either or both act on that, that's cool.

If two people start off a marriage monogamously, and have never discussed open marriage, but then one of those people changes their mind, and asks for an open marriage but has not fucked outside of marriage yet, then that's potentially stressful and sad, but fair.

If two people start off a marriage monogamously, and have never discussed open marriage, but then one of those people starts an affair, discloses the affair months or years later, then asks for an open marriage so they don't have to give up the fucking on the side, that's pretty shitty, but because of the longstanding, hidden affair and the late, self-serving request, a request that should have been made before the longstanding, hidden affair started.
posted by maudlin at 6:54 PM on January 19, 2012 [26 favorites]


Rather than the comically large penis theory, my theory is that ugly dudes who seem to have undue romantic success are just better liars.

On the other hand, wasn't it rumored that Gingy had a MASSIVE credit line at Tiffany's available to him? Maybe it's just the money/power thing.
posted by gjc at 6:54 PM on January 19, 2012


I do believe in doing my civic duty and paying my taxes and all, but... wouldn't you want a leader who consulted experts, considered the fiscally wisest solution, and chose that?
I think I'd want a leader who, after paying his 15% tax rate, would realize that the system was incredibly unfair and work to rectify that unfairness. Warren Buffett clearly has a bevy of top notch tax accountants, but that doesn't stop him from saying "this is fucked up."
posted by craichead at 6:54 PM on January 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


maudlin: exactly. It's not so much what he does, but the really shitty way he does it.
posted by gjc at 6:55 PM on January 19, 2012


What is being called out here, and tittered about in the news, and sneered about by liberal pundits, etc, is that he asked his wife for an open marriage. The horror! What a disgusting person, asking her such a filthy question. What a shameful thing to do.

Well, it is pretty shameful when he context was basically, "Do you want to have an open marriage? Because I've already started." He had already "opened" the marriage by having an affair and was looking for some ex post fucko validation.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:55 PM on January 19, 2012 [23 favorites]


Newt just mixed it up a little. First you get the power, then you get the women, then you get the money.
posted by maryr at 6:55 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Newt Gingrich is a stupid man's idea of what a smart man sounds like."

-Paul Krugman

Also:

Juan Williams: "Speaker Gingrich, you recently said black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps. You also said that poor kids lack a strong work ethic and proposed having them work as janitors in their schools. Can't you see that this is viewed at a minimum as insulting to all Americans, but particular­ly to black Americans?­"

Newt Gingrich: "No. I don't see that."


Can't get much more clueless than that.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:57 PM on January 19, 2012 [15 favorites]


koeselitz: "Bill Clinton had the same moral foibles"

No, he didn't. Newt left one of his wives while she was dying of cancer. Clinton just fooled around a couple of times.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:03 PM on January 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


I love Juanita Jean.
posted by latkes at 7:03 PM on January 19, 2012


quoted by craichead: Newt: "Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear-cut idea about America's enemies. Kill them."

Yep. This is America - where you can endorse genocide, and nobody (even the liberals) bats an eye; but be a 'sexual deviant' who cheats on your spouse like millions of other people in this country, and we come down on you like a ton of bricks.
posted by koeselitz at 7:08 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Clinton just fooled around a couple of times.

More than a couple, I suspect. But your point stands.
posted by philip-random at 7:09 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why should I fucking care about the sexual habits of a politician?

Because when you are getting screwed over by government it'd be nice to know how ya gonna be taking it.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:10 PM on January 19, 2012


Man, it actually pisses me off that anybody's even talking about this open marriage nonsense when Newt Gingrich said something so egregiously offensive just two days ago. Ugh. What kind of ridiculous priorities brought add us act like this?
posted by koeselitz at 7:12 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, I think this is the first time I've truly understood how much of a circus the US presidential election is. It's basically a black hole sucking up all media attention for about a year-- 25% of an entire American life. Airtime and discourse space is not an infinite resource. We are committing species-wide genosuicide through climate change, nations around the world are in turmoil, the majority of the world's people are poor, hungry, and/or sick-- and until November we will be exposed to little news except the minutiae of candidates' personalities, with occasional interruption by such paradigm-shifting events as cruise ship crashes. That's pretty fucked up.
posted by threeants at 7:13 PM on January 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'm not denying the significance of Gingrich's hypocrisy within the context of the presidential election, I should add-- I'm expressing dismay that this whole glorified reality show commands a media hegemony for one-fourth of our lives.
posted by threeants at 7:16 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yep. This is America - where you can endorse genocide, and nobody (even the liberals) bats an eye; but be a 'sexual deviant' who cheats on your spouse like millions of other people in this country, and we come down on you like a ton of bricks.
Oh, koeselitz, please. You've been harping on "the liberals" all night for picking on poor Newt supposedly due to his infidelities, and totally ignoring all of the people telling you that it's his hypocrisy, not simply his infidelities. And now here you are specifically saying that nobody bats an eye at something that plenty of people in this thread have batted plenty of eyes at.
posted by Flunkie at 7:18 PM on January 19, 2012 [16 favorites]


I don't give a damn how many women Tiger Woods, Newt Gingrich, or any other man (or woman) has fooled around with. Let your freak flag fly, polyamorous people!

I DO give a damn if they lie about it, hold themselves up as role models for children, or attempt to interfere in other people's private/sexual affairs (as in, restrict access to birth control or abortion, prevent insurance from paying for birth control, deny gay people the right to marry, reduce food stamps or welfare payments to make it more difficult for women with children to leave abusive men, etc. etc.

If you make traditional/conservative "family values" a primary plank in your election platform, then your own private life becomes fair game.
posted by jfwlucy at 7:20 PM on January 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


Man, it actually pisses me off that anybody's even talking about this open marriage nonsense when Newt Gingrich said something so egregiously offensive just two days ago. Ugh. What kind of ridiculous priorities brought add us act like this?

Yes, he's said and done some pretty awful things. The man is a smorgasbord of loathsome. But while I'm one of the people who consider his past shitty behaviour to be a pretty damn good indicator of his character, what he's doing in this primary and promising to do if elected also makes me shudder with revulsion. I can pay attention to both, especially when someone repeatedly mentions his faux-open marriage bullshit. (Real open marriage? If it suits you, go for it, and may the FSM bless you and you and you and that other person and you, too.)
posted by maudlin at 7:23 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you make traditional/conservative "family values" a primary plank in your election platform, then your own private life becomes fair game.

Absolutely. Gingrich, don't forget, was one of the loudest critics of Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky episode, at the same time he was being duplicitous in his own marriage.

In other words, Newt has earned, and deserves, both barrels in this arena.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:24 PM on January 19, 2012


Gingrich up by 6 in South Carolina, based on data from before the debate. I'm having a hard time imagining that the debate helped Romney.

Also, about a third of Santorum's supporters say they're likely to change before the election. About half of them go to Gingrich, compared to about a fifth to Romney.
posted by Flunkie at 7:34 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


In other words, Newt has earned, and deserves, both barrels in this arena.

Yes but coach it as hypocrisy, not perversion.
Line it up with all his other hypocrisies, maybe even save it for the final punch.
But keep it in that context, not some sloppy swirl of moral righteousness that will only serve to reinforce the plethora of that crap already raining down from the Right.
posted by philip-random at 7:35 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Heh, you said "swing voters".
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:45 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Whelk: "I'm not trying to be glib or metaphorical, but Newt Gingrich is a huge baby. He literally looks like an Anne Geddes portrait of a baby in a suit, except enlarged to grotesque porportains."

I don't know what a Porportain is, but I'm pretty sure that I don't ever want to see a grotesque one.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:47 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


An issue never discussed: conservatives, esp those in the South, want states rights and the feds to leave them alone. And yet they get more money sent to them than they pay in. Why should my Connecticut taxes go to South Carolina? If they know they will get more than they put in, they can therefore keep their taxes low and get federal (mine) support. And by keeping taxes low, they lure industry away from many states.
posted by Postroad at 7:50 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Polyamory does not equal cheating. Tiger Woods = cheater. Newt = cheater.

If you have to "reveal" your "affair" you are a slimeball, not someone with an "alternative" sexuality.

In fact, powerful men screwing over their wives by running out and fucking everything with a pulse is the opposite of alternative sexuality. It's about as standard and old-fashioned as they come.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:51 PM on January 19, 2012 [17 favorites]


(heh, "as they come". heh.)
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:52 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


STOP comparing affairs, which involve lying and sneaking and generally behaving like an amoral fuck with "sexual preference". Being gay is not immoral. Lying and cheating is immoral. They are fucking different. You can condemn cheating without being a bigot because guess what: cheating is wrong, and people choose to be cheaters, and it hurts other people that they've made a commitment to.

I could not agree more. My comments upthread are not intended in any way to excuse or ignore the man's apparently complete lack of integrity or ethics; but if he and his wife want to have an 'open marriage' or whatever-the-fuck, that, I submit, is none of our business.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:53 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


@clockzero, it really isn't genius.

Pistols at dawn, sir or madam. You have impugned my honor!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:54 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Absolutely. Gingrich, don't forget, was one of the loudest critics of Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky episode, at the same time he was being duplicitous in his own marriage.

In other words, Newt has earned, and deserves, both barrels in this arena.


I'm going to guess, though, that you thought Gingrich was out of line to criticize Clinton. In that case, then, doesn't this become a case of if you can't beat them by being a better example, stoop down to their level? If so, no one anywhere is really going to learn not to do politics in this way.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:56 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


If Republicans want to regain some sanity as a party, they are really... not... doing a very good job.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:02 PM on January 19, 2012


Imagine a race where there are two Mormons, but the born-again Catholic is the polygamist. It's so confusing!
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:03 PM on January 19, 2012 [22 favorites]


Well, arguing over morals aside, as much as I hate to admit it, I think Newt handled the questions about his wife's interview in the best possible way he could have during the debate tonight.
posted by crunchland at 8:03 PM on January 19, 2012


The man is a smorgasbord of loathsome.

Awesome phrase.
posted by octothorpe at 8:03 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Benny Andajetz: "Juan Williams: "Speaker Gingrich, you recently said black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps. You also said that poor kids lack a strong work ethic and proposed having them work as janitors in their schools. Can't you see that this is viewed at a minimum as insulting to all Americans, but particular­ly to black Americans?­"

Newt Gingrich: "No. I don't see that."
"

To provide some context, Juan Williams is black, this quote is from the debate that took place on MLK Day, and Williams was loudly booed by the crowd for asking the question.

Now, Williams himself is certainly no saint, although that's a topic for another day...
posted by schmod at 8:14 PM on January 19, 2012


I'm going to guess, though, that you thought Gingrich was out of line to criticize Clinton. In that case, then, doesn't this become a case of if you can't beat them by being a better example, stoop down to their level? If so, no one anywhere is really going to learn not to do politics in this way.

I think we need to get into the understanding that the Republican Party - and by this I don't mean the registered Republican voters, but rather those in office and in other positions of power - are not a "political party" or ideology as we'd like to imagine them. Not anymore. They are closer - and I mean this sincerely - to what an actual version of the Illuminati would look like. They are a very exclusive club, with access to untold wealths of money to be spent on securing their influence, and with codes of loyalty to their monied masters. You see how Ron Paul has been treated in this season, no matter how well he polls? That's because he's not part of the club.

They are a well-funded club with a single agenda of profiting those who pay for them so that they may maintain their own power. They will engender and encourage ignorance and hatred and division so as to assist in this goal, because they have no other aim. Ideals and the rest of it don't matter.

Because one cannot sink to that level without joining the club themselves, no. I have no problem calling them out on their bullshit in order to destroy the club and free up actual discourse about public issues and possible solutions from their poisonous influence.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:14 PM on January 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


I think Grandiose Thoughts.
posted by latkes at 8:23 PM on January 19, 2012


It's basically a black hole sucking up all media attention for about a year-- 25% of an entire American life.

Worse, a number of posters here, including this one, are not even American.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 8:24 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm just stunned that after trying all the remaining Republican candidates, it's Santorum that leaves the least nasty taste in your mouth.
posted by markkraft at 8:40 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you make traditional/conservative "family values" a primary plank in your election platform, then your own private life becomes fair game.

Whereas I'd say that if you want to elevate the conversation—and don't we?—the correct tact is to simply decline to participate in "the game." It's a stupid game and it forgets that the purpose of politics is not to win, but rather to progress.

If Gingrich was wrong to criticize Clinton, then he was wrong irrespective of his own personal circumstances. Ditto if he was right. Arguments stand or fall on their own merits.
posted by cribcage at 8:43 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Flunkie: "Also, Limbaugh has come out on this topic with something like "Everybody has an angry ex-wife.""

SC primary voters who stick with Newt, sadly, won't do it because they think his affairs are nobody's business. They'll do it because they think "bitches lie."
posted by Apropos of Something at 8:45 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


FWIW, I was a Republican during the Lewinsky affair (wow, that's a weird sentence to write nowadays). But even as a Republican back then, I thought Clinton was being abused by Ken Starr and the House GOP.

However, I then did, and STILL DO fault Clinton for lying about it under oath. Once he did that, no matter that he had been hounded into it, he broke the law and, well, the law's the law. The fact that the House GOP was led by such shitty, moralizing hypocrites like Gingrich and Hyde doesn't change the law, either.

So although I'm as progressive as progressive can be, nowadays, and as much as I like most of what Clinton did (especially in contrast to his peers), I still find myself of the mind that he should have been impeached for committing perjury. I wish I felt otherwise, but there it is.
posted by darkstar at 8:47 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


[A couple comments removed. Disagreeing is fine, "go fuck yourself" is not.]
posted by cortex at 8:48 PM on January 19, 2012


Clinton-shminton. The delicious/terrible irony of Gingrich being a philandering womanizer is he's a self-rightous homophobe. So he thinks he can and should dictate the sexual practices of the US citizenry but when it comes to his own bedroom, he makes the rules.
posted by latkes at 9:11 PM on January 19, 2012


markkraft: "I'm just stunned that after trying all the remaining Republican candidates, it's Santorum that leaves the least nasty taste in your mouth."

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww.
posted by koeselitz at 9:14 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


The ultimate truth about this:
Politics is a full-contact sport. Nothing is entirely off-the-table, if it gets you votes, or denies votes from the other guy. Morality of politicians has mattered to many since the Greeks and the Romans. Personal ethics matters even more, to a wide spectrum of the public. Nobody in public has the right to say that these things don't or shouldn't matter to anyone else, though they can argue that if it doesn't hurt others, it shouldn't lead to discrimination... but that's usually different than political rejection.

This story is newsworthy because it does touch on *exactly* these issues of morality and personal ethics, and because the public has a right to know, if it is revealed to the press. It absolutely matters to voters who value morality, just as it matters to those who want ethical leaders.

Democrats have every right to care about this, and to show it as an example of Republican moral/ethical hypocrisy... if only to take votes away from, weaken, and demoralize their opponents. That's the true nature of politics. The idea that Democrats are supposed to be tolerant in the face of the hypocrisy of politicians who would grandstand against other's so-called immorality, and deny them their rights... that's just a ridiculous way to lose elections.

Why turn the other cheek, especially when supposedly Christian hypocrites are more than willing to hit you again and again and again until you get a clue? Far better to knock them to the ground and give them as much of a stomping as you can, without turning the public against you.

That's politics. Practically everyone who enters the arena will eventually leave on a stretcher. And those who aren't willing to accept its rules shouldn't bother playing.
posted by markkraft at 9:14 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, it actually pisses me off that anybody's even talking about this open marriage nonsense when Newt Gingrich said something so egregiously offensive just two days ago. Ugh. What kind of ridiculous priorities brought add us act like this?

To me, it's more about the absolute moral vacuum that seems to be animating the Right in this election.

I can sort of imagine someone honestly believing that black people need to be taught the value of having a job -- I think this sort of ideologically convenient ignorance requires something of a moral blind spot to maintain, but everyone supposedly has that to some extent.

But here we have Gingrich proving -- yet again, in case anyone missed it the first several times -- that he doesn't believe a word of the sanctimonious moralizing he's constantly spewing, that his personal code of conduct doesn't look an inch beyond his own immediate self-gratification.

And yet the Republican base -- the same people who never seem tire of cataloguing in excruciating, prurient detail the moral failings of the enemies they see all around -- continue to support this lying, selfish, hypocritical sack of shit. (Because Romney believes in a slightly different Jesus, as far as I can figure.)

Seriously, how do people still use the term "values voter" without sarcasm?
posted by bjrubble at 9:14 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Why turn the other cheek, especially when supposedly Christian hypocrites are more than willing to hit you again and again and again until you get a clue? Far better to knock them to the ground and give them as much of a stomping as you can, without turning the public against you.

That's politics. Practically everyone who enters the arena will eventually leave on a stretcher. And those who aren't willing to accept its rules shouldn't bother playing.

But maybe there's a better world. Maybe it doesn't require simply asserting power.

Calling out hypocrisy is fair game for sure. But if someone is going to criticise the other side for calling out "sin," they should be prepared to not be taken seriously if they try to then play by the same game, even if it seems like fair play. All it succeeds in doing is undercutting any sense of moral high ground that allowed them to call out the hypocrisy in the first place. It just makes everyone seem like jerks in a power struggle, and then the only way to win is being more powerful, not by being right.

I'd like to have power in the game, but it's hollow if I achieve it by selling my birthright in the process.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:25 PM on January 19, 2012


To clarify, I mean to say that the discussion should take place around the question of hypocrisy, not whether we are giving someone a good stomping because of his moral failings (if we argue that we shouldn't be stomping people because of their moral failings). Basically what phillip-random said.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:28 PM on January 19, 2012


he thinks he can and should dictate the sexual practices of the US citizenry but when it comes to his own bedroom, he makes the rules.

Let's suppose that a man lives a "model" (i.e., according to script) sexual life. He marries his high-school sweetheart, sex comes after marriage and only to procreate, and he never entertains so much as a lustful thought about another person. In your opinion, would that add one iota of legitimacy to his belief that homosexual activity should be outlawed, condemned, etc.? If not, then you are participating in a sideshow.

That's politics. Practically everyone who enters the arena will eventually leave on a stretcher.

Whatever truth there may be in your sentiment, I believe the world is what we make it. This is not always true but it is hugely, massive, enormously true here on this utterly inconsequential Internet discussion board. What you write here is in no way equivalent to knocking anybody to the ground—especially given that, on these issues, this particular discussion board is pretty much an echo chamber. The people you oppose aren't even reading, let alone being knocked down.

Given that reality, I return to, "This world is what we make it." We can discuss issues of weight and interest, or we can gossip.
posted by cribcage at 9:30 PM on January 19, 2012


Worse, a number of posters here, including this one, are not even American.

My father was a businessman
My mother voted Republican
She's not even American
She just wanted to have lots of fun
posted by philip-random at 9:30 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


This story is newsworthy because it does touch on *exactly* these issues of morality and personal ethics, and because the public has a right to know, if it is revealed to the press.

The problem is, the press doesn't go far enough. Gingrich is challenged, he responds angrily and that's the end of the story. The press doesn't follow up, and help the public understand the underlying problem. Help them draw conclusions. The hypocrisy. The lies. The demand for special treatment. And in doing so, the press fails the American people.

This has been a consistent problem with our nation's media (at least, with the outlets that attempt to be objective, not yellow journalism outfits like FoxNewschannel,) since at least GWB's first term. We saw it with the White House Press Corps, as they failed to ask followup questions of a string of weasly, prevaricating press secretaries. When satisfactory answers to questions about say, the legal legitimacy of the wars being launched from the desk of the Vice President, failed to materialize, the media did not do their job, and point out the questionable conclusions. Point out the lack of hard evidence. Or the fearmongering masquerading as authority.

In an environment where the media are not calling out political lies and manipulation for what they are, "public has a right to know" is a canard. You start correcting that by working to educate the public beyond the first rebuttal.
posted by zarq at 9:31 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"To me, it's more about the absolute moral vacuum that seems to be animating the Right in this election. "

*nods* They wish they had a candidate to vote for who was the family man that Obama was, with an (R) at the end of his name. Ultimately, though, the joke is on them. People who have open relationships will ultimately benefit from the Republicans being so tolerant of Gingrich.

Ironically, what the Republicans are doing unintentionally is helping to open the door of politics to those whose personal lives would be judged as unacceptable by Christians, but who approach their lives in an open, ethical manner.

People rightly -- and successfully -- call them hypocrites now... and will do so then, until their beliefs are well and truly beaten back and marginalized, to their rightful place in homes and churches.

So by all means, Republicans... please do continue to get your freak on.
posted by markkraft at 9:35 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Worse, a number of posters here, including this one, are not even American.

I'm sorry, is there an issue? I was speaking about the effect of the US presidential election on the US media and US residents in a thread about US politics.
posted by threeants at 9:48 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"But maybe there's a better world. Maybe it doesn't require simply asserting power. . . But if someone is going to criticise the other side for calling out "sin," they should be prepared to not be taken seriously if they try to then play by the same game, even if it seems like fair play. All it succeeds in doing is undercutting any sense of moral high ground that allowed them to call out the hypocrisy in the first place."

If everyone looks like hypocrites -- albeit, to varying degrees -- I am okay with that, because that is what drives change. Quiet acceptance of hypocrisy is far more of a problem, frankly.

As far as your better world goes, well... that primarily comes from removing intolerance and hypocrisy from the system. It already *is* a better world, compared to the relatively recent historic past... specifically because you can't stomp on someone hard while the public watches, without repercussions.

By all means, let Gingrich keep digging a hole... and let Romney be dragged to the ugly side of the far right... and just see whether they -- or even more likely, their party -- is forced to pay the price for their behavior one day, because the future most assuredly doesn't belong to them.
posted by markkraft at 9:57 PM on January 19, 2012


"Maybe it doesn't require simply asserting power. . . "

Which is to say, your better world most assuredly does require asserting power... but that power is derived from the people, not from the politicians.
posted by markkraft at 10:06 PM on January 19, 2012


It absolutely matters to voters who value morality

The voters who vote based on morality are the ones who are putting nutjobs like Newt and Santorum into a position where they are viewed as serious candidates. A couple of years ago, I was having a debate on Twitter with a pal of mine who is a staunch Catholic. I brought up the fact that senators who are pro-life should also be anti-war, since someone who values life so much as to restrict abortion should also be against sending young men to their death in Iraq. When I objected to him using Catholic pro-life arguments in a political discussion, his words were, "you're talking in totally political terms, I'm speaking in moral terms." It is this sort of thinking that allows the Christian right to view it as perfectly fine to impose their moral construct on everyone. The powerful voting bloc this group represents is also the reason that Republican candidates have to pander to them (also, the reason GW won in 2004 and why all churches that advocate politics should have their nonprofit status revoked).

All of this means that this country has kept slipping backwards ever since the Founding Fathers espoused separation of church and state. It is also this thinking that has the US falling backwards in terms of social progress among countries in the West.
posted by reenum at 10:11 PM on January 19, 2012


Romney's going to get the nod but man, if Gingrich got it the House would easily be in play.

The visuals alone would spell doom for the GOP -- fat, pasty guy who doesn't look like he gets much sunlight or exercise vs. slim, trim, suave Obama.

But for now, enemy of my enemy yadda yadda.
posted by bardic at 10:12 PM on January 19, 2012


Who cares what Gingrich looks like? He is bound to say a million horrifying things and follow them up with "AND ONLY I CAN SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS" even as he babbles more nonsense. He's really quite something.

I am positive that 99% of people despise him but... this... is... well, I live in Iowa so I'm used to the weird seesaw this primary has had, but what do social or fiscal conservatives see in this guy? He is abhorrent to both.

What? They don't actually give a fuck about any of their values? Weird! That's so weird!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:34 PM on January 19, 2012


It's like saying you're against gay marriage and for small government while you're so obviously not for small spending / respecting the sanctity of marriage is enough for people to ignore that you're a multiple time adulterer (really, how hard is it to not be that) and for vast increases in things?

I guess I am barking up the wrong tree here, aren't I.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:38 PM on January 19, 2012


Ex post fuckto? Brilliant, kirkaracha! Filing that one away in my relationship/polyamory terminology.
posted by Devika at 10:42 PM on January 19, 2012


Yes but coach it as hypocrisy, not perversion.

That's "couch", not "coach".

Where the hell's that 191 minute edit window when you need it?
posted by philip-random at 10:45 PM on January 19, 2012


>fat, pasty guy who doesn't look like he gets much sunlight or exercise vs. slim, trim, suave Obama.

Obviously, contrast is also part of what makes MittBot vs. NewtGrinch interesting:

In the clash of preferred images, it's the Man Without Weakness vs. the Man Who Both Embodies and Detects Every Weakness; the (bland, hollow, contemptuous) Giant vs. the (manic, shameless, always-an-inch-from-cracking) Giant-Killer; a single, boring life-time strategy set against an endless bag-o-tactical-tricks; the guy who thinks he has everything to gain vs. the guy who knows he has nothing to lose.

I'd kinda like to see Newt keep fighting through a few more primaries; the fact that the race now hosts exactly two absolutely sincere guys-- one obsessed with sexual behavior and the other obsessed with financial structure-- and two absolutely insincere guys-- one an unlikable drone who'll say anything to keep the peasants quiet, and the other a glory-addicted kamikaze who'll say anything to get the peasants angry-- offers some charming symmetry.
posted by darth_tedious at 11:09 PM on January 19, 2012 [12 favorites]


Newt Gingrich recently said that as president, he would fire all liberal government workers, and arrest judges who disagreed with him.

As entertaining as Newt's adultery and ugliness are, isn't that a bit more worrisome?
posted by msalt at 12:15 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


What? They don't actually give a fuck about any of their values?

Unless, of course, you accept the possibility that their main value is "get Obama out of office regardless of which fat white guy he is replaced with."
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:27 AM on January 20, 2012


Rumors Of Extramarital Affair End Campaign Of Presidential Candidate Who Didn't Know China Has Nuclear Weapons
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:28 AM on January 20, 2012


Stitcherbeast, I don't think there's as much sexual interest in Newt as you believe.

I am praying that this is the one exception to rule 34. Can some check for me though? Cause I'm afraid to look.
posted by msalt at 1:04 AM on January 20, 2012


Can't you see that this is viewed at a minimum as insulting to all Americans, but particular­ly to black Americans?­"

Newt Gingrich: "No. I don't see that."


Newt's right. It's not insulting to all Americans (i.e. most of his supporters), nor is it insulting to Herman Cain.
posted by markkraft at 1:15 AM on January 20, 2012


I think he trying to exploit the divisions left over from the Civil War and smart enough to do it. After eight years of Bush and war, the swing voters and youth were happy to break from no-drama Obama......

Just because Gingirch is so very deeply flawed, it is so damn hard to see if defeat Obama, and that's good. But the fact that he's doing as well as he is?

Scares the shit out of me, folks.


We need to have this fight. Gingrich is the bare id of the GOP and the remnants of the old south. And we need to destroy it, to humiliate it, and stop it from ever being a force for American politics again.
posted by empath at 1:17 AM on January 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


What pisses me off is that Newt is actually right about the media, and he's using that knowledge to play them like a fiddle. John King is a worthless tool, and so is CNN, no better than Fox really. Last night King asked leading, softball questions that permitted evasive, subject-changing answers, and as in all the debates, just moved on to the next question when prior ones were answered with strings of outright lies and distortions, just as they have been in every debate.

A real journalist would say, "wait a minute, you just claimed President Obama has cut the VA and wants to cut it more and harm our veterans, when in fact the factual evidence is that the opposite is true and the VA is in better shape than it has been for quite some time," to pick just one example. What Newt has figured out (and Romney already knew but seems to have forgotten last night with his "maybe") is that the bolder your ability to lie with a straight face on TV, the less you will be challenged on those lies by any "reporter," since the "reporters" are actually "entertainers" whose primary concern is not alienating their viewers and desperately hoping to remain relevant (please please "tweet" me back!).

I mean, these debate performances are 75% lies about the president's record, yet I have not heard one moderator raise even one point of factual correction. It's a all a farce.

Obama will wipe Newt all over the floor in a real debate (and if only Santorum could win the primary, that sentence would be much more hilarious). But then the media will declare Newt the winner if he manages to give sufficiently enraged evasions in place of answering questions, and if his "facts" go unchallenged.

I was lukewarm on President Obama until recently, disappointed like many liberals in some aspects of his first term (although more impressed than some by what he has gotten done). But these debates have convinced me he is the firewall between us and armageddon, and I'm about to write him a big old check and get enthusiastic out of necessity. The GOP freakshow, and its media enablers, have me that scared.
posted by spitbull at 1:58 AM on January 20, 2012 [20 favorites]


Also, too, what empath said.
posted by spitbull at 1:58 AM on January 20, 2012


One last: re, the discussion above: willing to bet dollars to (fucked) donuts that Newt has a tiny little micropenis and has to take 3 viagras and a teacup full of horny goat weed before going to dinner with Callista just to be able to keep his end of the conversation.

The dude is the very essence of overcompensation.
posted by spitbull at 2:10 AM on January 20, 2012


Ugh, I ruined my own joke: Just to keep UP his end of the conversation.
posted by spitbull at 2:11 AM on January 20, 2012


Newt has a tiny little micropenis --- Why would you burden us all with a mental image of Newt, nude?!
posted by crunchland at 4:31 AM on January 20, 2012


It's odd that multi people think a lot about Newt's sexual organs. Perhaps they're working out fantasies of their own?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:33 AM on January 20, 2012


I believe that even the most vile hypocrite has a right to private enjoyment of her or his sexual proclivities.

So do we.

But the point is that Newt DOESN'T believe that. That's why there's so much glee at this -- it's all of us crowing "don't like it when the 'liberal media' asks you about your sex life? Think it's no one's business? So why'd you think Clinton's blowjob was YOUR business all of a sudden back then, hmmmmmm?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:41 AM on January 20, 2012


Believe it, or don't, but it wasn't about the hankypanky. It was the lying under oath part that they were trying to nail him with.
posted by crunchland at 4:48 AM on January 20, 2012


Suuuuuuuuuure it wasn't.

Look, Newt just complained to Wolf Blitzer last night that he found it inappropriate that the "liberal media" harped so much on the private lives of politicians. That didn't stop him from harping so much on the private life of THAT politician. If he was so worried about offending the delicate sensibilities of the commons, couldn't he have emphasized the "perjury" part of his claims more than the "lurid details" part? He seemed to take especial relish in the exact nature of the scandal.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:56 AM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gingrich didn't divorce his wife while she was dying of cancer. Jackie Battley recovered from her 1981 cancer and is still alive.
posted by humanfont at 4:59 AM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Believe it, or don't, but it wasn't about the hankypanky. It was the lying under oath part that they were trying to nail him with.

Absolutely wrong.

They tried to tar the Clintons with a LOT of things. It actually began with Whitewater and morphed into a bunch of mini-vendettas.

Lying under oath is what they nailed him with, not what they were trying to nail him with.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:06 AM on January 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


I think it is kind of sad actually. Gingrich gets raped by his high school teacher and then married her to do right thing. Then he has a series of failed relationships as an adult. That kind of unrepaired damage leads to other self destructive behaviors.
posted by humanfont at 5:22 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Believe it, or don't, but it wasn't about the hankypanky. It was the lying under oath part that they were trying to nail him with.

He wouldn't have had to lie under oath about blowjobs if he wasn't already being asked about blowjobs.

Spitbull: I think the reason the media doesn't respond tit-for-tat like that is that they often aren't very well-informed about the actual issues. It seems to me that many in the media have come to view themselves as moderators, or boxing referees rather than [american] football referees. Just sort of assessing points and making sure there aren't too many nut-shots. When they should be calling penalties and personal fouls.

(Also, the debate formats are usually negotiated with the candidates and the parties. Nobody is going to show up to your debate if they know you are going to get in there and make them answer questions.)
posted by gjc at 5:28 AM on January 20, 2012


Weyland-Yutani 2012
Corporations are people, too!

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:33 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


He wouldn't have had to lie under oath about blowjobs if he wasn't already being asked about blowjobs.
I can't believe that we're rehashing the Clinton impeachment, but this is a tad disingenuous. He wasn't being asked about "blowjobs." He was being asked about blowjobs administered in a workplace setting by someone who had significantly less power in the workplace than he did. The issue wasn't that he got a blowjob, but that he got a blowjob from a White House intern.

And yeah, I think it matters that there are people who go on and on about "values" when it allows them to invade random countries or oppress gay people and sexually-active women but who forget all their values when there are no countries to invade or gay people and women to oppress. The Bible isn't any more ok with adultery than it is with sodomy, so the fundie embrace of Gingrich shows that they don't really give a flying fuck about the Bible. They're just in it for the oppression.
posted by craichead at 6:08 AM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm old enough to remember when the phrase 'solid South' meant a solid Democratic South. Even then, as part of the Democratic party, the South was perceived as contrary, unruly and unwilling to compromise to get candidates elected.
Well, all those people have now become Republicans. It's the same people, they're just calling themselves by a different name. Ultimately, they will go away ( I hope) because I have now seen them ruin the Democratic party, the Republican party and they successfully infiltrated the Tea Party so that instead of a libertarian choice, it is now a right wing nutjob shill.
I hate Newt. Not because he's an adulterer ( which I do think is wrong) but because he's erratic, perhaps dangerously so, and the idea of Newt sprawled on the Oval Office carpet playing with toy dinosaurs before launching a nuke attack on... whomever is distressing to me.
posted by pentagoet at 6:47 AM on January 20, 2012


He was being asked about blowjobs administered in a workplace setting by someone who had significantly less power in the workplace than he did. The issue wasn't that he got a blowjob, but that he got a blowjob from a White House intern.

As bad as that is, the reason the special prosecutor was brought in was ostensibly to investigate a land deal. I'm unclear on how a blow job years later was material to that investigation (thus lying about it being perjury).
posted by dirigibleman at 7:09 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


me: “I believe that even the most vile hypocrite has a right to private enjoyment of her or his sexual proclivities.”

EmpressCallipygos: “So do we. But the point is that Newt DOESN'T believe that. That's why there's so much glee at this -- it's all of us crowing ‘don't like it when the 'liberal media' asks you about your sex life? Think it's no one's business? So why'd you think Clinton's blowjob was YOUR business all of a sudden back then, hmmmmmm?’”

I get that, Empress. And I should say that I'm not so much annoyed at all of you here on Metafilter, whom I really have no antipathy toward; I'm more talking about how the media deals with these things, and the fact that they're dealing with Newt in precisely the same way they dealt with Clinton. My sadness comes from the fact that it doesn't seem like they'll ever change, despite our best efforts, no matter how many 'family-values' people turn out to be gay or having affairs or whatever.

I guess the best way to put it would be to say this: we don't say (I don't think) that people who don't believe in the right to free speech should have that right taken away from them. We don't say that people who speak out against the freedom to assemble publicly should be rounded up and arrested every time they gather in groups of three or more. We don't say that people who are against the right to free expression of religion should be prosecuted based on their own religious expression. So why do we act as though people who don't believe in the right to private enjoyment of their sexual desires should have that right taken away?
posted by koeselitz at 7:10 AM on January 20, 2012


(I guess we aren't exactly acting that way; we aren't the ones taking the right away – it's more that we're enjoying the irony when it happens. And I can enjoy that irony too, I guess. It's just that, to do so, I have to resign myself to the fact that our society will never accept that homosexuality isn't wrong, that having an affair isn't nice but is actually quite common and shouldn't be stigmatized so, that shaming people for sexual acts is a bad thing. I just have to accept, I guess, that society will always be this fucked up.)
posted by koeselitz at 7:15 AM on January 20, 2012


can't believe that we're rehashing the Clinton impeachment, but this is a tad disingenuous. He wasn't being asked about "blowjobs." He was being asked about blowjobs administered in a workplace setting by someone who had significantly less power in the workplace than he did. The issue wasn't that he got a blowjob, but that he got a blowjob from a White House intern.

He got a consensual blowjob from an adult woman who did not accuse him of wrongdoing and it was investigated because someone secretly recorded private conversations against her will.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:15 AM on January 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


He got a consensual blowjob from an adult woman who did not accuse him of wrongdoing and it was investigated because someone secretly recorded private conversations against her will.

I remember thinking "If that's what it takes to get a budget surplus, there should be a Blowjob Division of the White House"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:20 AM on January 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


He got a consensual blowjob from an adult woman who did not accuse him of wrongdoing and it was investigated because someone secretly recorded private conversations against her will.

Which happened, mind you, three years into an ongoing investigation about a failed real estate deal that yielded... absolutely nothing. Clinton was impeached for perjury, which was related to lying about questions regarding an affair with an intern that had absolutely nothing to do with the reason Ken Starr was hired in the first place. I'm not forgiving Clinton's mistakes here, and in light of that explanation it's almost infuriating to realize that yes, in effect he pretty much got himself impeached because he couldn't keep it in his pants, but the timeline of the Whitewater investigation and how he was impeached over exactly nothing in any way connected to Whitewater sort of destroys this pathetic, decade-long nonsense that he wasn't impeached over a blowjob.

Republicans impeached Clinton for getting a blowjob. The media reported on this because Clinton got a blowjob. If you pretend this is not what it was about, you are a crazy person.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:26 AM on January 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


There should be a check box on the US Tax form. "Would you like to contribute $1 to the Presidential Sexual Relief Fund? All participants are certified as over 21 and willing to party."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:43 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Given this environment, if Jesus Christ Himself stepped forward for the Republican nomination he would be torn apart.

Well...Jesus could never survive the birth certificate issues either...
posted by Billiken at 7:44 AM on January 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Republicans impeached Clinton for getting a blowjob. The media reported on this because Clinton got a blowjob. If you pretend this is not what it was about, you are a crazy person.

Close. They impeached him because he was a Democrat president, they were in charge of Congress, and they had some pretext. Look at how the right talks of Obama; if he walked backwards three steps and they controlled both houses he'd be impeached too. It doesn't matter what they actually do -- if they're Democrats, they get called nation destroyers who must be evicted from office at all costs.

All of this, Newt Gingrich gave us this.
posted by JHarris at 7:44 AM on January 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm more talking about how the media deals with these things, and the fact that they're dealing with Newt in precisely the same way they dealt with Clinton.

Then I guess my point is that Newt only complained about the media being that way when HE was the target -- but when Clinton was the target, he EXPLOITED this trait. And that's not fair. Either he is irretrievably naive or shamelessly opportunistic, and neither of them is a tendancy I want in a presidential candidate.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:44 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The hypocrisy isn't just about claimed values and behavior. It's also about power. Conservatives get tons of money and privilege by playing on the family-values fears of the base, which they use to create cozy little closets for themselves.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:58 AM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I, franky, cannot stand the adverbial tics that he inserts, quite honestly, into every fucking sentence.
posted by weinbot at 8:01 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let me be clear: I hate it when politicians do that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:05 AM on January 20, 2012


In the middle of the outrage-over-the-outrage, the teenage nihilism, the re-trying of Bill Clinton, and the delicate sprinkling of madness on display here, an observation about tomorrow's primary. A Romney loss South Carolina is also a blow to SC Gov. Nikki Haley, who's tied herself closely to the candidate and who faces her own problems in the state. How much of a blow will remain to be seen, of course, but a Romney defeat won't make Haley's life any easier for certain.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:18 AM on January 20, 2012


To paraphrase Phil Ochs:

Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of. . .
Mississippi South Carolina find yourself another country to be part of.

posted by Danf at 8:25 AM on January 20, 2012


I can see why people are frustrated by the focus on his private failings and his complaints about the media, but my frustration comes from a different perspective. If you ranked all the things Gingrich has been an hypocritical asshole about by hypocrisy, this would probably be somewhere near the top of the list. But if you ranked all the things he's been an asshole about by asshole factor, this wouldn't even rank. It's not that this isn't a reason to not like Newt, but there are just so many more I can't get riled up about this one.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:57 AM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Limbaugh: “Everybody has an angry ex-wife.”


Men who depict their former wives as "angry ex-wives," whether the wives are angry or not, look like sleazy assholes. Not appealing at all.
posted by anniecat at 9:05 AM on January 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


Has anyone been listening to the reporting on the debate? Question the first to Newt was about his affair with his current wife. His faux outrage at the media for their audacity to report news (-ish? as it has been commented on, not exactly breaking) elicited a standing fucking ovation. Apparently saying that you talked to "God" about how sorry you are makes being it all okey-dokey for the folks who would like to regulate everyone else's behavior. Small government my formerly-spanked ass. (whoops, I told god that I liked to be spanked, but I wouldn't do it anymore, from now on I am totally vanilla, can I hold office now?)

So two things: that line from the debate has been playing over and over, so much so that the tiny conspiracy theorist who lives at the back of my head is saying, gee do you think the liberal media is helping ol' Newt out? Was that question agreed upon so Newt could get a hand up on this? Cuz he sure did seem mighty well rehearsed. (Rationally, yes of course he would be, but still) Secondly, what does this douche need to do, snack on puppies and kittens on live tv during a debate for people to see how batshit he seems?
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 9:08 AM on January 20, 2012


Ken Starr's report detailed all the alleged sexual contacts. He provided evidence that indicated that the blow job defense was another lie.
posted by humanfont at 9:09 AM on January 20, 2012


So I wonder if Newt is finally going to be the Non-Romney consolidation candidate. There is .00000000000000000000000000001% of me that thinks having a President named Newt would be so fucking hilarious it is almost worth the collapse of civilization for it. The rest of me shudders so much I should likely avoid all fault zones and be declared a walking unintentional WMD.
posted by edgeways at 9:16 AM on January 20, 2012


Ken Starr's report detailed all the alleged sexual contacts.

Did Ken Starr's report explain what impact Clinton's blow job had to do with the original god-damned topic of the report in the first place?

No. What happened was, Starr couldn't find anything linking the Clintons to the real estate land deal he was originally called upon to investigate, so they instead turned to sex because they knew the media would go apeshit over it and it would be a way to make Clinton look bad so they could try bringing him down that way. In other words -- they knew that the media would make a big deal of it, and his Republican bosses -- Newt among them -- told him "sure, try that."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:17 AM on January 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Ken Starr's report detailed all the alleged sexual contacts. He provided evidence that indicated that the blow job defense was another lie.

Um, who gives a fuck? Other than what a massive crteepy shitbag Ken Starr was and how massively creepy and self serving the people in charge of him were what the fuck does the minutae matter?
posted by Artw at 9:18 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Secondly, what does this douche need to do, snack on puppies and kittens on live tv during a debate for people to see how batshit he seems?

Most people see it. But those people don't vote in GOP primaries. The people that do vote in GOP primaries are crazier than he is.

Welcome to Amurrica.
posted by empath at 9:20 AM on January 20, 2012


As of 11:30 am CST, inTrade's contract on Romney "Mitt Romney to be Republican Presidential Nominee in 2012", is trading at 78%, and Gingrich at 18%.

The south carolina contract (at the same time) has Gingrich winning at 68%.

The Obama contract -- "Barack Obama to be re-elected President in 2012", on the other hand, is a coin flip at 52.9%.

Gonna be an exciting year for those who get excited by close American presidential races! (or so I guess).
posted by scunning at 9:31 AM on January 20, 2012


Intrade's numbers are stupid, and they've been stupid for a long time. If I had a way to play them, I'd have made a fortune on it. Though I imagine if it were legal in America, the numbers would be a lot more realistic.
posted by empath at 9:35 AM on January 20, 2012


Given that they are a market for predicting the future why aren't they 100% RON PAUL IS THE BEST all the time? That's the mystery.
posted by Artw at 9:36 AM on January 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Welcome to Amurrica

As opposed to..? The outright fascism in Hungry, the never ending reign of the the ex-KGB in Russia, Sir sweater-vest in Canada, el-presidente for life in Venezuela, just-how-long-did-it take-to-get-rid-of-mr-bunga-bunga Italy, all nicely and democratically elected. near as I can tell most countries have a good sized vocal portion of their population that are, frankly, quite idiotic.
posted by edgeways at 9:36 AM on January 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Remember, the 99% are generally fucking stupid.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:41 AM on January 20, 2012


For the record, Gingrich's net favorability rating is -32%

God, I hope the GOP is that crazy.
posted by empath at 9:45 AM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Think about how stupid the average person is; now realize half of them are dumber than that." - George Carlin
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:52 AM on January 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry, is there an issue?

I have no idea why there would be. It sounded like you were bemoaning the amount of time and energy spent on U.S. politics by Usians. I was agreeing with, and extending the observation.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 10:04 AM on January 20, 2012


I have no idea why there would be. It sounded like you were bemoaning the amount of time and energy spent on U.S. politics by Usians. I was agreeing with, and extending the observation.

That was my read, as well, and I agree – I'm Canadian, and I'm fascinated and a bit repulsed by how easily and avidly I get pulled into the American electoral circus.

It's like you guys have come up with the ultimate reality TV show, but it runs 24/7 for a full year every four years, and instead of ending with one happy guy and some mildly disappointed people, it ends with the world's most powerful country getting fucked up in an orgy of batshit partisan insanity.
posted by Shepherd at 10:46 AM on January 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


I wonder how much the negative ads will help Obama in all these battleground and primary states. The ads and robo-calls can't be so targeted that only Republicans will see them. The super pacs have totally saturated the airwaves. I wonder what the effect will be on public opinion after seeing these candidates attacked by non-stop ads.
posted by humanfont at 11:57 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wish I could somehow understand why this will be such a close election. I've been delighted/scared by the implosion of the GOP. People are just going to vote not-Obama?

And oh shit I am remembering the fall of 2004 too now. Nooooooooooo.
posted by angrycat at 12:23 PM on January 20, 2012


I wish I could somehow understand why this will be such a close election.

The economy. But it won't be close. Obama will win in a landslide.
posted by empath at 12:28 PM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


For a bit of a peek into Newt's tactics and character/style, understand that the reason his tax returns were released last night, in the middle of that debate in Charleston, was to draw the media, specifically CNN/John King who was moderating, and the public's attention away from his wife's interview.

I would bet 5 bucks that was the reasoning behind him doing that...
posted by Skygazer at 12:35 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wish I could somehow understand why this will be such a close election.

It's close with Obama running against some abstract GOtP candidate. Plug in any of the likely candidates, including Romney, and he wins.

Right now he's mostly just a punching bag for the GOTP everytime they have one of those soul- killing, mind-rotting spectacles they call "debates."
posted by Skygazer at 12:39 PM on January 20, 2012


That's standard practice, though, nothing particularly Newt-y.
posted by empath at 12:40 PM on January 20, 2012


The economy. But it won't be close. Obama will win in a landslide.

Yeah, this. It's kind of exactly how things looked at the end of 1983 or so: highest unemployment since the Great Depression, low approval numbers for the incumbent, the opposition party pretty much felt that whomever they ran would win handily.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:50 PM on January 20, 2012


Voter Thanks Newt Gingrich For 'Putting Juan Williams In His Place'
posted by homunculus at 1:06 PM on January 20, 2012


I would bet 5 bucks that was the reasoning behind him doing that...

I got $1000 that that was the reasoning, and god forbid if I was his campaign manager I would do exactly the same thing.


And just heard: The SC GOP primary winner has gone on to win the nomination ever since 1980. I suspect that streak gets broken this year if Newt wins SC, but still it is a fair point that SC is more representative of the GOP-In-general than Iowa or New Hampshire.

fuuuuunnnny

(I bet Romney-bot is sweating bullets right now though)
posted by edgeways at 1:54 PM on January 20, 2012


anniecat: “Men who depict their former wives as ‘angry ex-wives,’ whether the wives are angry or not, look like sleazy assholes. Not appealing at all.”

Why? I appreciate fully that most ex-wives are not angry, and I grant that women have been short-changed by the whole institution of marriage for eons and eons, so even if they were angry they probably would have every right.

But – well, I guess it was my mistake for talking about my personal life here, and making a broad joke that probably had offensive implications I wasn't aware of. Sorry.
posted by koeselitz at 2:05 PM on January 20, 2012


I bet Romney-bot is sweating bullets right now though

The Romney-bot 2012 has been tweaked using focus-group heuristics, and feed loop optimized, to never, EVER sweat. The extra-perspiration is used to liquid cool/act as a heat-sink for the CPU.

You will occasionally, if you observe carefully enough, see a small vapor cloud of steam escape from the top of Romney-bot 2012's head. Where there is a very tiny air vent with a small noiseless fan behind it.

/Classified
posted by Skygazer at 2:10 PM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


You Know Who: Newt Gingrich's three marriages mean he might make a strong president

posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:18 PM on January 20, 2012


This is some funny funny stuff from some genuinely funny dudes.

/RedneckFilter

posted by Skygazer at 4:19 PM on January 20, 2012


Ah crap. Here's the right link.
posted by Skygazer at 4:21 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


In an era when many robots are fighting and dying for your freedom it is ugly to use it as a pejorativ to describe a man such as Mitt Romney. Today our robot brother lies in an Iranian prison being slowly tortured by their scientists. Mitt Romney who dodged the draft and leads a life of wealth and priviledge should not to be compared to these mechanized heros. Nor should they have to endure your taunting insults.

That's why I'm voting Skynet 2012.
posted by humanfont at 5:01 PM on January 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ah yes, the mothership. I know it well.

-SKYnetGAzer
posted by Skygazer at 5:42 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


If Newt was appalled at the first question of last night's debate, why isn't he equally upset about all the coverage his response got today?
posted by crunchland at 6:55 PM on January 20, 2012


"But – well, I guess it was my mistake for talking about my personal life here, and making a broad joke that probably had offensive implications I wasn't aware of. Sorry."

That's generous of you.

But I'm not sure I see the offensive implications. I do see them in a particular context...one that happens to apply to Newt Gingrich. That is, both the past generally, and in the present for a certain class of wealthy/powerful men who leave their wives for much younger women and complain about their exes.

However, that context didn't come to my mind at all when I read your comment. What came to my mind was the more contemporary general context of ex-spouses being bitter, both of them.

It's certainly true that anyone complaining or making pejorative jokes about their exes is unattractive. It's kind of a warning sign for jerks, male or female.

On the other hand, I am on good terms with every single one of my ex-SOs...except my ex-wife. In my case, anyway, I'm not the type to bear grudges and for the most part, I think well of her even though I sort of rather wish I didn't, if that makes sense. Because she was very nasty to me and it's always bothered me—still does, seventeen years later—and so I very occasionally will joke about it for all the complicated psychological reasons that people do that sort of thing.

People joke about their exes. There's a continuum there; and in one direction there's normal and healthy and socially acceptable, and in the other direction there's abnormal and unhealthy and skeevy. I don't know where the line is crossed, but a single comment about an ex surely isn't it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:25 PM on January 20, 2012


furiousxgeorge: "You Know Who: Newt Gingrich's three marriages mean he might make a strong president"

Voldemort?
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:06 PM on January 20, 2012


furiousxgeorge writes "Blowjob perjury."

Such an awesome band name I'm almost motivated to finally learn an instrument.

Metafilter: "the world's most powerful country getting fucked up in an orgy of batshit partisan insanity."
posted by Mitheral at 8:41 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


edgeways: "(I bet Romney-bot is sweating bullets right now though)"

Romn-E is just in sleep mode waiting for his directive.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:43 PM on January 20, 2012


Such an awesome band name I'm almost motivated to finally learn an instrument.

I recommend Sax.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:08 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have no idea why there would be. It sounded like you were bemoaning the amount of time and energy spent on U.S. politics by Usians. I was agreeing with, and extending the observation.

Sorry, I didn't mean to be fighty; I misinterpreted what you were saying.
posted by threeants at 9:54 PM on January 20, 2012


"Who cares what Gingrich looks like?"

Americans don't elect fat presidents. Clinton was chunky, but Newt is bloated.

Ain't gonna happen, and Chris Christie needs to do some pilates if he ever wants to be taken seriously as a contender.
posted by bardic at 11:39 PM on January 20, 2012


I think the fat thing is a myth just waiting to be busted.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:53 PM on January 20, 2012


Five Thirty Eight is giving Newt an 82% chance of winning South Carolina.
posted by octothorpe at 5:42 AM on January 21, 2012


What Mitt Romney learned from his dad.
posted by empath at 9:43 AM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Band performs "You Can't Always Get What You Want" at Romney event in Charleston. I mean, really? I hope they threw in a little sad trombone, too.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:58 AM on January 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


It’s Over: Chuck Norris Has Endorsed Newt Gingrich
posted by homunculus at 10:03 AM on January 21, 2012


It isn't just that Gingrich is rotund; he just looks so friggin unhealthy. I saw him up close in the nineties, and mebbee that was when he was losing control of the speakership, but I thought he'd been dead in ten years or so from that date. Really ashen.

Maybe a deal with the devil is keeping him going.
posted by angrycat at 10:42 AM on January 21, 2012


He looks like someones perpetually angry incompetant boss.

Hey, he could be YOURS.
posted by Artw at 10:43 AM on January 21, 2012


That article furiousxgeorge posted is mind-blowing. Fox News is so desperate for anyone-but-Romney, they are actually trying to put a shine on the turd of Newt's infidelities? I would love if someone had applied that same logic to Clinton's sexual indiscretions. Newt is great because 3 different women loved him, and he was direct (er, after cheating for months) in breaking it off with them? Then what does it say about Clinton's greatness that he got a blowjob from Lewinsky, had his secret blabbed to the whole world, and his wife is STILL married to him?

By the way is anyone else uncomfortable at Ablow's implied analogy: that the US citizenry is going to be the next young woman sex-hungry for Newt's loving?
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:13 AM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The Obama contract -- "Barack Obama to be re-elected President in 2012", on the other hand, is a coin flip at 52.9%."

I would take that bet. Considerably more presidents who are elected to their first term are reelected than not, especially when they are the first president of their party elected in awhile. By my count, it's about a 60% ratio.

If you look at modern, post-television presidents, this is especially the case. Eisenhower, two terms. Kennedy... would have had two terms, judging from his 58% approval rating, well into his first term. Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, GWB... two terms. Drop LBJ and Ford... that leaves Carter and Bush Sr. with one term... or about a 75% chance of being reelected.

So, really, the qualities -- both in appearance and in character -- that get people to think of you as being worthy of being a president in the first place also help to keep you in power... and television just seems to further heighten that level of impact. Carter and Bush Sr. just kind of slipped in, on years without a strong opposition, or on the coattails of a popular president.

Likewise, you can take a look at the congressional approval ratings -- or even the presidential ones -- and it becomes clear that Democratic fatigue hasn't fully kicked in yet, while Republican fatigue is quite high... their recent congressional majority seems to have reminded people what they were tired of about the GOP in the first place.

Rather, what we have is general fatigue of all parties and politicians, where virtually nobody in American politics today is getting a 50% approval rating. Obama's approval ratings are hovering at around 45% now, but they've actually trended gradually upwards over the past few months, despite the fact that the erstwhile leaders of the GOP are going state-to-state, attacking him. Meanwhile, Romney's approval ratings last time I saw them were about 10% lower. (Can't find the citation right this sec, though.)

In other words, the Republicans, in the process of competing for extremist Republican votes, are doing a great job of making themselves / each other look completely unelectable and unpresidential at the national level.
posted by markkraft at 12:30 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Once a rebel, always a rebel?

A new poll shows Newt Gingrich's lead expanding after the open relationship allegations broke out... he's now polling at 37% to 28% for Mitt Romney, 16% for Rick Santorum, and 14% for Ron Paul.

Also, Romney's national lead has slipped, with Gingrich rapidly closing ground. This, frankly, could be indicative of a real problem for Romney. If Gingrich wins South Carolina, Florida might be in real jeopardy... and if he lost Florida, we could be seeing a complete meltdown.

Then again, Florida also allows early voting -- which potentially helps Romney, in that it locks in votes before a potentially major loss. Also, Romney apparently has considerable strength amongst Florida's older Jewish voters, and will tend to do better in larger states, where vote swings tend to be less volatile, and what you have to spend on TV ads disproportionately tends to effect the results.

I can't say this is good news for the Republican Party, as Newt is a pretty wounded presidential candidate for the general election, and Mitt just has *sooo* much more money... but there's no doubt that his supporters are more enthusiastic, and he's in a better position to draw off grassroots supporters from Ron Paul than Romney would be.

Given the choice of corporate, aloof, and out-of-touch, or angry extremism... I think the GOP are starting to trend towards angry... which can be a hard trend to break. Politically, it's also hard to argue that is the least viral decision they could make under the current circumstances, unfortunately.

At least it makes the choice between Democrats and Republicans *much* clearer this time around, doesn't it? As Democrats, if we lose this race, we risk something, based on Newt's own pre-election statements, that comes closer to fascism than America has ever seen.

It makes "I'm a uniter, not a divider" seem quaint and civil, doesn't it?
posted by markkraft at 12:59 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Newt Gingrich's three marriages mean he might make a strong president be a sociopath -- really.
posted by markkraft at 1:08 PM on January 21, 2012


Gingrich wins SC, the first red state primary, If Santorum drops afterwards trows his support to Newt, and Gingrich can pick up 60-70% of those and actually looks viable for the nomination Romney is going to have a hell of a fight on his hands and I suspect would loose 5-10% right away with continued attrition. (remember McCain was broke and shedding supporters in December 2007 and still beat Romney et all)

Gingrich...

I believe even the MeFi resident social conservative said she'd vote for Obama if Gingrich got the nom.

obligatory yeah yeah I know Romney is really going to win the nomination text inserted here
posted by edgeways at 1:57 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


If Gingrich wins SC and Florida, they are headed for a brokered convention.
posted by empath at 1:59 PM on January 21, 2012


If Gingrich wins SC and Florida I think Gingrich wins it all (nomination).
posted by edgeways at 2:01 PM on January 21, 2012


You would be surprised, I think, at how insanely popular Gingrich seems to be among social conservatives. Almost all of the evangelicals I know think he's just the best thing ever. For instance, I know at least three pastors of evangelical Covenant churches, and all three of them tell me they expect the vast majority of their congregations prefer Gingrich to Romney. And two of them say they prefer Gingrich to any other candidate, and would vote for him in the general election. (The other Covenant pastor, my sister-in-law, says she's voting for Obama again, and will be delighted to do so.)
posted by koeselitz at 2:25 PM on January 21, 2012


If Gingrich wins SC and Florida I think Gingrich wins it all (nomination).

I don't think so. I think he sweeps the old south, for sure. But he's going to have real problems in the west and north east. I guess it depends on how incompetent Romney is and how crazy the remnants of the GOP are outside of the south.
posted by empath at 2:40 PM on January 21, 2012


(I mean, i don't think it's a sure thing... he absolutely COULD win the whole thing...)
posted by empath at 2:41 PM on January 21, 2012


Latest poll:

Gingrich 40%
Romney 26%
Paul 18%
Santorum 13%
Undecided 2%
Other 1%

Ouch.
posted by Flunkie at 3:18 PM on January 21, 2012


PPP has Newt up big in their first poll of MN.
posted by empath at 3:21 PM on January 21, 2012


Cainbert is going to be disappointed.
posted by cortex at 3:21 PM on January 21, 2012


Yeah, you could easily be right, but my thoughts are Romney has managed to project this image of inevitability. so much so that it is near rote to say "when Romney wins..." or even "despite this Romney will win..." and I think *that* has been his biggest advantage. And yet, despite it he tied in Iowa (likely would have outright lost if the field was the same as it is today), won in NH and likely will lose in SC. IF he also loses Florida, if Gingrich looks viable to beat him and wins a handful then suddenly Rom-E has lost his (to me) biggest advantage, inevitability.

That is a lot of "ifs" but he is starting to look vulnerable, SC is the first Red State to primary and has more Republican voters than Iowa and New Hampshire combined. A week ago? I thought Romney was easily the nomination (say 95%) today.. eh that has dropped quite a bit, I still think he pulls it off but also think Newt has a decent shot at it, even moreso if Santorum does drop and endorses him after SC.

We'll see, but if I was a betting man I'd put $50 on Gingrich, even though I think he does lose.
posted by edgeways at 3:23 PM on January 21, 2012


I think I understand why they like Newt. He isn't afraid of the media, he can answer questions without stumbling and when challenged he challenges right back.

The amusing thing is this seems a subconscious reaction to cowards like Palin who ran and hid instead, and a host of other tea party candidates too cowardly to face the media.

Newt manages to live in the same fact-free world as them without looking like he is afraid to have his bubble popped.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:30 PM on January 21, 2012


The Republican establishment is so against Gingrich being the nominee, that were he to win, I think it would destroy the party, except in the former confederacy, and I think Ron Paul would run third party.

This is what happens when you have a president that sits so squarely in the middle in terms of policy. He didn't leave any room for a middle of the road candidate to run against him. They have to run a mush-mouth or a radical, and it looks like they're going for the latter, which means Obama is just going to win in a landslide, and with coattails.
posted by empath at 3:30 PM on January 21, 2012


Here's one take on it last week by Jim Garlow (one of Newt's key Religious Right allies, along with Tim LaHaye and Don Wildmon):
I believe what [Gingrich] brings in the table is what is needed in this particular moment to break through and to be able to keep us from having a candidate like Romney. If we have a candidate like Romney, the evangelical participation will drop, probably from a 2010 level to a 2008 level, that would be from 28 percent to 23 percent, and that would result in the reelection of President Obama and our country cannot possibly, morally and economically, survive that. It would spell, in my opinion, the end of the United States of America as we have known her and consequently the end of Western civilization.
I bet churchgoers will be (illegally) hearing that message across a whole lot of pulpits in the next 10 months.
posted by argonauta at 3:31 PM on January 21, 2012


You know, Romney has just never been the candidate of the 2012 GOP

The Obama/Gingrich debates are going to be simply epic. I would pay money to see them. I'll pay even more money for a one-way ticket out of this country if Gingrich wins
posted by crayz at 3:31 PM on January 21, 2012


I think I understand why they like Newt
I forget where I heard this description of him, but I think it's fairly appropriate, and why they (the base, not the establishment) like him: He's the raw, unrestrained id of the Republican Party.
posted by Flunkie at 3:33 PM on January 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah the coattails are an important thing to keep in mind. Reading that PPP twitter feed just further erodes my confidence in Romney.
posted by edgeways at 3:34 PM on January 21, 2012


I forget where I heard this description of him

That was me, up thread :)
posted by empath at 3:43 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's the raw, unrestrained id of the Republican Party.

Watching the debates though, Newt also comes across as clearly very smart and self-confident, the college professor who keeps banging his students. Santorum seems like a guy who should be a Walmart shift manager, Ron Paul is your nice, slightly nutty old grandpa and Romney is the CEO who spends his days making deals on the golf course and is about half as smart and impressive and twice as douchebaggy as he thinks he is

It's going to be Newt. Now that the field is thinning out, and since he seems to have a get out of jail free card for all his past indiscretions (and anyway, right-wingers like their team's womanizing alpha male leaders - see Italy/France/Russia/etc), the best not-Romney is gonna win this one
posted by crayz at 3:50 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


LOL! I had a feeling it might have been on Metafilter, but it didn't enter my mind that it might have been this very thread :)
posted by Flunkie at 3:51 PM on January 21, 2012


It's always amazed me how just a few states can determine a defining "momentum" for the nomination race. Looking the delegate counts to date is pretty striking. Romney has 19 votes to date, when he needs 1144 (!) to get the nomination. Santorum has 13. Gingrich has none (yet).

BUT...S.C. awards 11 delegates (out of only 25 this year, due to scheduling penalty) to the statewide victor, which I think will be Gingrich. S.C. then awards two delegates for the winner of each of its seven congressional districts. Of which, I suspect, Gingrich will win the majority. We could be looking at Gingrich taking enough delegates in S.C. to put him essentially tied with, or even ahead of, Romney.

THEN we head to Florida, which will be the big blowout. Florida will award ALL of its 50 delegates this year in one chunk to the statewide victor. That will be massive. Romney is polling ahead in Florida, but the polls are from a few days back, before Newt's latest surge. If Newt wins SC, as I think he will, it will only improve his poll numbers in FL. If he can win Florida, he will have something like 3 times the delegates Romney has and the narrative of "Romney's inevitability" is completely destroyed.
posted by darkstar at 3:57 PM on January 21, 2012


Heh - the chairperson of the Democratic National Committee is at Newt's election night party, "as a supporter".
posted by Flunkie at 3:57 PM on January 21, 2012


Watching the debates though, Newt also comes across as clearly very smart and self-confident, the college professor who keeps banging his students.

People are underestimating him. I used to be fully in the thrall of Newt when I was a naive young republican in 1994. I actually watched his college lectures, even. He's a brilliant, complex guy, and he's not even close to the stereotypical racist southern cracker, though he's happy to pander to them.

He's also corrupt, sociopathic, a pathological liar and has an obscene self-regard.

I hope the Democrats don't underestimate him or think that he's actually a cartoon super-villain. He will turn on a dime in the general, and adopt a lot of positions that will surprise people. Remember, he used to be besties with Arianna Huffington, and still moves in those circles.
posted by empath at 3:59 PM on January 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Polls just closed, all networks calling it for Gingrich.
posted by empath at 4:05 PM on January 21, 2012


The biggest problem with Gingrich is he gives science fiction nerds a bad name.

Gingrich/Kratman '12!
posted by Justinian at 4:06 PM on January 21, 2012


Gingrich/Huffington pro-Homeopathy ticket!
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's a 1995 New Yorker Profile (click to zoom in)
posted by empath at 4:28 PM on January 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dunno why they're calling it for Gingrich now when Romney has 4% more of the votes at present.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:29 PM on January 21, 2012


"The biggest problem with Gingrich is he gives science fiction nerds a bad name."

People who think that the biggest problem with Gingrich is [that] he gives science fiction nerds a bad name give science fiction nerds a bad name.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:30 PM on January 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


And love. He gives love a bad name.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:31 PM on January 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Maybe the networks have high confidence in their exit poll tracking
posted by Burhanistan at 4:31 PM on January 21, 2012


"And love. He gives love a bad name."

His name is Newt. He gives names a bad name.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:43 PM on January 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I highly encourage you guys to read that New Yorker profile, btw. It's excellent.
posted by empath at 4:46 PM on January 21, 2012


Dunno why they're calling it for Gingrich now when Romney has 4% more of the votes at present.

It's like the old joke about the shop so cheap that it loses $1 on every book they sell. "Yeah, but we'll make it up in volume."
posted by msalt at 4:51 PM on January 21, 2012


The early polls returns aren't random samples, they come from specific precincts which lean one way or another...
posted by empath at 4:52 PM on January 21, 2012


If Gingrich wins SC and Florida I think Gingrich wins it all

Maybe not Virginia -- since he failed to make the ballot.
posted by msalt at 4:54 PM on January 21, 2012


Yeah, I didn't think Virginia was going to be a big deal because I honestly, like most people, figured the race would be over by then. Now that it's not, I'm pretty sure that's going to come back somehow. Based on my initial Google research, it looks like Gingrich has already tried some tactics to stop the ballots from being printed, but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't try harder or something else. Of course, March 6 is a long time from now. And if he doesn't get on the ballot and then, somehow, Ron Paul, as the only other candidate on the ballot, ends up getting a large portion of the entire anti-Romney vote and wins more delegates than he would have there and has even a larger say in a brokered convention. Just....wow.


As somebody whose going to pull the proverbial lever for Obama anyway, I sure hope the folks in his reelection campaign have practiced their "this is going exactly the way we would have hoped but we better not show it" faces. Because it looks like they are going to need them.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:08 PM on January 21, 2012


Atlantic’s Molly Ball: Debbie Wasserman Schultz is at the Newt party. I ask if she's there as a supporter. "Yes, absolutely!"
posted by gman at 5:11 PM on January 21, 2012


Dunno why they're calling it for Gingrich now when Romney has 4% more of the votes at present.

Is this a sincere question? There are reams of county-level data that allow networks (or any interested party for that matter) to project, with a pretty stunning degree of accuracy, the outcome state-wide by the time polls close, especially if the early returns suggest a wide margin of victory.


As to the results of tonight's primary, the GOP has sown the wind.

GOP: Meet the whirlwind.
posted by joe lisboa at 5:14 PM on January 21, 2012


Also, there is zero chance Ron Paul mounts a third party run. Zero. As an Obama-supporter, I would absoultely love it if he would -- it would split the vote like freaking whoa and lead to a Goldwater-style electoral demolition. That said, he's on my TV sounding an awfully defiant tone. But no third-party bid so far as I can see.
posted by joe lisboa at 5:19 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Is this a sincere question?

Uh, no there was no question mark there.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:22 PM on January 21, 2012


The Republicans are heading towards electoral demolition.
posted by humanfont at 5:23 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jinx, humanfront.
posted by joe lisboa at 5:27 PM on January 21, 2012


Charlie Pierce's blog in Esquire's has been really good lately for us fans of full blooded political writing. Not necessarily deep or enlightening, but certainly fun. For example:
...they are settling on Newt, and not on Rick Santorum, because Santorum, while admittedly a dick, is not an angry bully of a dick, and that's what the base is looking for.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:27 PM on January 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


South Carolina's fucking psycho-town, what an ugly, nasty populace down there. All they want is confrontation and having someone like Newt dress down the negro President.

Which, he might try, but I still don't see Obama being an easy person to give a tongue-lashing of the sort Newt gave, Juan Williams. Before they even meet in a debate, Newt will be so full of holes from the ads run against him, he'll have trouble drinking water.
posted by Skygazer at 5:28 PM on January 21, 2012


Ron Paul won't run third party because he doesn't want blowback on his son.
posted by Justinian at 5:28 PM on January 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


"my thoughts are Romney has managed to project this image of inevitability. so much so that it is near rote to say "when Romney wins..."

Watch this and skip to 4:02, if you please...

Romney is a stuffed shirt punching bag right now, because he can't enter a room with Gingrich without Gingrich rightly saying "you say that you'll release your tax returns in April... but shouldn't the people of _______ get to know whether you're electable, before they vote for you?"

Likewise, Gingrich can constantly suggest that Romney is dodging debates... so Romney is in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. The only way he can address this is to release info to the public, showing all his nifty offshore tax dodges. Ouch. And the thing is, he needs to get his tax returns out there and allow this bloodletting to occur ASAP, because otherwise, it's a festering gut wound for Super Tuesday. If I were Gingrich, I would make sure that I was in the same town as Romney every day, dogging him for debates and his tax returns.

"he's going to have real problems in the west and north east."

Less than you'd think. Florida is actually going to be much harder for Gingrich, even though he comes from neighboring Georgia. Romney was damn near 20 points ahead, but I suspect his numbers are sliding *really* fast there right now... and Gingrich's supporters are going to be much more likely to actually vote. "Anyone but Romney" is finally coalescing, is considerably angrier, and is far more motivated than Romney. And the news from today in Florida? Romney is getting attacked by ads from the unions, is pissing off Latinos over immigration, and isn't committing to Florida's first debate.

In a poll from late Dec., he was 4 points behind Romney in Nevada, which is coming up before Super Tuesday, along with a few other states like Florida, Colorado, and Maine, I believe. In Colorado, Gingrich had a very significant lead over Romney in December. Maine had Gingrich 6 points behind Romney a long time ago.

Really, Romney's support is *really* soft.

21% reporting in South Carolina...
Newt Gingrich 45,450 41.4%
Mitt Romney 28,881 26.3%
Rick Santorum 19,022 17.3%
Ron Paul 14,090 12.8%

As much as I think a Gingrich win could lead to a *really* ugly election with a lot of anger and the significant possibility of people being killed... this is a fight that the Democrats need to wage.

The rats always squeal loudest and get the most vicious when their ship is sinking.
posted by markkraft at 5:30 PM on January 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Despite the insanity of the primary season, I keep thinking that somehow the people I've always imagined running the Republican Party (the real life equivalents of C. Montgomery Burns, Rich Texan, and Krusty the Clown on The Simpsons) would be able to focus the troops and get them behind their man Romney. But yet it's getting to seem less and less likely that will happen. I suppose this is what you get when you base your election strategies around continually poking a hornet's nest. Eventually the hornet's won't sting just the intended targets. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of assholes.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:34 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't say it's a 0% chance Ron Paul runs. It depends on how the convention goes.

It'll be a 0% chance if his son is on the ticket, for sure. (I don't think that's impossible)
posted by empath at 5:38 PM on January 21, 2012


Also, there is zero chance Ron Paul mounts a third party run. Zero.
I'm pretty sure he's already explicitly ruled it out.

There's always The Donald, though. Apprentice needs a ratings boost, and maybe he runs.
As an Obama-supporter, I would absoultely love it if he would -- it would split the vote like freaking whoa and lead to a Goldwater-style electoral demolition.
That would be good, but it would also give the crazies an excuse for why they didn't win. I am kind of hoping for a result that finally makes it clear to them that the reason they didn't win is because they aren't nearly as much of America as they think they are.
posted by Flunkie at 5:43 PM on January 21, 2012


I am kind of hoping for a result that finally makes it clear to them that the reason they didn't win is because they aren't nearly as much of America as they think they are.
That's assuming they don't win. This is going to be a really weird election, what with the SuperPac money. I have no idea who is going to win it.

I still don't see how Gingrich can get the nom, since the entire Republican establishment loathes him. If he keeps doing well, I half-expect him to be incapacitated by a freak campaign bus accident or something.
posted by craichead at 6:16 PM on January 21, 2012


I think I figured out what's going on with these crazy primaries.

Rupert Murdoch is just fucking with the Republican Party, like it's a cat and his media empire is a laser.
posted by msalt at 6:17 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's assuming they don't win.
Sure, but I think that nominating Gingrich is one of the biggest potential steps the Republican Party can do to fulfill my dream of seeing them epically trashed in the general while still giving them no excuse like "This just proves we shouldn't have nominated that RINO McCain".

In the unlikely event that, say, Christine O'Donnell comes out on top from a brokered convention, that would be even better, but I think Newt's the best reasonably realistic chance that my dream has.
posted by Flunkie at 6:22 PM on January 21, 2012


I still don't see how Gingrich can get the nom, since the entire Republican establishment loathes him.

How many votes does the republican establishment have?
posted by empath at 6:25 PM on January 21, 2012


How many votes does the republican establishment have?
They have a lot of money and a lot of power at the convention.
posted by craichead at 6:32 PM on January 21, 2012


And a lot of power to shape the narrative in the media, which matters a lot.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 6:38 PM on January 21, 2012


Ron Paul won't run third party because he doesn't want blowback on his son.

Add the word "Santorum" to that sentence, and you've got the makings of a good dirty joke.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:53 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


NG in SC, just (o_O) , wow.

I hope we're living through the splitting of a party, like its 1830 something and the Whigs are fracturing. You just don't think of these "historical" events happening in your life time. Its like witnessing direct evidence of plate tectonics or something.
posted by Chekhovian at 7:00 PM on January 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I love that Cainbert still got more votes than Rick Perry.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:17 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


They have a lot of money and a lot of power at the convention.

They have a lot of money. But I question how much that matters. It probably hurts them at this point. Ron Paul is going to be the big swinging dick at the convention anyway, sitting on a huge war chest and piles of delegates. If he doesn't get his way, (floor speeches for him and/or his son, changes to the platform), there's zero reason for him not to go third party. The GOP is about to nominate their worst candidate probably in the party's history (no matter whether it's Romney or Gingrich), and the polls are all going to show that Ron Paul has a legitimate shot at winning the election, particularly if the economy doesn't recover.
posted by empath at 7:23 PM on January 21, 2012


"How many votes does the republican establishment have?"

That's hard to say, of course, but you know this isn't any kind of direct democracy, right? The delegates aren't obligated to represent the primary voting, as far as I can tell. You might take a look at the GOP's rules.

And, in any case, a large number of the delegates are party officials. You could argue that the "true" Republican establishment is almost certainly the money men behind the scenes, but those folk are directly represented by their puppets who hold various party positions. This is just as true of the Democratic Party, of course. I don't doubt that there are some longtime partisan ideologues scattered here and there in the party heirarchy, probably a few more in the Dems than in the GOP, but for the most party the people who have leading official positions in the parties answer directly to the people who really matter.

And those people don't want Newt Gingrich to get the nomination.

We've seen conventions in the past where radical delegates fight an insurgency. That happens. But it's always an insurgency, they're always a minority, because there's few things that are more establishment than party conventions. Just being a delegate is used as a reward to loyal functionaries.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:23 PM on January 21, 2012


The candidates pick their own delegates for the conventions. It would be exceedingly unlikely that they'll jump ship to pick the 'establishment' choice, unless they don't get a candidate on the first ballot.

Though I have had rumors that Ron Paul's people are doing a lot of work behind the scenes to 'steal' delegates from Santorum, Perry, etc, who don't have big ground organizations to follow up on delegate selections after the primaries and caucuses are over.
posted by empath at 7:25 PM on January 21, 2012


Also, if Gingrich won the primaries and shenanigans at the convention denied him the nomination, the GOP would be over. It's probably over anyway, but that would be the last straw. You wouldn't just have Paul running 3rd party, you'd have Gingrich running fourth party.
posted by empath at 7:27 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, if Gingrich won the primaries and shenanigans at the convention denied him the nomination, the GOP would be over. It's probably over anyway, but that would be the last straw. You wouldn't just have Paul running 3rd party, you'd have Gingrich running fourth party.

Gingrich might keep running even if Obama wins in a Reagan Mondale landslide in November. Who are the American people and their electoral system to stand in the way of God's plan for Newt Gringrich?
posted by Diablevert at 7:31 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


A few observations:

-Yes, the GOtP, made a deal with the devil for the 2010 gains and is now paying it's end of the bargain. That devil wasn't as powerful as it was supposed to be be, but it's powerful enough to put a huge gash in it's side Costa Concordia, that will eventually make it list like the big fat over-bloated phony pleasure palace it is...but not now, not so soon, this is a sign of things to come.

-Newt's still got an uphill battle here, if, and it's a big IF, he does well or wins Florida, and goes on to do well in the strong Romney areas of Nevada (big Mormon population there), and Michigan (Romney's dad was the Gov. there), he's got a good chance of taking the whole enchilda...

-Paul, WILL RUN, I will bet money, especially if Newt gets the nomination. Because, Newt won't win, and represents everything Paul hates and he is thinking long term and he is concerned with seeing his movement turn into a viable third party, which let's face it drops some of the weirder parts of his Fed obsession and perhaps becomes a little more in tune with the military Law enforcement complex, and who the fuck knows what they might become in the future. Whatever it is, it'll be some fucked up libertarian wack-dream. I hope Paul just goes away though...becau

-The democrats are stupid enough and spineless enough to STILL in spite of everything fuck this up by showing themselves to be such immense tone-deaf tools who may not be in bed with banking, but are in bed with the effin' media conglomerates, and go with stupid shit like they did with SOPA.

-If the Dems come back to their principles and campaign finance is reformed in Obama's second term, the GOtP, is done....done...and done....and will go the way of the Know-nothings and the Whigs....
posted by Skygazer at 7:36 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Six in 10 voters said it was important that a candidate shared their religious beliefs, and nearly half of them backed Mr. Gingrich, who has converted to Catholicism; about a fifth went for Mr. Romney, a Mormon; and nearly the same for Mr. Santorum, also a Catholic.

So the Mormon thing is a big deal in the south.
posted by octothorpe at 7:38 PM on January 21, 2012


I still don't see how Gingrich can get the nom, since the entire Republican establishment loathes him.

You say that like the Republican establishment is some monolithic thing, or is even identifiable anymore. You think Haley Barbour, currently in major hot water in Mississippi among pretty much everybody over his pardoning of men who murdered their spouses and a one-percenter type who killed two doctors via drunk driving (and telling a judge that she only had a couple of glasses of wine, bringing up charges of abuse from her husband at the very last second), etc, is going to come in and help settle things? The beloved George W. Bush and family. Poppy and Jeb, etc., will come in and heal the wounds, make it all better?
posted by raysmj at 7:54 PM on January 21, 2012


This idea that an "establishment" will come in and take command in a brokered convention is a fantasy. The only people I see discussing it are the denizens of RedState.com.
posted by raysmj at 7:56 PM on January 21, 2012


"Newt won't win, and represents everything Paul hates"

"I would, first of all, demand a thorough audit [of the Fed]. Second, publish all the decision documents for 2008, 2009, 2010. Third, I would prepare legislation to eliminate the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, which has totally confused the Fed," Gingrich said.

The former House speaker went on to say that he would demand the Fed to hold "hard" money, which he described to mean that if the central bank saved a dollar this year, then it would have a dollar 20 years from now.


...and now he's talking going back to the gold standard.

Vicious / Nuts '12?
posted by markkraft at 7:58 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, keep in mind, Newt is an attitude. He's a pose. He has no principles, except winning. If he thinks ending the fed and being anti-war will win him elections, he'll do it. If he thinks rounding up mexicans into camps and bombing iran will win him elections, he'll do it.
posted by empath at 8:01 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


South Carolina's fucking psycho-town, what an ugly, nasty populace down there.

This isn't untrue, exactly, but isn't true for everyone in the state. South Carolina is also the state that made Obama the nominee. It's true enough, though; that chubby white guy on stage with Newt (well, one of the chubby white guys): that's Jakie Knotts, the State Senator who called our Indian-American Governor a "raghead."

Man, that was an ugly acceptance speech. The ugliest I've ever seen. Gotta wonder though if Newt really thinks he can run a national race just by screaming "Alinsky! Alinsky! Alinsky!" I mean, if it were that easy that shit would've worked in '08.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:03 PM on January 21, 2012


From octothorp's link:

Even more than in Iowa and New Hampshire, the top priority for the Republicans in South Carolina was defeating President Obama, and Mr. Gingrich did best with those voters. He also fared well with the voters who were looking for a candidate with the “right experience.”

Now, I realize that Democrats essentially nominated the dem equivalent of Romney in '04, and no, we didn't win. But this seems to me like if the dems in '04 had said, "obviously the most important thing is beating Bush. That's why I'm voting for Kucinich."

Also, "the right experience"? Resigning (in disgrace, as Ben Wyatt would compulsively add) from his Speakership amidst a shitload of ethics scandals? Are the SC voters just still beating the Clinton impeachment drums?
posted by Navelgazer at 8:07 PM on January 21, 2012


* (Mild correction: Barbour didn't pardon the drunk driving socialite. He granted her clemency, 'cause she had children to take care of--which, y'know, no other felon has ever had. But he's definitely united Dems. and Reps. in Mississippi, the few liberals and all the conservatives, the rural and urban, the black and white, in their disgust over Haley's mass pardons.)
posted by raysmj at 8:10 PM on January 21, 2012


Now, I realize that Democrats essentially nominated the dem equivalent of Romney in '04, and no, we didn't win. But this seems to me like if the dems in '04 had said, "obviously the most important thing is beating Bush. That's why I'm voting for Kucinich."

Do you not remember Howard Dean?
posted by empath at 8:11 PM on January 21, 2012


markkraft just made me very scared.

Gingrich/Paul would be a bad combo. Although, Gingrich/Santorum would be even more horrifying, and potentially electable.

I used to think it was going to be Romney/Bachmann, but I'm not so sure anymore, neither about Romney getting the nom, nor Bachmann getting the vp spot.

I know it'll never happen, but I would love it if my perverse dream comes true: Romney gets the nomination, picks John Kerry as his running mate in a ploy to "reach across the aisles." It would create the greatest vortex of unrelatable, bland mayonnaise rich dude that the universe would collapse in on itself.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:12 PM on January 21, 2012


he'll do it. --- No. He'll SAY he'll do it, which is a very different thing.
posted by crunchland at 8:18 PM on January 21, 2012


"The candidates pick their own delegates for the conventions. It would be exceedingly unlikely that they'll jump ship to pick the 'establishment' choice, unless they don't get a candidate on the first ballot."

I already feel like stabbing myself in the eye with a fork after spending only fifteen minutes reading the GOP's rules, but it looks to me like how the actual delegates are selected is not specified by national rules, but on a state-by-state basis. Are you sure that candidates are given delegates in each primary state on a proportional basis? Because I'm not.

And, in any case, besides the very few automatic delegates representing the party heads, the fact is that the people that are delegates to national conventions are favored party activists in any case. As I wrote, occasionally you'll see some grass-roots candidate building up local campaigns filled by novices who are strongly partisan to that candidate, but that's rare and even when that happens, those folk will only account for a portion of the delegates that will end up going to the convention because it's experienced people who make up the backbone of local campaigns and those people both expect to be rewarded and, anyway, it's not as if a candidate can handpick dozens of delegates from each state.

The thing is, in this particular discussion, Gingrich has been infamously lazy in his local campaigning. He's not doing well because he has grass-roots apparatus around the US. He emphatically doesn't. He's doing well because the people actually voting, so far, hate Romney and see Gingrich as the best alternative. When it comes time for Gingrich to select delegates, assuming that his people are the ones actually doing so, then he's just not going to have a lot of trusted people in each of these states to pick. He's going to end up with longtime party activists who are not going to be that terribly loyal to him. That doesn't mean that they'll be loyal to Romney. But it does mean that when it comes to wheeling and dealing in the actual election, they won't be that inclined to stick with Gingrich, especially if they think he's likely to lose the general election.

On the other hand, someone like Ron Paul is the opposite situation. But my contention is that even in that prime example, when it came down to it, even many of that kind of candidate's delegates would be long time party activists, as well, and would be inclined to select a candidate strategically according to the wishes of the establishment. Sure, not all of them and probably not most of them. But a lot of them. And with all the other delegates who will be more establishment in such a situation, they'll be outnumbered. This is what has happened in every case where there's been a non-establishment insurgent candidate. They didn't get the nomination. They caused a lot of disruption, and influenced things at the margins. But they didn't get the nomination.

The Tea Partiers are going to discover what the Christian Conservatives are only now starting to figure out. They're important and they're listened to, and they're utilized as foot-soldiers when available, but when it comes down to it the GOP is run by people who value being in power above all else and they absolutely will not select principles over actually winning an election. Romney is their best bet and Romney will get the nomination, period. The only way this won't happen is if somehow, magically, Gingrich's success manages to eliminate his huge negatives and the establishment decides that he's more electable than Romney. But this won't happen. You know why this won't happen? Because Gingrich's negatives are almost set in stone and, even more importantly, given how he's run his campaign so far, he could not possibly convince the establishment that he's competent to run a campaign for President. Seriously, have you guys forgotten the stuff he's done (and not done) in the last six months?

Anyway, South Carolina is not the USA. It's not even Florida. Gingrich won't win Florida.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:19 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I already feel like stabbing myself in the eye with a fork after spending only fifteen minutes reading the GOP's rules, but it looks to me like how the actual delegates are selected is not specified by national rules, but on a state-by-state basis. Are you sure that candidates are given delegates in each primary state on a proportional basis? Because I'm not.

Each state has it's own rules. SC gives half to the winner and the rest are assigned proportionally, Everything prior to a certain date in April has to be proportional. Everything after that is winner take all. Florida is winner take all, but they lost half their delegates for going early.

In any case, the rules for each state are known in advance. And when it gets to the convention, if the duly assigned delegates don't vote for their candidate, at least on the first ballot, there is going to be hell to pay. If no one gets 50% on the first ballot, though, it's anything goes, because they're free to vote for anyone, including people who weren't even running -- Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, anybody.
posted by empath at 8:23 PM on January 21, 2012


When it comes time for Gingrich to select delegates, assuming that his people are the ones actually doing so, then he's just not going to have a lot of trusted people in each of these states to pick. He's going to end up with longtime party activists who are not going to be that terribly loyal to him.

You know he's only got to pick 25-30 people out of each state, right? It won't be hard.
posted by empath at 8:24 PM on January 21, 2012


Gingrich won't win Florida.
I don't know about that. I seem to remember Gingrich leading Florida polls by a wide margin for quite a while, until his second collapse (so far) of this campaign, at which point Romney took the lead. Swap out "Florida" for "South Carolina", and that description still holds.

And I haven't seen any Florida polling recently. For all I know Gingrich has reestablished his big lead in a big way, continuing the South Carolina similarities. I would be totally unsurprised if Romney's backing in Florida turns out to be as soft as it was in South Carolina.
posted by Flunkie at 8:26 PM on January 21, 2012


Man, that was an ugly acceptance speech. The ugliest I've ever seen. Gotta wonder though if Newt really thinks he can run a national race just by screaming "Alinsky! Alinsky! Alinsky!" I mean, if it were that easy that shit would've worked in '08.

Man, you weren't kidding. And not just ugly, but that certain brand of bizarro-logic that can only come from Newt. Like, taking credit for the nineties boom, claiming that he crossed aisles to work with Clinton. Then, of course, most of the rest of it was just applied xenophobia. Very disturbing.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:28 PM on January 21, 2012


See here, for example. FiveThirtyEight was projecting Florida at something like Gingrich 50%, Romney 25% until Gingrich's second collapse, and even thereafter was projecting it at something like Gingrich 35%, Romney 30% (I'm eyeballing those numbers from a graph) for a while. It's only in the past couple of weeks or so that they've been projecting Romney on top.

And, again, this is very similar to the pattern for South Carolina.

And it doesn't take into account Newt's recent resurgence, since there's been essentially no Florida polling for the past week or so, as far as I can tell. Nor does it take into account his smackdown of Romney, and Romney's inevitability, from tonight.
posted by Flunkie at 8:39 PM on January 21, 2012


Here are some fun numbers from PPP - Obama 47%, Gingrich 45% - in Texas.

Compare these numbers to the '08 Obama/McCain graph on the far right, and then notice that in all of them, Obama is inside the margin of error. In Texas.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:50 PM on January 21, 2012


Correction, when I said "margin of error" I meant "swing potential of undecided voters."
posted by Navelgazer at 8:52 PM on January 21, 2012


Flunkie> I don't know about that. I seem to remember Gingrich leading Florida polls by a wide margin for quite a while, until his second collapse (so far) of this campaign, at which point Romney took the lead. Swap out "Florida" for "South Carolina", and that description still holds.

One complication: Florida allows for early voting, which means that for some percentage of primary voters, his win in SC is moot. So Gingrich has to win over more than half of those who haven't yet cast a ballot.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 8:53 PM on January 21, 2012


Yeah, I still don't think Gingrich will win Florida. Honestly, that's not based upon knowing very much about how the race is playing out there, but it's my gut. But Florida politics is just plain weird. It's long confounded me.

I really really really think it's a mistake to consider SC a bellwether. I know that Gingrich is riding momentum up and Romney is riding momentum down. And I'm the last person to argue against the contention that Romney's support is unprecedentedly soft. But I feel pretty sure that Gingrich has less chance of upsetting Romney than Santorum, for example. Keep in mind that Gingrich's negatives tell us something besides his negatives—and that's his name recognition. Romney's support is very soft. These Republicans want someone else. They recognize Gingrich's name. He's had a few good weeks. Everything we know about Gingrich's past says that this will end, soon.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:58 PM on January 21, 2012


Talking Points Memo article mentioning the FL early voting issue, and gives some numbers:

-- 200,000 votes already counted
-- more than 470,000 absentee ballots requested overall (so I assume this number includes the 200k, above)
-- total turnout expected to crack 2,000,000
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 9:19 PM on January 21, 2012


Also, for those interested, thegreenpapers.com has state-by-state delegate selection rules and allocated delegate counts (where applicable).
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:23 PM on January 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've never been a real politico junkie, despite my interest in political philosophy and the general health and safety of my fellow humans.. I've always been the kind of person who reads the layman's version of the reports on the hard data, trying to use reason, judgment, and intuition to figure out something resembling truth. So, maybe following things a bit more closely in the last couple years has had a disproportionate effect on me, but I do wonder if we're not approaching an election that, moreso than 2008, will be obviously historical in its short and long term ramifications. I mean, I'm not talking Protestant Reformation, Fall of Rome, Black Plague change, but, still, something to write home about.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:32 PM on January 21, 2012


That doesn't seem so horrible for Newt, actually. The early voting per se has only been happening since Jan. 21st, which may very well be in favor of Newt. Assuming the 200,000 votes counted so far are mostly absentee ballots as opposed to early voting, and assuming they have Romney 20% above Newt (which is basically consistent with what the Florida polls have said as of a week or two ago), that's a 40,000 vote margin for Romney.

To make that up, Newt would only have to beat Romney by about two percent amongst the other projected 1.8 million voters.
posted by Flunkie at 9:34 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


But I feel pretty sure that Gingrich has less chance of upsetting Romney than Santorum, for example.

You are hallucinating. I'm sorry. Not a fan of either one of those dudes, but Santorum is campaigning like it's 1985 and every state is in the Rust Belt.
posted by raysmj at 9:55 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Santorum is over after Florida. I wouldn't be surprised if he drops out before it even gets there. I also wouldn't be surprised if he endorses Romney. His political career is pretty much over after this campaign unless he gets a lot of favors from GOP big shots.
posted by empath at 10:24 PM on January 21, 2012


One of the more disturbing aspects of all of this, to me, is that I'd bet that the one thing keeping Santorum from cleaning up right now is his Catholicism. Or, more accurately, his non-Protestantism. There is a huge portion of the GOP base which likely sees Ron Paul as the only "Christian" candidate left in the fight, and he doesn't hit their social values buttons nearly as well as the others do. I don't know how much this would actually effect Gingrich one way or the other, but for Santorum, it seems like the only thing he's missing to get the stamp from that bloc.

I'm not going to try to predict Florida at all. We've got ten days, and as we've seen that can mean a hell of a lot in this race. From what I'm hearing, Gingrich doesn't have any mechanization in Florida, but right now he's running a much smarter campaign than any of the rest of them. Namely, he's keeping things down to sound-bites, he's dog-whistling well, and he managed to turn a question about a scandal into a rallying cry by virtue of scolding the person of color who asked it for having the temerity to bring it up. He's extraordinarily good at appealing to the worst in a certain type of person, and he's got all of the cameras now.

(On a tangent, consider the difference between Gingrich slamming Juan Williams and Romney throwing his hissy-fit at Fox News. Both were candidates dodging questions by getting huffy, but Gingrich appeared composed and battle-ready while Romney looked perturbed and unprepared. Moreover, Gingrich attacked someone the Right wanted to see "put in his place" while Romney offended the Republican Pravda. In a battle of narrative, I think GIngrich knows what he's doing a hell of a lot more than Romney does.)

The perverse narrative for Romney, now that we're talking in those terms, has been "he's inevitable" and simultaneously "the dog won't eat the dog food." These combine, basically, into "We're going to shove Romney down your throats until you agree he's your guy," and say what you will about the Tea Partiers - please, do - but that's not a sentiment which goes down very well with them.

Additionally, while Romney still has the money, Gingrich has been doing the smart thing (or so it seems now; time will tell) of targeting his mobilization money in South Carolina while using the press time there to play nationally. These near-constant debates have been a logistical debacle for the candidates playing off of the retail offense, and Gingrich didn't even try that. Instead, he's been going negative (naturally) in a way which gets his quotes on the nightly news and everywhere else because disliking Romney is kind of universal for the party right now.

But as long as Romney has the money, Gingrich can still play the "oppressed victim" card as well, another thing which goes over great with the GOP base. Romney remains cool, aloof, but cracks under pressure, he's the establishment candidate at at time when the most fervent GOP voters are anti-establishment, and the more money flowing into him, the more GIngrich can soak up the "poor us" spotlight. He's positioned himself well.

Finally, I'm sure the GOP voters within the elderly Jewish bloc of Floridians are breaking largely for Romney. This is the same bloc, however, that Giuliani relied on in '08. We see how well that worked for him.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:56 PM on January 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Gingrich is catholic.
posted by empath at 11:18 PM on January 21, 2012


I know. But more than anything, Gingrich is Gingrich. Santorum's push is that he's the "value-voter's" candidate, and I think it would have a lot more impact if the voters he was courting with that felt like they shared the same belief system as he does. With GIngrich it's clear that his voters don't give a shit about his personal life, as this week has made ABUNDANTLY clear, so it's a little different.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:41 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Finally, I'm sure the GOP voters within the elderly Jewish bloc of Floridians are breaking largely for Romney. This is the same bloc, however, that Giuliani relied on in '08."

And, if things aren't bad enough for Romney, there is talk of Rudy Giuliani endorsing Gingrich... which could hurt Romney in Florida, because Rudy has more traction there than Romney ever did.
posted by markkraft at 1:29 AM on January 22, 2012


How many Jewish voters in Florida will be voting the Republican primary? I don't know about that state specifically but Obama got 78% of the Jewish vote nationally in '08.
posted by octothorpe at 6:17 AM on January 22, 2012


Newt won't die!
posted by gman at 6:54 AM on January 22, 2012


Maybe it's the MSNBC graphic, but I initially thought that looked a lot more like Chris Matthews.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:34 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm looking forwards to the headlines - THE SANTORUM DREAM IS OVER.
posted by Artw at 7:53 AM on January 22, 2012


FYI:

Although most of the state’s more than half a million Jews are Democrats, 2008 exit polls showed that 3% of Florida Republican primary voters were Jewish.


Doesn't seem that big, every percentage point one can get will definitely count this time, as empath mentioned above, all 50 of Florida's delegates will be awarded to the winner, every vote will count. (Florida would normally have 99 delegates -- with 49 being awarded to winners of Congressional districts and the remaining being awarded to the overall state winner -- but since they broke ranks the the national party and moved up their primary date, they only get 50, which will be assigned in the winner-takes-all fashion.) Given that the delegate count is now estimated to be 33 Romney/25 Gingrich/14 Santorum, that 50 is still going to be huge.

(Pardon if this is all exactly that the news networks are talking about last night/this morning. Despite my sick fascination, I usually avoid getting my news that way -- not because I'm a snob but because I value my sanity.)


Speaking of delegate counts, does anybody know of any place that is actually tracking that information in a scoreboard style fashion. I know such things can be inaccurate based on some delegates being assigned separately of the voting, and that for at least a few days, it's going to be a pretty static number, but still, the only way I can seem to find it now is to find stories when it is mentioned.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:57 AM on January 22, 2012


MCMikeNamara: "Speaking of delegate counts, does anybody know of any place that is actually tracking that information in a scoreboard style fashion"

Wikipedia probably fills your need, and it looks like the New York Times has something up if you don't want superdelegates muddling the results.
posted by Copronymus at 8:38 AM on January 22, 2012


Artw: "I'm looking forwards to the headlines - THE SANTORUM DREAM IS OVER."

Actually, I was waiting for the headlines that said ROMNEY AND GINGRICH CAUGHT IN THREE-WAY WITH SANTORUM.
posted by koeselitz at 9:29 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


IS NEWT SQUEEZING OUT SANTORUM IN FLORIDA?

SANTORUM MAKES A CLEAN FINISH HARD TO PULL OFF
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Rick Santorum needs your CUM.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:53 AM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Will Newt give Romney the knockout punch with Santorum on his tail?

/rough trade edition



SANTORUM COMES FROM BEHIND

/obvious edition



SANTORUM CUM-BOMB FOLLOWS PERRY WITHDRAWAL
/ewwwww edition
posted by darkstar at 9:57 AM on January 22, 2012


"I don't know about that state specifically but Obama got 78% of the Jewish vote nationally in '08."

Probably won't get those percentages this time around, at least if Romney is the candidate. AIPAC and the unconditionally pro-Israel types have poisoned the well against Obama.

(And no, that's not anti-semitic. That's just fact.)
posted by markkraft at 10:00 AM on January 22, 2012


(And no, that's not anti-semitic. That's just fact.)
Oh, ok. If you say it's a fact, then it must be true!

Do you have any evidence that Jewish voters obey the dictates of AIPAC? This Gallup report from September suggests that Jews still support Obama at a much higher rate than the general population and that Jewish support for Obama has declined in proportion to the overall decline, not more steeply.
posted by craichead at 10:19 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rick Santorum needs your CUM.

That's a bit too on the nose isn...

*clicks link*

oh COME ON...
posted by empath at 10:34 AM on January 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


What's even better about that link is that it has a quote from Glenn Beck stating that Santorum is the next George Washington.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:37 AM on January 22, 2012


Chris Christie: 'Newt Gingrich Has Embarrassed the Party'
posted by octothorpe at 10:39 AM on January 22, 2012


I will miss Santorum being all over the national media.
posted by Artw at 12:00 PM on January 22, 2012


"Do you have any evidence that Jewish voters obey the dictates of AIPAC?"

Yes, there is convincing evidence that many Jewish Americans do pay a lot of attention to AIPAC and other pro-Israel/rightwing writers, journalists, bloggers, etc.

In fact, I will use a large month-by-month chart of that Gallup poll you cited to point it out.

For example, take a look at the really sharp drop in support, from about 74% to about 53% between about March and June 2010. That drop is *much* steeper than the 3% or so loss in Obama's total approval during that time.

So, what happened then? Netanyahu called Hillary in late May, furious that Obama's speech he was giving to AIPAC would suggest peace based upon the '67 border, with land swaps, as has always been the plan. Netanyahu then gave the go-ahead for more illegal settlements... and Hillary Clinton spoke before AIPAC, telling them that illegal settlements undermined peace. AIPAC released a statement criticizing the Obama administration, telling them to "move away from public demands and unilateral deadlines directed at Israel".

So, no. I think Gallup's suggestion that Jewish American approval for Obama is down, but not disproportionately is somewhat flawed, in part because, the decline of support was about 4% sharper for the Jewish American community, but also because the premise is somewhat flawed...

When a minority community that trends towards being in your favor hears good news, they tend to respond more favorably than others... and this is especially when it involves issues specifically related to that minority. You can see this over and over again in the graph, such as in the sharp increases in support for Obama in January and February, 2010, increases in support in Sept. and Oct. 2010. Sharp increases that were earned by Obama administration policies, but that weren't mirrored in the general level of public support.

So, no... I think that the suggested premise of the poll is somewhat flawed, because the Jewish American community as a demographic isn't the same as the general public, and doesn't respond to the same issues in the same way. They tend to respond more favorably, for very good policy reasons. Presumably, pro-Israel/AIPAC noise machine has been particularly effective with older Jewish voters, which is pretty much what you'd expect. According to a very recent poll, 52% of Jewish voters in Florida would vote for Mitt Romney over President Obama. That's not at all in line with the rest of the nation, and, as someone who follows political polls and statistics closely, that's atypical, not typical.

My take: It's been four years. Make another schlep. Soon.
posted by markkraft at 12:18 PM on January 22, 2012


(Okay, 3 years, 6 months... but nana isn't getting any younger.)
posted by markkraft at 12:25 PM on January 22, 2012


Just some anecdata, my liberal, Jewish, Obama supporting friends are in a panic over the Arab spring, and they're telling me their relatives are even worse. That's going to feed into a lot of anti-Obama sentiment until we start to see what the consequences really are.
posted by empath at 12:28 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Editorial in the Atlanta Jewish times suggest Mossad should assassinate the Presiedent.
posted by humanfont at 12:45 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


In fact, I will use a large month-by-month chart of that Gallup poll you cited to point it out.
And you can cherry-pick events in Israel and claim they caused the rise and fall, but it seems more likely that Gallup's explanation is right and it's just an effect of the small sample size. Other than that it suits your bias, is there any reason to think those particular events caused the fluctuations?
My take: It's been four years. Make another schlep. Soon.
My take: thanks for the advice, but my grandmother doesn't care about Israel and will almost certainly vote for Obama if she makes it to November. So fuck off, asshole.
Editorial in the Atlanta Jewish times suggest Mossad should assassinate the Presiedent.
And everyone in the world denounced it, including the zany pro-Israel lobby. So now every nutty thing that any Jew anywhere says is evidence of what Jews in general are thinking?
posted by craichead at 1:03 PM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, you know, it's kinda plausible. From the outside the pro-Israel lobby seems to be in favour of anything dickish or that involves killing people.
posted by Artw at 1:31 PM on January 22, 2012


From the outside the pro-Israel lobby seems to be in favour of anything dickish or that involves killing people.
It suits my prejudices to believe this thing, so I will believe it without clicking through on the article to see if it's true!

Seriously: it's no better to hold all Jews accountable for a single Jew's unhinged views than it is to do the same thing to Muslims.
posted by craichead at 1:38 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the publisher of the Atlanta Muslim Times wrote an editorial suggesting assail stink of the President to protect Palestine what would the reaction be?
posted by humanfont at 1:58 PM on January 22, 2012


I didn't cherry pick events. I noted a huge, 21 point difference in the polls cited, Googled that time period, and cited the major Obama Administration / Israel issues of the day, providing a timeline for what happened in the Netanyahu/Obama Administration conflict, as well as documenting AIPAC's response.

Obviously, with the data available, I can just as easily say that Gallup's data clearly shows that Jewish-American approval of President Obama did NOT closely mirror national approval all the way through to January 2011, only did so between February and September 2011 -- just seven months of the entire sampled duration -- and that it wasn't even close to tracking closely until after the 21 point dropoff in early 2010... albeit, with a 4% variation, as of September '11... and that the primary cause of the shifts seen can be attributed to issues that are disproportionately of interest to the Jewish-American community.

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.".. and the lie being hidden here is that Jewish American voters behave like everyone else, when they clearly do not.
posted by markkraft at 2:02 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


"t seems more likely that Gallup's explanation is right and it's just an effect of the small sample size."

... which, incidentally, would be a good argument for throwing out Gallup's rather flawed conclusion entirely, would it not?!
posted by markkraft at 2:14 PM on January 22, 2012


This is my fervent wish -- that Gingrich makes it to the convention, where he proceeds to LOSE HIS SHIT MAGNIFICENTLY. Obama wins with ease, and tilts left so hard even metafilter is like, okay, whoa dude,
posted by angrycat at 2:16 PM on January 22, 2012


(...not that you've actually demonstrated that there was a small sample size, or any problem at all with the poll you initially cited for your conclusion. )

But hey, if you want to dismiss the poll that is the crux of your argument, but whose data actually supports mine quite convincingly, you are free to do so.
posted by markkraft at 2:17 PM on January 22, 2012


(Intentionally shifting conversation away from the profanities, towards the heart of what this post was about.)

I agree with Angrycat. I want to see Gingrich get crushed, so that Obama can regain control in the House and pass some legislation... but honestly? I would settle for four years of increasing peace, relative quiet, and gradual recovery... with another Democrat getting elected afterward.

It's far more important that a lot of Obama's initiatives be given time to take root, rather than risking what a Gingrich or Romney administration would mean.

Gingrich is talking about having Sarah Palin play a leading role in his administration now... along with John Bolton as Sec. of State. If that doesn't terrify you, well... it should.
posted by markkraft at 2:35 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.".. and the lie being hidden here is that Jewish American voters behave like everyone else, when they clearly do not.
No argument from me. We consistently vote for Democrats at higher rates than almost any other group, and our continued disproportionate support of Obama is in line with that. What you have failed to prove is the "fact" that Jews are deserting Obama at higher rates than the general public.
... which, incidentally, would be a good argument for throwing out Gallup's rather flawed conclusion entirely, would it not?!
Not if you understand how statistics work. A larger margin of error doesn't make the entire poll invalid. But even if you did throw out that poll, you still haven't proven your "fact" that Jews are going to vote against Obama because AIPAC told us to. And if you're going to claim that a contention isn't antisemitic because it's a fact, you can probably anticipate that people might ask you to provide some evidence of it.
posted by craichead at 2:52 PM on January 22, 2012


Gingrich is talking about having Sarah Palin play a leading role in his administration now
<sarah>I hope I get to be ambassador to Hawaii!</sarah>
posted by Flunkie at 3:00 PM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


It would be pretty hilarious if someone made her ambassador to Kenya.
posted by elizardbits at 3:38 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Where can you find Palins?

Only in Kenya.
posted by The Whelk at 3:43 PM on January 22, 2012


Obama wins with ease, and tilts left so hard even metafilter is like, okay, whoa dude,

He won't go that far to the left. He's basically destroying the GOP by taking all their breathing room in the middle, leaving them with nothing but their worst nutcases on the right. If he tacked to the left, it would let the GOP recover.

Basically, he'll go as far to the left as congress lets him, and if the GOP is as unhappy with their candidate as they seem to be, that should be a good bit more to the left than today, but not enough to make the lefties on metafilter happy.
posted by empath at 3:47 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


It would be pretty hilarious if someone made her ambassador to Kenya.

Oh, but it's even more hilarious than that! He wants to make her Energy Secretary!

hahahahahaohgod
posted by argonauta at 3:55 PM on January 22, 2012


"A larger margin of error doesn't make the entire poll invalid. But even if you did throw out that poll, you still haven't proven your "fact" that Jews are going to vote against Obama because AIPAC told us to."

1> I didn't say, as you suggested, that Jewish voters "obey the dictates of AIPAC"... but rather that *some* Jewish voters going to vote against Obama because those who are unconditionally pro-Israel have been really going on the warpath against the administration.

2> A 21-point shift on one month -- or shifts seen over several months -- is not an "outlier" on a poll with a 3-4% margin of error.

3> There is also a Quinnipiac poll that suggests the same thing as what the Reuters poll does, with 67% of Jewish voters disapproving the way the POTUS has handled the Israel/Palestine issue... which is a *big* margin, considering that his official policies regarding settlements and Palestine are no different than previous administrations.

The difference, frankly, has a lot to do with the growth of rightwing media since Clinton, AIPAC's noted shift to the right, Israel's shift to the right, etc. AIPAC's biggest impact is that their increasing hawkishness tends to be picked up and amplified by other media sources.
posted by markkraft at 4:01 PM on January 22, 2012


craichead - I must sya you're being a bit eratic there - one moment there's a zany pro-israel lobby, the next anyone who mentions it is talking about all jews.
posted by Artw at 4:08 PM on January 22, 2012


3> There is also a Quinnipiac poll that suggests the same thing as what the Reuters poll does, with 67% of Jewish voters disapproving the way the POTUS has handled the Israel/Palestine issue...
That's only significant if you assume that Jews are single-issue pro-Israel voters, which you have failed to prove. And fwiw, I'm not really sure how to read those numbers. The poll you linked says that Jews are significantly more likely than Protestants and Catholics to see Obama as a strong supporter of Israel, with 50% of Jews answering yes to that question. So it may be that some of that 67% disapprove of Obama because they see him as too pro-Israel (which is where I'd fall), and others may see him as sufficiently pro-Israel but inept.
The difference, frankly, has a lot to do with the growth of rightwing media since Clinton, AIPAC's noted shift to the right, Israel's shift to the right, etc.
That's irrelevant, because the issue isn't AIPAC's stance. It's whether Jews vote based on what AIPAC says. And since AIPAC has been drifting to the right since Clinton, according to you, and since Jews continue to be among the most reliable Democratic voters, I'm not seeing evidence for that.
craichead - I must sya you're being a bit eratic there - one moment there's a zany pro-israel lobby, the next anyone who mentions it is talking about all jews.
There's no doubt there's a zany pro-Israel lobby. What's under dispute is the "fact," according to markkraft, that they're a significant factor in Jewish voting behavior.
posted by craichead at 4:14 PM on January 22, 2012


I want to be gleeful over the thought of a Gingrich nomination, but whenever I get too giddy I remind myself that people who believe what he is selling are the kind of people who think the moon landing was fake, wrestling is real, and Newt is a genius. They'll still be here even if the G.O.P. ceases to be a viable political party in the U.S.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:15 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


"it's even more hilarious than that! He wants to make her Energy Secretary!"

Hm. Hard choice. Who would I want to be Energy Secretary... the guy with a Nobel Prize in physics, who is moving our country towards reducing its dependence on coal and fossil fuels, while focusing research towards initiatives that could lead to new forms of energy, or...
posted by markkraft at 4:17 PM on January 22, 2012


"That's only significant if you assume that Jews are single-issue pro-Israel voters, which you have failed to prove. "

Absolutely not the case. It's *VERY* significant, regardless of whether Jewish Americans are "single-issue" voters or not. (An unnecessarily divisive sentiment for you to drag into this conversation, btw.)

If an issue is of greater importance to a particular demographic, well... that's all it takes.

(Are you *really* trying to suggest that if you were to survey voters as to whether they were strongly supportive of Israel, that more Jewish Americans would answer "yes" than the national average?)

Again, from the Quinniapac poll, when it comes to the general public, 44% said they disapproved of how Obama is handling Israel/Palestine, with a lot of undecided. But for Jewish Americans, it was 67% disapproval.

I absolutely and strenuously disagree with your insinuation re: Jewish American voters as single-issue voters. There is much about the culture of Jewish Americans that is fundamentally decent, liberal, supportive of reason, etc. Moreso than the country as a whole.

But when it comes to Israel... well, it's not always just a matter of reason, is it? It's also a matter of faith.
posted by markkraft at 4:50 PM on January 22, 2012


The Jewish thing is kind of a derail isn't it? You guys want to take it to memail or something?
posted by empath at 4:58 PM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Jewish thing is kind of a derail isn't it? You guys want to take it to memail or something?
You know, I'd be more than delighted if the mods would delete the whole derail. It freaks me out that people like markkirk state total bullshit about Jewish political behavior as "fact," and it gets repeated so many times that people believe it. I'm not going to let it stand, because it's dangerous and it's wrong. But I'm not particularly enjoying this debate, and I really wish it weren't necessary.
posted by craichead at 5:33 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


If Republicans can weaken enthusiasm among Jewish voters in Florida they might carry the state. They will do a lot to try to push the Obama is bad for Israel narrative.
posted by humanfont at 5:53 PM on January 22, 2012


Gotta say I think it is a matter of time before the next Newt 'indiscretion' story comes to light. The fellow is a serial philanderer and I have serious doubts he stopped with the current marriage. Especially if he was asking for an 'open' marriage beforehand.
posted by edgeways at 9:14 PM on January 22, 2012


Insider Advantage Poll of FL, 1/22/12:

Gingrich 34.4%
Romney 25.6%
Paul 13.1%
Santorum 10.7%

(via talkingpointsmemo.com)
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 9:25 PM on January 22, 2012


Expect the Romney ads in Florida to make SC look like preschool nap time. His national numbers are starting to collapse and a loss in Florida will be a body blow.
posted by edgeways at 10:02 PM on January 22, 2012


Hee hee, this is awesome. Self-destruct, Republicans! Self-destruct!
posted by Justinian at 10:04 PM on January 22, 2012


Keep in mind I am sure this is what 2008 looked like for Republican voters when they looked at the Democrats fighting, with the incredible animosity between Obama and H. Clinton supporters. And we know how that ended.
posted by edgeways at 10:06 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've thought about that but I don't think the analogy holds. In 2008 both Obama and Clinton were strong candidates with fervent supporters so the race was hotly contested. The Republican primary in 2012 is the opposite; they can't coalesce behind a candidate because they have a weak field with no-one having a broad base of strong support, only strong opposition.

In other words lots of people wanted to vote for Obama and lots of people wanted to vote for Clinton so the race went on a long time. Here a lot of people want to vote against Romney and a lot of people want to vote against Gingrich. Paul has a base of strong support but it is far too small to be anything but a spoiler.

So I think the similarity is all in appearance and little in substance.
posted by Justinian at 11:15 PM on January 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Plus, these debates in which people have been applauding the idea of a) dying people w/o health insurance and booing b) Gay soldiers and c) cheering Newt for ripping off moderators heads -- this is going to stoke the fire in the belly of Dems.

I mean, that makes sense. My great fear is that something is going to happen that is so totally irrational we'll get more headlines around the world a la 'How can X # of Americans be so stupid?'
posted by angrycat at 4:22 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've thought about that but I don't think the analogy holds.

Yeah, I actually tend to agree with you on this. Recalling that primary it was pretty fractious for some people though and could have resulted in a temporary split if H. Clinton had been determined.

Looking in from the outside though I bet here was a lot of Red Staters who where betting on the split of the (D) party and chuckling with glee over all the animosity and predicting an easy R win because the primaries where so bloody.

This cycle has a very different dynamic, but I still kind of doubt it will split the GOP* at this time no matter if it is Newt or Mittens that finally gets the nom. (still holding out for a Palin 3rd party run)



* from a non-partisan POV I actual think the GOP needs to split for long-term viability. But that would mean a lot of near term losses and I don't think anyone is quite willing to undergo that surgery voluntarily.
posted by edgeways at 8:05 AM on January 23, 2012


Voters have shown a remarkable tolerance for philandering politicians over the years. As long as he isn't caught on a boat called the "Monkey Business" after telling reporters to follow him, or arrested in an airport bathroom making gay hand signals, his infidelity won't be a problem.
posted by humanfont at 8:31 AM on January 23, 2012


I suspect for a large # of Gingrich supporters it is the "redemption" factor of the whole thing that sells it and makes it "ok" for them. Granted this kind of makes them look just a little naive and when thinking about the aftermath of Clinton downright hypocritical.

Some have survived, some have not, Edwards, Cain, Spitzer, Heart Koch (here in MN). Another Newtscession might poke a hole in the redemption story-line.
posted by edgeways at 8:38 AM on January 23, 2012


New Florida Polls Show Big Swing to Gingrich
posted by octothorpe at 9:57 AM on January 23, 2012


"Not only are we not moving toward a coalescing of support with the establishment of Newt Gingrich, we're probably moving toward a declaration of war on Newt Gingrich by the Republican establishment. And if Newt Gingrich is able to win the Florida primary, you will see a panic and a meltdown of the Republican establishment that is beyond my ability to articulate in the English language. People will go crazy,"
posted by empath at 10:14 AM on January 23, 2012


Now I want that war to happen just to see what language he uses. Yiddish?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:29 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is Steve Schmidt Jewish?
posted by zarq at 10:41 AM on January 23, 2012


So, I'm watching Maddow's clips from late last week... if you haven't, it's worth looking at. She really shines during election years
posted by edgeways at 10:59 AM on January 23, 2012


I suspect for a large # of Gingrich supporters it is the "redemption" factor of the whole thing that sells it and makes it "ok" for them.

Most fundamentalists are only born again once. Newt is twice as holy, because he's been redeemed two times, with a new faith and a new wife each time.
posted by msalt at 12:32 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Empath: And if Newt Gingrich is able to win the Florida primary, you will see a panic and a meltdown of the Republican establishment that is beyond my ability to articulate in the English language. People will go crazy.

Whatever is left of the GOP/TP "soul" at this point is seriously in danger. This is the final straw for all except the most rabid Wingers and Dem haters. But the GOTP is yet to understand that hating the Dems/Liberals/Progressives, does not a sustainable political platform make.

That, RNC is going to be ugly, ugly, ugly...also, I shudder at the level of trickery and shameless shenanigans Newt's going to employ if he gets the nomination.

I can believe he'll win Florida, but he wins Nevada and Michigan, I will eat my hat.
posted by Skygazer at 12:40 PM on January 23, 2012


I have a toe at stake on this
posted by The Whelk at 12:45 PM on January 23, 2012


Just leave your hands out of it.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 12:53 PM on January 23, 2012


A fist will do.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:15 PM on January 23, 2012


Everyone will discount a Romney win in Nevada and Michigan because of Mormons in Nevada and the family history in Michigan. After Florida, all that matters is Super Tuesday and Newt is going to crush him there unless the party goes nuclear on him, and I'm still not confident they can stop him. If super tuesday goes big for Newt, Mitt's going to have to take some big winner take all states to stay in it.
posted by empath at 1:20 PM on January 23, 2012


WHOA. "The Gallup national tracking poll, for instance, now shows Mr. Romney at 29 percent and Mr. Gingrich at 28 percent, which represents a 23-point swing from 8 days ago when Mr. Romney led Mr. Gingrich, 37-13."

That Newt's got legs!
posted by argonauta at 1:33 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everyone will discount a Romney win in Nevada and Michigan because of Mormons in Nevada and the family history in Michigan.

I can report that based on a detailed analysis of my Facebook feed, most of the conservative types from back in Michigan are either Paulites (mainly the under-30s) or are apathetic or leaning Gingrich. I haven't seen anyone mention that they were inclined to vote for Mitt because his pop was governor back in in the sixties.

I think there are a lot of Michiganders who will vote for him because they're moderate, establishment conservatives. But especially if the social conservatives coalesce around Gingrich, he can definitely win there. Michiganders of all political stripes are in no mood to elect a one-percenter if they can help it.

Also Michigan is an open-primary state. I guess that would be nice for Mitt if he were the charismatic sort of high-minded, competent moderate who could, er, attract independents. As it is it might be just as likely that progressives cross over to vote Newt and sabotage the Republicans.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:38 PM on January 23, 2012


I honestly have no idea about the make-up of the Michigan GOP electorate, but I wouldn't discount the fact that his father was the most popular governor the state has ever had. If he loses Michigan, he has 0 chance of winning the nomination.
posted by empath at 1:45 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


As an aside, looking at reports and predictions just prior to SC a lot of people got the numbers way wrong. There was a lot of: "It's going to be a long night, It's going to be neck and neck". And it wasn't 12.6% difference. That was a blowout. I think people where officially calling the results right at the close of the poll. Not Long, not close. At. All.
posted by edgeways at 2:08 PM on January 23, 2012


Hold onto your hats, folks. Newt's super PAC just got another $5 million from the wife of Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire (and eighth richest person in America) who gave Newt the $5 million on January 7 to fund his win in South Carolina.

According to the the Washington Post (before today's $5M was even announced), "Perhaps no other major presidential candidate in recent times has had his fortunes based so squarely on the contributions of a single donor, as Gingrich has on Adelson."
posted by argonauta at 4:41 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


RE: Mitt in Michigan, I could well see him being hurt by the video of him suggesting we should just let the auto industry collapse into bankruptcy as a kind of "survival of the fittest" callousness for thousands of auto workers and a major US industrial sector.

Of course, Mitt being Mitt, he's now doing his best to play the ball on the other side of that particular net. But still, expect to see ads in Detroit featuring Mittens suggesting a whole swath of Michiganders should essentially just be allowed to be laid off in support of a Rich White Guy's particular brand of capitalist principles.
posted by darkstar at 5:47 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's awn!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:00 PM on January 23, 2012


Romn-E appears to have awakened from sleep mode and is now lecturing us on how proud he is of paying taxes.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:21 PM on January 23, 2012


You just jumped a long way over here, friend.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:30 PM on January 23, 2012


Holy cow, did Romn-E just make Newt speechless for a sec?
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:31 PM on January 23, 2012


HA HA CASTRO IS GOING TO HELL
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:46 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Looks like the Romn-E v.2012 has had a firmware upgrade and had his aggressiveness levels pushed up.

Dangerous move that...there's a risk of overheating and going into automatic safety reboot. I hope his Magic underwear can handle it. The Safety reboot always makes a mess.
posted by Skygazer at 7:02 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


For the record Romn-E's firmware is programmed in ENGLISH.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:06 PM on January 23, 2012


"Self-deportation."

Ha HA!!! Where the heck did that come from??
posted by Skygazer at 7:11 PM on January 23, 2012


That is Romn-E v.2012.2, released 9 days ahead of schedule (original release date 2/1/2012) I'm guessing we'll quickly burn through v.2012.2.1 - v.2012.2.10 pretty darn quick.
posted by edgeways at 7:12 PM on January 23, 2012


I think the linguist engineering group are going to be in BIG trouble for that "self-deportation" bug. That's an instant classic that's going to hurt the Romn-E v.2012.2 team. Ouch.

(I'm self-deportating myself right this moment...)
posted by Skygazer at 7:17 PM on January 23, 2012


Newt's not getting the rabid neo-nazi neanderthal audience he needs to really shine though. He keeps making these statements that you think are designed to get cheering and they're just not biting...

It's a relief actually.
posted by Skygazer at 7:21 PM on January 23, 2012


Clearly, the Grinch is fueled by torches and pitchforks.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:24 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


BREAKING: Working and having kids furthers the causes of conservatism. Please refrain from these activities.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:32 PM on January 23, 2012


Did I miss swimwear? Who's wearing the conservative one-piece vintage suit from the 1984 Reagan collection?
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:36 PM on January 23, 2012


It's still 2012, right?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:42 PM on January 23, 2012


It better be, or Rom-E's software is going to crash at the next atomic-clock ping
posted by edgeways at 7:43 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Forget that beet sugar, GIMME SOME CAIN SUGAR.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:50 PM on January 23, 2012


Yep. 2012.

Cain sugar is potent stuff. Believe me, the Cain will make you INSANE!
posted by Skygazer at 7:59 PM on January 23, 2012


I sometimes self-deport two or even three times in one day.
posted by cortex at 8:00 PM on January 23, 2012


You could go blind doing that
posted by edgeways at 8:06 PM on January 23, 2012


Romney's take-down of Gingrich on the lobbying question was effective.
It's hard to see how that will compare with the fact that he has zillions upon zillions of dollars, though. I don't hold his money against him ('tho opposed to him generally) but, gadzooks, that's a fuckin' lot of money.
posted by angrycat at 8:38 AM on January 24, 2012


Here's a question: Will Ron Paul win virginia? Seems like a slam dunk for him, since every non-Romney candidate should be encouraging their supporters to vote for him. Paul's not a threat to Gingrich or Santorum.
posted by empath at 9:21 AM on January 24, 2012


Vaguely surprised that Romney pays any taxes... at a lower rate than us chumps, of course, but still (maybe he lets things slip when he knows he has a presidential bid coming up.)
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on January 24, 2012


angrycat: "Romney's take-down of Gingrich on the lobbying question was effective."

Yeah, I like how Gingrich's only explanation boiled down to "I'm not a lobbyist, because I didn't contact JC Watts...I didn't contact x-y-z." Which not only doesn't prove he wasn't a lobbyist, it might serve to prove that he was the world's laziest lobbyist.

Maybe all those jobs created when the cap gains tax is eliminated will result in more work for $300k historians, which would be awesome for the economy so long as that economy is driven by employment of grad research assistants.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:58 AM on January 24, 2012


Gingrich's ideas.
posted by empath at 11:19 AM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


So Gingrich took Romney to task for only paying 15% on his capital gains income... despite the fact that Gingrich wants to eliminate capital gains tax which would mean Romney would pay 0%. Huh? I know consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds and all that but shouldn't politicians at least pretend not to be hypocrites?
posted by Justinian at 1:52 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Justinian, there's no upside to it. They gain nothing by pretending not to be hypocrites in the primaries. If the GOP primary race is any indication, primary voters place a very high premium on hypocrisy, indeed. How else to explainthe two front runners?
posted by darkstar at 2:03 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously, about the only thing Romney hasn't flipped on is being married and being Mormon, and he probably should have converted to some mainstream Christian sect 6 years ago and "seen the light".

(I was going to say "his first name".. but you know, Willard...)
posted by edgeways at 2:09 PM on January 24, 2012


I do like the bit about how he donates so much to charity, i.e. a cult with compulsory tithing.
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on January 24, 2012


So Gingrich took Romney to task for only paying 15% on his capital gains income... despite the fact that Gingrich wants to eliminate capital gains tax which would mean Romney would pay 0%

Gingrich could honestly propose cutting checks to millionaires every year and selling poor babies into chattel slavery to pay for it, and it would probably give him a boost in the polls.
posted by empath at 2:16 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually, looking at the numbers, is Romney actually paying more than his 10%? Or is he secretly earning more?
posted by Artw at 2:31 PM on January 24, 2012


selling poor babies into chattel slavery

Well that would create a lot of jobs!
posted by Big_B at 2:57 PM on January 24, 2012


A Modest Proposal, by Newt Gingrich.
posted by darkstar at 3:17 PM on January 24, 2012


Gingrich Threatens to Skip Debates if Audiences Can’t Participate.

He wouldn't dare miss a debate. He can't afford to and I hope he's called out on it. I guess in 2012 America, becoming animated and raising ones voice will excuse any pile of horseshit.
posted by Skygazer at 9:07 PM on January 24, 2012


I think I am back tot he point where I have a hard time seeing him win the Nomination. I think this, like all the other Not-Romney moments, will pass. But lord oh lord I wish he would get the nomination. Obama's coattails would be huge.


And why does "the media" put up with this bullshit anyways? That SC debate question to Newt, "Would you care to respond?" (to the open marriage thing) was all but missing a "mi'lord" at the end.

Too deferential by far.

"hey Newt, why is ok to blast other people's sexuality when you have the sexual morals of a syphilitic May-fly? "
posted by edgeways at 9:57 AM on January 25, 2012


Democratic fundraisers on the prospect of a Newt nomination: "We all think it’s funny as shit, but I don’t see anyone believing it could actually happen.”
posted by msalt at 10:03 AM on January 25, 2012


damn. Every time I think I have a handle on this primary I read something else and it just collapses back into a big mess. Yeah yeah Romney is the nominee, gotta be right? But... but.. he has a -16 point favorbility rating now, and is behind in FL AND Nationally. And Newt is more like -28. Independents, never Newts strong point, are pulling away from Rom-E 2012.2, they better rush 2012.2.1

Less than a week to go until FL and he had at least the rest of the week of poor news cycles because of the income tax debacle.

Christ.. I think a rotted fish-head would have better numbers than these jackasses.
posted by edgeways at 10:33 AM on January 25, 2012


I dunno. He's won me over. I think Gingrich has the best shot of the current candidates to beat Obama. It's not a good shot, but I could still see it. Romney's religion and Bain history both hurt too much.

Actually, if you read msalt's link above, most Democratic fundraisers feel the same way. They'd rather have Romney.

In fact, the article links to this cogent analysis from Robert Borosage on how Gingrich would campaign against Obama, i.e. representing himself as a return to the good old days of Gingrich-Clinton as opposed to the bad new days of Bush-Obama. (Kinda hilarious to think about, but I could see it succeeding.)

If I were a Democratic Party strategist, I'd be much more worried about Newt than 1% poster boy Mitt (even though Newt is likely just as rich).
posted by mrgrimm at 11:33 AM on January 25, 2012


I would worry about Newt because he is such a wildcard it's hard to tell what he might pull off, Romney is much more predictable. The polls show Romney having a much better shot against Obama though. Gingrich doesn't really have much appeal outside the base.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:40 AM on January 25, 2012


I dunno, I understand about the wildcard aspect, and I think that is what is driving him along in the primaries. But, as the CV goes it is the independents/moderates that will win you the election.

1- Given presidential debates are designed to dampen down and just about eliminate audience reaction from the debates themselves that is a big negative to Newt's "strength".

2 - His negatives have been horrible for a long long time. Open marriage/cheating may not have hurt him with the faithful, but almost everyone else?

3 - There are at least 1,000 pages relating to ethic complaints when he resigned. Nice mining material there.

4 - Optics: appearances should not matter as much as they do, but pale, pasty-faced, and dumpy?

5 - By August that wildcard will be well known, and not so wild.

Completely by-the-side, I wonder just how well he would hold up for 10 months straight months. Last cycle I think that played at least a small role for McCain, he was looking pretty frayed those last few weeks.
posted by edgeways at 1:03 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama's got the speed and has quick reflexes, and reach, whereas Newt's got the wicked under the belt hitting and that heavy ponderous right hook he keeps knocking "the media" to the floor with...

But he's going to have to up his game in the big ring, and get his conditioning up to snuff or he's not even going to make it past the first round. Obama is a whole other level of fighter, who's held his own, and bested heavyweight bruisers like Hillary "widowmaker" Clinton and John "the grumpy Commie Killer POW" McCain.

Obama can take a hit, get up again, hit back and shape himself to the battle without looking like he's compromised himself, his still is almost Jiu Jitsu in the way it can reshape the energy of an opponent and return it with nary a scratch, but how does one find a strategy against a bruiser like Newton?

I think you let him beat himself. I can't see how the country, especially independents are going to want to hear Newt's schtick another 10 months. And maybe the TP-er/knuckle-draggers like the pugnaciousness, but I'd say most of the country wants a real discussion on moving the country forward in the general election.
posted by Skygazer at 2:29 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


What skygazer said, but graphically: check out how Newt's overall favorables/unfavorables have changed since he got so much attention over the last two weeks. He's gone up among Republican primary voters, but among all voters....
posted by msalt at 3:02 PM on January 25, 2012


Actually, that chart shows his unfavorables going down during the last two weeks, but also his favorables going down since their peak in mid-December.

I don't think his unfavorables with all voters can really do anything else but fall from that 56.6 peak. I also don't think they can fall very much. And as for his favorables outside the GOP base, that's hard to say. I think his populist message, to the degree to which he keeps it up and it's perceived as being anti-Wall Street and such, could help his favorables with many independents and even Dems.

Even so, mark my words: his overall numbers won't ever change that much for any extended amounts of time because Newt's about as much a known quantity as someone can be in this situation who's not running for reelection. That's why his unfavorables and the spread between the two is so toxic and so predictive. He couldn't possibly win an election and I don't even think he can possibly get the nomination, either.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:10 PM on January 25, 2012


The Moon, bitches!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:18 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Moon, bitches!

I can't really get beyond this sentence (below), without my brain seizing up, and needing to close that page:

Gingrich: "By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American."


LOLZ....WHAT???!!??!


GAH.
posted by Skygazer at 3:24 PM on January 25, 2012


BTW: The key words I cannot scale the vertigo-inducing heights of in that sentence are "second term."
posted by Skygazer at 3:26 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eh, Newt is just nakedly pandering to the Florida space industry.




Aaaand now I need to go scrub the "naked Newt" image out of my brain.
posted by darkstar at 4:07 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


by the end of his second term we will be a paleolithic barter society relearning basic agrarian techniques on the charred cinder that is all that remains of earth. come the fuck on.
posted by elizardbits at 4:24 PM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Naked Newt.

By the end of "Newt's second term" the whole nation will most likely have been forever scarred by that.

Repeatedly.

From multiple angles..

With multiple partners...(and future wives).

And declared a national holiday by executive decree: Naked Newt Day.

On which day he will have sex with the whole nation, all at once.

Because that's Newt's idea of "open."

posted by Skygazer at 4:47 PM on January 25, 2012


Gingrich and Reagan (National Review Online):
The best examples come from a famous floor statement Gingrich made on March 21, 1986. This was right in the middle of the fight over funding for the Nicaraguan contras; the money had been cut off by Congress in 1985, though Reagan got $100 million for this cause in 1986. Here is Gingrich: “Measured against the scale and momentum of the Soviet empire’s challenge, the Reagan administration has failed, is failing, and without a dramatic change in strategy will continue to fail. . . . President Reagan is clearly failing.” Why? This was due partly to “his administration’s weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail”; partly to CIA, State, and Defense, which “have no strategies to defeat the empire.” But of course “the burden of this failure frankly must be placed first on President Reagan.” Our efforts against the Communists in the Third World were “pathetically incompetent,” so those anti-Communist members of Congress who questioned the $100 million Reagan sought for the Nicaraguan “contra” rebels “are fundamentally right.” Such was Gingrich’s faith in President Reagan that in 1985, he called Reagan’s meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev “the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with Neville Chamberlain in 1938 in Munich.

In the current GOtP where Reagan is deified so consistently and canonized and adored, this is blasphemy of the first order.

Anyhow, when Gingrich calls Obama a "failure" it would seem he's in some interesting company.
posted by Skygazer at 8:21 PM on January 25, 2012


Actually, that chart shows his unfavorables going down during the last two weeks, but also his favorables going down since their peak in mid-December.

Are you perhaps reading that chart in reverse? The line on top, in red, is UNfavorables. It has risen from 43.7% to 54.8% since the primaries started, while his favorables dropped from 34.5% to 27.1%. In other words, when he got his closeup, he went from slightly negative to 2 to 1 negative.

So yeah, I think with 10 more months of exposure to Newt, the general public might find him a bit tiresome.
posted by msalt at 11:46 PM on January 25, 2012


"Are you perhaps reading that chart in reverse?"

No, what you wrote was: "check out how Newt's overall favorables/unfavorables have changed since he got so much attention over the last two weeks."

By that chart, Newt's unfavorables peaked at 56.6% on the 9th, which was two weeks and three days ago and one day before the NH primary, after which they've been steadily falling to 54.8 on the fitted curve two days ago, but with something about 51% for the actual data point. Likewise, his favorables peaked on Dec. 13th but have been falling steadily since (though less steeply beginning and during the same time frame as the decline in unfavorables), which is kind of weird.

Given the favorables decline, the decline in unfavorables isn't helping him nearly as much as it might have, his net has only improved a point. But note that this is all pretty silly as these numbers result from curve fitting to relatively sparse data. Nevertheless, the trends in both unfavorable and favorable are clear.

So, anyway, your argument seemed to be that with the increased attention in the last two weeks, Newt's unfavorables have worsened. But they haven't, they've improved.

There's only three data points for unfavorables since the ninth, but they alone have a much steeper downward slope than does the curve fitted to the larger pool. There's four data points for favorables during this period, and while the first three cluster together and show that clear downward trend, the last, most recent is the highest of the four and so could either be an outlier or indicative of a rise that would be more in keeping with the movement in unfavorables.

Speaking much more generally, your point is valid and that's why Josh titled the post "Holy Crap". During nearly a two-year period, Newt's unfavorables and favorables each have moved through about a 14 point range, yet never have been less than nine points away from crossing each other into a net positive. Newt has never had anything better than a net negative rating of about 9 points and it's been as high as almost 40 last July. That's really, really bad. And while that polling indicates an improvement in his unfavorables in the last two weeks, so far there's no indication that he's even remotely heading toward reaching a net positive.

It's not so much that Newt will poll worse once people see more of him, because Newt's already a very well known quantity. His numbers change because of how he's perceived relative to others, not on his own merit. People mostly already know what they need to know about him and know what they think of him. He looks better or worse in comparison to how the others are doing and so exposure in itself won't help or hurt him, but rather whether he gets exposure in the context of something happening that makes him look better or worse compared to his opponents. In that sense, there has been and will be some fluctuation because these are all crazy people. But it also establishes some hard limits on how much his polling could likely ever change. For example, I don't believe that it's possible for him to achieve a net positive on favorability. He could personally be blessed by Jesus Christ himself and he'd still have a net negative.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:44 AM on January 26, 2012


OK, sorry. You're right, I should have said "two months ago" not "two weeks." Because that's when Newt got his big publicity burst, in December when his turn atop the ratings came around, before a huge blast of negative Romney ads in Iowa brought his poll numbers back down.

I don't think those Romney ads are what hurt his standing, though -- they didn't run nationally or contain any new revelations. My opinion is, Americans love a winner and have short attention spans. Newt's improved slightly in the last two weeks simply because he won South Carolina, and was leading there beforehand.

Given our national love of winners, it's even more astonishing to me that his negatives rose so dramatically when he returned to national prominence after Thanksgiving, and stays so high even when he's the frontrunner. But I can see how someone might read the data differently.
posted by msalt at 7:59 AM on January 26, 2012


Fidel disapproves.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:03 AM on January 26, 2012


It's not so much that Newt will poll worse once people see more of him...

I wonder about that. Just think about three solid months of seeing Gingrich's pompous self-congratulating face and angry eyes, and even some of his supporters might get tired of him. People in America who respond well to the politics of resentment don't like it as the main course; they prefer it served with a big old dish of avuncularity. Gingrich is not Reagan.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:46 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


trend lines seem to be stabilizing for Romney in Florida, barring something else dramatic this may be the end of moon-base Newt. (I imagine there is a lot of pressure for Santorum to drop)
posted by edgeways at 9:59 AM on January 26, 2012


More on Romney's "Charity" contributions
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Newt Threatens China and Russia With Cyberwar
posted by homunculus at 11:18 AM on January 26, 2012


Cyberwar and offworld colonies by 2020 would certainly make him the most sci-fi candidate... has he been sighted wearing mirrorshades or a leather jacket?
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wondering about Brewer's weird "confrontation" perhaps she is trying to angle for a VP slot.
posted by edgeways at 11:27 AM on January 26, 2012


She may have cost Obama all 6 of his Arizona voters!
posted by Artw at 11:32 AM on January 26, 2012


Three Newt Moon.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:58 PM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


i have some reservations about romney's charitable givings, but i'd bet the catholic candidates count what they drop in the tray as charity too. as to supporting a cult? sure, i guess, with a really broad definition of cult - but the mormons also have a pretty thorough welfare system. i have personally benefited from mormon charity. there's a lot i hate about my former church, but charity/service is a really important part of the religion.
posted by nadawi at 2:57 PM on January 26, 2012


furiousxgeorge, I would pay good money for that shirt. Not sure what I would do with it, but damn that needs to exist.
Hey! Make it into a doormat! Sweeeeeeet.
posted by angrycat at 2:58 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


In 2008, Obama got 1,034, 737 votes in Arizona, compared to McCain's 1,230,111 (losing 45% to 54%)

With McCain not on the ticket this time around, and with the increasing Latino demographic in AZ, our state might even be a swing state this time around. I tell you, the GOP out here would plotz if Obama took AZ.

/fingers crossed
posted by darkstar at 3:31 PM on January 26, 2012


Wondering about Brewer's weird "confrontation" perhaps she is trying to angle for a VP slot.

She's selling books, just like Gingrich.
posted by empath at 3:41 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure how accurate it is, as Brewer just hasn't been on my radar for so long, but a lot of people are commentating she has a ...er... drinking problem. If that is the case, and reading a bit more about what even the Republican Mayor (Smith, who was right there) said about the confrontation (that Obama acted perfectly reasonable) I think I'll back off the running for VP wondering and chalk it up to more than likely she had too much liquid courage to bolster herself up for the day and then just kinda lost her shit like any given lush is likely to do.

All the running to the media afterwards? Yeah that is likely OMG I can sell bookz off this!!
posted by edgeways at 4:06 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


aaand, it looks like Mit is in for more financial drubbing, how long until we get a undocumented maid story?
posted by edgeways at 4:09 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Empath: She's selling books, just like Gingrich.

Exact-a-mundo.

That finger in the face is worth big money in sales to the GOTP/ex-KKK types who eat that stuff up. Also, please notice how she's used it as the precipitating event to announce that "Arizona is back!" Whatever the heck that means, and to put her self back onto the national stage.

I find it incredibly curious that she title her book Scorpions for Breakfast because in her case that constitutes cannibalism.
posted by Skygazer at 4:41 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It feels like Gingrich completely dropped the ball at tonight's (possibly final) debate.

On the issue of Romney's taxes, he could have hit hard on the fact that Mitt gladly turned over 23 years of returns to the McCain campaign when auditioning for vice president in 2008, but only felt two years were good enough for the American people today. If investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Goldman Sachs and Swiss bank accounts are on the books for two years when he knew he'd be running, what else could there be in his past? What is he hiding?

But instead, he abruptly flips and abandons the issue and calls it irrelevant, apparently trying to play off the audience applause Santorum got from expressing disgust over the question.

And on the Reagan attacks the have been dogging Gingrich the last few days -- he could have noted that his criticisms of Reagan were largely from the right, that Reagan wasn't doing enough to advance the conservative cause. Tie that into Democratic attacks on Republicans for demonizing policies that Reagan himself espoused, say that Reagan was a pioneer of his time but the envelope needs to be pushed further.

But instead, he fumbled with some name-dropping and then moved on.

Romney undercuts the idea of a private sector-backed lunar base by saying he'd fire anyone who suggested the idea. Leaving aside the opportunity to snipe at Romney's enthusiasm for firing people, Gongrich could have noted that returning to the moon could reap big benefits in terms of resources like water and rare elements, or even in increased militarization of space for the war hawks out there. But he stuck with vague notions of JFK inspiration and failed to practically justify the idea.

And Romney openly said he had no political convictions until late adulthood! What better chance to question the depth of his professed beliefs in the conservative cause, arguably his mos fundamental weakness among the GOP base? Crickets.

Just a terrible job pursuing obvious vulnerabilities rooted in issues that were sure to be brought up during the night.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:27 PM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Nah, Romney nailed the space question. We aren't talking about long term public investments in space, Gingrich's plan is for private corporations to build a moonbase in the next eight years and there is no economic reality in which it makes sense. It's insane and there isn't any way for Newt to defend the idea without suggesting public spending on it instead, which he would be hit on just as hard.

CNN asked if the new debate coach for Romney made a difference and I immediately out loud said to the TV: You betcha!

Agree with you on the other missed opportunities for Newt, Romney has been so predictable previously I don't think Newt was prepared to think on his feet on this stuff.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:39 PM on January 26, 2012


>It feels like Gingrich completely dropped the ball at tonight's (possibly final) debate.

Yeah, that was it-- the GOP primary is essentially over.

Newt will keep nipping at Romney's heels, but his chance to win is now buried at Moon Base Alpha.
posted by darth_tedious at 10:17 PM on January 26, 2012


Don't sleep on Romney's tax returns. He may have actually committed perjury on his financial disclosure forms.
posted by empath at 10:46 PM on January 26, 2012


According to who?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:34 AM on January 27, 2012


furiousxgeorge: "According to who?"

Story in the LA times, although never says "perjury".
posted by octothorpe at 4:44 AM on January 27, 2012


>It feels like Gingrich completely dropped the ball at tonight's (possibly final) debate.

I think Gingrich rightfully realized that he and Mitt going back and forth the way they were, bashing the hell out of one another was producing a quickly approaching point of saturation and diminishing results. Whereas in SC, he'd somehow assumed the audience was his to use as a weapon and a battering ram and punctation for his aggressive comments (which makes me wonder if there was some sort of crowd fixing), last nights audience seemed to be more evenly divided in it's support of the various candidates, to what looked like (laughably actually) Newt's bewilderment and slight surprise ("How dare they cheer my opponents?! I am NEWT GINGRICH and L'etat ce moi etc...").

Which makes me think he's really been winging it for a while here. He accidentally perhaps tapped into something in SC and actually let it guide him and it was hugely effective, but Florida presents a much more complex demographic with nuance and not the rather simplistic GOTP wet dream of a demographic that is SC, and it left him a bit confused as to his actual convictions it would seem.

It was first of all, wildly hypocritical and sick-making to see both Newt and Mitt desperately ingratiating themselves to hispanic Americans when for the last I don't know how many years hispanics and immigrants have been a massive scapegoat for the Right. I was pleased to see how few Hispanics under 45 were at the Republican Hispanic conference CNN cut too...and that's the fastest growing demographic of hispanics and they're overwhelmingly alienated and repulsed by the Right. That payback is going to be a bitch for the GOP, and rightfully so.

The other thing I found of interest is the alliances that seem to be building between the four, with Romney courting Paul it would seem, and Gingrich courting Santorum. Did anyone else notice that happening?

One last thing I've noticed is Newt's constant looking over to the front row on his Right to what's become apparent at this point is some sort of coaching going on from that area...

Look for it in the next debate. It's interesting stuff. Newt is one slimy and smart son of bitch, there can be no doubt about it, and I would not rule him out for a while.

Then again the Romn-E 2012 v.2 (or firmware 3 at this point right?), has had his debate skills pushed to the max, and as I've said before I just don't think he's designed for that level of aggression without serious over-heating and a loss in performance levels, defended himself well, but may have blown a gasket and perjured himself there when discussing his "Blind trust" investments...

I'm sure we'll soon find out, either way.
posted by Skygazer at 5:04 AM on January 27, 2012


yeah, I think this primary is all but over now. Newt had his moment in the Sun and can take his moonbase home... someone on FB just said: Silly Newt, all the Heinlein Libertarians are already voting for Ron Paul anyway
posted by edgeways at 6:39 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This explains so much.
posted by maudlin at 10:39 AM on January 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


O.M.G. maudlin, that's incredible.
posted by darkstar at 10:43 AM on January 27, 2012


I think Romney will take Florida and, after that, he'll pretty mch have the nom sewn up. I don't hink he could beat Obama, with the exception of one possible Veep choice: Rubio. A Romney/Rubio ticket could take Florida in the General and probably give Obama a serious run for his money overall.
posted by darkstar at 10:47 AM on January 27, 2012


aaand, it looks like Mit is in for more financial drubbing, how long until we get a undocumented maid story?

He already weathered that storm in Mass. about five years ago, only it was gardeners, not maids --- as I recall, he was reported to have blurted something like "my god, do you know how this will look? I'm the governor," and canned the landscaping company toot sweet. I imagine they've been extra careful at Romneytron HQ ever since.
posted by Diablevert at 11:03 AM on January 27, 2012


Ah missed that, although it does ring faint bells somewhere...

I imagine they've been extra careful at Romneytron HQ ever since.

Yeah, you would think so, but you'd think they would have been more careful about those tax record things as well.
posted by edgeways at 12:19 PM on January 27, 2012


I'm Newt Gingrich, and I strongly approve of this ad
posted by homunculus at 12:24 PM on January 27, 2012


Romney attacked Kennedy's blind trusts in the 1994 Senate debate:
Romney said "The blind trust is an age-old ruse. You give a blind trust rules. You can say to a blind trust, don't invest in properties which would be in conflict of interest or where the seller might think they're going to get an advantage from me."
posted by Rhaomi at 12:42 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gingrich's Space Colony May Run Afoul Of International Law
posted by homunculus at 1:20 PM on January 27, 2012


Jon Stewart: Newt wants to leave Earth for a younger, healthier planet.
posted by msalt at 1:37 PM on January 27, 2012


Story in the LA times, although never says "perjury".

Yeah I know there are discrepancies but I see absolutely zero reporting that it might be perjury.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:38 PM on January 27, 2012


Newt's Super PAC just started airing a new ad in Florida called "Blood Money." It's basically about Mitt's connection to Damon Corporation, and apparently how much he loves to take money from older people and make them suffer and die. Here's their mittsbloodmoney.com website with an additional 7-minute documentary, should you ceave even more sinister music and black-and-white-photos and signs of Medicare recipients hanging their heads in despair.

Fuck this election, now it actually has me sounding like I want to defend Mitt Romney.
posted by argonauta at 7:09 PM on January 27, 2012


Gotta wonder though if Newt really thinks he can run a national race just by screaming "Alinsky! Alinsky! Alinsky!" I mean, if it were that easy that shit would've worked in '08.

Well, it worked in '84.
posted by homunculus at 7:15 PM on January 27, 2012


Herman Cain Endorses Gingrich, Maybe Widens Romney’s Lead
posted by homunculus at 10:36 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


argonauta: The Damon Corp. story is pretty sorry, even outside of Gingrich campaign ads. Here's my writeup of it. By coincidence, Rick Santorum made some money off of Medicare fraud, too (indirectly).
posted by msalt at 5:24 PM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hoot Hoot for Newt!
posted by octothorpe at 5:34 PM on January 29, 2012


Next weeks New Yorker cover.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:46 PM on January 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


Saul Alinsky: The activist who terrifies the right. Newt and other conservatives are obsessed with tying Obama to Saul Alinsky. Here's where their hatred comes from
posted by homunculus at 1:07 PM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


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