David Brooks on The Gingrich Tragedy by Political Observer

“Of all the major Republicans, the one who comes closest to my worldview is Newt Gingrich. Despite his erratically shifting views and odd phases, he continually returns to this core political refrain: He talks about using government in energetic but limited ways to increase growth, dynamism and social mobility.”

In the opening paragraph of Mr. Brooks essay he demonstrates that he learned many things from his mentor William F. Buckley Jr., but the most obvious was always to couch your arguments within the confines of the assertions of an expert,or someone who speaks with the voice of authority, that somehow makes it more believable, than some mere weak argument on the part of an opinionator compared to that of a Pundit, with a capital P. Even while some readers could consider these opening sentences as carrying a certain ironic,comic potential. In his essay titled The Gingrich Tragedy he compares his own philosophical positions to that of Mr. Gingrich . One might just compare Mr. Brooks’ petite bourgeois Conservatism and its fealty to propriety and conformity wedded to Free Market economics to the polemics of Mr. Gingrich’s vulgarized Social Darwinian world view, but his history of political incompetence, even malfeasance, as demonstrative of his being unsuitable for the Presidency is barely touched upon, except for a slight scolding. And he mentions not at all, the thought and practice of male privilege as being under question, as it remains unaddressed in this essay, perhaps they see eye to eye on that all important question. But the question of Mr. Gingrich’s support of an activist federal government in the making and enforcing of policy is the great impediment that renders Mr. Gingrich unsuitable for the office of President. Here is Mr. Brooks vivid description of Mr. Gingrich:

“… Gingrich, who seems to have walked straight out of the 1960s. He has every negative character trait that conservatives associate with ’60s excess: narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance. He just has those traits in Republican form.”

The words narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance could be a description of Mr. Brooks, as well,- of course, when he is not at his best. Mr. Brooks is in every way the respectable paterfamilias sounding a warning against the precipitate Mr. Gingrich, while maintaining every bit of his dignity, his pride and most important of all his status as a respectful dissident within the Party. His concluding sentences are worthy of full quotation:

“But how you believe something is as important as what you believe. It doesn’t matter if a person shares your overall philosophy. If that person doesn’t have the right temperament and character, stay away.”

Political Observer



About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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