As remarkable as it may seem, we can no longer exclude the possibility that the Republican Party will nominate Newt Gingrich for president. And it's remarkable for this reason: that apart from Sarah Palin, there is no major public figure in America today with such an attenuated connection to reality.
Many people have flailed Newt for being a philanderer; a corporate shill; a crass greedhead; an egomaniac; and a cranky, crabby, crotchety, caustic, cantankerous, choleric cus. All of that may be true, but I think that it may miss the point. The point is that Newt is wrong, wrong, wrong. Consistently wrong. Shockingly wrong. Newt Gingrich is the Emily Litella of politics.
Not exactly what we are looking for in a president.
How can I put this politely? Newt is not astute. Newt's grasp of things is minute. Newt's credibility is in disrepute. What Newt says in not hard to refute. When it comes to understanding what goes on, Newt is not acute. When Newt is talking, the truth is often lost enroute.
In fact, if the consequences of a presidential election were not so serious, you could say that Newt is a hoot, to boot. Unintentionally funny, but still funny.
(Please note that I did not call Newt a crazy old coot, even though that rhymes.)
Every once in a while, you can see Mitt Romney lapse into some artificial-vanilla-flavored, white-bread, apple-sauce lie. Newt's lies are totally different. Newt's lies are psilocybin-laced, psychedelic, eighth-dimension lies.
In fact, it just does not do them justice to call them lies. They're delusions.
In Shakespeare's Macbeth, the first ingredient for the witches' brew that the witches use to cast an evil spell is "eye of newt." Today, in American politics, the first ingredient is "mouth of Newt."
As I public service, I'm going to turn this missive over to Newt, so you can see for yourself. Here goes:
"In Washington, D.C., 800 babies are left in dumpsters a year." Actually, there were four, during one year.
People can use food stamps "for anything," including "to go to Hawaii." Uh, no. They're food stamps, not vacation stamps.
When the United States "first created the federal income tax, frankly, nobody below a million dollars a year paid anything." Actually, everyone who earned over $4000 paid the tax.
"We must expect the Soviet system to survive for a very long time. There will be Soviet labor camps and Soviet torture chambers well into our grandchildren's lives." As Rick Perry might say, "oops."
"For four years, we balanced the budget and paid off $405 billion in debt." Actually, during Gingrich's four years as Speaker, the federal debt grew by more than $800 billion.
"The Clintons are counterculture McGovernicks." And Ron Paul is my Secret Santa.
"Up to 25% of the White House, when they first came in, had used drugs within the past 4 or 5 years." Fabrication'R'Us.
"Most people don't realize it's illegal to pray in school, most people somehow think that's not true."Because it's not true.
"We spend less on defense today as % of GDP than at any time since Pearl Harbor." Actually, defense spending in 2010 was a higher percentage of GDP than in any year since 1991. So not just wrong, but wrong for 19 years in a row.
The 2009 American Recovery Act "is anti-Christian legislation that will stop churches from using public schools for meeting on Sundays, as well as Boy Scouts and student Bible study groups." Well, it's 2011, and that hasn't happened yet.
The Affordable Healthcare Act creates what "would, in effect, be death panels." Oh, please. Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich -- great minds think alike.
The Dodd-Frank Act "establishes a mandatory 20 percent down payment to buy a house." Politifact:" There is no such requirement."
"I never favored cap and trade." Except on national TV.
"The problem isn't too little money in political campaigns, but not enough." In his campaign, maybe.
If Newt Gingrich does win the Republican nomination, then next year, we can choose between one candidate who has won the Nobel Prize for Peace, and another candidate who is constantly seeking the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Follow Rep. Alan Grayson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/alangrayson