A moment's sympathy, please, for the current plight of the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the sporadically honorable Newton Leroy Gingrich of Georgia.
OK -- moment's over.
"Poor Newt"? Absolutely -- if by "poor," you mean "lacking." Lacking in honesty, for instance, or integrity. Seriously lacking in morals. And now -- worst of all, from Newt's perspective -- lacking in luck.
Just when he thought he'd made his way back from serial scandal to respectability, just when he saw a path opening before him that could even lead to a certain oval office on Pennsylvania Avenue... suddenly, stupid is in.
It's not about having a grasp of history, it's about grabbing the microphone. It's not about thinking deep thoughts, with multiple moving parts, about the ebb and flow of political philosophies and the societal and technological imperatives of the future; it's about tweeting.
Welcome to the Age of Palin. Welcome to the Age of Keepin' It Simple. What a rotten break for the smartest man Newt Gingrich has ever met: Newt Gingrich. Stupid is in, and Newt's trying to adjust.
Outrageous is in, too -- or did you somehow miss the recent wall-to-wall coverage of a barely coherent Florida pastor with a stack of Qurans and a box of matches? Welcome to the Age of Jones. When everyone knows it was supposed to be the Age of Newt. (Well, maybe not everyone.)
What a disappointment!
All of which may go some way toward explaining Newt Gingrich's latest attempt to get noticed in all the right places. Which is to say, in all the far-right places.
If stupid is in, if outrageous is in... Newt Gingrich has decided to opine about Barack Obama.
Not for the first time, of course. For months, he's been warning about the grave dangers of Barack Obama's "secular-socialist machine," whatever that is. But whatever it is, it apparently wasn't enough -- "secular-socialist machine" just didn't have the buzz it takes to cut through the media clutter and rule the blogosphere. Not even when Newt also started comparing the Obama administration to the regimes of those other well-known community organizers, Hitler and Stalin. But our Newt is nothing if not persistent. He decided to try yet again.
"What if he's so outside our comprehension," Newt wondered aloud just last weekend, about the 44th president of the United States, "that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?"
So clever, our Newt -- he wasn't quite saying that Barack Obama does, in fact, indulge in "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior," whatever that is. He merely asked "What if...?"
He didn't even say -- not in so many words, anyway -- that Barack Obama was a Kenyan, as the "birthers," unmoved by facts, by evidence, so desperately insist. But he threw the mob a bone -- a little hint that he's with them. A little wink. Almost a Sarah Palin wink, you could say -- with a dash of Pastor Jones thrown in for extra heat.
"What if...?" Sure -- what if?
What if Newt Gingrich has poisonous snakes and lice-infested rodents where his brain should be? What if Newt Gingrich has finally lost it once and for all? What if Newt Gingrich crawled back under his rock?
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.