Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Michael Barone reviews the career of Newt Gingrich.
As for the public, Gingrich became widely unpopular due, as I wrote then, to "a cocksureness, a professorial abstractness about policy, a more than occasional petulance and high self regard." He also showed a tin ear for proprieties, divorcing two wives to marry other women and signing a seven-figure book contract as speaker (later dropped), just as he signed up for seven figures from Freddie Mac after leaving office. Asked a year ago whether he was running, Gingrich said, "Why wouldn't I?" When his campaign staff resigned en masse, he persevered. Now we'll see if voters entrust this autodidact with a position for which few of his colleagues think he is fitted.
I think his current popularity is either due to ignorance of his past or a deliberate indifference based on a desire to think he's changed. Nobody excels in Washington as spectacularly as Gingrich has without great talent, a great ego, or both. Some make it through playing politics, through connections. Others by a combination of talent and chutzpah. I see Gingrich as the latter. But I don't think the Presidency will satisfy his need to prove how great he is, because merely cutting spending and regulation won't satisfy his need to be the one with the answers nobody else recognized.


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