“I’ve never seen an administration, even the Carter administration was never as routinely chaotic,” Newt Gingrich told CNN. “Every time you turn around, this administration is fumbling somewhere around the world.”
His reckless attack on President Obama the other day ought to infuriate liberals and progressives alike. After eight years of reckless disregard for any diplomacy at all, Republicans ought to think twice about venturing forth on that subject. They are in no position to criticize because they have already proven they have no idea what diplomacy even is.
Gingrich claims he sees a gap between “the clarity and focus of that campaign and the confusion of the presidency.”
This sounds an awful lot like an accusation that the presidency isn’t ideologically driven, which is counter to the meme Gingrich otherwise seems to be pushing.
Now remember, Gingrich has called Obama “the most radical president in American history.” A strange accusation made by one of the most radical congressmen in American history against what is in fact a very centrist president. Remember too, the source of Obama’s radicalism according to Gingrich:
A “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview. Dinshe D’Souza (ex-boy-toy to demagogues Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham) wrote in Forbes magazine,
“Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father’s dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost”.
And Gingrich thought this analysis was a “stunning insight”.
“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”
We need to remember this – it is essential to remember this – as we track Gingrich’s rhetoric on Obama. He began his attack by declaring that Obama is “not one of us.” He’s one of “them.” This is more dangerous than simply calling Obama a liberal or progressive ideologue. He is feeding on the birther meme that Obama is not American at all. He has already delegitimized the president, sowing fear and doubt, and then followed up this attack with discrediting his foreign policy.
This politician of a authoritarian and totalitarian party, a man who has re-invented himself a politician somewhere to the right of the Tea Party, has stated that we need to “save America” from Obama and Obama-led authoritarianism and totalitarianism.
And apparently President Obama, who actually HAS a foreign policy, needs to get his act together. What exactly this might mean under the circumstances is anyone’s guess. Does Gingrich want Obama to emulate Bush, and have no direction at all? Simply shoot from the hip and attack people on a whim? Or to detract attention from his domestic problems?
You see, a foreign policy should show some concern for the actual geopolitical situation – the “conditions on the ground” that your fellow Republican Liz Cheney was complaining about the other day. I think most of us can agree that this is more important than an adherence to ideology. But Republicans don’t like the pragmatic approach. Pragmatism is somehow an ideology and all ideology is bad unless it is conservative ideology, which in some way apparently isn’t an ideology at all but simply “common sense.”
It’s enough to make your head spin. It’s certainly reasonable to suppose that Gingrich’s head spins. He is acting like a hyperactive demonic-possession victim as he preps for a possible 2012 presidential run. He wisely declined to run in ’08 but there is no reason to suppose he will show the same sensible restraint next time around. He seems to be keying himself up, and attacks like this serve no other purpose than to draw attention to himself and away from the very real accomplishments of our serving president.
We have enough unreasoning, reckless hate emanating from Sarah Palin. Do we really need it from another possible contender? Is there nothing more to foreign policy than hate and an out of control nuclear-armed American exceptionalism? As if there wasn’t already enough for the United States to apologize for after the Bush maladministration. It is difficult to imagine what the world landscape will look like after four years of Gingrich (or Palin).
We can’t afford it. Our country is broke and exhausted. We don’t need any more cowboy adventurism or ideologically or religiously driven crusades. We need real common sense, and that is something that exists only in the imagination in the right-of-center American political landscape.
An argument is only as good as its foundations, and in this case, Gingrich’s point-of-departure is just plain fantasy. Any argument based on the less than credible premise that Obama is a Muslim or a “Kenyan anti-colonialist” will not be any more credible in itself. A balanced scale – some of you may remember those old scales with weights, has to be poised in the middle, not towards the left or right, or it won’t weigh properly, and Gingrich’s scale is set far to the right. His argument is flawed from the outset.
Back in 1812, Republican newspapers did something very familiar to those of us of the post-9/11 world, they accused everyone not thinking like they did of being traitors and “tories” (about on a par with terrorists) and said “whoever is not for us, is against us.” The Boston Gazette had an answer for that, and it will be my answer now:
“Agreed, if you say so. [We] are against you…and the opposition to you will increase through every stage of your madness.”
Let that be our battle cry.