Gabriel Winant just couldn’t resist. The Salon writer wants to ignore Newt Gingrich and his “regrettable career” since leaving the House. He knows Newt craves attention, and he doesn’t want to give it to him. As Winant writes, “Gingrich has always thought of himself as a world-historical figure and leading intellectual light of his age,” and he doesn’t want to take him seriously. But with gems like these, he can’t help himself:
After all this incoherent bile, Gingrich tries to end on an upbeat note. “If you’re serious about meeting the challenges America faces in the next quarter century,” he says, “you had better be for very, very bold change, and for, therefore, shaking up the existing institutional structure and the existing power structure, very dramatically. Because you can never get them to agree voluntarily to the change you need.”
I’m as sure as can be that if Obama had said something like that, Gingrich would cite it as proof-positive that he’s building a Chavista-Alinskyite-socialist-revolutionary machine.
Of course, Obama did say similar things when he argued for the healthcare reform bill that most of the country opposed. He said he was passing something politically unpopular for the good of the people who didn’t want it. “I will not accept the status quo as a solution. Not this time. Not now,” he declared.
I know that many in this country are deeply skeptical that government is looking out for them. I understand that the politically safe move would be to kick the can further down the road – to defer reform one more year, or one more election, or one more term.
But that’s not what the moment calls for. That’s not what we came here to do. We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it.
Sounds an awful lot like Newt, doesn’t he? But Republicans criticized Obama for using just such a tone. (Obama, incidentally, approvingly quoted Newt in another speech on health care reform.)
For more on Newt, see TAC‘s satire columnist Chase Madar imagine the former House Speaker’s latest work of historical fiction in the February issue.