“I call it the Madman Theory, Bob. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I've reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We'll just slip the word to them that, ‘for God's sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about Communism. We can't restrain him when he's angry—and he has his hand on the nuclear button’ and Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace.”
Perhaps that’s been Newt Gingrich’s strategy his entire career.
?Jon Meacham’s January 23 article in Time magazine, “Why Newt Is Like Nixon,” is as much a question about how Speaker Gingrich was able to come back in the polls a second time, winning my home state of South Carolina.
John Meacham, perhaps hoping for guilt by association, presents Gingrich as winning “with a glower,” and winning by a glower, in a state he calls “raw,” meaning angry, hateful. And this is a common rationalization from the liberal media: Gingrich is faking anger, dodging the real questions about his record by putting the media on trial.
But I would like to respond with a conservative perspective.
What we are seeing from Newt is complete authenticity; it is precisely such authenticity that primary voters have loved in him thus far, and not found in his nearest rival, Governor Romney. Both men are dramatically better qualified to lead our country than Barack Obama, but theirs are two contrasting styles. Romney aspires to be the first businessman-president, Newt the philosopher-king president.
?Gingrich does, in several ways, resemble President Nixon, however.
Most obviously, they are men the liberal media (and if it includes anyone, includes Mr. Meacham’s Time magazine) likes to portray as evil geniuses, scheming to starve the poor and bomb our peaceable enemies. Nixon, long before his descent into paranoia and downfall, was already demonized as the puppeteer behind Eisenhower – a man whom the media made to look doltish beside his opponent, the liberal (and therefore saintly) Governor Stevenson.
Gingrich led the Republican Party for eight years and consistently was portrayed as the Grinch, as a dangerous man plotting to undo liberalism’s sixty year triumph in Washington. He’s smart—too smart!
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