Newt: The Great Debater
by Melvyn_Fein
March 05, 2012 10:31 AM | 5060 views | 0 0 comments | 279 279 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Newt Gingrich is wooing Georgia voters with radio advertisements that tout his debating skills.  They feature what purport to have ordinary voters praising Gingrich’s abilities in a one-on-one confrontation.  The idea is that Newt will clean Obama’s clock and thereby get himself elected.

This conceit, however, is fatuous.  First, Barack is not a moron.  He will not agree to more debates than he thinks he can handle.  Moreover, he will learn from the Republican debates, hence he will go into them with a good idea of what to expect.

Add to this the fact that Obama is both bright and articulate, and also that he is president, and Newt will have to be respectful.  The playing field will therefore tilt toward the incumbent.  There is no way Gingrich will be able to lecture him the way he has journalistic moderators.

Nor is Gingrich the fantastic debater he now pretends.  Remember what happened when Romney caught him flat-footed regarding his investments in Fannie-Mae?  Gingrich did not have a facile answer and so he stood there with egg on his face.  So tongue-tied did he become that by general agreement he was the big loser.

Consider as well that Obama has legions of expert researchers at his disposal.  It is almost inconceivable that these folks will not be able to dig up something else that is embarrassing to Newt.  What will happen then?

Besides, all of this is a sideshow.  We are electing a president, not a debater-in-chief.  If Gingrich cannot cure our current economic and budgetary woes, then it does not matter how articulate he is.  The time will surely come when he will be unable to explain his failures to an impatient public.

Indeed, our current president is as skilled in speechifying as it is possible for a politician to be.  He is so eloquent that he can rationalize his way out of virtually any debacle.  As long as people have the will to believe, he can find the words to fool them into thinking that the sky is green or that the oceans are subsiding.

If all that Gingrich can provide is a me-too glibness, then he is no improvement over the status quo.  Furthermore, to judge from his recent performances, the best he seems to be able to offer are lame metaphors.  Thus, he says he is going to save the poor by giving them a trampoline.  Really?

Finally, Gingrich is mean.  He is also vindictive.  Describing himself as “cheerful,” as he did in the last debate, was a bad joke.  When he gets to arguing one-on-one with someone who can give him a run for his money, his nasty side is bound to emerge.  And if it does, forget about any debating points he might score.

Or, heaven forbid, if he gets to be president, imagine all of the people he will offend.  Nowadays he brags about not being a team player.  Is this supposed to signify that he is going to be a one-man band when he gets to the White House?  How do you think that work out?

Oh, I forgot, he also says that he will be on the side of the American people.  It is presumably we, his fellow Americans, who will constitute his new teammates.  Yet isn’t this just another pathetic metaphor?  Isn’t this just another case of Newt always knows best?

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