As I pointed out in a post Monday, Newt Gingrich believes that, frankly, Newt Gingrich is absolutely wrong about Libya.
Not long ago, Gingrich was making the rounds demanding that the United States immediately impose a no-fly zone in Libya. “The United States doesn’t need anybody’s permission. We don’t need to have NATO, who frankly, won’t bring much to the fight. We don’t need to have the United Nations. All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening,” he told Greta Van Susteren on Fox.
“This is a moment to get rid of him. Do it. Get it over with.”
And he said that with the absolute, deadpan conviction that is the Gingrich trademark.
However, once President Obama decided to commit U.S. forces to impose a no-fly zone, Gingrich immediately reversed his position, suddenly condemning the policy he once advocated. The contrast with his earlier position was never more blatant than in his remarks this morning on The Today Show. Asked directly whether the United States should try to oust Moammar Gadhafi, here’s how the former speaker responded:
“I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Gadhafi. I think there were a lot of allies in the region that we could have worked with. I would not have used American or European forces, bombing an Arab country.”
I’ve covered a lot of politicians over the years. Some have been crooks, others have been honest public servants; some have been pretty dim, a few have been very bright. Some have been lazy; others have been the hardest working people you’ll find in any line of work. And that broad range can be found in roughly equal proportions among both political parties. Partisan affiliation offers no guide to character.
Over that time, the single politician I’ve criticized most harshly was probably President George W. Bush. I thought — and still think — that he was a poor president who made disastrously bad decisions for the country. But through all of that, I never lost respect for Bush as a person. He had a moral compass, inaccurate though I thought it was, and he was doing what he honestly thought was right.
Gingrich, by contrast, is a shameless liar, an amoral man of no true conviction or character. He can’t do what he honestly thinks is right because he himself has no idea what his own honest beliefs might be. And while that’s harsh, those are not words that I use lightly, in public or even in private; in fact, I cannot think of another American politician who even approaches him in that regard.
But he does have his fans. Back in January, I predicted that even though Gingrich was planning to base his presidential campaign here in Georgia, few Georgia politicians would support him. I was wrong. Since then, Gov. Nathan Deal has said he would endorse Gingrich’s candidacy, as did U.S. Rep Phil Gingrey, who holds Gingrich’s old seat. Gingrey even predicted that the former speaker would “absolutely” carry Georgia in the GOP primary.
This week, former Gov. Sonny Perdue also joined the Gingrich bandwagon.
“The American people are very hungry for a way back to prosperity,” Perdue said. “Newt Gingrich can articulate that in a way that will appeal to a lot of people. If he runs, I think Newt Gingrich would make a great president. He will be able to count on my support.”
“I think Newt Gingrich would make a great president.” I can’t fathom the disconnect that allows a person to say such words with a straight face.
– Jay Bookman