In Libyan flip-flop, Gingrich shows his worst instincts

NOTE: This post contains material published earlier on this blog. It is posted here as the electronic version of today’s AJC column.

Gov. Nathan Deal, returning a political favor from last year’s Republican gubernatorial primary, has said he would endorse Newt Gingrich once the former speaker makes his presidential run official.
U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, who represents Gingrich’s old district, has followed suit, even going so far as to claim that Gingrich “absolutely” would carry Georgia in next year’s presidential primary.
This week, former Gov. Sonny Perdue joined the bandwagon.
“The American people are very hungry for a way back to prosperity,” Perdue told AJC reporters. “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.”
That’s quite a statement: “I think Newt Gingrich would make a great president.” Personally, I can’t fathom the disconnect that allows a person to utter such words with a straight face.
Ideally, our elected leaders would be better people than the rest of us: smarter, harder working, more honest. But they’re not. We have a representative form of government, and our leaders are truly representative of those who elect them. A few are crooks, others are honest public servants. Some are pretty dim; others are very bright. Some are lazy; others are as hard working as anybody you’ve ever met. And that broad range can be found in roughly equal proportions among both political parties. Partisan affiliation offers no guide to character.
I’ve written about politics for most of my career now. 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.
I can’t say that about Gingrich, who has long struck me as an amoral man of no true conviction or character. He cannot do what he honestly thinks is right because he himself has no idea what his own honest beliefs might be. He has no inner core. And while that’s a harsh judgment, they 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.
Consider, for example, Gingrich’s recent statements on U.S. policy in Libya. Earlier this month, when President Barack Obama was clearly reluctant to commit U.S. firepower to support Libyan rebels, Gingrich was pressing the case for an immediate imposition of a no-fly zone, with the goal of removing Moammar Gadhafi from power.
“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 Obama decided to commit U.S. forces to impose a no-fly zone, Gingrich suddenly reversed his position, condemning the policy he once advocated. Asked on The Today Show this whether the United States should try to oust 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.”
And that too was uttered with typical Gingrichian certainty. No politician I’ve ever encountered — and no one I’ve encountered in private life — could put on such a performance without showing at least a tinge of shame. But that’s our Newt.

– Jay Bookman

17 comments Add your comment

Scott

March 25th, 2011
8:44 am

Again…..How about Obama and Biden’s flipflops. When is Biden going to push for impeachment of his boss?

The Oddball

March 25th, 2011
8:51 am

Gingrich reminds me of Lenin. His positions on the issues may change from day to day or hour to hour, but one thing always remains constant: He is the ONLY person who is right.

Cooler heads

March 25th, 2011
9:09 am

Scott: Whenever someone deflects to make a comparison to the opposition, you know the content written is solid and truthful, and can’t be defended. Every time.

1811/1801 - 0311/0317

March 25th, 2011
9:14 am

Scott:

Don’t you know only Republicans/Conservatives can “flip-flop”.

Demoncrats can’t do that because ……… well ……….. they’re perfect.

DW

March 25th, 2011
9:16 am

How can idiots continue to support such a worthless d0uche bag?

1811/1801 - 0311/0317

March 25th, 2011
9:24 am

Jay:

What is amazing about this thread in the electronic version of today’s AJC is that management at the AJC is running it even after the beating you took from the posters the first time.

The political “radiation bias” at the AJC could never be more clearly heard on the “geiger counter of respectable journalism”!

Hey ……….. that was pretty good even if I say so myself …………………. :o

upUStooter

March 25th, 2011
10:52 am

I had my suspicions on Party Flip-Floppers/Opportunists both, Sonny per Doo-doo and Nathan “Rotten” Deal…Sort of appropriate for Party Flippers to endorse Stink-Rich, who flip-flopped on 2 marriages.

Bobby

March 25th, 2011
11:09 am

” can’t say that about Gingrich, who has long struck me as an amoral man of no true conviction or character. He cannot do what he honestly thinks is right because he himself has no idea what his own honest beliefs might be. He has no inner core. And while that’s a harsh judgment, they 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”

Uh, does the name Bill Clinton ring a bell? Because you could have used those exact words to describe him.

Bill Orvis White

March 25th, 2011
12:02 pm

Oh Lord, I’m so sick of this! You just hate Speaker Gingrich. Just come out and say it for the Lord’s sake. It’s a fact that Mr. Gingrich would make a great president because he would radically change the way government does business. Legal citizens on all levels would prosper under a rightful Gingrich regime. Also, did you know Liberal Jay, that IBM offered to work for Hussein Obama for free? Yes. IBM was going to lend its hard work to find waste and fraud in healthcare. That maneuver would have saved the taxpayers over $900 billion dollars! Why did “President” Obama reject the free offer? WHY? Because he never cared about saving hard-earned dollars. All Hussein Obama wishes to do is to tax and spend it all. Speaker Gingrich would have accepted such an offer. He would have done that and reduced the size and scope of what the federal gov’t does.

Speaker Gingrich is simply more qualified to be president that what was installed into the White House in early 2009. I for one, am sick of liberals bash Speaker Gingrich day in and day out!

Amen,
Bill

Adam

March 25th, 2011
1:13 pm

Don’t you know only Republicans/Conservatives can “flip-flop”.

Demoncrats can’t do that because ……… well ……….. they’re perfect.

I seem to remember the opposite during the 2000 and 2004 elections, and saw back-video evidence of the same throughout most presidential elections. Nearly every time a “flip flop” was thrown out as a slur it was against a DEMOCRAT.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” –George Santayana

Adam

March 25th, 2011
1:14 pm

Bill: Why don’t you just come out and say you hate Obama because he’s black or foreign or something? Then maybe you can make demands on other people “just coming out” to say stuff.

Mighy Righty

March 25th, 2011
4:21 pm

I would never support Gingrich for many of the same reasons you mention unless he were to run against Obama. Frankly, everything you wrote about Gingrich except for the three wives is ditto for Obama. Obama is a master of the lie sometimes even in the same sentence.

mehlman rings twice

March 26th, 2011
4:29 am

Jay, do you know what has Nupt upset the most? He just can’t stand the fact that the previous American leadership could not spur our supposed “allies” to fight in Afghanistan (GWB admitted this on 60 Minutes) but this President has managed to lead them to act in Libya.

mehlman rings twice

March 26th, 2011
4:42 am

Nupt needs more money from his donors to help him make up his mind.

Julie T

March 28th, 2011
9:42 am

He will fit right in with our Tea Party – a raving hypocrite that is in the game to make money!!!!

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