When pirhana are isolated from moving water for a period of time, say by a flood that leaves a group of them stranded in a tidepool, they devour every last scrap of organic matter in that little puddle. Once they've gobbled up everything that can be eaten, they start to eat each other. Heart-warming, isn't it? You could make your own Republican version of "Happy Feet" on that premise alone. Frankly, I can't think of a better metaphor for the GOP now that 2006 is drawing to a close.
Sweaty little glob of Crisco Newt Gingrich is like the poster child for this phenomenon as he continues to bob up in the media again and again. Once the darling of the Republican Congress and former Time Magazine Man of the Year, Little Newtie's personal night of the long knives was somewhere back around the Clinton Impeachment, wasn't it? It happened off stage and kind of out of sight, as I recall. There was a snapping sound and a muffled squawk from the wings and suddenly it was all about Tom DeLay and Ken Starr.
But now, look. He's back and bawling like a wounded calf as he tries to get some licks of his own in as payback for his turn as a Roman Senate-style pincushion. ("Et tu, DeLay?") Oh, Plucky Newt. Why, you're just as tenacious as a plantar wart.
Nobody kills their darlings like the GOP. Every couple years they draw lots and some roly poly little Caligula gets to be their King until, eventually, he gets taken up the temple steps for his "Apocalypto" moment.
He is like a hyena that you shoot and gut, then you see a few hours later, loping along in his stinking way, oblivious to the fact that he is not only dead, but gutted as well.
How could he have known that he was describing a syndrome that would ultimately become a Republican Lifestyle Choice with Newton Leroy Gingrich as its avatar?
As most of us know, Gingrich was one of the point men in the Talibangelical Agenda's shock and awe campaign against and subsequent occupation of American policy. He rode in on a steaming pile of bombastic rhetoric against liberals, gays, and fornicators, and in the words of Dick Meyer, did it all with epic sanctimony. And yet, from his own private life we have this gem:
For one thing, Gingrich pioneered a denial of adultery that some observers would later christen "the Newt Defense": Oral sex doesn't count. In a revealing psychological portrait of the "inner" Gingrich that appeared in Vanity Fair (September 1995), Gail Sheehy uncovered a woman, Anne Manning, who had an affair in Washington in 1977 with a married Gingrich.
"We had oral sex," Manning revealed. "He prefers that modus operandi because then he can say, 'I never slept with her.'" She added that Gingrich threatened her: "If you ever tell anybody about this, I'll say you're lying."
You know, it's weird. That reminds me of something else, but I can't quite put my…ah, well, never mind.
Then of course, there was his, "Hey! Let's shut down the government!" party. Followed by, of course, the whole impeachment deal, which basically meant that the entire duration of Newt's ascendency and reign was characterized by complete governmental paralysis from the neck down. Everything this man presided over was a spectacular, raging cock-up of global proportions.
Even the NRO (in a 2000 review of Michael Pack's documentary "The Fall of Newt Gingrich") seems to see Newt for what he really is:
While Michael Pack skillfully leads his audience on a surprisingly intimate, contemporaneous view of Gingrich's turbulent flight into the sea, his documentary should have refreshed their memories of Gingrich's egoism, bombast, and severe foot-in-mouth disease. Absent these failings, Gingrich might have survived the GOP's November 1998 losses. He distracted attention from the GOP's 1994 takeover of Congress with his ill-conceived, multimillion-dollar book deal. He created further ill will when he whined about having to exit the back door of Air Force One after returning from Yitzhak Rabin's funeral. He caused even more jaws to drop when he blamed "the welfare state" for the murder of a pregnant woman whose baby the accused killers stole by Cesarean section.
And yet, somehow, he is here again, and seems to seriously believe that he has a shot at the 2008 nomination. His platform so far? No more freedom of speech.
That'll work wonders for him, I'm sure.
You, me and every human being who calls him- or herself an American ought to be willing to sacrifice ourselves before acquiescing to the tyranny of those who advocate such unconstitutional laws as the USA Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act and other yet-to-be-proposed ideas put forth by reactionary Republican cowards.
And "reactionary Republican cowards" includes Newt Gingrich who said, according to the Union Leader, we need to "reexamine freedom of speech" in order to "get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade." The irony is that he said this at an event honoring the First Amendment. The scary side of this statement isn't the idea of losing a city but rather the notion that Mr. Gingrich wants to be our next president.
Oh, don't worry, Bob. If he doesn't shoot his own candidacy in the foot, somebody else is certain to do him the honor.