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Friday, 28 September 2012

Newt Gingrich is no stranger to OIP Derangement Syndrome. He championed the individual mandate in health-insurance reform right up until President Barack Obama agreed to it. In March 2011 he criticized Obama for moving too slowly on Libya and then for moving too swiftly on Libya. Gingrich has played to Teleprompter fixation. He’s lied about the President’s words.

Therefore, it wasn’t news this week when Gingrich produced a new illogical and ill-founded critique of the President. (It also wasn’t news because Gingrich is no longer relevant to the political scene, but that’s another issue he has to deal with.)

In an interview within the friendly confines of FOX News, Gingrich said of President Obama:
He really is like the substitute referees in the sense that he’s not a real president. He doesn’t do anything that presidents do, he doesn’t worry about any of the things the presidents do. But he has the White House. He has enormous power. And he’ll go down in history as the president, and I suspect that he’s pretty contemptuous of the rest of us. . . .

Hillary Clinton is a serious person. Barack Obama is an ambitious person. They’re very different personalities. Hillary Clinton gets up every day thinking about public policy. Barack Obama gets up everyday thinking about Barack Obama.
This criticism is ironic enough to have its own magnetic field. Gingrich’s ambition and self-regard have been a Washington monument for decades now. Back in 1984 he told journalists, “I have enormous political ambition,” and just this year he proudly adopted the label “grandiose.”

As for President Obama’s work habits, Gingrich has no knowledge of that, of course, and no credibility on the topic. His two terms as Speaker of the House were marked by what the Daily Beast called “a management style so disorganized and unpredictable that within three years, his own lieutenants tried to depose him in a chaotic coup.” Gingrich lost his first presidential campaign staff in June 2011 because they didn’t think he was working hard enough.

Gingrich’s criticism of President Obama wasn’t just OIP Derangement Syndrome. It was projecting his own failings onto a more successful person he resents for visceral reasons. And it’s easy to see the root of Gingrich’s resentment in the same interview:
I’m assuming that there’s some rhythm to Barack Obama that the rest of us don’t understand. Whether he needs large amounts of rest, whether he needs to go play basketball for a while or watch ESPN, I mean, I don’t quite know what his rhythm is, but this is a guy that is a brilliant performer as an orator, who may very well get reelected at the present date, and who, frankly, he happens to be a partial, part-time president.
“Some rhythm to Barack Obama,” “go play basketball,” “needs large amounts of rest”—Gingrich descended into the racist stereotypes he flirted with for months, reaching a new level of contemptibility.


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