In the Arena


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I suppose there’s no more perfect storm than a loggorheic ideological narcissist with a twitter account. But ladies and gentlemen, I give you…Newt Gingrich, who has twitually accused Sonia Sotomayor of racism, just as he twitually accused the President of being soft on pirates a few hours before the President got very hard on pirates a few weeks ago. Clearly, this is another case of Newt twitting before reading…or thinking. It seems clear that Sotomayor was merely saying that being a Latino woman who grew up poor gave her something of an advantage in understanding cases that involved poor Latinos. I am sure she would grant David Souter’s relative expertise in cases involving modest New Englanders with hermitic tendencies. (And as for those conservatives who are calling this an affirmative action hire, I’d be curious what they were saying about the flagrantly inexperienced Clarence Thomas back in the day.)

But another thing about Newt: his tone sounds increasingly anachronistic. The clarion partisanship seems desperate. Those big, bold Luntz-words and phrases that worked so well in the 90s–patriotism, freedom, socialism, government arrogance, entrepreneurial creativity, flagrant, unpatriotic and outrageous (the latter three usually modified by “incredibly”)–smell cheesy in this more sober time. I am simply not nostalgic for this sort of behavior. I used to think that what Newt–a smart guy, who often thinks creatively about policy–needed was an anger management course. Now, I just think he needs a designated grownup who will ground his blackberry whenever these eruptions occur and send the bully-boy up to his room for a time out.