Newt’s comeback, including the capstone of the Union Leader endorsement, is a truly remarkable tale. A lot of people — including many of us around here, starting with me — are eating crow over Gingrich’s return from the dead. And that’s good. It’s almost always a good thing when the conventional wisdom is overturned. It’s also good that, whether he wins or loses the nomination, he will be able to leave the field with his head held high. He clawed his way back through dogged will and ability. So again, good for him.
But I suspect and fear that Newt will interpret his comeback incorrectly and see his new front-runner status as proof he can discard all of the lessons-learned from his flame-out earlier this year. This is the moment where it’s going to be hardest for Gingrich to restrain his Newtness. This is the moment where perceived vindication breeds hubris. Already, he’s talking about teaching an online course from the White House, bragging that Obama can use teleprompters in their debates and trying to run as a general election candidate on immigration.
On their own, these are all fine even laudable. But when combined, among some Newt-watchers, they feel like omens that World Historical Newt is returning to the scene. He should fight that temptation and keep his nose to the grindstone.
Even the Big Dawg had some semi-nice things to say about Newt over the weekend.
But Newt’s biggest enemy is himself. In addition to hubris he suffers from Political Tourette’s Syndrome. He’ll be cruising along, doing fine and then he gets the uncontrollable urge to say stupid things.
After Susan Smith was arrested for murdering her two sons, Newt blamed Democrats:
“I think that the mother killing the two children in South Carolina vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we need to change things. The only way you get change is to vote Republican.”
(It turned out that Smith’s GOP step-father had been shtupping her since she was fifteen.)
Here’s one of Newt’s other infamous pearls of wisdom:
“If combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for thirty days because they get infections and they don’t have upper body strength. I mean, some do, but they’re relatively rare. On the other hand, men are basically little piglets, you drop them in the ditch, they roll around in it, doesn’t matter, you know.”
If history is any guide, sooner or later Newt will self-destruct. The question is when.
According to the latest polls, if Newt exercises self-control for a few more months he stands a good chance of capturing the not-Romney vote along with the GOP nomination. But can he do it for a whole year?
My worst nightmare is Obama vs. Gingrinch.