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A Real Newt Cake

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE -- "I'm the most serious professorial politician since Woodrow Wilson." by

"I think you can write a psychological profile of me that says I found a way to immerse my insecurities in a cause large enough to justify whatever I wanted it to." -- Newt Gingrich

Newton Leroy Gingrich is one of those politicians who break wind nearly every time he opens his mouth.

I'd guess it's called brain flatulence.   Historically, it's a condition that's been a not-so-silent problem for know-it-alls of all stripes.   It's also an underlying reason why so many of the rest of us accept the notion of a fine line between genius and insanity.

In Newt's case, he's neither a genius, nor insane. But it's been pretty obvious for some time that his personal allotment of cranial grey matter simply lacks the capacity to properly digest the exotic gumbo of facts and figures it's gorged on over the past 68 years.  

It accounts for why, after being asked recently to further elaborate on his "right-wing social engineering" portrayal of the Paul Ryan federal budget plan -- a judgment that subsequently sent a feces typhoon, if you will, of conservative reprisals his way -- Newt could do little more than to let loose further proof of a disengaged intellect by producing the following rhetorical fart-out:  

"Let me say on the record, any ad which quotes what I said " is a falsehood."

It's the kind of head-spinning response that conjures up the old saying:   "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance; baffle them with bullshit."

Such is Newt.

During the course of his over 40 years in politics (beginning in 1968 as New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller's regional director), it had become increasingly evident that what one gets from the words and deeds of Newt Gingrich are the peculiar items of a bulky catalog of muddled non-cognition. It's a catalog that struggles to hold itself together against the obscene pressure of its owner's infinitely winding stretch of stupendously overt narcissism.  

Sigmund Freud   may have driven himself crazy trying to make sense of the psyche behind Newt's piss-poor judgments; unethical/immoral behavior; suspect financial entanglements; opaque philosophical values; political hissy-fitting; squalid rhetoric;   sanctimonious fulminations; snarky hubris; naked hypocrisy; and just plain out-and-out lying.  

While intelligence doesn't always equate maturity, these are not the personality traits one would expect of people as smart as Newt claims he is.   They are supposed to know better.   Thus, out of all this, one gets the impression that Gingrich's brain probably reached its maturity level and hence, its scholarly capacity at around the time young Newt completed the eighth grade, or maybe even several grades lower.   "There's a large part of me that's four years old," Gingrich revealed in an Esquire magazine interview last year.

But if so, it's a shortcoming that's rarely been an obstacle for Newt.   The oft-described "ideas man" became a history professor while in his 20's; has earned a doctorate in that course of study; and has managed to attain the positions of both House Minority Whip and House Speaker during his career as an elected official.   In 1995, the year he became Speaker, Newt was Time Magazine's "Man of the Year." His latest accomplishment has been his dislodging of Herman Cain, (who on December 3, suspended his candidacy) from national frontrunner status for the GOP presidential nomination.

But just as intelligence doesn't always go hand-in-hand with maturity, likewise, effectiveness as a politician is not necessarily a barometer of superior intelligence.   Many of us know one or two functional alcoholics. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps what we have in Newt is a case of functional illiteracy.   Therefore, even after taking into account the significance of Newt's achievements, I remain convinced that the concept of Gingrich as the intellectually-driven "ideas man" of the conservative Right, is apt only to anyone interested in the political equivalent of junk science.   Below the surface of his flamboyantly inflated rhetorical delivery, his concepts appear to be little more than a grandiose maze of intellectual blind alleys.     And although Newt's pumped out over a dozen books -- most of which subject readers to page after page of pompously sententious banality -- he's yet to test the marketplace of his ideas through the publication of a single peer-reviewed scholarly paper.

A recent Washington Post article, a portion of which focuses on a 1993 review of materials used in the Renewing American Civilization course that Gingrich developed and taught, may provide a bit of insight into why.

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)
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and Newt Gingrich strike me as the kind of guys wh... by Anthony Barnes on Monday, Dec 5, 2011 at 9:31:27 AM
I remember years ago hearing Newt Gingrich, when a... by E. T. SIMON on Monday, Dec 5, 2011 at 11:57:24 PM