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Newt's denouement

By       Message Jim Hightower     Permalink
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Like a dust devil popping up out of nowhere, twirling furiously for no apparent reason, sucking air into its funnel and stirring up rubbish as it hopscotches here and there for a couple of minutes, before -- fffffttt -- suddenly disappearing, the Newt came, spun, and now he's gone.

What a ride we got with Newt Gingrich on his Republican presidential campaign trek! It included a sputtering start, his odd disappearance mid-campaign to take a two-week Greek vacation, his opening a $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany's jewelry palace in New York, several stormy staff rebellions, periodic eruptions of ridiculous policy ideas, his cranky insistence on being called a corporate consultant rather than a lobbyist, his preposterous claims to be a transformative visionary, the sudden infusion of millions of dollars from a billionaire Las Vegas casino baron, his repeated humiliations at the polls, and finally -- fffffttt -- the Newt was gone.

But not without a supernova burst of ego. Like nearly all candidates these days, Newt had prolonged media coverage of his announcement for office by first announcing the formation of an "exploratory committee," that decided (surprise!) he should announce, then he announced.

Gingrich even applied this tedious PR ploy to quitting the race, announcing the announcement of his withdrawal before actually withdrawing. His candidacy was kaput, his billionaire casino dealer abandoned him, his campaign was $4 million in debt, his crowds had evaporated, and the only media attention he had received lately was in April when a penguin bit him during a tour of the St. Louis Zoo. Yet, his cosmic-scale ego demanded the gratification of another week as Newt Gingrich: Candidate for President of the USA."

Well, that didn't hurt anyone, did it? Only us taxpayers -- his Secret Service entourage cost us $40,000 a day.

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Jim Hightower is an American populist, spreading his message of democratic hope via national radio commentaries, columns, books, his award-winning monthly newsletter (The Hightower Lowdown) and barnstorming tours all across America.

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