A review of the book "Real Change"
by Newt Gingrich
Next to Bill Clinton, Mr. Gingrich still might be the brightest politician in Washington, D.C. However, one would not know that by reading this confusingly incoherent book.
The first few chapters were such a "dog breakfast" of a mishmash of ideas that I was seriously considering not wasting my time completing it. But then it became clear to me why it was that Mr. Gingrich was so "tongue-tied"in the early going: He was using all of his literary skills and powers to avoid having to criticize the failed leadership of his own party under GHW Bush, aka, "Junior." Somehow in the end, he did manage to finesse his way through it, but it was not a pretty sight to see. Even Katrina was seen as just an unfortunate mishap.
Newt only began to hit his stride after this unceremonious and failed attempt to "cover" for his political cell mate: GHW Bush. The summary of the first 50 pages is basically: that the GOP knows how to get elected but does not know how to govern. (Now, where did we last hear this criticism before? Oh, yes! With the current President, Mr. Barack Obama (BHO)) Therefore surely Newt meant just beneath his breath, that both parties "outsource" the task of government to lobbyists and campaign managers -- like to Karl Rove and David Axlerod.
Unwittingly it seemed, Newt had just "tapped" into the mother lode of the bipartisan condominium of failed politics in this country: The leadership of both parties is so "boxed in" by the campaign money of the plutocrats that got them elected, that they have no choice but to turn our democracy into a four-year Kabuki dance, an emotionally-based four-year Mardi Gras, in which the "right" and "left" put on their campaign hats and claw at each other for a while, and then dutifully go back to their respective corners staring into their empty dog bowls anxiouly awaiting the promised "goodies" to be dispensed.
We are finally learning however, that no goodies will be forthcoming to "we the people" because its all just a cruel K-Street three-card monty hoax: "We the people" have been tricked out of our power.
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While we are continuously fed self-destructive emotional cow dung, our power is slowly drained from our back pockets by the plutocrats -- "outsourced" directly into the hands of the lawyers, lobbyists, and campaign managers, who act directly as their agents. The "Big Dog" campaign donors have become the new sovereigns. For only they can call the shots and make "real substantive" policy in America. End of story.
But I digress ...
After getting his tail tied in knots over Junior's colossal failures for the Republican Party, Mr. Gingrich then proceeds to tell us what three principles are required in order to make the changes we need.
But again, like BHO, he does this without first even defining what the nation's problems are, or what kind of change is needed? Despite this, Newt's guiding principles for change are: (1) Jettison the politically correct values of the elite (who control both parties and the social as well as the political system); (2) make the bureaucracy more effective; and (3) stop being uncertain about the dangers in the world, its scary out here?
That, ladies and gentlemen, is Newt's formula for the same kind of undefined and unspecified abstract change that Mr. Obama sold to us over the last two elections.
No wonder Newt's rendition of change has the same "other worldly" ring and feel to it that the old democratic mantra "the audacity of hope and change (fairy dust)," had. Surely they must both hail from he same pedigree, from the same swamp of bought-and-paid-for politically constrained ideas?
From this framework, according to Newt, we can uproot the "entrenched permanent government" in Washington, reassert our core values and principles, protect the nation's safety, reward achievement, and then return the government back to the people. And once we have done that, we can then expect the next set of bold solutions to emerge from the right or red side of America's political spectrum?
Then Newt moves on to the real problem. It is not the "monied cluster-f#ck" going on in Washington DC that is the problem. It is the apathy of "we the people:" We don't vote enough, participate enough, volunteer enough, cling too much to the ideologies of the past, and complain too much, so how can we expect government to "act on the facts and adopt commonsense solutions" ... ad infinitum?
The solution, according to Newt is that we need to become Citizen Leaders again? Presumably, so that we too then can be sucked into the maelstrom called the Washington, D.C money pit (like Scott Brown, Paul Ryan and a host of other "Citizen Leaders who all quickly succumbed to it, right?) Newt then gives us a flow-chart of how we all are to become "Citizen leaders?" It was Newt's flow-diagram on page 80, that makes clear that politicians like him in Washington still don't get it.
Newt, read my lips: The system is rotten at the core and the core is money: Campaign contributions, giving corporations the same rights as people, unlimited contributions from anywhere in the world, and the Wall Street and K-Street corruption that allows the "culture of no accountability" at the top to trump any and every objection that "we the people" might have, or try to voice.; that is the problem!
Look at Occupy Wall Street? Is this not the very activist citizen leadership your principles require? Do you think that what we really need is more "Occupy Wall Street" groups? Is that what "we the people are lacking? If you do think this is the answer to our problems, then there is a bridge right around the corner from Wall Street that I would like to sell you.
To wit: "Occupy Wall Street" is being ignored in exactly the same way that "we the people" are being ignored."
... No, Mr. Gingrich, although your idea of a "citizen leader" is quaint and may have worked well in 1876, today, in 2014 the American political system perhaps for the first time has been permanently broken: The changes are not systemic and fiddling around the margins will not fix it.
Like "humpty-dumpty, I doubt if it can ever be put back together again because we can no longer throw the money changers out of the Temple because they own the temple; they pay the politicians who make the laws that governs how money is changed in the Temple; they make laws that render their crimes legal before they are even committed; they make the money out of nothing and call it CDOs, and then tell us its gold; they control every branch of our government, including the new "national Security state;" They can explode our economy at will without any consequences; and they now monitor every idea that comes out or goes into the political process. If you don't believe it, just ask Edward Snowden?
No, Mr. Gingrich, it is not "we the people" that is the problem. We have seen this movie before, in Europe, with Hitler, with Stalin and Mussolini.
Can you not recognize this well trod fascist path? Soon "we the people" will be like al Qaeda: We the people, will soon become "we the enemy!" Dissent is already considered unpatriotic?
Mr. Gingrich, it is not us who are the problem: It is all of the slimy "bought-and-paid-for" corrupt politicians like you that are the problem. If you don't believe it, here is the surest and truest test of your theory "that the problem is we the people; and mine that it is you, your fellow corrupt politicians and campaign money that is the problem.
Here is the test: Get rid of the money and crooks in politics, and I will bet you any amount of money that America will return to a state of freedom and sanity, and all our problems will go away too. Three stars