During the 1968 Presidential Campaign, the Republicans were fond of referring to "the New Nixon'' -- but after that historic election, particularly with the Watergate scandal, it became totally clear to the nation that there never had been any "New Nixon." The man who once stated "I am not a crook!" was in truth a crook, and always would be.
Newt Gingrich's backers have been touting "the New Newt" -- allegedly a man of stature, of sound judgment, who has mended his philandering ways and found redemption. Those backers claim Newt is fully ready to assume the Presidency of the United States of America (sort of the way the last few governors of Illinois were ready for their new task.)
So, let's examine just the recent record of the Newtron Bomb. His work for Freddie Mac and others seeking favors in Washington may not technically have constituted lobbying, thanks to the very narrow definition of that sleazy activity -- but it surely was influence peddling, putting pressure on Newt's former Congressional colleagues to go easy on those who came close to ruining the American economy, while they did, in fact, manage to ruin the lives of so many Americans. And the Newtman's pledge to avoid negative campaigning lasted just long enough for him to claim that Mitt Romney's attacks on his record justified Newt's destructive counterattacks -- indeed, Newt says he was required to "go negative" to "set the record straight" -- more likely, to further cloud and distort his record, including how his own Party removed him as Speaker of the House and fined him for ethics violations.
My favorite recent Newtism, though, is his brilliant response to CNN's John King when King asked him to comment on charges by Newt's second ex-wife that he had tried to get her to join in some sexual escapades involving both her and his present (indeed, everpresent) new wife. Newt's well-staged outrage helped him win the South Carolina primary; suddenly, this paragon of non-virtue turned into Charlie Brown: "Why's everybody always picking on me?" (Of course, the idea that Newt deserved it -- that character does count -- never entered his mind.)
There is a very real possibility that Newt Gingrich will end up with the Republican Presidential Nomination this year, a prize he has kept his eyes on for decades. This is the man who, in the most recent Republican debate, made clear how willing, ready, and able he would be, as President, to start a war with Iran over the Straits of Hormuz. That, of course, is likely to bring the Russians into the conflict, and perhaps lead to World War III -- but, hey, Newt will undoubtedly be down underground in a bunker somewhere, watching the fun.
The Mayan Long calendar ends on December 21, 2012, causing some Doomsday aficionados to believe that this date will be the end of the world (hey, they only have to be right once.) With Newt Gingrich at the helm, many of us had better be looking for an underground bunker, too. We're all likely to need one. He may prove the Mayans correct.