Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 19, 2005 / 12 Taamuz, 5765

Where Even Newt Gingrich Thrives

By Michael Kinsley


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In Washington, old politicians don't even fade away.

Ten years ago, when he was speaker of the House and riding high, Newt Gingrich wrote a book called "To Renew America," in which he predicted that in "just a decade or so," people would have a "diagnostic chair" in their homes that would save them the trouble of going to the doctor.

That doesn't seem to have happened. But then, even professional pundits can sometimes be wrong in predicting the future. For example, I thought that when he slunk out of Congress in 1998, we had heard the last of Newt Gingrich. And he did lie low for a while. But now he's back, big-time. Just Google him up. He's the man to go to for a quote about anything relating to the Republican Party or the universe generally. He is hitting the talk shows a lot and graduating from the role of guest interviewee to that of a full-fledged know-it-all sitting at the big round table with chairs that tilt back.

Gingrich recently co-chaired a congressionally sponsored commission on the future of the United Nations — could there be a more numbingly high-minded topic? — along with former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, a man so respectable that he makes a good living at it. And then there's Gingrich's enormously publicized mutual embrace (intellectual, not physical) with Hillary Clinton. They agree about something to do with health care, which would seem more amazing if the subtext weren't so obvious: He helps her to seem moderate; she helps him to seem legitimate.

What does it take in Washington to be so thoroughly discredited that nobody cares what you think? Gingrich is far from the worst miscreant ever to be rehabilitated. By the time he died, even Richard Nixon was regarded as a major foreign policy guru. But Gingrich may hold the record for being discredited in so many ways.

He's failed as a prognosticator. Pick almost anything he's said about the economy, for example.

He's failed as a strategist. In 1994 he was King of the World. Time's Man of the Year. His revolution had succeeded. The presidency was his for the asking. By 1998 it was all gone, primarily because of his own ineptitude and overreaching.

He's been out of office for years. Who is Newt Gingrich to lend luster to Hillary Clinton? Answer: He's a celebrity. In the famous definition of that term, he's famous for being famous.

Hollywood is thought to be the center of empty celebrity. But actually, of this country's three capitals (Washington for political power, Wall Street for money and Hollywood for culture), Hollywood is probably the most rigorous enforcer of fame's limits. And Wall Street is second. A movie star who stops selling tickets actually can sink into television, into commercials and ultimately into genuine obscurity. A top business figure can lose his or her job if the numbers turn south.

Washington, by contrast, is littered with has-beens, many of whom are richer, happier and maybe even more influential than when they were in elected jobs. More influential? Sure. Congressmen come running when CNN calls. CNN does not come running when one of the 435 members of the House of Representatives calls.

Donate to JWR


Gingrich is not more influential than when he bestrode Congress, but I bet he is having more fun. He was always more interested in mouthing off than in following through. That is not a huge moral failing (or at least I hope not, for personal reasons). But does the world need more full-time mouthers-off?

Newt has always had his cuddly side, which he is nurturing. But even more helpful has been his use of the notorious "even" technique. It's very simple. You just endorse, embrace or otherwise attach yourself to something or someone representing everything, or as close to everything as possible, of what you have always stood against.

Try it yourself. Suddenly you are interesting. You're thoughtful. You're a statesman.

As part of this transformation, you become more moderate and more tolerant generally. And you get a new name. You're not just Newt Gingrich anymore. You're a new, improved version known as "Even Newt Gingrich." This fellow Even Newt does things the old, unimproved Newt would never do, such as share a news conference with Hillary Clinton. He can criticize House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for behaving more or less the way Gingrich himself did in his weeks of absolute power.

"Even" may be the American equivalent of a heraldic title. It is a rebuke to Scott Fitzgerald's famously misguided remark that American lives have no second acts. And nobody deserves this honor more than Newt.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Michael Kinsley is Los Angeles Times Editorial and Opinion editor and former editor of Slate.com. Comment by clicking here.



Archives



© 2005 Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles