Stuck In Newtral

This is my first political blog post, and I’m leading with a pun on Newt Gringrich’s name.  Too easy you say?  Well I’m still fairly new to this blogging business, and the former Speaker just provides too much rich material to pass up.  “Everything Old Is Newt Again”?  “Romney Gets Newtered” or even “Mitt Gets Newtralized”?

In fact, so much can be done with Newt that I’ll just have to save my Mitt witticisms, or I should say my “Mitticisms”, for another day.  (See what I did there?  A little something to look forward to.)

Against my better judgment, perhaps, I watched a 2012 Republican primary debate start-to-finish for the first time this week. Under no circumstances would I vote for any of these guys, but I am just so puzzled by this primary I was looking for a basic understanding.  And if I had to sit through more than one hour of Wolf Blitzer to get it, well then so be it.

First… Did America learn nothing from the 2000 election?  Enough of the he’s-someone-you-could-see-yourself-having-a-beer-with nonsense!  I do not want to have a beer with the President of the United States.  I want him to be really, really good at governing – not playing quarters.  Did Americans want to have a beer with Abraham Lincoln?  Could they see themselves shooting pool with FDR or clearing brush with Harry Truman?

Likewise, it was disorienting to watch these very wealthy white men call one another out for being too wealthy and successful.  In particular, how ridiculous were the attacks on Romney’s business success… from a man with a $500,000 credit line at Tiffany & Co.?  I am astounded that Gingrich wasn’t booed – or laughed – off the stage when he played that card.

Why would we want someone who is only marginally successful sitting in the Oval Office?  Again let me be very clear on this point: I don’t want to have a beer with a President who is just like me.  I want a President who is sober, and much smarter and more successful than I am.  I want to ride his coattails.  I want to hitch my wagon to his (or her!) star.

I have other observations: Newt Gingrich won’t look anyone in the eye during debates, aside from the moderator.  He launched one nasty zinger after another, always looking at his notes or the floor.  If you believe in what you say, Newt, hold your head up when you say it.  Is he really who we want negotiating with foreign heads of state?

Some of the audience questions at the debate floored me – and reinforced why an average American has no business in the White House, except as part of a tour, safely behind the velvet ropes.  Who would make the best First Lady?  Seriously?  Insipid… or perhaps brilliant if submitted by one of Newt’s opponents.  Every candidate on stage could wax poetic about his devoted life partner, except Gingrich.

The question (and answers) about divine guidance elicited gagging and eye rolling from me.  But since Romney flubbed the worst, I’ll save that for my next political blog… tentatively titled “If life is a bowl of cherries, then what are we doing with Mitt?”

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