Newt Gingrich: the Chameleon
By: Greg Halvorson
First let me say, I like Newt Gingrich, or at least, Iâ€™ve tried to like him as heâ€™s morphed into a political chameleon who talks out of both sides of his mouth.Â Gingrich is articulate and shrewd, but the author of To Save America: Stopping Obamaâ€™s Secular-Socialist Machine might want to go back and read himself, because lately heâ€™s sounding a lot like Richard Lugar.
Initially, there was Gingrichâ€™s Hispanic â€œoutreachâ€ in which he warmed to amnesty on the Laura Ingraham Show and seemed taken aback by her argument against it.Â Laura knows the difference between â€œlegalâ€ and â€œillegalâ€ and is perhaps the first person Newt has encountered who put a sock in his blow-horn.Â Gingrich, who espouses Puerto Rican statehood, seems to want it both ways, fantasizing that if only we make citizens of law-breakers, theyâ€™ll join the Tea Party.
But his â€œprinciplesâ€ are in question.Â The old GOP paradigm that political expedience trumps conviction finds a taker in Newt, and the more he speaks, the more paradoxical he becomes, equivocating as he straddles a rickety fence.
Now heâ€™s praising the man on whom heâ€™s feasted and who revived his career.Â Tucson solved everythingâ€”the healing words, the steady voice.Â Â Newt, on Good Morning America, parroted the choir re-exalting Obama as the second coming of Lincoln.Â Every president plays Comforter-in-Chief, and itâ€™s good politics, but the trouble is that Newt, in adopting a civil tone, is accepting what he rejected: hypocrisy.
It was Obama who said, â€œIf they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,â€ â€œget in their faces,â€ â€œpunish your enemies,â€ and whose boot fell to â€œthe neckâ€ of B.P. as flailing bureaucrats exacerbated the oil spill.Â Pivoting from the Secular-Socialist mantra to praise its inspiration, Gingrich turned the color of his chair, defining â€œphonyâ€ for the audience, while agreeing that Obamaâ€™s high approval-rating is â€œdeserved.â€
But what about ObamaCare?Â The soaring debt?Â Surely, Gingrich doesnâ€™t believe that the president was transformed by speech.Â No, Newt is playing to the public, softening his tone secondary to violence and a nation in-tune to â€œvitriolâ€ on the air.Â Angry Newt is less so when anger isnâ€™t popular.
And, of course, thereâ€™s â€œGreen Newt.â€Â At the peak ofÂ hysteria on global warming, when Cap-and-Trade seemed a certainty, Gingrich embraced what was then â€œsettled science.â€Â In fact, he made a video with Nancy Pelosi, urging the U.S. to â€œact fast.â€Â The author of To Save America: Stopping Obamaâ€™s Secular-Socialist Machine said that â€œEveryone agrees, we must address climate change,â€ though failed to point out that itâ€™s Marxist at its core.
All of which points to Gingrich, the actor.Â True conservatism doesnâ€™t test the wind.Â It doesnâ€™t re-do itself.Â And itâ€™s not a chameleon.Â Gingrichâ€™s talent is his eloquent tongue, but the more it flutters, the greater the confusion, and the harder it is to believe in its noise.