WORTH REPEATING: Plan 9 From Outerspace


SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: It’s telling that Romney, when encouraged by the debate moderators to criticize Gingrich, refrained from discussing the ethics violations, adulteries and such that form the molten core of Gingrich’s negatives. Instead, Romney went for Gingrich’s boyish fascination with the heavens. “We could start with his idea to have a lunar colony that would mine minerals from the moon,” Romney said dismissively. You can see the appeal, to a determined pragmatist like Romney, of attacking Gingrich’s lunar colony; “loony” is right there in the headline. Yet Gingrich didn’t flinch. Instead, he took the opportunity to champion his idea of sending a pick-and- shovel brigade to dig iron ore way up in the sky. “I’m happy to defend the idea that America should be in space,” he said, “and should be there in an aggressive, entrepreneurial way.” Gingrich isn’t retreating from his wild ideas and wacky programs. He recognizes that there’s something unique about this election that’s put him back in contention. Gingrich balances apocalyptic visions — electromagnetic-pulse catastrophes in the upper atmosphere wreaking devastation below — with wild-eyed optimism. Build hundreds of thousands of mirrors to warm the Earth’s climate sufficiently to grow crops year round? Check. Repeal child-labor laws? Check. Gingrich treats his idea of students scrubbing their own toilets as if he’s suggested an after-school enrichment program. As a self-anointed World Historical Figure, he’s not backing down. He’s going with it. MORE

NEW YORKER:  Gingrich’s sudden rise and special appeal to the emotions of “the base,” one suspects, stem less from his vaunted “big ideas” than from his long-cultivated, unparalleled talent for contempt. In 1990, when he was not yet Speaker, he pressed a memo on Republican candidates for office, instructing them to use certain words when talking about the Democratic enemy: “betray,” “bizarre,” “decay,” “anti-flag,” “anti-family,” “pathetic,” “lie,” “cheat,” “radical,” “sick,” “traitors,” and more. His own vocabulary of contempt has grown only more poisonously flowery. President Obama’s actions cannot be understood except as an expression of “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior.” Liberals constitute a “secular-socialist machine” that is “as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.” There is “a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us” and “is prepared to use violence.” In this campaign, Gingrich’s performances in televised debates have been widely deemed effective. But what has won him his most visceral cheers from the audiences in the halls—audiences shaped and coarsened by years of listening to talk radio and watching Fox News—is his sneering attacks on moderators, especially those representing the hated “liberal” media. In March, at the Cornerstone Church, in San Antonio, Gingrich declared, “I am convinced that, if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America,” his grandchildren will live “in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.” Last spring, this was a kind of right-wing performance art. Now it is the language of the man leading in the Republican polls, a man who—in the real world, not the alt-world—could, not inconceivably, become President of the United States. Imagine that. MORE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *