As A Matter of Clarification

My letter to Glenn Beck has kind of exploded in the last day (by my blog standards, at least), and the response I’ve gotten has been overwhelmingly positive.  I am grateful for everyone who has taken the time to read what I had to say, and I’m glad I can help put words to the frustration that a lot of us are feeling.

I want make my position on a couple matters abundantly clear, though, so there is no confusion — or, at least, as little confusion as possible.

Firstly, I am not a Republican, and therefore can’t even vote in the primaries. There is literally no one I can think of who cares what I think about the 2012 GOP lineup outside of a polite interest, and even that is a group of people I can count on one hand. I have been watching the primaries because I figure I ought to have a working knowledge of whoever it is I’ll be voting for come November. Do I have my opinions? Yes. But, again, no one cares.

Second: while I have, as stated, been “looking favorably” on Newt Gingrich of late, I am not on Team Newt by any stretch of the imagination. My choice of words when I talked about the “siren song” of his candidacy was deliberate — I”m very well aware that he could be saying all the right things out of a calculated cynicism that has no other purpose than duping people into voting for him. He’s a smart man, and has shown himself in the past to be a man of questionable moral character. So you could say that I’m not so much his advocate as I am willing to touch him with a ten foot pole.

I repeat: I do not have a favorite. My favorite announced back in October that she would not be seeking the nomination.

(This is not an open request, by the way, to inundate me with reasons why your favorite should be mine too. As stated, I can’t even vote in the primaries. Plus, I can make up my own mind, thank you.)

So why go to all the trouble of writing that letter in the first place? Because Glenn was wayyyyyyyy out of line by bringing up the race card at all. There are plenty of valid arguments against a Gingrich candidacy; that is not one of them. And it flies in the face of everything Glenn has been saying lately about winning others to your side through reasoned argument rather than mud-slinging. In fact, Glenn did an interview with Michele Bachmann this morning, in which she perfectly illustrated this point — she addressed why Newt is appealing to Tea Party (because he’s saying all the right things), and then made a pretty solid case, with specifics, about why you need to look past what Newt has been saying. Glenn, on the other hand, made jokes about how anyone who’s taken any amount of offense at his comments last week is totally overreacting.

Well, my respect for one of them has gone up. I’ll let you guess which.

And lastly — I made an analogy in the comments section of my open letter that compared Glenn’s race card garbage to trying to get a bee off of an allergic friend by punching him in the face. I not only stand by that analogy, I’d like to add this to it: In the aftermath of the blow, I find that the spectators have formed three groups. One is sort of stunned, going, “Wow, that was both out of line and out of character for him. Are you okay?” The other two groups are standing on either side of those of us who feel we got punched, and each is yelling. The first is yelling in one ear, “Dude, he was just trying to get the bee off of you! It’s no big deal, chill out!” And the second is screaming in the other ear, “DUDE! He just punched you in the face! You know why? Cause he’s a heartless, soulless, sellout [expletive] piece of [expletive]!”

To the loud groups: I hear you both; I will side with neither. To the quieter group: Thank you.

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8 Responses to As A Matter of Clarification

  1. Drew says:

    From what I’ve gathered from this conversation is that Newt is a big government progressive and Obama is a big government progressive. If you don’t like one and not the other what is the reason for that?

    One obvious possible reason is that someone is a racist and they don’t like the black progressive, but they do like the white progressive. Another possible reason I see is that they are vehement party liners and if they have an R by their name then they’re good, whereas if they have a D by their name then they’re the devil’s spawn. Are there other reasons? Maybe.

    Those who listen to Glenn know that he thinks out loud sometimes and it can get him into trouble (i.e. the President has a deep seated hatred of white people). Where he’s coming from makes sense to me even though I don’t think that’s the reason and he actually said that himself (“I know that it’s not racist, but tell me it sure looks like that, doesn’t it?”

    So the real issue is do you think that Newt and Obama are both progressives? Full disclosure, I do and I think if you delve into his record and his problems, you see some of the same issues that John McCain had. As Glenn said after the election, “John McCain would have been worse for this country.” It took me a while to come to that conclusion (a few years), but now I understand that thinking and I have to say that I absolutely agree with that.

    Glenn I think is trying to reason through this counter-intuitive support and he said what seems to him to be the most obvious reason. Don’t agree with it? OK. No big deal. Stop listening to him, but if you look into Newt Gingrich and see all the signs that point to him being a big government progressive and you still like him and you don’t like the President. What’s the reason? I can only see two options and none of them are helpful to this country. The only other option I see is that you don’t think Newt is a big government progressive and that just means to me that you either haven’t looked deeply enough, or are ignoring the signs.

    Now I certainly could be wrong about all of this and I haven’t studied this thoroughly, so please let me know what I may be missing. I don’t want this to become a “flame war,” I’m just throwing out another perspective, which happens to be my own.

    • angelaisms says:

      I have addressed this twice already, but I’ll say it again — the “racism” argument would only be valid if Newt’s campaign platform went something like this: “Hi, I’m Newt Gingrich, and I LOVE big government. I love it soooooooooooo much that I’d totally marry it if I could, and I’d totally never cheat! In fact, my plan, if I get into office, is to grow the size of government so much that we have to rename the country The United States of Washington, D.C. Enslave your children and give me power!!! Yayyyyyy!!!!!!!”

      Now, you can make the argument that that’s what he means, and you can make a compelling case for it. But the fact of the matter is that Newt Gingrich has been saying almost the complete opposite of all of that, and Tea Party people are going to him because not only is he saying all the right things, he’s saying them reeeeeal purty-like.

      Michele Bachmann has now twice properly made the argument, with specifics, that we’re being duped by the siren song of Gingrich. All Glenn has done is punch us in the face. Twice.

      • dicentra says:

        Now, you can make the argument that that’s what he means, and you can make a compelling case for it. But the fact of the matter is that Newt Gingrich has been saying almost the complete opposite of all of that

        Actually, he’s been all over the map, even in this election cycle. He is definitely not a progressive in the mold of Obama: Newt’s not an Alinskyite, nor does he display “China envy,” nor does he admire other communists or their regimes. He definitely loves America and has not been infected with the anti-colonialism, Howard Zinn version of American history.

        He often says very conservative things and says them very well. And then he turns around and praises Andy Stern as the “union leader of the future” and admires FDR for “getting things done.” Unfortunately, “getting things done,” when uttered by a politician, means having the power to push their opponents aside without having to deal with this messy democracy stuff.

        (Earlier today, I found where someone had compiled a few examples of Newt saying one thing and then just the opposite a few weeks or months later, but of course I can’t find it again, and I won’t until after this thead is cold and dead.)

        Would it help to listen to Glenn’s interview with Michelle Backmann from yesterday, wherein he plays what he said before the Napolitano interview, in which he introduces the “it must be his race” comment, only it’s much clearer what his intent is?

        It’s on that apology page. I didn’t play the second video either, so I missed it along with everyone else. Starting at 2:20, where he’s interviewing Michelle Bachmann, they establish that Newt is totally a progressive. Then he plays what he said on the radio, prior to the Napolitano interview, around 2:45, and it’s pretty clear that he’s not serious about the “racism” charge, but he’s dead serious about the progressive charge. If you listen to the whole interview, you can get Michelle’s measured critique of Newt.

        It occurs to me that Glenn did the Napolitano show on Friday night, after producing 25 hours of his own original content, plus all the show prep, plus all the meetings, plus other interviews here and there. Glenn looks tired and haggard, which would explain why his delivery of the “race card” sounded serious: he was too tired to pull off a more nuanced delivery or provide the caveats that he provided before.

        In other words, he was brain dead and it showed. I really can’t hold that against him.

      • angelaisms says:

        It doesn’t matter how many walls of text you throw at me — I know what Glenn was trying to do, I know why he said what he did. His intentions were good, but his actions were way the hell off. I don’t know how I can make that any more clear than I already have.

        In fact, all you’re doing with the apologist stuff is adding insult to injury. So stop.

    • Tammy M. says:

      I have followed Newt for several years, read most of his books, seen some of his movies. He loves America…he loves the Constitution, as it is, not a living document that our President talks about. He understands that we will not reverse 100 years of progressive takeover in 4 years. He is pragmatic and willing to take the heat for his ideas, he will protect America and work to make us prosperous and free. He will return power to the states via the 10th amenment. I am with him as he is the only person I have heard that I feel has the strength and the leadership to bring us back on track again. I don’t see how that can be progressive, but if people want to view those thoughts and ideas as progressive, then so be it, still with Newt.

      However, those are all different than our current President, so I have answered why I am with Newt and it has nothing to do with race!

  2. dicentra says:

    Just an observation: When Glenn interviewed Newt, and Glenn asked Newt why he was for this or that, Newt didn’t refer to the Constitution to justify his position but rather cited historical precedent, that it’s been done since this year or that. Newt’s a historian, not a lawyer.

    Newt’s actions and words reveal that he’s perfectly willing to use the power of the government to fix society. A recent article by a former Newt aid suggests that Newt sees himself as a real-life Hari Seldon, from the Foundation series. (Caveat: the writer of the article was fired by Newt, so keep your salt-shaker handy.)

    I’m not going by the article alone; I’m comparing it to how Newt himself behaves. Back in 1998, when Newt retired from the legislature, Mark Steyn wrote the following about Newt:

    [Newt] was never that disciplined. He was fond of movements and ‘Movement Planning Proposals’, but he couldn’t resist moving from movement to movement. He’s responsible for more movements than a crate of Ease-O-Lax: from ‘The Triangle of American Progress’ to the ‘Caring Humanitarian Reform Movement’ to ‘The America That Can Be’ to the ‘Citizens’ Opportunities Movement’ to ‘Renewing American Civilisation’.

    If you’re wondering what ‘The Triangle of American Progress’ is, relax: pretty soon it had evolved into ‘The Four Pillars of American Civilisation’, which in turn expanded into the ‘Five Pillars of the 21st Century’. The collected brainstorms of Newt sound like a cross between T.E. Lawrence and the numerologically obsessed Fruit of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan who claims that once a month he’s taken up into a spacecraft floating above earth to commune with the spirits of deceased African-Americans. Aside from his ‘Five Pillars’, Newt had the ‘Four Great Truths’, the ‘Nine Zones of Creativity’, the ‘Fourteen Steps to RAC’ (see Renewing American Civilisation above), the Four Can’ts, the Five Cs, the Four Tops, the Jackson Five, the McGuire Sisters, and on and on.

    The Democrats demonised Newt as an extreme right-wing crazy. They were right – apart from the ‘extreme’ and ‘right-wing’, that is. Most of the above seem more like the burblings of a frustrated self-help guru than blueprints for conservative government. For example, Pillar No. 5 of the ‘Five Pillars of American Civilisation’ is: ‘Total quality management’. Unfortunately for Newt, the person who most needed a self-help manual was him …

    (Read the whole thing.) Newt seems to think that all we need is the right manager in the pilot seat, and the government becomes an instrument for good instead of Left-wing mischief.

    THAT—the idea that society ought to be managed and improved from the top down by wise managers—is at the core of progressive philosophy. Newt’s own utterances and his record reveal his desire to be that wise manager; he’d just manage it frugally and conservatively.

    Which is why Michelle Bachmann and Glenn are so freaked out that the Tea Party would even look at Newt: he’s just a different flavor of progressive, so if it’s a progg you want, might as well vote for Obama (who’s frankly better at progressivism than Newt).

    Newt won’t listen to the Tea Party or the conservatives once in office. He knows better than all of us, because he’s the smartest guy in the room (everyone says so), and even though he’s much smarter than Obama, he’s also exactly as humble.

    We’ve already got a narcissist in chief. We don’t need another.

    Newt may be ahead now, but he could—and probably will—self-destruct within a few months. All the rest have: it’s his turn.

  3. Brad S says:

    “Firstly, I am not a Republican, and therefore can’t even vote in the primaries.’

    Being a Republican is as easy as going to the local elections board and changing your registration. Voila, you can vote in a GOP primary:) And I believe no state has yet reached their deadline for party registration.

    • angelaisms says:

      I lay out my reasons for not being a Republican here: I understand the logic of “If you join, you can help it suck less,” but I just can’t bring myself to do it.

      Besides, I’m registered to vote in the state of Oregon, which, primaries-wise, keeps me in the same boat of, “No one cares.”

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