Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

“Newt Gingrich Says ‘You’re Welcome'” Reveals GOP Strategy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 15, 2018

I find significant ignorance, irony, even hypocrisy in Newt Gingrich’s political theories.

There’s no denying that he has significantly influenced American politics, and by some standards, coarsened it, even made it highly unpalatable. It is undeniably unpleasant – even for numerous long-time observers, participants, and others.

But moreover, I find Gingrich’s model deeply, and inherently flawed.

But first, to set the background, here’s the transcript of a brief interview NPR’s Rachel Martin had with The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins as heard on NPR’s Morning Edition on Monday, October 15, 2018, about his recent interview with Newt Gingrich.

NOTE: ADDITIONAL ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY FOLLOWS THE TRANSCRIPT.

Rachel Martin: “Newt Gingrich will tell you he saw something in Donald Trump early on, that made him believe Trump could win the presidency. And that ‘something’ Gingrich saw, has a lot to do with how he sees himself. The former Speaker of the House made a name for himself by breaking a lot of political mores, and refusing to compromise with the other side – much like President Trump.

“The Atlantic magazine’s McKay Coppins spent some time with Newt Gingrich recently, for a profile he did. It’s called ‘Newt Gingrich Says ‘You’re Welcome.'”

In the opening of the brief interview, Rachel Martin begins by saying, “So… you went to spend some time with Newt Gingrich, and he suggested that you do so at the Philadelphia Zoo.”

McKay Coppins: [chuckles] “That’s right!”
Rachel Martin: “How come?”

Coppins: “Well, he is a famous animal lover. He, ah… you know, donated to zoos around the world. He… he loves animals. But I think also, what became clear to me as I got there, is that, he ah… he sees animals as useful metaphors for him. So as we were kind of touring the zoo, he was, you know… pointing at the lions and saying, you know, ‘this is what the lions teach us about gender politics,’ and ‘this is what ah… crocodiles teach us about ah… about the way that we should pursue change.’ Ah… what was most interesting to me though, at one point, he was talking about chimpanzees. Ah… and, and kind of how, how vicious they are, how aggressive they are. Um, and and… you now, I sensed I didn’t really know what to say, so I said ‘you know… oh, they’re… the viciousness of the animal world,’ and he kind of cut me off and was very stern and said, ‘It’s not vicious, it’s natural.'”

Martin: “Right!”
Coppins: “And and I think that he draws those parallels with how he views politics, and how he views human affairs in general.”

Martin: “And he, he likens himself to other conservative leaders. He basically described to you four waves of contemporary conservative politics: Barry Goldwater – responsible for one of ’em – Ronald Reagan, Gingrich himself, and now President Trump. Does he see each of these waves as connected to… to the previous?”

Coppins: “Well he does, but what’s interesting, is that when you press him on that, you know… why why… how are all these connected? Because you could make a case that philosophically, they’re all quite different. Ahm… what he said to me was, you know, ‘basically, they’re all anti-liberal.’ [chuckles] Which I think actually illustrates a broader point about… ah, the politics that Gingrich helped create. Which is, it’s tribal in nature, partisan in nature, and and driven especially by negative partisanship. It’s about a desire to beat the other team more than it is accomplish some unified goal.”

Martin: “It is a zero-sum. It’s us-versus-them. President Trump was on 60 Minutes last night talking about what a nasty place Washington, DC is – the back-stabbing, the duplicity – and almost in the same breath he said, ‘I feel very comfortable here.'”
Coppins: [chuckles]

Martin: “Ah… was was Gingrich as comfortable swimming in the swamp?”

Coppins: “He was! I mean, in a lotta’ ways he created the swamp that that Trump now says he’s trying to drain, right? Ahm… and, and, you know, I think that this is actually one of the things that Gingrich likes most about Trump. When you try get him to talk about ‘Trumpism,’ or, or the brand of conservatism that the president stands for, what he talks about most, is the personality, and the larger-than-life style, and how, how cut-throat he can be… that’s what Gingrich likes about Trump. And I think that says a lot about his world view.”

Martin: “To what end, though? I mean, where Democrats abhor the idea of what Trump has wrought in terms of our political discourse – the erosion of norms, undermining of institutions – does Gingrich see all this as a long-awaited political break-through?”

Coppins: “You know… Totally! I think that in, in, in… in the big scheme of things, he actually likes that our politics has gotten more tribal and more vicious, and has kind of shed a lot of these civilizing traits. He thinks that it should be, two teams, you know, duking it out, and ah, and ah… and that’s how he sees the world, and he’s happy that it’s gotten to where it is.”

—//—

Rachel Martin talks with McKay Coppins of “The Atlantic” magazine about his most recent story on Newt Gingrich, and how the conservative politician paved the way for President Trump.

‘Atlantic’ Magazine Publishes Its Latest Profile Of Newt GingrichHeard on Morning Edition

https://www.npr.org/2018/10/15/657411367/atlantic-magazine-publishes-its-latest-profile-of-newt-gingrich

https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/me/2018/10/20181015_me_newt_gingrich_says_youre_welcome_atlantic_magazines_latest_profile.mp3

The Man Who Broke Politics
Newt Gingrich turned partisan battles into bloodsport, wrecked Congress, and paved the way for Trump’s rise. Now he’s reveling in his achievements.
November 2018 Issue
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/11/newt-gingrich-says-youre-welcome/570832/

—//—

ADDITIONAL ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY

Politics is not perfect. And, as many have rightfully said, politics is the art of compromise.

To be certain, when I refer to compromise, I do NOT mean to refer to a forced abandonment of personal belief systems in which someone is harmed.

And, it’s not about war, or hatred. It’s about a system of cooperative government in which give-and-take (aka compromise) is present, in which no one is harmed. I liken it to growing up in an emotionally healthy family: Daddy doesn’t get his way all the time; Mama doesn’t get her way all the time; and the children don’t get their way all the time. Occasionally, Daddy gets his way, occasionally Mama gets her way, and by mutual consent of Daddy and Mama, occasionally, the children get their way. And when each one gets their way, no one, nor the nuclear family is harmed.

Newt Gingrich apparently doesn’t see things that way, as the transcript above strongly indicates.

The author, McKay Coppins, said of Newt Gingrich to Rachel Martin of that, “he sees animals as useful metaphors for him. …I said ‘you know… oh, they’re… the viciousness of the animal world,’ and he kind of cut me off and was very stern and said, ‘It’s not vicious, it’s natural.'”

The overlooked irony is blatant. They’re in a zoo. The animals have been caught, and are caged. They have lost their “natural” freedom, and they are preserved for a variety of reasons.

Yes, man (humankind, humanity) is the “top of the food chain” in the world, and mankind is not savage, brute beasts to be caught, caged, and tamed, but are civil, educated, and responsible for the care and upkeep of the world, and all that is in it… including ourselves.

And yes, there are cages for men and women, they’re called prisons, and we put people there after undergoing what we call “due process” meaning an impartial judge and jury hear evidence against someone, and make a decision regarding the innocence, or guilt and degree thereof, and then, they are punished by the loss of liberty, with an effort toward reform… and THAT is why we call it a “corrections” system, rather than a punishment system. Noting this also, however, we also call it a “penal” system, which is indicative of punishment.

But again, the significant irony is that Gingrich was in a zoo, and alleges that a “natural” system is best for governing mankind – “natural” as in one by which brute beasts survive. But humanity is NOT brute beasts.

Yes, some think politics is a zoo, but while the genesis of this problem in earnest has been noticed since the 1980’s with the “Reagan Revolution,” it truly began even earlier.

Governance, and American governance in particular, is neither an “us-versus-them” nor an “end-sum-game.” It is about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is not a “Law of the Jungle” system in which “only the strong survive” in which we cast prisoners and slaves into gladiatorial matches with hungry, vicious beasts, or pit them in death matches against each other. Nor is it one in which we throw our sick and elderly into dumpsters, or newborns to the wolves.

Yes, those horrific things have happened in the history of humanity, be we have risen above such savagery. We have a civilization, a civil society. We have love for one another. We educate each other. We care for one another. We are NOT savagely brute beasts.

By accepting the standard from, and by which Gingrich says we ought to learn, we become like the animals. And animals never developed various systems of democratic government, never wrote symphonies, never authored books, never invented computers, never designed, built, or flew aircraft, and certainly never went to the moon.

Humanity is unique among all creatures, great and small, and it is our brains that make us vastly different from them, every one, and uniquely superior to them.

Yes, there are some amazing animals. The “eagle eyes” of predatory birds, the deep diving of oxygen-breathing whales, the longevity of tortoises, the industriousness of ants, the navigation of honeybees, the flight of hummingbirds… all those things and more are uniquely remarkable, but mankind is even more remarkable because we have been able to do many of the things those animals do – hover, dive deeply, increase lifespan, increase efficiency, and navigate according to satellites and stars. There is not one animal that does all that. Only man.

And so, it is clearly wrong for anyone to imagine or suppose that we should establish or govern ourselves according to a system in use by beasts – as if we are their equals – for we are vastly superior to them.

Certainly, we have an immense responsibility to care for Earth, and all that is in it, including ourselves. It does not mean we should lower ourselves to become like animals – mere brute beasts. And that, in essence, is what Gingrich praises.

 

For additional reading, see:
Why the idea of “SMALLER GOVERNMENT” is a myth
https://warmsouthernbreeze.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/why-the-idea-of-smaller-government-is-a-myth/

-and-

Social Darwinism, “Starving the Monster,” and the Myth of Smaller Government
https://warmsouthernbreeze.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/social-darwinism-starving-the-monster-and-the-myth-of-smaller-government/

-and-

Ever Had A Bad Restaurant Experience? Here’s What You Can Do.
https://warmsouthernbreeze.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/ever-had-a-bad-restaurant-experience-heres-what-you-can-do/

-and-

“These extremists feed on fear, hate and terror.”
https://warmsouthernbreeze.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/these-extremists-feed-on-fear-hate-and-terror/

-and-

Extremists and Radicals in the GOP
https://warmsouthernbreeze.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/extremism-in-the-gop/

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