Newt Gingrich Forgets Core Character of Country He Wants to Run

by evanmcmurry

Yahoo! News interviews Newt Gingrich and finds him full of ideas on the drug war, especially ways to make drug laws apply more exclusively to poor people. But his true insight has nothing to do with policy:

In 1996, you introduced a bill that would have given the death penalty to drug smugglers. Do you still stand by that?

I think if you are, for example, the leader of a cartel, sure. Look at the level of violence they’ve done to society. You can either be in the Ron Paul tradition and say there’s nothing wrong with heroin and cocaine or you can be in the tradition that says, ‘These kind of addictive drugs are terrible, they deprive you of full citizenship and they lead you to a dependency which is antithetical to being an American.’ If you’re serious about the latter view, then we need to think through a strategy that makes it radically less likely that we’re going to have drugs in this country.

It’s not Gingrich’s hypocrisy that makes this quote shine so (though someone $500,000 in debt to Tiffany’s should be careful throwing the dependency stone), but rather how utterly wrong he gets the American character. In what version of our country is dependency antithetical to being an American? Dependency is our national default existential state, and foundational of the capitalist economy the GOP so desperately wants to protect. Have you TiVoed the next episode of Intervention?

Gingrich’s current campaign strategy is to speak only in extremes, thus showing him to be the tough candidate who’s so knowledgeable about policy that he need not pull his punches. But no sooner will this tactic establish him as the muscleman of Republican ideas than it will lead him into right into the land of absurdity. Expect more of the above.