United States

Jan 31, 2012

Rundle12: no one understands how utterly unconservative Newt Gingrich is

In Gingrich you see something triangulate between Marx, Mussolini, Toffler and sundry others, an investment in nation and species, an utter disinterest in the fate of the individual. None of his supporters really understand that, or how utterly unconservative he is.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


“I do not think that this President even begins to understand the threat of radical Islam.” In the hangar of Tampa Jet Systems, out near the airport, Newt Gingrich was getting into the final quarter of his stump speech. He doesn’t always go with the radical Islam bit, often skipping the whole bit completely. He must have taken one look at the audience and decided it was worth a go. But they were only half-responsive. “Obama’s made it against the rules to talk about the common threat but, well, they don’t belong to Rotary.” Slightly more enthusiastic response. A pause, and then: “I don’t want sharia law in any courtroom in this country.” That rang the bell. The cheers went up. They rattled the sheet metal roof. They roared approval. “Newt newt newt.” There were around eighty people in this cavernous space, and they were doing their best to fill it up.

Behind, a big gap of concrete, and then three tables of journalists, and a catafalque crowded with twenty camera crews watched with … not disbelief, not horror, but with boredom etched on their faces. Tired ageing men, scruffy, flabby, younger ones, women in pants and nineteen dollar hairdos, the cream of the travelling press corps. Two hours earlier they had been herded off the Newt bus, to sit through a series of warm ups by county-level party chairs – ‘I’m from X county, we’re the redheaded stepchild of the Tampa area’ – while waiting for his Newtness to drop from the sky, and wrap up three network interviews in the hangar next door. They had swarmed the small crowd, scarfing up vox pops, and getting, for their pains, the party line about the ‘liberal media’.

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28 thoughts on “Rundle12: no one understands how utterly unconservative Newt Gingrich is

  1. Crapocular

    If a democratic polity can throw up a candidate with retro-futuristic policy fantasies like this, while the socialist incumbent is somehow justifying state mandated assassination, incarceration without trial, and a war on drugs paid for by prison labor jobbed out to the private sector, how on earth could the Chinese possibly care about democracy, and what will the next George Bush do?

  2. paddy

    One of your best pieces for ages GR.
    [They look like what they are: aging cashed-out strip mall developer, and the widow of his business partner, having moved to Boca Raton, and now putting too much energy into the condo management committee]
    Perhaps the best (snarky) pen sketch of Newt and Callista I’ve read.

    But then you move from the “slight” to the truly substantial.
    [Indeed, the case of Newt Gingrich, his intellectual and political history is so extraordinarily interesting, that there is no space to do anything but scratch the surface here. But the gist is this: Gingrich taps into a utopian stream of the twentieth century that came to be identified with post-war America, but began on the radical left – the idea that finding the right state form to unleash humanity’s productive forces was the true path to human liberation, and that technology would do the rest.]
    Well worth the price of admission. Bravo.

  3. Ilona

    what paddy said. stellar piece.


    Thanks Guy, this is worth the price of a ticket on its own.

  5. Perry Gretton

    He is, after all, carrying a lot of weight – he looks like a man who got up one morning and decided to wear a barrel, and then put his pants on over it anyway. That massing, topped with white hair in the style of an eight-year old boy from 1961, completes the weird look. Today his blonde 3.0 wifebot Callista stayed by his side throughout the speech, laughing and smiling on queue, like there was electric cabling running into her brain stem, a slight whirring sound each time her head turned, her hair a helmet made of super-metal mined from passing asteroids.

    Love it.

  6. shepherdmarilyn

    Brilliant piece Guy. Newt is as mad as hatter. Makes our Katter look sane.

  7. claudedwalker

    “deep-fried stupidity”


  8. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    I could say a thousand variations of “Brilliant”. I’d be right. But I’d like to say why. Andrew Elder argued earlier this month:

    Australian media organisations do not need correspondents in Washington (or London for that matter). Foreign correspondents should be limited to places with little coverage from other media: Port Moresby and Kabul come to mind as places where Australia’s interest is strong but media content would be scant were it not for Australian media outlets sending correspondents there. Washington correspondents are an impediment to Australians’ understanding of what is going on in US politics. Australian mainstream media organisations should resist the urge to offer beef-witted summaries of information freely available online: to not do so would be a waste.

    Guy Rundle is the exception to this rule. But then he adds his own insights that I could never imagine coming from America.

  9. Mark from Melbourne

    I’d love to understand how the pious and deeply religious americans can actually support this guy given his well known history. I know humans have the propensity to stick their head up their arses when they want to but this surely takes some doing.

  10. davidk

    I was surprised to hear Newt squealing about the libeal press the other day but didn’t realise it was a Republican mantra. He should have a word to Rupert about it.
    He wants the qualitative transformation of human existence by the application of the scientific technological revolution in every sphere of existence. So do I.

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