Newt Gingrich, Intellectual Powerhouse

Washington Post reporter Dan Balz has a front-page piece about Newt Gingrich’s announcement that he’s running for president. Balz calls Gingrich’s Twitter declaration a “milestone in presidential politics,” adding that Gingrich “is an idea-spewing machine,” a “one-man think tank” and “someone who has remained in the forefront of the public policy debate over a span of decades” with his “devotion to the intersection of ideas and politics“: Gingrich has “kept himself in the middle of public policy debates on healthcare, education, energy and foreign affairs.”

One possible downside, Balz warns: “A keen intellect can also translate into the appearance of intellectual superiority.” Goodness, will the rest of us even be able to understand his abstruse campaign platform?

Not all media coverage is so bad. The New York Times editorial page reminds readers of some Gingrich’s actual positions:

The Democrats who won in 2008, including President Obama, are “left-wing radicals” who lead a “secular socialist machine,” he wrote in his 2010 book, To Save America. He accused them of producing “the greatest political corruption ever seen in modern America.” And then the inevitable historical coup de grace: “The secular-socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.”

The slurs don’t stop there. He compared the Muslims who wanted to open an Islamic center in Lower Manhattan to the German Reich, saying it “would be like putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust Museum.” He is promoting the fringe idea that “jihadis” are intent on imposing Islamic law on every American village and farm.

Last year, he called for a federal law to stop the (nonexistent) onslaught of Sharia on American jurisprudence and accused the left of refusing to acknowledge its “mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it.” This nuanced grasp of world affairs was reinforced when he said that Mr. Obama displayed “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior.”

In his world, advocates for gay rights are imposing a “gay and secular fascism” using violence and harassment, blacks have little entrepreneurial tradition, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the Supreme Court is a “Latina woman racist.” (He kind of took back that last slur.)

“Intellectual superiority” would not appear to be something Gingrich has to worry about.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.