The Gingrich Con

There’s an expression among con artists that refers to a habit or gesture that gives away the con. It’s called, if I am correct, a “tell.”  Newt Gingrich has a tell.  I’ve noticed it every time he is questioned by either another Republican candidate during debate or when asked a question by a reporter. He sort of furrows his brow, squints his eyes, looks somewhat askance and gets a quizzical look on his face as if to say, “huh?” A noticeable uncertainty for a man so eloquent and ready to respond.

I most recently saw that look last night during the final Republican Presidential debate when Mitt Romney accused Gingrich of “influence peddling” and “lobbying” based upon Gingrich’s financial relationship with Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, the federal mortgage giants.

I’ve written about why Newt Gingrich should not be President in a prior blog post. Then, it was based upon his rather unseemly behavior with ex-wives and paramours. Then there’s the whole ethics violation charges while he was Speaker of the House and his inability to garner sufficient votes within his own party to maintain that position. Now there’s Freddie and Fannie.

What is astonishing to me are the amount of people who seem willing to make the same mistake in 2012 that was made in 2008: Take the candidate at face value and rhetorical eloquence even if it flies in the face of reason…not to mention past behavior and/or accomplishments.

I think there are three reasons so many are on the “Newt Wagon.”  First, they want to see him verbally crush President Obama. Gingrich is a heady match for any opponent. But it would be darn close to entertainment many would pay for to see the teleprompter dependent and manipulative Obama have to go up against Newt. Second, many people want to believe that words are the same as action and since Newt can speak a good game they want to believe he will deliver one.  Finally, too many want to abdicate personal responsibility by looking past the surface razzle dazzle and do the homework it takes to know where a candidate really stands and what he or she has actually accomplished. All together, these three reasons combined make for a tragic outcome for the nation.

If the choice is ultimately Obama vs. Gingrich, we will have to choose between two very flawed men. Gingrich is flawed in both his personal and professional life. Obama is flawed by lacking anything resembling leadership capability. Both men lack integrity.

What’s the solution?

Let’s support integrity over show and values over theology.  If we do that, we’ll at least have to choose between either Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

Then, at least, we’ll have a fighting chance to turn this sinking ship upright.

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