Successful political leaders know how to read the prevailing winds and rush to the front of the parade that is passing by. And few people do this with more seriousness than Newt Gingrich, who somehow manages to remain a key Republican figure despite having left the speakership of the House in disgrace after scandals both personal and professional.
Today, the prevailing wind on the right is, well, crazy. The president is not simply wrong about this or that but is actually trying to destroy America. Our current conflicts are a sign of the End Times. If a Democratic agenda continues to be enacted, it will literally mean the end of freedom itself. And so on.
So Newt isn't going to let anyone out-crazy him -- no siree. Yesterday, keying off an unhinged article by longtime "wingnut welfare" recipient Dinesh D'Souza, Gingrich told Dave Weigel and Robert Costa that Barack Obama's dismantling of all that is right and true now has its explanation. D'Souza has discovered that Obama is not actually a reasonably (but not too) progressive Democrat but is in fact enacting an evil plan of anti-colonialist revenge, which he got from the father he barely knew. Gingrich calls this the "most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama," and does his own riff on it:
"What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?" Gingrich asks. "That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior."
Well. Obama is "so outside our comprehension" that we need new ways to understand just how alien and un-American he is. I mean, c'mon -- health-care reform? He didn't get that idea from every Democrat since Harry Truman! It could only have been born in a remote Kenyan village, where dark-skinned natives speaking alien tongues plotted vengeance on their white oppressors. And you'll notice how Gingrich uses phrases like "predictive model," so you know this isn't just some bit of craziness -- it's scientific.
I've often said (see here and here) that Newt has a unique talent for saying the most insane and extreme things in a voice that is calm, sincere, and confident. It's part of what makes him compelling. But if you want to see how far he'll go, check out this, wherein Newt and wife No. 3 Callista stand in front of a green screen showing the Manhattan skyline to explain why we're at war with Islam (via TPM):
Ride that wave, Newt.
-- Paul Waldman