Newt Gingrich has a new book out that seeks to ride Donald Trump’s coattails back to something resembling relevance. The book is even called Understanding Trump, which he thinks those of us who fail to recognize his genius fail to do. Alexander Nazaryan has a rather scathing review. My favorite part:
But wait a second, you might be thinking, while Gingrich is an apt Boswell to Trump’s Johnson, why does America seem less great to so many Americans than it did on, oh, November 7, 2016? Newt supplies the answer. “The elite media [are] so terrified of the future that they haven’t stopped and considered how extraordinary his success has been.”
I’d argue that we’re terrified precisely because we’ve “stopped and considered” just what Trump’s “extraordinary” win means for this nation. But don’t listen to me, because I’m just another coastal elitist, pecking this out as I sip third-wave coffee, some of which appears to have dripped onto my non-sweatshop-made sweatpants.
Gingrich mentions elites in some variation nearly 50 times in Understanding Trump, while “the Left” gets nearly twice as much abuse. Neither term is ever explained. If these two terms beloved by Gingrich mean what I think he wants them to mean—people dubious about Trump’s qualifications to be President—then the elite Left includes both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, the editors of the conservative National Review, and most Americans with a college degree. There’s no middle in Newt’s view of the political landscape, just a Manichean battle between the patriots who love America and the faceless, humorless Left that can’t even understand the timeless joys of grabbing pussy and obstructing justice.
If you’re seeking a contemptible member of this country’s elite, I nominatee a career creature of Washington, D.C., who turned to politics after earning a doctorate in European history from Tulane, completing a dissertation on Belgian colonialism in the Congo. The one who got his start in politics in 1968, working for the presidential campaign of Nelson D. Rockefeller, scion of America’s greatest fortune. The ambitious young congressman elected to represent the wealthy suburbs of Atlanta who eventually became speaker of the House, who presided over the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying about his affair with an intern even as he was carrying on an extramarital affair with a Capitol Hill aide. You know, the guy who left politics in part because of his own ethics violations, and who has since gone on to do the kind of work blue-collar Americans have long valued: Lobbying, investing, film production and paid public speaking.I’m talking about the guy worth, by one estimate, $18 million who rails against “establishment players.” If the label of “elite” doesn’t apply to Newt Gingrich, it doesn’t apply to anyone, anywhere
To be fair to Gingrich, he probably had little to do with the bowl of stale, flavorless popcorn that is Understanding Trump, whose wisdom frequently runs to statements like “Work is good Everyone should work.” He more or less admits as much in the acknowledgements, thanking speechwriters Joe DeSantis and Louie Brogdon, who “developed the first draft of book.” My only surprise is that there was a second draft.
Of course there was — there is, after all, money to be made. And if there is money to be made, Gingrich will be there. He’ll even invent his own ways to make it, like inventing fake “awards” to be given to local business folk if only they pay a few grand for the privilege to have him present it to them. Or by selling his mailing list to all manner of scams, mostly medical and financial. Gingrich was not to the manor born, but he spends an inordinate amount of time trying to maintain the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed, no matter how dishonest or undignified it might be. And few things are as undignified as polishing the Donald’s fine Italian footwear with one’s tongue, as Gingrich does here. Make sure you use enough spit, Newt.