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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Churchill and Newt. Men for the moment or....

Is Newt just your usual insider political cad....

by StFerdIII


Okay there are not completely comparable but analogies do exist and they came to mind whilst reading Max Hastings and his great history of Churchill during the war. Consider the political personalities involved. Newt the politician certainly does remind me somewhat of Churchill. Mercurial, egotistical to a fantastic degree, unprincipled in many ways, wayward, a lone wolf, sure of himself and his destiny.....Newt`s fecund mind resembles the `fertile expedients` issued forth by Churchill`s own calculations and methods. Churchill`s mind created ideas which gained force and form through his own erratic and uncoventional manner of analysis and thinking. Churchill`s idea formation was described by one Cabinet colleague during the 1920s as a snowball rolling down a large hill picking up speed and size as it went until it hit the bottom. In other words an almost unchangeble, unbroken path from formation to realization regardless of propriety, practicality or reality. Newt strikes me as the same.

I have read most of Newt`s books. They are well written – even if ghost-writers did most of the heavy lifting. His books on Health Care reform are for instance, very practicable and full of good ideas. Socialized health care is alive and well in the US and that is why the health system is a mess with government accounting for 55 % of all health spend and intervening in the rest. But would Newt the ultimate insider cad actually reform socialized health care or entitlements ? I have my doubts. Maybe Newt is just for Newt and in love, like Churchill was, with his own image, rhetoric and standing ? Peggy Noonan wrote an excellent article on the Newt and why many simply don`t trust him:

One way to view this is that he is so rich and varied as a character, as geniuses often are, that he contains worlds, multitudes. One senses that would be his way of looking at it. Another way to look at it: In a long career, one will shift views, adapt to circumstances, tack this way and that. Another way: He's philosophically unanchored, an unstable element. There are too many storms within him, and he seeks out external storms in order to equalize his own atmosphere. He's a trouble magnet, a starter of fights that need not be fought. He is the first modern potential president about whom there is too much information. What is striking is the extraordinary divide in opinion between those who know Gingrich and those who don't. Those who do are mostly not for him, and they were burning up the phone lines this week in Washington.

This analysis is appropriate but it probably underestimates the Newt. The man is smart. Intelligent men will understand that once in power, they need to change. The world will not be shaped to their views alone. The process is at least bi-directional.

Consider Winston. Churchill was roundly hated by the elite, the technocracy, even his own party when he assumed power in May 1940. His only support base was strangely enough the working class and Labour. No one predicted his transformation into the most transformative leader of the 20th century. Suddenly Churchill was sober, judicious, energetic, principled, and disciplined. Even his enemies were astonished at the skills and maturity he showed. Could the erratic genius of the Newt undergo a similar metamorphosis ? Or is Newt simply too ingeniously diabolical, too much of an insider cad and too massively corrupt to change ?

Only Newt knows. But one thing is obvious. As in May 1940, the Americans in 2012 will need a transformation and a leader for the moment. If not the Republic will go bankrupt and the USA will collapse. Its hegemony assured of failure. Maybe Newt is the man for the hour. In any event he would be vastly entertaining and a lot more skillful and intelligent than the incumbent.