Friday, December 30, 2011

The Mother Card — Final Nail In The Iowa Newt Coffin

The Idiot Punditocracy is falsely comparing Newt's teary recollection of his late mother with Hillary's tears on the eve of the 2008 New Hampshire primary, credited with her victory there. Here's the AP report (emphasis mine):
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Newt Gingrich choked up and wiped away tears while recalling his late mother's struggle with depression and mental illness.

Speaking at an event with mothers in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday, the former House speaker said his focus on brain science issues stems directly from "dealing with the real problems of real people in my family."

After showing his emotions, Gingrich allowed that he does "policy much easier than I do personal."

The moment was reminiscent of Hillary Rodham Clinton's teary-eyed response to a question just before the 2008 Democratic primary in New Hampshire. The moment was credited with humanizing her in the eyes of voters.

Gingrich has fallen in recent Iowa polls, with the state's caucuses just several days away.
In New Hampshire, Hillary confessed the "personal" moment was not about personal ambition but what the future held for her children and loved ones. She was crying for her country. It was as eloquent and genuine moment as I've ever seen in response to the question every presidential candidate faces: "why are you running for president; why put yourself through this?" Here's the Hillary moment:

The cynics will say they were crocodile tears, but for those who watched it, it was an unscripted moment, a defining character moment. It's no accident that Hillary Clinton is perennially at the top of most admired women. She has that rare quality in a politician, that what you see is what you get. Not so with Newt. Those who believe the old cliché about politicians, that he would literally use his mother's memory if it could gain him political advantage are probably correct, as Newt teared up recalling her bipolar disorder. Consider that Newt cried at an event hosted by leading GOP message guru Frank Luntz "at a downtown Des Moines coffeehouse ... styled as a focus group of moms," notes astute Atlantic staff writer Molly Ball, so Luntz asked Newt about his mother, "and tearjerking is his MO." Ball explains:
At a Thanksgiving forum in Des Moines in November, also moderated by Luntz, Gingrich was one of several candidates who broke down in tears. That time, the trigger was thinking about a friend's baby who was born with a heart defect. Also shedding tears at that event were Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain; Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul managed not to crack.

"I feel like Dr. Phil!" Luntz joked at that earlier event, and it's clear his manipulative lines of questioning -- probing the candidates for the emotional pressure-points of family and faith -- were responsible for the orgy of tears.
Gail Sheehy has written the closest piece to a "psychological" profile of Newt, in which his behavior, according to Dr. Frederick Goodwin, director of the Center on Neuroscience, Behavior, and Society at the George Washington University Medical Center and a national authority on bipolar disorder, "is "consistent with studies of first-degree relatives of manic-depressives."
"While stating that he was not making a diagnosis, he noted that in leaders, hypomanic behavior is “often intolerant and impulsive.” Studies characterize the thinking of a person in a hypomanic state as “flighty. He jumps by bypaths from one subject to another, and cannot adhere to anything.”

Gingrich repeatedly stunned his House colleagues in the Republican leadership when he was involved in lengthy negotiations over a major policy proposal and agreed to every detail, only to go public and pull the rug out from under them. Where some see this as evidence of his “flightiness,” others see a man willing to say whatever comes into his head as long as it will capture the next news cycle."
One doesn't have to be a clinical psychologist to conclude Newt Gingrich is temperamentally unfit to be president. The man's public behavior as a venal, backstabbing, grandiose politician is enough. The Republican House had to pass a rule to keep this from public view. Sound familiar? This is CNN from Nov. 16, 1995:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The debate over balancing the budget temporarily degenerated into name-calling and low comedy on the House floor Thursday. Democrats trooped to the floor to ridicule the Speaker Newt Gingrich for allowing his personal anger over a perceived snub by President Clinton to influence his attitude during budget negotiations.

Lawmakers paraded around with blowups of the New York Daily News' front page, which featured a caricature of Gingrich as a wailing baby in diapers with the headline "Cry-Baby."

Republicans voted 231-173 to stop Democrats from bringing the blowups into the chamber. They said it was against House rules to call the speaker a "cry-baby," and said Democrats were just trying to divert attention from Clinton's inability to balance the budget.

Rep. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colorado, held up a mock Oscar, and said she awarded it to Gingrich for best child actor. "There's only one problem," she said. "This speaker is not a child."

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