Thursday, May 19, 2011

A second chance to make a first impression,... and Newt Gingrich blew it!

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I posted a little about this on Tuesday, but I thought Jon Stewart did a great job, as usual.

It's kind of funny. In the Democratic Party, politicians are eager to show their independence from the Democratic base. But in the Republican Party, any deviation from dogma is heresy and any criticism of the extremists in their base, however mild, will get you crucified.

In both cases, politicians could use a little more courage, don't you think? But then, I guess we tend to get the kinds of politicians we deserve.

Stephen Colbert covered this same topic here. He includes Gingrich's flip-flop on individual mandates, which I also mentioned Tuesday.

Newt has barely begun his campaign, and already he's dug himself a couple of deep holes. Jeebus, Michele Bachmann is almost seeming smart in comparison, just by keeping her mouth firmly shut. (But, of course, it won't stay shut. We all know that, any day now, she's bound to open it wide enough to insert her foot.)

Of course, Gingrich's big problem in both cases is that he simply told the truth. Individual mandates are critical for health care reform, as even Republicans recognized when this was their health care plan. And destroying Medicare is right-wing social engineering at its worst, designed by libertarian fanatics and pushed by the extremists who've taken control of the GOP.

But those truths are unwelcome in the Republican Party, and Newt still has to get the nomination. So look for him - and all the other candidates - to hew to the party line, no matter how ridiculous it is, at least until the nomination is decided. And that's going to give the Democrats plenty of ammunition, if they're only smart enough and aggressive enough to take advantage of it.

Or will they just blow it, as usual? I'm not confident in the Democrats being anything but hopelessly inept when it comes to politics. Well, that's the good thing about pessimism. At least I don't have to worry about being unpleasantly surprised.

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