Greek Ruins

From Steve Kornacki at the WAR ROOM at Salon:

If his goal when he officially launched his presidential candidacy last month was to inflict a massive amount of humiliation on himself in as short a time as possible, then Newt Gingrich has succeeded spectacularly.

After an epically botched campaign roll-out — which included accusations of ideological treason from influential conservatives and a nationally televised exchange with an Iowa voter who called him “an embarrassment to our party” and urged him to quit the race “before you make a bigger fool of yourself” — Gingrich was left struggling to explain how he and his wife racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in charges at Tiffany’s jewelers. Then he randomly took off on a vacation (a lavish Greek cruise, it turned out), and now he’s returned to find that virtually his entire staff has quit.

Original DVD cover
(Click on image and then on that for larger version)

Does this latest development change the presidential race in any significant way? Not really. Since even before his month from hell, Gingrich had no realistic chance of winning the GOP nomination, and not since the 1990s has he been a significant force on the right.


But much of the political media world never quite figured this out, instead treating Gingrich for the last decade as an enduring relevant national leader.


This is the promise of Gingrich’s amazing crash-and-burn as a White House candidate (I know, he says he’s staying in despite the staff defections): that it might compel the political media to realize that the emperor has no clothes.

The reality is that Gingrich’s serious career in elected politics lasted for 20 years and ended in 1998.

He spent the first 16 of those years clawing his way through his party’s House ranks, finally reaching the top spot just as the ideal circumstances — complete Democratic control of Washington for the first time since the Carter administration, a profoundly unpopular president, and a ton of low-hanging fruit in the South — presented themselves for a Republican takeover of the House.


The tactics he employed during that rise could be devious. Early on, he formed the Conservative Opportunity Society with about a dozen fellow far-right GOP members. They pushed their party’s leadership toward a more confrontational posture and engaged in harsh and highly personal attacks on their Democratic colleagues.


His four-year run as Speaker proved disastrous, for Gingrich personally and for his party. His own obnoxious style — when a South Carolina woman drowned her children in a horrifying late 1994 incident, Gingrich called it a sign of society’s breakdown and proof that people needed to vote Republican — alienated all but the most hardcore Republicans. And his eagerness to force a government shutdown over a GOP plan to slash Medicare spending gave President Clinton and Democrats a winning issue in 1996, when nearly 20 Republican incumbents lost their seats and the GOP barely held the House. Shortly after that, Gingrich held off an attempted coup from a band of frustrated but incompetent House Republicans. Then he made things worse for his party by leading an impeachment drive against Clinton in 1998 (even, as we later learned, while engaging in an extramarital affair himself), which backfired and led to shocking Democratic gains in that year’s midterms.

It was then that Gingrich took his massive unpopularity and walked off the political stage, knowing that his party was ready to throw him off if he didn’t make the first move. From that moment on, the party’s elites — elected officials, activists, interest group leaders, and opinion-shaping commentators — have had little use for him. But the media has been a different story. A few years after his demise as Speaker, Gingrich reemerged and was quickly welcomed back into every green room in America.


But the idea that he was a real player in politics was an illusion, something that’s become clear during the month-long Gingrich candidacy. Most of the important figures in the Republican Party never had any interest in seeing him run for president. There have been few endorsements, donors have shunned him, and conservative activists and commentators have amplified every one of his embarrassments.

Even with his staff quitting on him, Gingrich insists he’ll stay in the race. We’ll see how long that lasts. One way or the other, he’ll soon be taking the same walk of shame off the political stage that he took 13 years ago. This time, let’s hope it’s for good.


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22 responses to “Greek Ruins

  1. John Erickson

    And ain’t that Iowan, who confronted Gingrich on national (actually, international) TV now looking like a genius! The GOP oughtta get him to run for 2012 – he’s already proved himself smarter than just about anyone else running for President from the GOP!

    • i’m surprised that the other candidates didn’t pounce on iowa guy like capt underpants’s campaign latched onto joe the not plumber.

  2. jeb

    The article nails it. Newtie has always been about Newtie, his own ambitions, desires and ego and he’s never had any hesitation to hurt anyone else in his quest for himself. Be it a sick wife or two, or other colleagues and political rivals. And that’s what makes this so delicious. He’s the ultimate scumbag and he really deserves all of the bad karma he’s obtained throughout his festering stinkhole of a career.

    Love the Tiffany’s touch Nonnie. I know, you’re always about the accessories. 🙂

    • newtie is the male version of princess sarah. he’s just another grifter trying to get rich at the expense of stupid poor people who keep voting against their own interests.

      p.s. you’d probably be as surprised as i was that newtie is much more fun to accessorize than joanna eberhart callista.

      • jeb

        I would have to Google joanna eberhart to know who she is, but first I’d have to care.

        I had my disgust with Bill Clinton on many issues (Helms-Burton, the welfare bill, etc.) but I used to love how he routinely punked Newtie when he was the speaker. It was a real kick because Newtie thought he was all that but he was never a match for the political master.

        • joanna eberhart is the main character in the stepford wives. i never remember the name, so i have to google each time. anyway, that’s my nickname for mrs. blingrich.

          i think newtie has always been overrated. it seems that you don’t have to be smart for the media to hype you as the greatest thing since sliced bread. you just have to be loud. ruthless helps, too.

  3. citizenx

    Shame to see Newtie flame out so early, it makes me fear we won’t be able to have him as a target for long.

    Nice tiara and at least it is encouraging that Newtie didn’t hire a RentBoy to carry his luggage. 🙂

    • i pretty bummed, too, citizenx, especially after the tiffany revelation. i was looking forward to accessorizing newtie for at least a few more months. 😥

  4. Great poster, Nonnie.

    That Gingrich even stepped onto this stage proves that the GOP is fit to retire. It’s about time for the Whigs to make a comeback.

    • thanks, wken! funny thing. i just got done watching bill maher’s show on hbo. i looked up when the announcer said coming up next on hbo, and get him to the greek was it. i was going to use that movie poster, but i couldn’t find any good pix of his advisers.

      • I had to look for the “Now Serving 3” sign. And I was glad that I did, because I’d missed just how much jewelry Newt was wearing.

        I love the “DOPE” sign. Really, this is one of the great posters you’ve done lately. I feel like I don’t compliment those enough … but this one really got my attention.

        Of course, Gingrich has a special place in my life. He, Bob Packwood, and Jesse Helms are the three people who really drove me from the Republican party. After doing campaign work under banners reading “Character Counts” in 1994 and then seeing those three get important positions … well, … I decided that I didn’t belong there.

        • awww, thanks, wken! i’m so glad you like the silliness. i put the now serving sign all over the place. originally, it was going to be on his shirt, but i moved it so i could put the campaign button there. then i was going to put it on the sign, but i couldn’t get it to look right. then i tried it on the car, but it was too small to see. then i was going to leave it out altogether, but it’s the newtie signature gag at the raisin, so i just stuck it where there was an empty space.

          i always thought newtie was worthless, but if he got you to quit the rethuglican party, then i guess he has some value after all.

  5. Achilles World???!!! Woot!

    The headline in our local paper called his campaign “in tatters”.
    The official line was the staff had disagreements on how long Newt should stay in different campaign zones.

    Seriously? 16 people quit over location logistics? Not buying it.
    A wise friend told me the truth always comes out, eventually in politics- we will have to wait for the real story.
    But something major had to have happened for that may people to up & quit in one day.

    Not even sure the cruise story is legit… hiding $ in Swiss banks is more believable.

    Karma is a bitch, eh Newt?

    • yayy!! someone saw achilles world! i couldn’t just leave it as wally world.

      sure, it’s just a coincidence that everyone walked out at once, just like it’s a coincidence that vern buchanan’s employees at the car dealerships that he owned all decided at the same time to give the same amount to his campaign before getting reimbursed. and it’s just a coincidence that the same thing happened at 2 more of his car dealerships.

      the rethugs should adopt the motto we’ll piss on your leg and tell you it’s raining.

  6. John Heilemann on Andrea Mitchell’s show called Newt Gingrich “the Wile E. Coyote of this race.”

    If Blingrich is Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius, who’s the Roadrunner? For that matter, who’s Bugs Bunny, Speedy Gonzales, or Ralph the Sheepdog, the character’s other nemeses?

    • i think the lot of them are heckle & jeckle. by the way, i can’t stand john heilemann or mark halperin. they’re nothing more than gossip columnists.

  7. Achilles would imply he was dipped in something, except his heel where his sole lives. This Grinch is just a marketing windbag (Speakers Choice Dork Ointment) and purveyor of crappy books about how the south won. He’s got that great intellectual reputation too. Yea, we haven’t seen such a keen wit since Alfred Rosenburg. By the way, a big factor of the Susan Smith mental problems go back to her stepfather repeatedly raping her as a child. The guy was chairman of the Shelby County repub party (suck it Newt). …Oh, rumor has it that Nonnie, for her fine public service in raisiny things and being an upright citizen has qualifies (“made the cut”) for a Grinch Outstanding American Award….now get that $5,000.00 check ready to send in to……….(BTW the cyrillic signature shows real class)

    • newtie is an intellectual giant like eddie munst…i mean, paul ryan is a financial and budgeting genius and st ronnie was the greatest american who ever lived.

      yayyyy!!! i won one of those awards? i didn’t even have to open a strip joint to do it either!!

  8. Oh … it might have been on Facebook, but if it was on the blog, I’ll try to find a link.

    In a discussion of Gingrich’s chances vs. Pres. Obama, one commenter said “Gingrich is at least 3x as smart as Obama.” I admit it was a cheap shot, but I answered, “By coincidence, this champion of traditional family values has also been married 3x as many times as Obama.”

    • perfect answer!

      i was reading the comments over at tv guide earlier today, and even there, princess sarah has trolls arguing with everyone who calls her an idiot. yes, even people who watch too much tv thinks she’s a moron. the people who are not bedazzled by her get lots of recommendations for their comments, and the trolls get almost none. your comment reminded me of that, because someone actually said that princess sarah is very accomplished and smarter than president obama.

  9. Snoring Dog Studio

    And now it’s being reported that Calista is responsible for strong arming Gingrich into going on the vacation. Apparently, she’s the one with “strategically strategic” differences with the campaign troops. I don’t care how schooled Gingrich is – he’s a moron with poor judgement.