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Newt Gingrich: The GOP’s Fiery Genie Emerges From His Lamp

But has he already granted the Republican Party its three wishes?

Dave Swindle


November 17, 2011 - 8:39 am
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Last week I provided a magick-centered analysis of the three front-runners in the Republican presidential primary. I argued that the best challenger for Barack Obama next year would be the one who could most successfully cast a series of spells. Through demonstrating his or her Political Authenticity, Literacy, and Competence, one GOP candidate would prove him or herself the most skilled warrior. Each contender’s strengths and weaknesses dictated his archetypical characterization: Mitt Romney the Knight, Rick Perry the Barbarian, and Herman Cain the Wizard.

At last week’s first of two debates the Barbarian fell on his sword when he forgot the names of the government agencies he planned to hack apart. This pattern of continued clumsiness and several consecutive weeks without a recovery in the polls more than confirmed that Perry’s moment has passed. He joins his fellow regional Tea Party barbarian, the Minnesota Amazon Michele Bachmann, in the not-quite-competent-enough second tier. In all likelihood both will serve the defense of America against the Marxist and Islamist hordes through maintaining their current garrisons in the Texas governorship and in Congress. Thus we revise Perry’s Political Magick chart:

  • Political Authenticity
  • Political Literacy
  • Political Competence

And we also update Cain’s to reflect his ongoing struggles:

  • Political Authenticity
  • Political Literacy
  • Political Competence

Cain continues to inspire doubts with his failures to establish his Political Literary. (There are only so many bungles Cain’s fans can stomach before they resign themselves to accepting this weakness as incorrigible, thus changing from red letters to a strikethrough on the chart.) While still remaining in the top tier (and very much a contender for the nomination) the lingering sexual harassment allegations have further undermined the Capitali$t Wizard’s Political Authenticity spell. Even many of us still sympathetic to Cain, who see clearly the lack of credibility of his accusers’ stories, are not yet ready to give the campaign a 100% clean bill of health on the issue.

Here’s why: the charges have raised the possibility, if only as the merest shadow of a doubt, that some aspect of the allegations might be true. It doesn’t matter that Cain has an otherwise exemplary record and that all the allegations stem from one three-year-period, and that Ann Coulter has convincingly shown the hand of David Axelrod behind this conspiracy, as he was behind each of Obama’s campaigns from the state Senate forward. It doesn’t matter that Cain has a lovely wife of 43 years backing him up and a collection of character references longer than the toppings list at Godfather’s Pizza. All those things do is demonstrate that the allegations probably aren’t true. But probably isn’t good enough when defeating Obama is at stake. Conservatives are the ones who say their eyes are wide open to the absolute truth about human nature: Everyone has a dark side. It doesn’t matter how well we think we know someone. The same hypomanic personality that can propel a man like Herman Cain to succeed in the business world can also give him the confidence to try and burn his way through sexual and legal boundaries. The same Radical Spirit that blesses with energy, charisma, brilliance, and talent also can curse, invoking destructive demons who will cast assunder marriages and families.

The primary contest is not just about debating policy proposals and weighing candidates’ resumes. It’s the necessary moment for a very uncomfortable, very personal question for those who would dare seek to leave their mark on history. A subject that should be discussed in an intimate setting with a psychiatrist must instead be conducted as an anesthetic-free, Marathon Man-style surgical intervention performed by a 24 Hour Hydra-headed New Media. The question that matters most above all others: Does this human being have his or her personal demons under control? Here’s how I’d lay it out to each of the candidates one-on-one:

“Look, we know you’re crazy. You’re running for President — a job where all of a sudden you’re target #1 for every evil person on the planet. This is dangerous. Some would say suicidal. We accept that you’re crazy. You probably have some degree of hypomania, bipolar, cyclothymia, hyperthymia or other related mood disorder — most super successful artists, leaders, and businessmen do. That’s fine. But what we need to know right now in no uncertain terms: do you control your crazy or does your crazy control you?”

And so it is that the newest member of the GOP primary top tier comes into focus in archetypal terms: Newt Gingrich is a Genie, the most powerful political magician running for president. But this great energy and quick intellect have come at a heavy cost, confining Gingrich within his lamp for the past decade, a place where he’s likely to return should primary voters actually be forced to think about him seriously.

Next: Why Newt Gingrich can mesmerize the base…

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