Monkeys with Clubs: the Case of la Gingrich

I am down in Antigua for a few days with friends sorting out the problems of the world. It seems as remote as it is beautiful here high on a bluff overlooking Green Island then three thousand unobstructed miles to the coast of Africa. Modernity is just about everywhere, though. The beach below my window is empty all day long, except when we do our daily perambulation and the heartier among us plunge into the ocean to swim. But there is plenty of ice for the rum punches and, more to the point, the satellite-enabled wifi silently connects us to the chatter back home.

And what chatter it’s been. Yesterday, I popped out of my room to announce that Rick Perry had dropped out of the race and was endorsing Newt Gingrich to the chagrin of some and the delight of others in my party. I popped out again to provide a précis of Marianne Gingrich’s nasty and indecorous rant about her ex-husband in an interview with ABC’s Brian Ross. “Monkeys with clubs,” said one of our band of studious researchers. “That’s what politics is: monkeys with clubs.” He was not, by the way, a Gingrich partisan, but he could recognize a monkey — and a club — when one paraded by.

It was all old news, you know: notwithstanding the attention-grabbing headline about Newt wanting an “open marriage,” Marianne had no new scandals for us. The lack of novelty did not, of course, temper the viciousness of her attack, which was underscored by the opening act earlier in the day of how some ABC execs were debating the “ethics” of broadcasting the  interview before the primary vote in South Carolina.

Ha, ha, ha: Oh, those cards at ABC!  You can just imagine how tormented they were by the ethics of the situation. “Hank, what do you think, should we broadcast this bucketful of sewage from the guy’s angry ex now when it can do some serious harm to his candidacy, or do you think it would cause more damage if we held it until later in the campaign?”