Chait rightly marvels at the latest from Newt:
"I have two grandchildren Maggie is 11, Robert is 9," Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. "I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."
So we're facing a secular socialist Islamism? Run that by me one more time, will you? And this, I think, is where Gingrich gets his otherwise absurd reputation for being an intellectual.
What he does is grasp constantly for huge, world-historical theories and systems in order to situate himself in the present. Doubt rattles him; moderation befuddles him; pragmatism offends him. Only Great Ideas appeal. But he is too emotional to separate his feelings from his thoughts in all this (a human failing but one to be resisted as best one can). And so the content of the ideas becomes secondary to their political usefulness. Only then - when Gingrich sees himself as utterly right and, duh, winning - does he feel comfortable.
His conversion to nineteenth century Catholicism is the kind of thing a Marxist/neocon would do in the 21st Century. What else today has the appeal of total truth in which the tension between faith and politics is reconciled entirely? Apart, of course, from Islamism.
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