My previous post suggested that maybe Newt Gingrich suffers from a condition known as hypomania--which is like the manic phase of classic manic-depressive illness except a bit less so. (Hence, as the commenter Xclamation noted, the prefix "hypo" rather than "hyper"--signifying a state of mind that is sub-manic, though still intense.)
Speaking of commenters: Some weren't happy with my post. Two kinds of complaints seem especially worth addressing:
1) I didn't offer enough evidence for my armchair diagnosis and, anyway, I don't have the credentials to make it. True and true. But I did link to the Slate piece in which Jacob Weisberg had made the Newt-is-hypomanic argument in December, and there you'll find more evidence, including a quote about Newt from an actual hypomania expert.
2) Even if we accept that Gingrich suffers from hypomania, does that really make him "crazy"--a term I used in the headline of my post?
The "crazy" question is a good one. First the technical answer: hypomania is found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, so if you equate having a mental disorder with "crazy," then you can justify using that term.
Still, it's true that many people use "crazy" to mean "delusional," and Newt isn't delusional in the sense of hearing voices. He is delusional in the sense of being prone to a grandiose self-conception--thinking he can be president when almost nobody else does, telling us that he's a "transformational figure," a guy who will "shift the entire planet," etc. And you could argue that we're all kind of like that. I don't mean we all think we can be president, let alone transformational ones. But don't we all, at some point in our lives, feel optimistic about accomplishing something that is in fact really unlikely--writing the pathbreaking book, charming the beautiful woman who seems to be gazing at us longingly but in fact is just wondering whether to tell us that we have a piece of potato salad on our chin? Everyone is sometimes delusional in some sense--it's just a question of how big and persistent the delusions are.