“What does not destroy me, makes me stronger;” or, there’s a virtue to Newt’s mania

Yes, Nietzsche ended up insane, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t occasionally hit the nail on the head.  Although it isn’t true in all cases that “what does not destroy me makes me stronger,” it is true in many cases.

In the case of Newt Gingrich’s most recent attack against Romney, James Taranto says that Newt may be doing everyone a favor.  (BTW, I agree with Danny in saying that Newt has out-Newted himself with his vile attack on capitalism, and rolled himself right off my list of viable presidential candidates.)  Here’s Taranto’s take on Newt’s unhinged anti-capitalist attack:

Yet all that said, assuming that Romney is the eventual nominee, Gingrich is doing him a huge favor. To see why, think about what happened to John Kerry, the haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat who by the way served in Vietnam.

At a time of national-security crisis, Kerry planned to coast into the White House on his autobiography as a war hero. Against weak opposition, he quickly wrapped up the Democratic nomination, and no one–either opponents or the press–bothered to question the story he told about himself.

Then, once the general-election campaign was under way, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth came along to dispute his accounts of his own heroism and to remind Americans that Kerry’s first foray into political life consisted of Senate testimony in which he viciously slandered fellow veterans. Kerry had no good response–in part because the Swift Boat Vets had him dead to rights, at least on the latter point, and in part because he was unprepared.

Romney is in a troublingly analogous position. At a time of economic crisis, he too is running on his biography, as a businessman who knows how to create jobs. Like Kerry, Romney faced weak opposition, at least until Gingrich’s rise a couple of months ago. Timid Pawlenty and Tongue-Tied Perry tried to land a few blows, but they were barely up for a pillow fight. Gingrich, by contrast, is causing Romney some pain–and Romney is making things worse by saying things like “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”

In other words, this primary is Romney’s trial run.  If he can’t handle this issue with his own party, he certainly won’t be able to handle it with the nation at large.  After all, this isn’t secret dirt and mud that sleazy political operatives are digging up.  Instead, this is what Romney is.

Now, I have to admit that, in all the years I’ve thought about Romney as a candidate, one of the things I’ve liked best about him is his willingness to make the hard decisions and revitalize moribund institutions.  This country needs that willingness.

A friend of mine who lives in a poverty-stricken region, with most of the poverty-stricken current or former drug and alcohol abusers thinks that, if we don’t keep up Obama-esque unlimited welfare payments, there’ll be blood on the streets.  My feeling is that, right now, the country as a whole can absorb the outrage of the current number of disaffected citizens.*  The real problems start if Obamanomics provides perverse incentives that expand the number of the very people whom my friend fears.


*I’m not unaware of the fact that many of these disaffected people, including those in my friend’s community, made their bad choices because they were raised by people who made equally bad choices.  They emulated the people around them.  The fact, though, that circumstances cause people to harm themselves does not, I think, obligate us as a society to perpetuate that harm by funding dysfunctional communities indefinitely.

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  • Mark

    This so-called ‘attack on capitalism’ is pious baloney. The same argument can be made for the attack on Newt for making $ 1.7 million off Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That is capitalism too, just like buying companies and gutting them. But I guess it’s ok to destroy Newt, but Romney, no, no, no, that’s language of the left, no, no, no, we can’t use that. 

    You know what language of the left is? Saying that the other party can’t use certain words! That is called political correctness, and Rush has just made his case for being a leftist Marxist. No, no, no, we can’t say that! Eugh. For the first time, I’m disgusted by Rush.  

  • jj

    Bain Capital was actually a pretty good company – they saved a considerably higher percentage of companies they invested in than plenty of others do, and a lot more than they had to put out of their misery.  They weren’t exactly raiders and asset-strippers, like some Hungarian Nazi collaborators we could name.  Like most engaged in that business, they generally got involved with companies that were already in trouble; and the ones that were circling the drain and couldn’t be pulled out, went.
    Newt’s off my list, too.  He didn’t like what happened to him in Iowa – who would? – but to my eye he’s chosen to react in an amazingly childish fashion.  I liked that he stayed focused on the real problem, the one that resides in the white house, earlier in the process; but am not much of an admirer of current events.  When stung in the ass, he has chosen to respond like an ass.  What sealed it for me was the interview he did with Megyn Kelly earlier today, when he came right out and said that his object in New Hampshire has not been to win the primary, but to damage Romney so severely that he’d be compromised, perhaps fatally, going forward.  We don’t need that.  We have democrats to do that.  They don’t understand or like the process of how investment capital firms work, so it’s expected for them.  Newt does.  But when he announces that his goal isn’t to win, it’s to tear down Romney based on some things Bain did that he knows – or thinks he knows – will play well with the great unwashed… I don’t intend to stomach much of that.  You’ve come a long way, baby, from the “anybody on this stage would be better than Obama” days, and the direction has been downward every inch of the way.
    I find a lot not to like about Romney – and I don’t particularly like him – but Newt’s current behavior has all the subtle dynamics of a nursery-school recess, and I’m not much enamored of that from anybody past the age of five, either.  At this point the only adult conservative I see on the stage is Santorum.
    I’ve said before and I’ll repeat: I really dislike this whole debate-passing-for-campaign deal.  It’s allowed people who should have been already gone – owing to a failure to get organized and raise money – to stay onstage.  It doesn’t take an organization, or the ability to convince people you’re legit to raise money from to show up at a debate.  All you need’s a clean shirt and a comb.  But we aren’t electing a debater, we don’t have a parliament in this country.  Our leader doesn’t need to be able to debate – that’s not a central talent needed for the job.  And it not only keeps people nobody’s ever going to vote for alive, it also deprives us of people we probably ought to take a closer look at.  Rick Perry can’t get five words out without three of them being sideways – but he’s the longest-serving and most successful governor in the history of the state of Texas, a state which continues to grow and be successful while the rest of the country wallows in excrement.  That should be worth something, but in the world of “let’s debate” it isn’t.  I don’t know a whole lot about Huntsman, but he’s been damn good at everything he’s ever tried, however he’s not a “star,” so he doesn’t get asked.  He gets about five minutes of face time to tell us about it in these dumb-ass “debates.”  (And yes, I recognize it’s his own damn fault he hasn’t raised any money and put together an organization to handle getting the message out.)
    I’ve found it to be a colossal waste of time.  And I’m finding Newt to be one, too.

  • bizcor

    Since the begining of the primary season which for me began back in January I have been looking for someone other than Mitt Romeny to be the Republican Nominee. It is obvious I am not the only one. Mitt gets 25% to 30% of the vote/polls and the remainder is divided by the rest of the field. I had hopes in Perry, Newt, Bachmann, but the party establishment has been set on Mitt thus the money needed to run a campaign could not be found by the others. However that said, yes, what Mitt did to Newt was terrible and I was all set to vote for Newt today until he did his hit piece on Romney. What he did is lowered himself to the same level instead of standing above it. Granted this general election is going to be nasty because Obama has an abysmal record to run on but for Newt to do what he did was stupid. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum chose to defend Mitt. Rick Perry has also shown his true colors. The Media has been having a field day with the “I like to fire people” quote and refuse to show the whole thing. I have been looking for a fighter to come in so we would have a candidate that would expose Obama for the person he really is. I would even introduce the Larry Sinclaire and Reggie Love scenerio. I am tired of my side getting beat up for looking at a woman sideways and the other side getting let off the hook for ten times worse. It doesn;t look like were going to get one though. Mitt’s better than Obama but I wonder if he will get elected. The Chicago thugs are going to pull out all the stops so maybe this is good that it is happening now.
    So Mitt has won in Iowa and just now New Hampshire.  


    Disappointment vs the Democrats? Maybe, I am still in wait and see mode.   

    I don’t know if Iowa and NH are really representative. I think it will take two more primaries, S. Carolina and Florida to sort the wheat from the chaff or the wheat from the shaft. Mitt has been the candidate of choice from the talking heads, party leaders and a variety of conservative blogs. I am wondering since all elections following the infamous Kennedy/Nixon debates have become such a visual event, Mitt drew the long straw so that Obama could not over shadow him literally and figuratively. Imagine a Ron Paul exchanging barbs during a debate (no don’t on second thought) although he could be used as a club on Federal monetary policy.  The GOP has had several years to vet potential candidates – so why do I have the feeling they didn’t. Romney-care will be his albatross and the decision by SCOTUS will color the outcome no matter who the candidate will be.

  • Mike Devx

    jj said in #2:
    But when he [Newt] announces that his goal isn’t to win, it’s to tear down Romney based on some things Bain did that he knows – or thinks he knows – will play well with the great unwashed… I don’t intend to stomach much of that.  
    I agree with everything jj said in #2 except perhaps the above sentence.  It might be a quibble, but if I remember Iowa correctly, Newt believed Romney unleashed outrageously unfair attack ads against him; Newt is furious about those ads and wants to return the favor.  It’s not about Bain at all, it’s about being attacked unfairly.  Newt wants to give Romney one hell of a good dose of EXACTLY the same medicine – outrageously unfair attacks – and see just how much Romney likes it.  In other words: it’s personal now.

    I don’t think that’s a good idea and I’m not happy about it.  But I’m not very happy with any of these guys right now.  Luckily for me, I don’t have to vote until Super Tuesday.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    The problem is that, while Romney attacked Newt, Newt is attacking capitalism. That’s just dumb. I’ll take vicious over dumb any day.

  • Michael Adams

    Attack ads, vicious or not, are one thing, not very nice, but, they work.  What I find truly reprehensible is to distort an opponent’s record, the way the Dims do. e.g. “Santorum voted against a bill to require employers to use the E-Verify system to find and reject illegal alien applicants.”  However, he voted against the bill because it was an amnesty bill. E-Verify might help.  Amnesty would definitely hurt.
    There is, or ought to be, a difference in the way Guardians and Bourgeoise debate.  Guardians are about power, and dominance. To be a part of the Bourgeoisie is to discuss, to  dissent for the sake of the task. That’s the reason “Liberals” throw out so many allegations without stopping for an answer to any of them.  They did not want to discuss.  They wanted to dominate, to shut you up. 
    For me, this is the test of who is the truly bourgeois candidate, the non-member of the permanent ruling elite. If we can manage to make this election a choice between those two kinds of America, we just might win it, and win America back to its original identity, the world’s longest lasting bourgeois-dominant society.

  • jj

    Mike – that’s a quote, it’s what Newt told Kelly this afternoon.  Bain’s the handy tool, but Newt was quite explicit about saying that goal #1 for New Hampshire was to damage Romney.  He knew he wasn’t going to win, he just wanted to draw as much blood as possible.  And there’s no question he feels he was unfairly done by in Iowa (Jesus, Newt, little thin-skinned there?), but this isn’t tiddlywinks, it’s high-stakes politics.  I don’t believe what was said in Iowa was particularly unfair, either, come to think of it.
    But Newt’s reaction, holy cow!  Didn’t Mommy ever smack you when you had a tantrum, Newtie?  Apparently not, because you’re still thinking it’s a viable response.

  • Mark

    Bookworm, Newt isn’t attacking capitalism, he’s attacking one man and one company. The fact that Rush says he’s attacking capitalism doesn’t make it true!

    If you say: this macaroni and chees is terrible, are you attacking food?
    If you say: my airplane ride was horrible, are you attacking transportation?
    If you say: I don’t like action movies, are you attacking entertainment?

    That’s rediculous, right? However, that’s exactly what the left does all the time!

    If you criticize gay marriage -> you’re attacking freedom
    If you criticize abortion -> you’re attacking women’s rights
    If you criticize global warming -> you’re attacking science 

    So Rush is the one who is copying the Left, not Newt! (I’m amazed by the ability of the media to frame the narrative, and Rush is a very clever guy, so he knows exactly how to do this, just like the mainstream media does)

    So why is Rush doing this? I don’t know. Maybe he’s wrong for once. Maybe he wants Romney to win. Maybe Romney paid him to defend him. Who knows. All I know is that this is a bogus argument, and it’s very un-Rush like. I’m really disappointed. 

  • DL Sly

    Ok, y’all are really confusicatin’ me….. Pres. Bush was excoriated because he wouldn’t defend his policies or decisions. McCain was too soft and nice in his campaign and wouldn’t go after Xerxes and his tablula rosa of a life and political career. These are listed in the top five of anyone’s list as to why the Republican party lost the last election.  We all wanted them to stand up for themselves (and by extension, us) and tell the world that the liberal leftist dominated Democrat party was lying through their capped and bleach-perfect teeth.  Now we are literally in the fight of the millenia for control of the greatest country that history has ever been witness to, and suddenly we want them all to play nice?  Really?  Newt started out this campaign on the right foot with his dedication to pounding on Xerxes policies and failures — and continued to do so even when people were calling on him to attack Romney, Perry, Bachman, et al.  Romney, obviously feeling a lot of pressure to maintain his “GOP establishment/LSM-given right” to the nomination, comes out with a series of attack ads right before the first *official* recording of who We the People support, and it’s Newt who has his knickers in a twist because he fought back! I hate attack ads and mud slinging as much as the next person (qualifier- as much as the next non-progressive/liberal/leftist/Democrat).  I would prefer candidates tell me what they plan to do to get us out of the mess this kangaroo court of an administration has gotten us into, but I also want a candidate who knows his *stuff* and won’t take crap from anyone — because that’s what I want in my President!  I want a President who believes what my Pop always taught us kids:  Don’t ever let me hear that you started the fight, but if one comes to you, you better make damn sure you’re the one who finishes it.

  • DL Sly

    I really hate when WordPress changes the posted comment from the way it looked when I typed and previewed it.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    I think motivation matters.  Mitt fought hard to win; one feels that Newt is fighting hard to destroy Mitt.  I actually understand Newt’s frustration and his desire to lash out.  It’s just that this attack has a bad smell about it.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    I want a President that has the will power required to destroy the Left. That’s about it really. All this inter factional in fighting, some of it caused by and egged on by the great dividers known as the Leftist Alliance, isn’t really important. It’s just some dog crud on the way to Victory or Defeat. Aka, Leftist conspiracies people keep talking about as a way to keep their head under the sand hoping the incoming Civil War and Economic and military Collapse won’t touch them.

  • DL Sly

    “Mitt fought hard to win; one feels that Newt is fighting hard to destroy Mitt.”

    I find it difficult to believe that the timing of the attack ads by Romney were not an attempt to *destroy* Gingrich — wrt, at the very least, the Iowa caucus. (Because as we’ve been told ad nauseum by *everyone who is anyone*, as Iowa goes, so goes the nomination.)  For what other purpose would the timing of the release of those ads be? 
    I’m not trying to pick a fight here.  I just don’t understand how one attack ad can be considered “fighting to win” and the other attack ad is nothing more than an attempt at total destruction.  Yes, I realize that Gingrich said as much…..afterward.  However, before that statement became a public soundbite, people were attributing malice to Gingrich’s attack ads, but not, however, to Romney’s.  They are both attack ads.  That’s like saying, in a fight, that the person who punched their opponent was just fighting, but the opponent who kicked back was doing so for some other, more nefarious, reason.  They are both fighting!
    A few weeks ago, we were lauding Gingrich for kicking back at Pelosi’s punch.  Now, he’s the *bad guy* because he kicked back at Romney’s punch.
    What gives?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    This why I told people propaganda is a stronger weapon than nukes. Just see how many nukes have been used since it was invented, vs how many people propaganda has affected. This campaign is nothing if not a propaganda campaign designed with us as the targets. The only question is, are the Republicans the purveyors of propaganda, or are they victims of the Left’s propaganda or each other’s.


  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    I suspect but cannot confirm, that it was the Leftist media and other propaganda arms that moved to push the ‘Gingrich is extreme mode of perception’, and Romney was simply a convenient tool in the way. That’s how the Left operates, often wise indirectly not directly.

     And if people think conservatives aren’t affected by Leftist propaganda, they might be surprised to know that they are dead wrong on that.


  • Carl

    Newt has retracted his attack on Bain Capital. (sort of). I agree it was a horrible move.
    What I find just as bad is that Romney nor any of the other candidates seem to be able to defend or praise the concept of creative destruction, by which capital is made available for new/better uses.
    This move is much better (as far as attacks go.) It is a clear, verifiable attack from a conservative point of view…From Newts youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hwh82GtVGh4&feature=youtu.be
    He seems to be learning.

  • Mark

    I simply can’t stand it when someone says: YOU CAN’T SAY THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That really ticks me off. Even if it’s Rush Limbaugh who says it. Who are you to decide what is allowed and what isn’t? Stifling free speech is called political correctness, which is the same as mental slavery, and it’s a tool of the left. And it especially ticks me off when the political correctness argument is such obvious baloney: 
    The air in China is really polluted -> so I’m against industrialization? 
    I really can’t work with this colleague of mine -> so I’m against cooperation?
    My neighbours kids are driving me crazy -> so I’m against reproduction? 
    You can’t say thaaaaaaat!!!!!! LOL 

  • Mark

    But – it could also be that Rush is playing chess with this argumentation. Because, now Rush has made the case that attacking Mitt’s work at Bain is the same as attacking capitalism. Ok let’s accept that premise for a second. 
    Now if Mitt wins the nomination and goes head to head against Obama, and Obama starts trashing Mitt for his Bain work, Rush can say: see I told you so, Obama is a Marxist who hates capitalism!!! Which would be a great counter of course. 
    If that’s the case, then I respect Rush again. However, I’d still like Newt to win the nomination. IMO he’s the only real warrior out there, whose primary mission it is to dismantle the secular left. And that’s exactly what needs to be done. 

  • Tonestaple

    What has bothered me most about this Bain brouhaha is Romney’s defense of what he did at Bain.  As somone else pointed out, Bain did pretty good work, saved a lot of companies, and wasn’t able to save others.  But when Romney compared what he did with Bain to what Obama did with GM and Chrysler, I wanted to vomit.

    That was the worst, lamest, stupidest “defense” of anything I have ever heard.  How could someone who claims to be a capitalist, who claims to understand capitalism, who claims to understand private enterprise think there was any resemblance between the government using money taken by force to prop up moribund businesses that will probably never be worth anything again and Bain taking its investors’ money and buying businesses that wanted to be bought and (they hoped) rescued.  This failure to preach the virtues of what Bain did, this failure to explain the difference between private investment and public “investment”, and this failure to preach the virtues of private business over government-run “business” is such a shocking lack that I don’t know which way to turn.

    I was so disgusted with Newt for his senseless blather about Bain that I was feeling like maybe I could vote for Romney.  Then Romney comes out with his idiotic statements, and I have nowhere to turn again besides prayer that God will somehow give someone a brilliant idea to save our country from itself.