One of the things my parents always told me was that there is no one more fired with zealotry than a convert. Paul of Tarsus is, of course, the perfect example of the truth behind that statement.
One doesn’t have to look so far field, though, in time at space. Just consider the fact that so many of the most prominent conservative bloggers today are former liberals. Thomas Lifson, of American Thinker; the whole Power Line crew; David Horowitz; Roger L. Simon; Andrew Breitbart; and so many more, once having seen the light, fell compelled to share it with others. To them, conservativism isn’t a background noise, it’s an epiphany. In addition to their zealotry, these neocons have another significant advantage: having once been liberals themselves, they understand the liberal mindset and they can challenge it more effectively than someone who has never seen Leftism from the inside.
Newt Gingrich is currently under attack for being the ultimate government insider. He was an elected representative and then, no matter how he dances around it, he was a lobbyist. Talk about being in the belly of the beast.
In this election cycle, though, Newt speaks with the zealotry of the convert. Unlike Romney, who has the rich, earthy charm of a poorly designed android, and Santorum, who is the really nice guy no one notices, Gingrich is the one on the street corner hollering to the crowds about being saved. Either it’s a fantastic performance, or he has genuinely bought into core conservative notions about the economy, about race in America, about welfare dependency, etc. He is articulating core conservative principles with verve and wit. The added fillip, of course, is that, although Newt has arguably turned his back on the political establishment, he knows better than anyone how it operates and, therefore, is better situated than anyone to bring it under control.
Newt’s joie de vivre makes his presentation so natural that I am currently inclined to see him as a newly converted true believer, rather than a snake oil salesman. Of course, the problem with converts is that, sometimes, they backslide. If Newt has indeed seen the light, it remains to be seen whether this is a permanent change to his core principles or a merely superficial fad.
Apropos Newt’s wit, stick with this short speech excerpt to the end: