Newt and noise

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 85 views 

Riff Raff, by Michael Tilley
[email protected]

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appears to be the candidate to beat in the GOP presidential primary. I tend to agree with the conventional wisdom — although such agreement smacks of bandwagon thinking — which suggests Romney has the best chance win in November.

However, a nagging feeling persists in the back of my history-buff-mind that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich could be the Winston Churchill of U.S. politics. No, am not saying Newt is the grand statesman Churchill proved to be, or that our situation matches the dire realities faced by Churchill during his first term as prime minister.

What I am saying is that, like May 1940 in England, the American people desperately seek someone who they believe has competent answers and the political backbone to pursue and achieve results. Other comparisons to consider:
• Churchill spent most of his adult life just below the top rung of the political ladder;
• Churchill rose to power after it became painfully clear that the pacifist Neville Chamberlain failed to prepare the military and economy of the United Kingdom for Nazi Germany;
• Churchill was a policy wonk across a wide spectrum of matters, especially in the areas of military power, energy and finance;
• There were many times prior to May 1940 that the national press said Churchill’s political career was over; and,
• Churchill was not necessarily a pretty thing to see in pictures or in person.

Ironically, when the war ended, the English people rejected Churchill’s aggressive leadership style and returned to a liberal, big-government philosophy carried by Clement Attlee. (And when Attlee’s government fell out of favor in 1951, guess who the English people returned to power? Yep, Churchill.)

The point of all the rambling about Newt and Sir Winston was to make the simple point that Americans have historically turned to the politically polished and media darlings when selecting a president. Newt’s chances of success in this cycle are slim, but don’t be surprised if the frustrated electorate takes a chance on someone they think will achieve real results through non-conventional means.

As noted before in this space, Newt is easily the smartest and most accomplished — in terms of broad government and policy work — candidate in the race. If elected, he could be a great president. But this is the modern political era of tweets and soundbites and pretty posters and Newt is just barely more attractive than a website journalist.

Brief notes — edited from a previous essay — on the other GOP candidates.
Michele Bachmann: Are we supposed to give her serious consideration? Really? In terms of political experience, Bachmann is the Barack Obama of the GOP.

Herman Cain: He’s a name taker and an ass kicker (and possibly an ass fondler) and make-it-happen kind of guy. He doesn’t stand a chance.

John Huntsman: He was once the governor of Puerto Rico or Utah or Boys State. Who knows? Who cares.

Ron Paul: Remember the days before a national interstate system, federal disease control measures that lengthened life expectancy, and programs to ensure racial and gender equality? To Paul, those were the good old days.

Gov. Rick Perry: One former Texas governor presiding over a debt increase is enough. Politically, this former Democrat is all hat and no cattle.

Rick Santorum: We shouldn’t let this theocratic wannabe anywhere near the White House.

Now that we have the silly stuff out of the way, let’s talk about what’s really wrong with the debates: the music.

The music and/or segue noise selected by producers in all the GOP debates to date is way over the top. It’s viscerally urgent, as if at anytime the candidates will find themselves in a Mexican soap opera. Are we listening to candidates pander the same old message to the same old crowd, or are we waiting to learn if a series of missile launches out of Iran heading toward Israel is the real deal?

Debate music is overwrought noise one might expect to hear during a movie in which the hero has 13 seconds to defuse a bomb connected to a device that will blow up the space-time continuum and send us all back to be trapped mercilessly in the Carter Presidency.

Maybe the rights to real music are too expensive, but it would be nice to hear popular music that better sets the stage for a debate. Something like Cash’s “Ring of Fire.” Or maybe “Land of Confusion” by Genesis. “Welcome to the Jungle,” by Guns N Roses would be a great high-energy segue, although the song that might best fit what we hear from candidates of either party could be “De Do Do Do De Da Da Da,” by The Police. The more cynical among us might prefer “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC, or Shania’s “Don’t Impress Me Much.”

Or there’s the catchy little jingle that always welcomed us to a wonderful new episode of “Hee Haw.”