Monday, November 14, 2011

The Mind of Newt

As Newt Gingrich rises in the polls, the usual suspects have been attacking and disparaging him.

I am not just talking about Democrats. Establishment Republicans and those who believe that Mitt Romney is the only candidate who can beat Obama have taken out after each and every challenger.

Some, who shall be nameless, are so hostile to their fellow Republicans that you start thinking that they are plants.

The attacks are coming so fast and furiously that we lose sight of interesting and important points. They might not be sufficiently salient to influence your vote, but they are worth noting anyway. It’s never a bad idea to learn something.

Today Law Professor Ann Althouse analyzed a set-to from last Saturday night’s Republican debate. The opponents were Newt Gingrich and CBS News star anchor Scott Pelley.

It’s not the first time that Gingrich has called a journalist to account.

Althouse explains that she liked what she saw because she saw someone who reminded her of the kind of law professor she always tries to be. She was especially impressed to see a great mind in action. It doesn't happen every day.

In her words: “Most of the candidates will listen to a question and then answer some question they wish they'd been asked. This is a standard approach to answering questions on television. It's a way to avoid letting the questioner control you, and you create an opportunity to say what you want to say.

“That's not what Newt does. He listens to the precise question asked and examines it, then works out, before our eyes, what is wrong with that question and what the real issue is. He has a depth of understanding and flexibility of mind that allows him to do that, he cares about doing that accurately and well, and he has the style to want to perform reasoning for us. I like that. I try to do that all the time in class, and I know how hard it is, what presence of mind and grasp of the material it takes.”

Her analysis is well worth a read.


Robert Pearson said...

IN American Specatator today, Jeffrey Lord makes the case that Newt Gingrich might be our Churchill. As I've commented previously, I like and admire Newt but thought the personal "baggage" would prove insurmountable. This is an extraordinary election and some of the old "rules" may not matter much any more.

Reagan was the first divorced President. Clinton was the first pot smoker. Obama was the first pot smoking biracial President. Gingrich may be the first multiply-divorced, ethics-censured Member of Congress to be President. People will forgive much if they believe he might save the country from ruin.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

You make a very good point. Most pundits are looking at the current election in terms of past elections. They do not see what effect an entirely different set of circumstances might have on the outcome. It is not very often that people believe that the country is being led off a cliff. I tend to side with you, to the effect that, as the saying goes, this might be a time when the old verities no longer pertain.