Newt Gingrich’s fortunes may be on the slide, but at least some people at Fox News are giving him an opportunity to try and recoup them.
On Friday (1/27/12), viewers were treated to Greta Van Susteren’s decidedly softball interview with Gingrich, on his tour bus with pine woods and industrial parks rolling by outside. Van Susteren slouched companionably beside him on a comfy seat, leaning toward him as she gave him a friendly chance to answer the criticisms that have been levelled at him recently. And Gingrich, while not looking quite as slouchy and comfortable as Van Susteren, didn’t rage and rant, and even kept his attacks on others relatively subdued. For example:
On his lackluster performance at the Florida debate: Van Susteren: “The audience didn’t seem to be with you so much last night.” Gingrich: “Oh, I think that that was probably [Romney’s] base.” Why didn’t he get more in Romney’s face during the debate? “I think you have to, as a potential president, maintain a standard of dignity, or people think you’re not capable of being president. People want a sense of stability … it’s a little bit like hiring a school bus driver. You don’t want to hire a person who might take the bus off a cliff.” (Really? Would you hire Gingrich to drive your bus?)
On his unpopularity with some Republican insiders. Van Susteren: “One of the allegations against you is that you’re, quote, ‘erratic.’ And I know that Bob Dole has made that allegation. Why do you think he would say that?
Gingrich: “Oh, look, I think the Washington establishment is hyper. I think the prospect of Gingrich actually becoming president for the old guard is horrifying. I mean, they’re all comfortable. They’re all set in their ways. I know enough about Washington to change it, and I’m distanced enough from Washington to change it. And I think they find that a nightmare.”
And oh, yes, how about this moon colony business? Van Susteren (putting a positive spin even on her question): “I confess when I first heard it, I thought, Uh-oh, now Newt’s done it…. Then I thought back to the JFK speech, and I thought, I wonder if in 1961, everyone thought, you know, that was ridiculous.“
Giving Gingrich a chance to amplify on several themes:
· [reviving the dream and romance] “We have gone through a period of decay as a country, where we lack self-confidence, we lack a romantic vision of being an American, we lack connection with American exceptionalism…. Countries that turn their back on the future and settle down to decay gracefully, those countries give up their heritage, and in the long run, they give up their power and their capabilities.
· [beating the “enemy”]. “Are you comfortable if the Chinese now become the dominant country in space? And are you comfortable if the Chinese end up colonizing the moon?”
· [raping resources]. :”Well, first of all, the moon has a tremendous amount of water. Water is a terrific shield from radiation. And if you’re serious about going out into the solar system, having the moon as a refueling place, so you don’t try to lift water off the earth… is very important. The moon also has all sorts of minerals.”
· [and it won’t bankrupt the country] “I’d like to get between 80 and 90 percent of the money out of the private sector…One of the things I want to do is establish the president’s council on inspiration… And I’d like to find enough millionaires and billionaires who say, You know, I’d love to be part of space and I’ll kick in my share.”
There you have it, gentle reader. A friendly little chat. (And not one reference to Saul Alinsky.) If you missed it, there was another interview on Fox News Sunday And one tonight on Hannity. Your humble servant may check it out, to see if they played more hardball with him; then again, I may have more pleasant things to do, like picking bugs off my houseplants. One thing for sure: if Newt crashes and burns in the Florida primary, it won’t be for lack of air time on Fox.
A mere forty years ago, beach volleyball was just beginning. No bureaucrat would have invented it, and that’s what freedom is all about.