Newt Gains Two More 'Endorsements'

Newt Gingrich's "incredible surge" in the Republican primaries continues to gather new backers, as two more influential Washington insiders throw their weight behind the former speaker: Newt Gingrich and Mr. Perfect.

On the evening of December 1, the Drudge Report's above-the-logo lead story was about the impending demise of Herman Cain's candidacy.  However, above even that story, and highlighted in red, was this headline:

Newt: I'm going to be the nominee...

Until that moment, it had not occurred to me that there was anything newsworthy about an election candidate's prediction of his own victory.  Indeed, I would have thought it strange were there a candidate for anything who did not say he was going to win.  Do you remember your school's student council elections?  Do you remember your family's vote on whether to order pizza or Chinese?  In either of these cases, did any party declare defeat while still engaged in the effort to persuade others to vote for their side?

Of course, what had really happened on Drudge was clear.  However much conservatives might like to believe that media manipulation is a liberal disease, it is actually endemic to the entire modern political culture, regardless of perspective or party affiliation.  As I have argued repeatedly in recent weeks (here and here, for example), the entire poll-directed apparatus of modern democratic politics both fosters and reinforces a Big Lie -- namely the notion that there are "frontrunners" in the political "race," and, concomitantly, that there are candidates so far "behind" that they are no longer capable of "catching up."  Pollsters create these ideas for obvious reasons of professional self-interest -- it makes them indispensable to the process. And the media, perhaps believing the Lie themselves, perhaps to promote their own agendas, or perhaps a little of both -- take the pollsters' illusory "progress reports" and run with them.

The myth of the moment is that Gingrich is winning.  (No one is winning.  No votes have been cast.)  Certain factions try to reinforce the perception in order to create an aura of inevitability around Gingrich's candidacy.  By persuading voters that Gingrich is inescapable, the media, along with the interests they represent, hope to coax conscientious people to lose hope in their own preferred candidates, and even to begin rationalizing Gingrich in their own minds, until at last they are supporting a man they found thoroughly unacceptable two months ago -- and can even make a case for him.

No one wants to feel disenfranchised, and that is how one feels when one is voting for someone who absolutely cannot win.  Thus, voters begin to complete the pollsters' self-fulfilling prophecy by reconfiguring the "race" in their heads: "Okay, Bachmann is too far behind, realistically speaking.  It's Romney versus Gingrich.  So I guess I have to choose Gingrich."

After all, as one writer put it in a comment on American Thinker on December 2, "Newt states he will win. I tend to agree with him."

Thanks to Drudge, Gingrich's voice can now be cited as an endorsement -- of Gingrich.  And the "endorsement" is helping to change minds.  "After all, if even Newt is on the Gingrich bandwagon, there must be something to this!"

By this subtle mechanism -- an ingenious exploitation of modernity's nihilistic desire to feel superior to the naive rabble -- thousands of reasonable people convince themselves to get behind a man they had previously regarded as their fourth or fifth choice, all things being equal.  And that's the key, because what the nihilists have allowed themselves to be blinded to is the "naive" truth that all things are equal at this point.  There is no "frontrunner."  No one has any "momentum."  There are seven candidates (sans Herman), each of whom has garnered exactly zero votes thus far.  John Hunstman is tied for the lead.

One is not disenfranchised by failing to vote for Gingrich.  One is disenfranchising oneself by allowing a pollster- and media-manufactured fear to override one's own conscience.  One disenfranchises oneself by abandoning Bachmann and Santorum before the real "race" has even begun, and abandoning them for someone so wholly imperfect as Gingrich.

And here we arrive at the other edge of the sword, the second major endorsement Gingrich has just garnered.  Throughout the conservative Newtosphere that has suddenly grown up around us over the past couple of weeks, pundits show that they have the courage of their bandwagon-hopping by declaring, as their main rallying cry, that Newt is far from perfect, but that there are no perfect candidates in this race, and we must focus on the goal of defeating President Obama.  Therefore, everyone should stop looking for perfection, and get behind Gingrich.

"There are no perfect candidates."  If Newt gets the nomination, I wonder if his campaign will put that slogan on the "Gingrich for President" buttons.  At any rate, it serves a very useful psychological purpose, and it is an excellent complement for the pollster-manufactured "momentum" stories.  I don't remember any candidate claiming to be perfect, nor do I recall any supporter making that claim on behalf of any of the candidates.  What I do remember is that a couple of months ago, Tea Party conservatives were rallying around one of exactly four candidates -- Bachmann, Cain, Santorum, and Paul -- while Perry was trying to make inroads with those voters.  Gingrich, on the other hand, was generally dismissed by conservatives for all the right reasons -- playing footsie with Nancy Pelosi on global warming, trashing Paul Ryan's budget proposal as "right-wing social engineering," heavier-than-average moral baggage, the epitome of the Washington Establishment type, etc. -- reasons which are now being rehearsed at the outset of every commentary in support of his candidacy.

No one ever believed that the other conservative candidates were perfect, but only Gingrich had the kind of imperfections that spoke loudly against him.  The only way to overcome this problem in a hurry is to use a variation of moral equivalency: of course Newt's imperfect, but who's perfect?  In other words, Newt's imperfect -- like all the others -- but boy, just picture those debates against Obama!

Thus, we have Mr. Perfect's endorsement: "Sorry, folks, I'm not running this year.  So you'd better settle for Newt."  To which the proper answer should be, "But we never asked you to run, Mr. Perfect.  We just want the best person available.  So why should we abandon someone with a little imperfection in favor of someone with a lot of imperfection?"

Incidentally, I have pictured those debates the Newtrons are dreaming about.  In my viewfinder, they're not pretty.  Newt's articulate meanderings through his bizarro-world versions of policy and history may come with applause lines that appeal to Republican voters, but their incoherencies and hyberbolic punctuations will run up against the kind of "real world" counterexamples Democrats always trump up, finally making him look like, at best, a bitter old man.

Here is an even likelier alternative: Gingrich sounds awfully conservative these days, because his audience is conservative.  But Gingrich, like all successful media hounds, is adept at changing his tone, and even his message, for various ears.  What will he say when he is "reaching out" to moderates and independents?  If his past rhetoric is any indication, you don't want to know.

Newt Gingrich's "incredible surge" in the Republican primaries continues to gather new backers, as two more influential Washington insiders throw their weight behind the former speaker: Newt Gingrich and Mr. Perfect.

On the evening of December 1, the Drudge Report's above-the-logo lead story was about the impending demise of Herman Cain's candidacy.  However, above even that story, and highlighted in red, was this headline:

Newt: I'm going to be the nominee...

Until that moment, it had not occurred to me that there was anything newsworthy about an election candidate's prediction of his own victory.  Indeed, I would have thought it strange were there a candidate for anything who did not say he was going to win.  Do you remember your school's student council elections?  Do you remember your family's vote on whether to order pizza or Chinese?  In either of these cases, did any party declare defeat while still engaged in the effort to persuade others to vote for their side?

Of course, what had really happened on Drudge was clear.  However much conservatives might like to believe that media manipulation is a liberal disease, it is actually endemic to the entire modern political culture, regardless of perspective or party affiliation.  As I have argued repeatedly in recent weeks (here and here, for example), the entire poll-directed apparatus of modern democratic politics both fosters and reinforces a Big Lie -- namely the notion that there are "frontrunners" in the political "race," and, concomitantly, that there are candidates so far "behind" that they are no longer capable of "catching up."  Pollsters create these ideas for obvious reasons of professional self-interest -- it makes them indispensable to the process. And the media, perhaps believing the Lie themselves, perhaps to promote their own agendas, or perhaps a little of both -- take the pollsters' illusory "progress reports" and run with them.

The myth of the moment is that Gingrich is winning.  (No one is winning.  No votes have been cast.)  Certain factions try to reinforce the perception in order to create an aura of inevitability around Gingrich's candidacy.  By persuading voters that Gingrich is inescapable, the media, along with the interests they represent, hope to coax conscientious people to lose hope in their own preferred candidates, and even to begin rationalizing Gingrich in their own minds, until at last they are supporting a man they found thoroughly unacceptable two months ago -- and can even make a case for him.

No one wants to feel disenfranchised, and that is how one feels when one is voting for someone who absolutely cannot win.  Thus, voters begin to complete the pollsters' self-fulfilling prophecy by reconfiguring the "race" in their heads: "Okay, Bachmann is too far behind, realistically speaking.  It's Romney versus Gingrich.  So I guess I have to choose Gingrich."

After all, as one writer put it in a comment on American Thinker on December 2, "Newt states he will win. I tend to agree with him."

Thanks to Drudge, Gingrich's voice can now be cited as an endorsement -- of Gingrich.  And the "endorsement" is helping to change minds.  "After all, if even Newt is on the Gingrich bandwagon, there must be something to this!"

By this subtle mechanism -- an ingenious exploitation of modernity's nihilistic desire to feel superior to the naive rabble -- thousands of reasonable people convince themselves to get behind a man they had previously regarded as their fourth or fifth choice, all things being equal.  And that's the key, because what the nihilists have allowed themselves to be blinded to is the "naive" truth that all things are equal at this point.  There is no "frontrunner."  No one has any "momentum."  There are seven candidates (sans Herman), each of whom has garnered exactly zero votes thus far.  John Hunstman is tied for the lead.

One is not disenfranchised by failing to vote for Gingrich.  One is disenfranchising oneself by allowing a pollster- and media-manufactured fear to override one's own conscience.  One disenfranchises oneself by abandoning Bachmann and Santorum before the real "race" has even begun, and abandoning them for someone so wholly imperfect as Gingrich.

And here we arrive at the other edge of the sword, the second major endorsement Gingrich has just garnered.  Throughout the conservative Newtosphere that has suddenly grown up around us over the past couple of weeks, pundits show that they have the courage of their bandwagon-hopping by declaring, as their main rallying cry, that Newt is far from perfect, but that there are no perfect candidates in this race, and we must focus on the goal of defeating President Obama.  Therefore, everyone should stop looking for perfection, and get behind Gingrich.

"There are no perfect candidates."  If Newt gets the nomination, I wonder if his campaign will put that slogan on the "Gingrich for President" buttons.  At any rate, it serves a very useful psychological purpose, and it is an excellent complement for the pollster-manufactured "momentum" stories.  I don't remember any candidate claiming to be perfect, nor do I recall any supporter making that claim on behalf of any of the candidates.  What I do remember is that a couple of months ago, Tea Party conservatives were rallying around one of exactly four candidates -- Bachmann, Cain, Santorum, and Paul -- while Perry was trying to make inroads with those voters.  Gingrich, on the other hand, was generally dismissed by conservatives for all the right reasons -- playing footsie with Nancy Pelosi on global warming, trashing Paul Ryan's budget proposal as "right-wing social engineering," heavier-than-average moral baggage, the epitome of the Washington Establishment type, etc. -- reasons which are now being rehearsed at the outset of every commentary in support of his candidacy.

No one ever believed that the other conservative candidates were perfect, but only Gingrich had the kind of imperfections that spoke loudly against him.  The only way to overcome this problem in a hurry is to use a variation of moral equivalency: of course Newt's imperfect, but who's perfect?  In other words, Newt's imperfect -- like all the others -- but boy, just picture those debates against Obama!

Thus, we have Mr. Perfect's endorsement: "Sorry, folks, I'm not running this year.  So you'd better settle for Newt."  To which the proper answer should be, "But we never asked you to run, Mr. Perfect.  We just want the best person available.  So why should we abandon someone with a little imperfection in favor of someone with a lot of imperfection?"

Incidentally, I have pictured those debates the Newtrons are dreaming about.  In my viewfinder, they're not pretty.  Newt's articulate meanderings through his bizarro-world versions of policy and history may come with applause lines that appeal to Republican voters, but their incoherencies and hyberbolic punctuations will run up against the kind of "real world" counterexamples Democrats always trump up, finally making him look like, at best, a bitter old man.

Here is an even likelier alternative: Gingrich sounds awfully conservative these days, because his audience is conservative.  But Gingrich, like all successful media hounds, is adept at changing his tone, and even his message, for various ears.  What will he say when he is "reaching out" to moderates and independents?  If his past rhetoric is any indication, you don't want to know.