The forecast for America delivered by Newt Gingrich on Monday is periods of gloom interrupted by moments of sheer disaster.
“The world is more complicated than anyone understands, and things are likely to get worse and not better,” he said. “We’ve been through three years of economic pain with no thought, and my guess is that we have three to five years of more pain.”
He likened the government’s efforts at a bailout so far as being “like a doctor saying, ‘I can’t do a CAT scan or other tests, but I’ve got tons of morphine.’”
He said the alleged actions of Rod Blagojevich, the governor of Illinois who was recently impeached and removed by the state Legislature, are “the tip of the iceberg of systemic corruption across this country that is breathtaking.”
Gingrich also predicted the possibility of real trouble ahead with “Mexico, Pakistan, Iran, Gaza” and, to a lesser extent, North Korea. “We are piling up risk [with these countries], and one day the dam will break,” Gingrich said. “As Trotsky said: ‘You may not believe in war, but war believes in you.’”
And how are you feeling today?
(Actually, Trotsky appears to have said, “You may not be interested in the dialectic, but the dialectic is interested in you,” and the word “war” may be a mistranslation. Or so says Wikipedia, and who is Gingrich, a historian with a Ph.D. in modern European history from Tulane, compared with Wikipedia? Also, it would be a lot better to have a dialectic with Mexico than a war with Mexico.)
Gingrich, a Republican who was speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999 and is co-author of the famous 1994 Contract With America, was speaking to reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, a Washington institution where he has appeared 32 times previously.
He probably wasn’t as gloomy in the past, however, or he never would have gotten invited back.
But there was a ray of sunshine: Gingrich believes Sarah Palin might have a bright future. If you consider that a ray of sunshine.
“If Sarah Palin seeks out sophisticated policy advisers and takes sophisticated positions, she will be very formidable,” Gingrich said. “Gov. Palin has an advantage in Iowa [where the 2012 presidential campaign may officially begin] because she is popular with the fundamentalist wing of the party.”
OK, now back to the bad news. (Unless you consider that bad news.)
While Gingrich said of President Obama that “every American should want him to succeed,” he also agreed with the “message” the Republicans in the House sent last week by refusing to give Obama a single vote for his economic stimulus bill. “You can say they were right or wrong, but they came together as a team. They were pumped,” Gingrich said. “They sent a message to the president, and I agree: Nancy Pelosi wants to run a one-party government.”
He went on: “To say to [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell and [House Minority Leader] John Boehner, ‘Why don’t you roll over in a bipartisan way for this [bill] is silly. How seriously does President Obama want bipartisanship? If he wants just three to four Republican senators [to vote for the bill], then he is not serious.”
But if Obama and the Democrats rewrite the bill to “get half of the Republican senators” voting for it, then that will be a sign he is serious about bipartisanship, Gingrich said.
Gingrich was pessimistic, however, (surprise) about the chances of stimulus or bailout plans actually working. “Right now, we are trying to bail out guys who failed,” he said. “The continuity between the Bush bailout and the Obama bailout will be amazing. This is not change you can believe in. Frankly, we are going off a cliff.”
Gingrich also attacked Tim Geithner, the new secretary of the treasury, saying, “I think Geithner is fronting for the banks.” Gingrich is not that pleased with Geithner’s predecessor, Henry Paulson, either. “Paulson was a Wall Street deal maker who was happy to take your money to bail out Wall Street deal makers.”
Gingrich, who has written 18 books, including a novel on what would have happened if Robert E. Lee had won at Gettysburg, is now working on a novel about George Washington crossing the Delaware.
Hopefully, Washington makes it.