Newt Gingrich [recently] won the South Carolina primary by a big margin. I know that’s only South Carolina, perhaps the most conservative state. Still, that’s a major rebuke to serious candidate Romney. The speeches both gave after Gingrich won delineate clearly two major paths for the Republican Party. Romney’s speech was colorless, odorless, rich in platitudes. It was the kind of speech unfairly associated with “moderates” who deserve better.
Gingrich spoke incisively, precisely about what agitates conservatives like me who are not born-again Christians nor any of the other stereotypes the liberal press has invented. We want a smaller government that’s not wasteful and that does not get us into debt for two generations to come. Gingrich’s speech was well received for another reason: It spoke of simple pride in America, not of imperial pride, not of a wish to dominate, not of hubris but of simple dignity.
There is a pervasive feeling that we lost our national dignity during the three-year Obama presidency. It was not all his fault. Certainly, a major contributor is our large national debt that was already too large when he took office. However, it’s fair to charge Obama for this loss of dignity because he told us repeatedly that America should become a smaller, more ordinary country, and it has. If you tell Mom in anger, ” I wish you died” and she dies, don’t be surprised if your brothers are angry at you. And, President Obama, whose middle name is still Hussein, bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, the grandchild of camel thieves who happens to have captured a lot of oil.
Gingrich’s rise will pose a problem for conservative rationalists like me. On the one hand, his vision of American and of the world is mine. On the other hand, I don’t trust his temperament. It’s not the accusations of a bitter ex-wife that bother me. It’s the undisputed report that he has a half-million line of credit for jewelry. Why, I ask?
Ron Paul had an honorable showing, as usual. I keep asking his obviously sincere supporters to assure me that they are assured themselves that he is not preparing a third-party campaign, a sort of “me or Obama” blackmail. I know a fair number of Paulistas. Some have heard my appeal. None has volunteered.
For the rest of the world, it’s simple. Europe continues to fall apart in a predictable manner and for predictable reasons. I can’t imagine what would stop the decline. The problem is that the continent mostly provides a comfortable life. The long-term unemployed will receive their welfare checks until the very moment when there is no money left at all in the till. I have been following the preliminaries to the French national elections on television. There is no sense of crisis dramatic enough to induce the desperate actions that are needed there. If you replayed the 1990s election tapes, I am not sure how many would notice. I spy on my young French nieces and nephews and on their friends via Facebook. At 25, most don’t seem to think they will ever have to make a living. Of the ten or twelve I encounter on Facebook regularly, only one is acting like a go-getter. I knew her when she was fourteen. She was already exceptionally enterprising then.
Elsewhere, Islamists have been busy. (I say, “Islamists.” That means those who militantly want to expand the Muslim religion into the political sphere.) Egyptian Islamists took the revolution from the hands of the secular democrats who started it. They seem to have done it fair and square. No more gauche military tyranny there, it seems. Instead they may or may not establish something familiar to inhabitants of Christian countries: fourteenth century religious despotism. Unlike us then though, they will not burn people at the stake for their ideas. Rather, they will stone women to death for having sex outside of marriage. (That would reduce the female population of Santa Cruz by 4/5, at least.) In Tunisia, Islamists have won too. A Tunisian acquaintance of mine just returned from a visit to his homeland reports that his mother said to him,” I did not know we had people like that in this country.” The man himself, I caught just as he was back, seems both perplexed and shaken by what he saw.
In Nigeria, Islamists are massacring Christians. Elsewhere in the world, in Iraq, in Pakistan, Islamists are slaughtering other Muslims. Let’s be fair: Islamists almost always assassinate more Muslims than they kill anyone else. I don’t want to be labeled an “Islamophobe.” So, I keep waiting for a Muslim organization with some credentials to show me the error of my simple perceptions. I would pay attention if I found even a single sincere Muslim, also with credentials, to correct me. I am waiting for this to happen too. And waiting, and waiting.