Re: More Newt

Rich, your friend writes re Gingrich:

As pure political strategy, his health care heresy might actually be a good idea…A very large chunk of the primary electorate is probably uncomfortable with Medicare changes, and Gingrich is giving them conservative sounding language (“social engineering”) to resist the changes.

Two or three NRs back, I wrote in the magazine:

USA Today reports that even a third of Republican voters say “the government should not try to control the costs of Medicare.”

Oh. Okay.

Where do this third of Republican voters live? Iowa? New Hampshire? And if you were a second-tier candidate trying to break out from the rest of the also-rans, mightn’t you be tempted to position yourself as their champion?

I think that’s what we just saw Newt try to do. His futurism has always been a bit soft-focus: It’s very hopeychangey, not just in the catchphrases he shares with Obama (“Winning The Future”) but also in peddling the same easy option of all-gain-no-pain. The most important thing we can do this election season is shift the conversation, so that Americans understand the longer they dodge these issues the more they’re lining themselves up for all pain and no gain in sight for generations. It’s depressing that Newt Gingrich should plant himself so firmly on the side of delusion, but very good news that all he succeeded in doing was blowing his foot off.

I was struck by how out of touch he seemed: No one is so obsolete as yesterday’s futuristic visionary, and Newt sounded way past his sell-by date.

Mark Steyn — Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist. That’s to say, his latest book, After America (2011), is a top-five bestseller in ...