I think this is one of the best attempts to understand Gingrich. (How might Gingrich himself phrase the same sentiment? “This is the most fantastically impressively written newspaper column since Gutenberg invented printing”?) What makes it so remarkable is that is scrupulously fair and even-handed — doing justice to both Gingrich’s immense talents and his (in my view) disqualifying weaknesses — without ever being mealy-mouthed. An example:
Those who know him fear—or hope—that he will be true to form in one respect: He will continue to lose to his No. 1 longtime foe, Newt Gingrich. He is a human hand grenade who walks around with his hand on the pin, saying, “Watch this!”
What they fear is that he will show just enough discipline over the next few months, just enough focus, to win the nomination. And then, in the fall of 2012, once party leaders have come around and the GOP is fully behind him, he will begin baying at the moon. He will start saying wild things and promising that he may bomb Iran but he may send a special SEAL team in at night to secretly dig Iran up, and fly it to Detroit, where we can keep it under guard, and Detroiters can all get jobs as guards, “solving two problems at once.” They’re afraid he’ll start saying, “John Paul was great, but most of that happened after I explained the Gospels to him” . . .
As Homer Simpson once said, It’s funny because it’s true.