Robert Becker

Robert Becker
California, United States
January 01
Educated at Rutgers College (BA) and UC Berkeley (Ph.D, English) I left university teaching (Northwestern, U. Chicago) for business, founding and heading SOTA Industries, high end audio company from '80 to '92; from '92-02 I did marketing consulting & writing; from '02 until now, I scribble on politics and culture, looking for the wit in the shadows.


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FEBRUARY 6, 2012 2:40PM

The Real Rogue for 'Real America'?

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By Robert S. Becker


Calling Sister Sarah, whose travesty of "going rogue" comes down to dishing dirt.  Or Sen. McCain, ex-half-a-maverick – shuffle that walker to the side. Time for has-been, media mavericks to make way for Newt Gingrich, the gutsy, grandstanding "real rogue for real America" (trademark bidding open).  This great southern rebel, the most pompous, least likely "man of the people" since Ross Perot, assaults not only the subversive president, but all establishment elites (richer than he) who dare cross his fiery path.  


Of course Newt's a real rogue in a less fake sort of way.   Didn't Gov. Chris Christie call him an "embarrassment to the party"?  Add in heaps of denigration from party attack dogs: from David Brooks and Peggy Noonan to George Will and Charles Krauthammer.  Even Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter revile Newt.  And didn't Newt himself make a theatrical bow to the "going rogue" nitwits, "Palin would have a 'major role' in his White House." Maybe running mate, in charge of energy.  Guffaw, stagger.  Really, what opera can afford two prima donnas full of themselves?  


It takes quite a nervy, slick operator to dare slam Mitt as the lying "Massachusetts moderate" while forgetting your own similar takes on TARP, individual health mandates, immigration, and cap-and-trade.  Or call yourself a "Tea Party reform conservative."  Details, details. What sets Newt apart right now is not policy but full mastery of the politics of grievance, altogether crunching Mitt's wimpy "politics of envy."  So busy stewing over resentments (towards minorities), the irate fringe hasn't time for envy (well, maybe a little for the "undeserving" poor).   So Newt upsets the apple cart and panics party fat cats – as the world waits for his explosive reality show to shoot itself in the foot, pitching southern-fried race-baiting, or axing child labor laws, or obscuring his career like a crazed con man.


Take heed, up-and-coming rogues – Newt's key to holier-than-thou, hubris-driven unRomneyhood is touting your own incalculable grandiosity.  And just in time, roars hateful debate screamers, otherwise figuring only the Rapture saves them from the apocalypse of Obama(Romney)care. Newt's mavericky brand doesn't just stand alone, in defiance of current sacred cows: he's the last man standing against ever-present enemies of civilization. As Rick Santorum verifies, for Newt "grandiosity has never been a problem."  


The Grandeur of Exceptionalism


Listen to Mr. Humble last week: "You're right," Newt bragged, "I think grandiose thoughts. This is a grandiose country."   How facile, echoing the sound and fury (but not reality) of attacking predatory Bain Capital, daring to put "capitalism on trial" for the rubes.  Though "rogue" ill-suited Palin or McCain, "grandiose" perfectly fits Gingrich, by strict definition: "affectation of grandeur or splendor or by absurd exaggeration."  And boasting daily about your infinite wonderfulness only produces truly unhinged delusions of grandeur.  Actually, psychologists have diagnostic categories for Newtism: "grandiose delusion disorder" or " bipolar disorder grandiosity " chiefly "associated with narcissistic personality disorder, but also commonly features in manic or hypomanic episodes."  Bingo!


Sure, small-time, flash-in-the-pan narcissists like Palin exhibit derangement, lapsing into jaw-dropping exaggerations, invulnerability fantasies, and profound, unfeeling contempt to buoy the vacant superiority of spiteful put-downs.  But Palin is all mouth, notoriously loyal to her fixated tribe, an utterly conventional, evangelical, moralistic, fringe Republican.  What truly rogue action ever backed her loudmouth? No, quitting office prematurely doesn't qualify. Whereas, Gingrich doesn't just assail ultimate capitalism or sainted Paul Ryan as rightwing "social engineer," he directly compares himself to other "revolutionaries," akin to Pericles, Jefferson, Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, de Gaulle, Abe Lincoln – even Moses the prophet.  Look, only this epic hero returns American exceptionalism to its rightful top place.


Thus Newt's rogue grandiosity grinds on, yipping about radical reform while securing better ways for his 1% to concentrate its wealth, pushing big wars by big government, invasive state violations, and his brand of elitist, crony capitalism.  Notably, Newt combines malice with belligerence, as with no-holds-barred race baiting, taking relish when "40 Catholic leaders and theologians" are shocked, shocked by his "perpetuating ugly racial stereotypes on the campaign trail." Geesh, Gingrich only wants hard-up minority kids to learn self-esteem via hard work (as junior janitors, wiping school toilets).   Or else, poor folks are destined to the bleak misery of enslavement by the great "food stamp president." (Which is W., not Obama).   


What, Me Vain and Adulterous?


Did Newt not break new ground for all-out rogue gall when going on the offense re the "open marriage" debate question?   Only shameless bluster could transform HIS serial adulteries into a cynical platform for HIS victimhood.  Taking faux umbrage to new heights, Newt thundered, "I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that."  So, it'd be okay as the second or fifth question?  Not only do such assaults, Newt barks, deplete our politics of good people (though, alas, not him), but only a master of indirection  crowns his harangue with this ultimate, bizarre coup de grace, " I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans."  


Beyond hypocritical grandiosity, refusing any liability while projecting immorality across all national media, the unrepentant Newt drags in a president by any standards unimpeachable as a husband.   As with Limbaugh, one only wonders what next outrage will surpass this elephantine presumption: "To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine"?   Well, actually, everyone else can imagine more "despicable" things, your election (or Trump's, Cain's, Perry's or Bachmann's).


My, my, do you think retiring Rep. Barney Frank will cap his career with this dream come true: "I did not think I had lived a good enough life to be rewarded by Newt Gingrich being the Republican nominee"?   I doubt Newt wins but his "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" style, especially against his opposite, the tepid Mitt, should do-over American political roguedom.   And if Newt does win his party's crown, think of the fireworks between the installed, fading "audacity of hope" guy taking on the ultimate "grandiosity of hope," fake Washington outsider. Now that battle would have historic implications, perhaps inducing exactly the purge of fakery America needs.   Nah, probably not. 


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at this point its looking like the flash in the pan might now be past tense.
amazingly in his intense desperation he said some stuff I really agree with. but Im not saying he really believes it.

"There's a big difference between financial manipulation and capitalism."
--newt gingrich

“Is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of other people and walk off with the money, or is that somehow a little bit of a flawed system?”
--newt gingrich

"Crony capitalism, where people pay each other off at the expense of the rest of the country, is not free enterprise. And raising questions about that is not wrong."
--newt gingrich