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Jan 27 2012

Garlow’s Endorsement of Gingrich

The Gingrich campaign has made publicly available a very long letter from Pastor Jim Garlow to his followers explaining why he has endorsed Gingrich. It’s really amusing to read. The crazy and stupid is so thick and rich that you could put it on your pancakes in the morning. A few highlights:

I recognize that secularists in the media and political opposition will desperately search for “other women” from Mr. Gingrich‟s distant past. There is a season of his life that he cannot and does not defend. He was the third most powerful man in the world, estranged from his wife for a span of several years, and not adequately grounded upon the truth of God‟s Word. I suspect that he would never defend that season of his life.

You mean other than claiming that it only happened — in the passive voice; he didn’t do it, those things just happened — because he loved his country too much.

Even his critics stand in awe of the capabilities of his brain. The most common phrase people use is “he is the smartest man in the room.” And he is. I am ready to have a president who has intellectual depth. The mainstream media have tried toportray Barak Obama as an intellectual. I have serious doubts. (I would like to see hisuniversity records released.) With knowledge, we need wisdom. Knowledge is data. Wisdom is how to use the knowledge. Mr. Gingrich has that. Can‟t we have an occasional president who is a scholar?

As someone, I think Andrew Sullivan, said a while back, Newt Gingrich is a dumb person’s idea of what a smart person is like.

“Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” saidone. “A knowledge of history makes one wise without the gray hair and wrinkles,” said another. His grasp of history gives him an enormous advantage in understanding the solutions to today’s problems.

He doesn’t have a grasp of history at all. What he has is a grasp of how to use history for the purposes of demagoguery. That’s why he continually claims that the Supreme Court “banned prayer from public schools” and “found that reading the Bible in public schools was unconstitutional.” The court, of course, did nothing of the sort. That’s why he offers up fake and long-debunked quotes from the founding fathers.

30 comments

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  1. 1
    matty1

    The most common phrase people use is “he is the smartest man in the room.”

    Yes but that was when he was alone in the room with Rev Garlow.

  2. 2
    peterh

    Just why is it those who were in Congress when Newt was there have nary a good thing to say about him? And more than a few have decidedly negative tings to say?

  3. 3
    Maureen Brian

    Does the good pastor realise that he is promoting the teachings of Karl Marx?

    I know that George Santayana usually gets credit for the ‘doomed to repeat’ format but most would trace the idea to Marx, 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte – and then argue among themselves whether he got the notion from Hegel or from Engels.

    Perhaps someone should tell Gingrich and his fan base.

  4. 4
    Walton

    As someone, I think Andrew Sullivan, said a while back, Newt Gingrich is a dumb person’s idea of what a smart person is like.

    I’d thought it was Paul Krugman, but it seems he quoted it from someone else. Sullivan says it here, so I guess he may have originated the meme.

  5. 5
    Renolds

    “He was the third most powerful man in the world,”

    I didnt know Gingrich was President of China/Russia.

  6. 6
    Glenn E Ross

    Alan Grayson “Newt Gingrich Is A Stupid Person’s Idea Of What A Smart Person Looks Like”

    From Dec 6, 2011, Alan Grayson on MSNBC, he says it at about 3:10.

  7. 7
    MikeMa

    Garlow may love him some Newt but his efforts work to secure Obama’s second term. Go Pastor Garlow!

    If Newt is the smartest guy in the room, the GOP better work harder at recruiting new blood into their ‘room’.

  8. 8
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    Perhaps Newt Gingrich is the smartest person who will voluntarily share a room with Newt Gingrich.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    ArtK

    Even his critics stand in awe of the capabilities of his brain.

    Well, yes. But “awe” doesn’t always mean a good thing. I’m in awe of how hypocritical, mendacious and just flat-out nasty Newt is.

  11. 11
    Michael Heath

    What’s disconcerting is that millions of people think like this guy and come to the same conclusions using the same type of thinking. The letter is representative of how so many conservative Christians mischaracterize Barack Obama and justify their embrace of Newt Gingrich, in spite of the fact it is Mr. Obama who demonstrates and exemplifies the very traits they falsely claim to admire and live by.

    Very early in Richard Dawkins’ book, The Greatest Show on Earth, he made an argument that we should call creationists ‘history deniers’. That the findings by science studying evolution was history and creationists were denying that history. While that is factually true, I found the arguments’ placement at the front of the book imprudent, it became a hot topic in the Amazon reader reviews and comments. I also didn’t see how this moved the ball forward in getting more people to accept objective truth.

    However this idea is wearing me down because it is the very type of thinking which causes people to deny the fact of evolution and our founding principles, which causes them to misconstrue current events for obvious reasons. Like the attributes of the president, his opponents’ attributes, the impact of regulations, changes to the tax code, government investments and expenditures, and climate change.

    A root cause factor in the U.S. declining prospects and recent past harm is that we rarely have debates on competing arguments which are worthy of consideration. We instead expend a predominant amount of our energy pointing out the defectiveness of arguments – primarily those from conservatives, in spite of the fact we all share most of the same assumptions, e.g., we all want more jobs, a growing economy, and a more secure world. Conservatives have created an environment where they argue prescriptions based on false premises and the press gives them a free ride as these ideas are presented. Fact-checking articles are helpful but come far too late, we should be challenging false premises as they are presented. Until we are able to do so effectively, nuts like this guy will make demagogues like Newt Gingrich far too powerful and influential.

  12. 12
    Nick Gotts

    Gingrich does have a PhD in modern European history from Tulane University, which I understand is entirely academically respectable. So I don’t think it will fly to deny that he is clever, and has at least some “grasp of history” (of course, a history PhD is usually on a very narrow field – Gingrich’s was on “Belgian Education Policy in the Congo: 1945–1960″). He certainly understands how rational enquiry works, and in his earlier career, had no hesitation in revealing that he accepts the scientific consensuses on evolution and anthropogenic climate change. But he’s prepared to tell any lie in pursuit of his own interests, as his resiling on these points, as well as his personal and political history, reveal quite clearly. Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, and not necessarily dishonest – but it’s now very rare indeed to find one who is neither.

  13. 13
    John Hinkle

    Even his critics stand in awe of the capabilities of his brain.

    That is, until he opens his mouth.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    a miasma of incandescent plasma

    …the media and political opposition will desperately search for “other women” from Mr. Gingrich’s distant past.

    Uh… they don’t have to, not to try to “make him look bad”, the Newt himself and the 2 exes that we already have do a fine job on their own. No more is really needed, the cases is strong as is.

    Even his critics stand in awe of the capabilities of his brain.
    Yes. It, like, comes up with thoughts and stuff, while being able to keep his heart pumping, keep breathing, etc… AMAZING!!

    The most common phrase people use is “he is the smartest man in the room.”
    He missed the first couple words in that quote, “Newt thinks he is the smartest man in the room.”

  16. 16
    Ben P

    What’s disconcerting is that millions of people think like this guy and come to the same conclusions using the same type of thinking.

    I had a similar thought but in a different area.

    What is it with Fundies and their complete credulity for personal repentance and absolution stories?

    It’s not just political, because it spans into other realms as well. Look at Haley Barbour and Mike Huckabee being willing to completely pardon murderers on the sole basis that they have met the murders and the murders expressed the acceptance of Jesus Christ and the repentance of their sins.

    In each case the language they use is EXACTLY, the same. This is the way Garlow states it.

    I have been privately with Mr. Gingrich, asking
    very direct, highly personal questions. He looked me eye to eye as I probed about past indiscretions – all reported very widely by the media many years ago

    Garlow is long winded, but the paragraphs that follow more or less state “Gingrich looked me in the eye, and told me of his failings and that he has sought forgiveness from god. I have worshiped with him and I am personally convinced he is on the right path.”

    This is exactly the way Huckabee described his interaction with some of the people he pardoned. I met them and looked in their eyes as they told me about their acceptance of Jesus Christ.

    They swallow these stories with complete credulity, and then are surprised when they turn out to be BS.

    I was raised in the church and know the biblical stories showing reptenance and forgivness as well as anyone, but I still can’t quite figure out how that leads to fundies being gullible in that regard.

  17. 17
    Ingdigo Jump

    Even his critics stand in awe of the capabilities of his brain.

    In the same way one might an accident involving a bus full of nuns and a clown car

  18. 18
    tommykey

    He doesn’t have a grasp of history at all. What he has is a grasp of how to use history for the purposes of demagoguery.

    I think the thing with Gingrich is that he speaks in this sort of authoritative, professorial tone so that even when he is enunciating merely his opinion or even just pulling stuff out of his ass, to the average conservative listening to him, it sounds like Newt is voicing eternal truths. Throw into the mix his tendency to throw out visionary sounding ideas (like a moon base or firing school janitors and replacing them with poor inner city kids), and yes, to conservatives who suffer from a deficit of critical thinking skills, Newt comes across as a very intelligent man.

  19. 19
    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    So far as I can see, priority for the “stupid person’s idea of a smart person” quip still belongs to Krugman. He said it on ABC’s “This Week” back on November 20. Yes, he attributed it to someone else (unnamed), but he can hardly have been referring to something Grayson said on December 6 or Sullivan wrote on December 12.

  20. 20
    bradfeaker

    “He doesn’t have a grasp of history at all. What he has is a grasp of how to use history for the purposes of demagoguery.”

    Nail hit squarely on head…well said.

  21. 21
    briandavis

    The mainstream media have tried toportray Barak Obama as an intellectual. I have serious doubts.

    He should just check with Fixed News. They seem pretty sure that Obama is an elitist intellectual.

  22. 22
    danielmurphy

    Paul Krugman, ABC, “This Week” 20 November, 2011 — “The Republican base does not want Romney, and they keep on looking for an alternative. And Newt, although somebody said he’s a stupid man’s idea of what a smart man sounds like, but he is more plausible than the other guys that they’ve been pushing up.”

    No idea who if anyone is the “somebody” who had been saying that about Gingrich prior to 20 November.

    Paul Krugman, NYT blog, 18 November, 2011 — “As usual, Ryan makes me think of Ezra Klein’s old line about Dick Armey: he’s a stupid person’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.”

    James Fallows finds deeper roots: Elizabeth Bowen, The Spectator, December 11, 1936:

    “Mr. [Aldous] Huxley has been the alarming young man for a long time, a sort of perpetual clever nephew who can be relied on to flutter the lunch-party … He is at once the truly clever person and the stupid person’s idea of the clever person.” –

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/12/a-dumb-persons-idea-of-a-smart-person-whose-line-is-it/249932/

  23. 23
    duck1887

    Check this out part:

    He has earned [“elder statesman” status] recently, by virtue of his conduct during the debates. He has steadfastly opposed attacking his fellow candidates, even when his polling was in the single digits. Our nation is so traumatized by the weak leadership of some Republicans and the horrific leadership of most Democrats, we need a sense of “father is here and all will be well.”

    Wow.

    Also, I think if one intends, as this guy does in writing such a detailed letter, to present oneself as making a serious argument, one should take the trouble to spell the President’s name correctly.

  24. 24
    duck1887

    I meant “check out this part,” but the original also works if you read it right.

  25. 25
    bksea

    I have to admit. It would be nice if we could have a scholar for a president for a change. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could elect a Rhodes scholar or president of the Harvard Law Review, or sumpin’?

  26. 26
    marymallone

    I still don’t understand how people can actually believe that Newt Gingrich is an intellectual in the sense that he would like people to think he is. Gingrich is That Guy with whom I’ve taken classes, the one who uses superfluous phrases and the occasional (often misplaced or misused) polysyllabic word without getting around to making a point or saying anything substantial. That sort of pretension is so transparent! I don’t get how people could fall for it.

  27. 27
    Glenn E Ross

    @danielmurphy #22

    Thanks for the research.

  28. 28
    exdrone

    He doesn’t have a grasp of history at all. What he has is a grasp of how to use history for the purposes of demagoguery.

    Colbert might call that “historishness”.

  29. 29
    Michael Heath

    marymallone:

    I still don’t understand how people can actually believe that Newt Gingrich is an intellectual in the sense that he would like people to think he is. Gingrich is That Guy with whom I’ve taken classes, the one who uses superfluous phrases and the occasional (often misplaced or misused) polysyllabic word without getting around to making a point or saying anything substantial. That sort of pretension is so transparent! I don’t get how people could fall for it.

    Perhaps its equivalent to how I enjoy certain songs. Where I rarely know more than a phrase or two from a song but like a certain style. They’re not so much in thrall with the specific content as they are with who he’s denigrating, lauding, and dog whistling to as the chorus – all in articu-speak.

  30. 30
    marymallone

    Michael Heath: I can understand that people would be drawn to Newt Gingrich not because of the ideas he’s proposed (like, say, colonizing the moon) but because he represents an opposition to that which they hate, and because he can effectively (in the sense that he is catering to his audience and expressing his alleged opinions in a format that is appealing to them) promote the (almost mythical) “all American” ideals that will draw in supporters deterred by whatever evil Obama represents. I’m just horrified that his supporters are such that demagoguery is so thoroughly effective. What I mean is that I could see how a convincing manipulator could capture the attention of a few (human nature being what it is, such things will always happen), but it’s rather frightening to consider that so many seem so eager to vilify Obama (criticism is certainly warranted, but in public discourse among the right – not that the left doesn’t have its own folk devils, but considering the concentration of media coverage of the Republican primaries [observation bias, I know], I’ve seen it more on the right – he’s become almost a cartoon villain) that someone offering shallow platitudes and bombastic slogans can gain serious attention.

    Following your analogy, I’ll watch procedural dramas despite the very obvious tropes and cheap tricks, because I like the escapism and I like the comfort of knowing what is next (is that an accurate reflection of what you meant?), but I’m frightened by the thought of that willful delusion (or refusal to look beyond the surface) contributing to someone’s decision to vote. Basically, I want to shake everyone considering voting for Gingrich and say, “Really? You think he’s an ideas man?” (except I wouldn’t REALLY shake them. If they want to vote for him, I don’t condone violently coercing them into doing otherwise. That’s democracy for you.)

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