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Feb 01 2012

Would Newt Be More Entertaining Than Mitt?

Stephen Bainbridge says he is tempted to endorse Newt Gingrich for the Republican nomination because he would make for a far more interesting campaign than a Mitt Romney nomination would. And he’s right, of course.

At the end of the day, however, what likely will tip the scales for me is the sheer entertainment factor. Romney versus Obama will be a snoozefest, mainly because Romney elicits no passion from anybody.

Newt versus Barack, however, could be vastly entertaining. Two really smart guys, both of whom are good speakers, and both of whom will be at least affecting being really pissed off at the other and the other’s base. If the Newt who tore into John King the other day shows up at the debates, they will be truly great TV.

Since I don’t think anybody in Washington or running to be in Washington can fix the problems we face, why not vote for the circus?

This reminds me of Mencken’s famous statement that the one great charm of democracy is that it’s the only truly amusing form of government, which he follows up with this:

I confess, for my part, that it greatly delights me. I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down. Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men. Is rascality at the very heart of it? Well, we have borne that rascality since 1776, and continue to survive. In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself – that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle. I do not know: I report only that when the suckers are running well the spectacle is infinitely exhilarating.

This is a tempting position to take, especially today. Imagine how much more cynical Mencken would have been if he’d lived to see just how absurd our political system had become today.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    Nick Gotts

    Well they say it of all politicians, but of Newt we already know it’s literal truth:
    “They’ll promise the moon”.

  2. 2
    raymoscow

    Sure, Newt would be great fun*. Just like Dubya.

    *If one lived on some other planet and didn’t have to suffer the consequences.

  3. 3
    Michael Heath

    Well, a contemporaneous H.L. Mencken would observe that Mr. Bainbridge is getting the exact quality of Republican party that he deserves, “good and hard”. I’ll instead continue to promote a higher standard and take my vote seriously. While I can’t control what the parties do, I can control how I’ll behave.

  4. 4
    Michael Heath

    I also disagree with Mr. Bainbridge that a Romney-Obama general would be a snooze-fest. Florida was anything but considering the dishonesty and attack ads promoted and published by Mr. Romney. In addition the predominant premises upon which Mr. Romney runs related to President Obama are wildly untrue – both in his campaign and the book he wrote in support of his campaign. Not mere secondary criticisms of the president, Romney’s predominate criticisms.

    It’s not surprising I disagree with Mr. Bainbridge; every time I’ve read him I’ve observed nothing but crappy arguments which avoid relevant premises that make conservatives look bad.

  5. 5
    Dennis N

    Two really smart guys

    WTF? Newt? Smart?

  6. 6
    hunter

    Sorry, but I don’t find Newt entertaining at all — noisy and aggressive and completely lacking in substance. He’s cringe-worthy more than anything else — I really don’t enjoy watching people make fools of themselves.

    Romney, like Obama, will do his best to be whatever the audience of the moment demands. That might be interesting to watch.

  7. 7
    hunter

    “I really don’t enjoy watching people make fools of themselves.”

    Just looking at that again, and thinking in some cases, I’d rather do it for them. Newt’s not one of them, however — too easy.

  8. 8
    exdrone

    Maybe Mitt will loosen up after the Republican convention when all the non-Romney voters switch over to become not-Obama voters. I predict that that second button might get undone.

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