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Posted at 02:03 PM ET, 01/26/2012

Space cadet Gingrich promises the moon


That’s no moon! It’s a space cadet. (Craig Rubadoux - AP)

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, Floridians will applaud, and the rest of the country will need to take some Advil and lie down.

On Wednesday, Newt Gingrich promised Floridians a moon colony.

I feel as though all I do these days is talk about Newt and Newt's ideas. It's a quality Newt and I share. And this is a classic Newt Gingrich idea: It’s big, nonsensical, not what the country needs right now, and someone already tried it in the 1960s.

Warming to his subject, Gingrich noted, “I was attacked the other night for being grandiose. I would just want you to note: Lincoln standing at Council Bluffs was grandiose. The Wright Brothers standing at Kitty Hawk were grandiose. John F. Kennedy was grandiose. I accept the charge that I am grandiose and that Americans are instinctively grandiose.”

Instinctively. Some people, faced with a ravenous wolf, have a fight-or-flight response kick in. Gingrich just offers to take the wolf on in a three-hour debate about “big concepts.” The wolf generally surrenders.

You hit Gingrich on the knee with a mallet and instead of kicking you in the head, he gives you eight ideas about Ways To Adapt To Life In Space. It might be better if he’d kicked you in the head.

So . . . he wants us to build a colony on a moon. It’s ideas like this that have made the online quiz Newt Gingrich or Supervillain? so difficult.

That’s what we need right now. We have enough problems on Earth. Those are boring. You can tell because Mitt Romney wants to talk about them. Newt has bigger plans. More grandiose, even.

To the moon! To infinity and beyond!

“Without getting into Heinlein’s novels, I think there are a lot of different things you'd want to learn: How to live in low gravity. How to create certain capabilities that lead beyond the moon. How to develop assets that the moon has. How to do manufacturing in low-gravity environments.” (“The list,” The Post’s A my Gardner reported, “went on and on.”)

Anyone who lacks a clear concept of infinity, listen to Newt Gingrich talk for two minutes.

Promising the moon is a customary part of courtship. “Pick me,” you murmur, “and I will pull down the moon for you.”

Like so many promises made in the first blush of courtship, it tends not to endure.

The moon and Newt have a lot in common. Both are large and pale and tend to hover, and when they move around, they impact the tides. Both look as though they contain cheese. Both are things that, a year ago, would surprise you to know that they could lead the GOP field.

But this latest vow is typical. Newt will say anything that might help his favorite candidate: Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich doesn’t just promise the moon. He shoots the moon. He tosses out all kinds of ridiculous statements that seem likely to disadvantage him, and then you notice that he’s holding all the cards. Sometimes. Or sometimes his statements backfire, and he’s dozens of points in the red and has to go sell a few hundred more books.

Look, doing grand things off-planet is an idea to which I am not entirely cold. I believe in an America that reaches for the stars, both literally and metaphorically, in an America that dreams big dreams.

But not like this.

So actually, I have no objection to Newt starting a colony on the moon. In fact, Newt, why don’t you go right now?

By  |  02:03 PM ET, 01/26/2012

Tags:  moon, nasa

 
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