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Right Turn
Posted at 09:54 AM ET, 12/09/2011

No matter the subject, Gingrich constructs his own reality

Mitt Romney is taking off the gloves with a new ad pummeling Newt Gingrich over his attack on Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare bill.

The ad doesn’t show Gingrich later denying that he savaged Ryan. Even now he won’t recognize his own destructive behavior. On Nov. 21, he went on Bill Bennett’s radio show and said this about the Ryan incident: “As I’ve told you [Bill] privately, that conversation on your show on the air was really the key to my understanding that people had heard one thing and I thought I had said something very different. Only after you and I had that direct, head on . . . I think . . . pretty blunt conversation with each other that I had to hang up and said, you know, I got to rethink this. I clearly wasn’t communicating what I meant to communicate.” But he apologized, didn’t he?

And that is, in a way, even creepier. Gingrich’s ability to deceive, to twist and to rearrange facts to fit his own grandiose vision of himself is, to be frank, scary.

This has been Gingrich’s great failing throughout his career. As we all know, Gingrich began an affair with his current wife in the mid-1990s while he was still married. It continued throughout the Lewinsky scandal, placing himself and his party in great jeopardy. With this explosive news just below the public radar, he also underwent his ethics scandal regarding violation of House financial rules and eventually had to resign when his party abandoned him. But watch how effortlessly he invokes his then wife in this scene outside his home. He recites his self-declared role in bringing down communism. He did it all for the good of the party, you see, in stepping down from the speakership. He’s got plans with Marianne, he tells us. And he similarly invoked his wife again as he looked his fellow members of Congress in the eye, from the floor of the House. Begin at the 52-minute mark, where he paints himself as a martyr by agreeing to pay the $300,000 fine for his ethics violations. “Marianne and I decided we had to do what was best, what was right, morally and spiritually,” he says dramatically.

This is why, if some are puzzled, elected Republicans and veterans of the party are so aghast at the prospect of a Gingrich nomination. What he will say and do to the party is entirely unpredictable. And his ability to dissemble is unparalleled.

By  |  09:54 AM ET, 12/09/2011

 
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