Thursday, October 27, 2016

"Go Home, Newt, You're Drunk!"

I really wasn't going to comment on this, but I've seen a flurry of opinions about Newt's "slapdown" of Megyn Kelly, or how "hypocritical" she was to have, on at least one occasion, posed alluringly and then obsess over Trump's alleged sexual peccadilloes.

Give me a break! For the record, I have been a long time fan and defender of Newt. I admired his Contract with America, I defended him over the gross distortions of allegations against him supposedly handing his ex-wife divorce papers on her hospital sick bed, and I would have voted for him for president, if he'd had the fire in the belly required to capture the 2012 nomination. In that 2012 debate when he stood up to the media bias of the questioning, I cheered him for his backbone. His exchange with Megyn Kelly? Not so much.

In all the years I've followed his career, this moment was IMHO, his least dignified, most disappointing and most embarrassing moment. Newt has a reputation as a historian and a shrewd political strategist. Both true. He typically has the ability to calmly and rationally dissect whatever arguments are presented to him. This occasion... not so much.

The first four and a half minutes are a pretty benign back and forth, but around the 4:48 minute mark, things begin to get heated. Kelly is pressing Newt to admit, in the face of numerous polls, that his candidate may be slipping (alternate universes aside). The supposed slide timed to the allegations surrounding what he may or may not have said to a beauty queen (exacerbated by his dwelling on the story for days), and the crass remarks on the audio leaked from Access Hollywood.

MK: "If Trump is a sexual predator, that is..."

NG (interrupting): :He not a sexual predator! You can't say that! You cannot defend that statement!"

MK (Crosstalk): "Okay, that's your opinion, I'm not taking a position on it."

Let's stop it there for a second. Newt has just compared Fox News and the rest of the MSM with Pravda and Izvestia, the old Soviet organs of propaganda. Newt can be excused for a little over the top hyperbole every now and then, but there was a head of steam building up here. When Ms. Kelly began, "If Trump is a sexual predator..." He could have let her finish her sentence to see if it was a question or an if/then proposition, and the logician in him could have calmly stated that he rejected the premise or supposition that Trump was a sexual predator based on whatever evidence he wished to assert. Instead, he chose the nuclear option, and IMHO melted down as he accused her personally of bias that she had not really shown.

NG: "I am sick and tired of people like you using language that is inflammatory that is not true."

Whether or not it is true, or was true at some time doesn't become any "truthier" by getting angry about it and wagging his finger like a latter day Bill Clinton. He could have let her finish her point and calmly chided her for using inflammatory language if he believed that was the case. Certainly, based on the audio tape that came out in Trump's own words, a case could be made that Trump at the very least joked and bragged about sexually assaulting women, whether he actually did or not.

A case could also be made that Hilary Clinton was an enabler for Bill Clinton to do far worse things to women and that Hillary tried to destroy the lives and reputations of the women victims of her husband in ways Trump has not been accused of.

NG: "When you used the words, you took a position."

If you were listening to her argument, Mr. Speaker, and if you were using your head for something other than a hat rack, you might have handled this differently. You see what I did there?  I used the word "if", not to say Newt definitively did not hear her argument, but that the possibility existed that he did not hear her argument. According to Newt, one cannot even admit the possibility of something being true without 'taking sides'.

NG: "You want to go back through the tapes of your show recently? You are fascinated with sex and you don''t care abut public policy"

Here, it seems to me, Newt has slipped from hyperbole to full on tin-foil hat crazy. Now I am not a regular viewer of the Kelly File, but those times I have seen it, I have seen nothing to back up that assertion. Nothing. Perhaps Mr. Gingrich will do us the favor of pointing out exactly how much air time on the Kelly File was devoted to sex and how much to "public policy"?  Forgive me if I don't hold my breath waiting

Gingrich's defense of Trump then devolves into "look how bad Bill Clinton is", which, however true it may be is not a defense for Donald Trump. Gingrich's childish repetition of "I want to hear you use the words: Bill Clinton sexual predator. I dare you!" is worthy of grade schools everywhere.

Not his finest moment. Megyn Kelly conducted herself professionally. Newt may be auditioning to write Trump's Twitter feed.  Advantage, Kelly.

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