Andrew Ferguson reads Newt Gingrich's top 21 books and suggests, maybe inadvertently, that our Newt is a romance novelist at heart. Or wait, maybe he's one of those self-improvement authors.
The choice between these two roads diverging in a yellow-bellied wood is always stark: a question of “whether the United States as we know it will cease to exist.” If nothing else, the Lesser Gingrich shows the author’s ingenuity in adapting his theme. “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less,” for instance, is aimed at the pure activist. It includes a chart to calculate how much the liberals are making you spend on gas, along with checklists, printed petitions, a membership card, a bumper sticker — everything but a decoder ring. In “The Art of Transformation,” he manages to one-up the usual business-book jargon by compiling an impenetrable lexicon of his own. He shows us an OODA loop, for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act, and connects “Islands of Excellence With Invisible Bridges” while “mind mapping” for project planning.
Politically, Gingrich tears up the Quaint Document and lobbies for the adoption of gingrichism. Gingrich, as Ferguson notes, uses the royal "we," not the democratic "we" of the bargaining and compromise demanded by our forefathers.
Like most Utopians, Gingrich sees the world in binary terms. Only his alternative future can prevent the cataclysm that has been about to happen for so many years. Muddling through — which is the default option of our constitutional system and the one that most Americans, latently conservative as they are, seem to prefer — never surfaces in the swirling mists of his crystal ball. For all the reciprocated disdain he claims to feel for the establishment in Washington, where he has lived for more than 30 years, he is still its unwitting champion; for without the crises that Gingrich chronically imagines, the establishment would no longer be necessary.
The point is, the cliff is always there, the heroine's bosom always heaving, and only Gingrich can remedy the situation.