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Samizdata quote of the day

“At times, Gingrich, who’s written more than 150 book reviews on Amazon.com, sounds like a guy who read way too much during a long prison stretch.”

Gene Healy. He’s not a fan.

18 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    Speaker Gingrich.

    He has said and written so much (good and bad) that I do not know where to start – really do not know (it was not piece of rhetoric from me).

    And he has more baggage than an international airport.

    Still an election with him as the candidate would be fun – lots of fight.

    With Mitt one always knows exactly what he will say.

    And I mean “exactly”.

    Just run a computer program (with imput from focus groups and so on) and you will know what Mitt is going to say also – word for word.

    Of course when he gets the nomination (and it is most likely “when”) the computer program will change from imput from “likely Republican Primary voters” to “likely voters in the general election”.

    Actually this still makes Mitt Romney wildly superior to Barack Obama.

    If the voters actually want Mitt to do something free market – he actually would, he would have no reason not to.

    Although he is a Harvard man he is a Harvard MBA man.

    There is none of the David Cameron elite ideology about him.

    Mitt does not really have an ideology at all.

    He is the ultimate democrat (small “d”).

    He will give the customers (I mean the voters) what they want.

    And if most people want really bad (or confused) things – that is not the fault of Mitt Romney.

    “Why does Romney have to be the candidate – if people insist on a moderate why can it not be Jon Huntsman or…..”

    I do not know really (and I agree that Huntsman, moderate though he is, is much better than Romney) – but the situtation is what it is.

    Perhaps because Mitt Romney has been campaigning to be President (every day) since at least 2006.

    He has worn people down.

    For example, in New Hampshire there was still a lot of resistance to him in 2008 – now it is “if we give him the election win, at least he will go away and leave us alone”.

    After all if a rather nice man (and Mitt is a rather nice man) keeps turning up on your area (week after week, month after month, year after year) with his nice team of clean cut people – all begging you for your vote (and saying whatever you want to hear)……

    Well the least difficult thing is to just give him your vote.

    After all he will be very upset if he does not get it – and he has worked so very hard.

    I suspect Newt Gingrich will find that he has left it too late to make the same impression.

  • Gigrich is the American Portillo… so promising before he ‘went native’ and became just another grubby politician oiling The Big Machine.

  • PeterT

    Gingrichs’s advantage is that he is more plausibly conservative than Romney, while still being reasonably Presidential. He angered a few bigoted men and women recently though, by sounding too humane on immigration.

    But I agree that the focus should be on beating Obama since a victory for him would effectively constitute the end of hope for liberty in the world. If its Mitt, so be it. This is actually an election I would bother voting in, in the same way I might sign up to the army if we were invaded by evil aliens.

  • newrouter

    “by sounding too humane on illegal immigration.”

  • Kim du Toit

    Yeah… God forbid that an erudite man should have an actual chance of becoming President.

    I don’t agree with Newt on MANY issues, by the way; but at least the guy shows evidence of actual intelligence.

    Oh, and also by the way: he’d slaughter Obama in any debate on the issues.

    And with the exception of the loony anti-Semite Ron Paul, ANY of the Republican candidates would make a better President than Obama, faint praise though that may be.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Kim, I dislike some of the nut-jobs around Ron Paul and he is also not as consistently libertarian as some of his fans like to claim (ie, on free trade, for instance), but I was not aware he was an anti-semite. That is a new one on me. If it is true, it is depressing. Do you have any sources for this?

  • PeterT


    Same difference, as the Americans say.

    Restrictions on immigration suppose that ‘native’ populations have some sort of prior right to living in a particular geographic area. The ONLY good argument I have heard against free immigration is that it could potentially destabilise those institutions that guarantee our freedoms and wealth.

    Restricting immigration should be anathema to a libertarian – unless perhaps you wish to stretch the property rights concept to breaking point (i.e. a country is the private property of its current inhabitants, owned by them collectively): another discussion I think.

    Ron Paul, don’t know about the anti-semite comment; otherwise I think he’s ok. I have been disappointed by Johnson’s performance on those occassions he has been given the opportunity to exhibit it. Herman Cain: good but naive (as his 9-9-9 plan demonstrates) and I worry that the sex pest thing could return to haunt him.

    A Romney/Rubio ticket could be attractive, not just for the ladies.

  • Paul Marks

    Ron Paul is not an antisemite – but there are people near by him who are.

    Why does he tolerate them?

    Because they tell him what he wants to hear.

    For example, that the Iranian regime is not really a threat.

    Or it was all the fault of overthrowing the Iranian Prime Minister in 1953….

    Or ……..

    Anything to tell him that one can ignore the world and bring the boys home.

    This is what Congressman Paul wants to hear – and so he does not look too closely at the people who are telling him such things.

    And, and this may shock people, if the United States is going to go to war in such a messed up “limited” fashion (and without clear objectives) perhaps “the boys” should be brought home.

    Perhaps Ron Paul is right – even though he is wrong.

    Wrong in thinking that the United States created the enemy (in truth Islam has been an enemy of the nonIslamic world since Muhammed invented Islam) – but right in policy terms.

    Because, I repeat, if war is just going to be f….. up there is no point in engaging in it.

    And can anyone who has taken a hard look at the Iraqi and Afghan regimes say the war has not been f…. up?

    Is the Shia Regime in Iraq and the regime of the Khazi (straight out of the “Carry On” film) in Afghanistan really what thousands of Americans and others died for?

    “But little girls go to school now….” In Iraq (although not Afghanistan) they did anyway.

    And, in both countries, they are taught death-to-the-Jews, and the-Franks [the West] are-evil in the very schools Western taxpayers are providing.

    These were wars without a clear objective – “we get rid of X and then we….. errrr leave it to the locals because we have not thought that far ahead”.

    Pathetic. Thousands of brave people dying for bugger all.

    As for Israel – trusting America is a high risk policy.

    I suspect Israel will have to do the job (in relation to the Iranian atomic program) itself.

    We (the West) are often accused of “imperialism” and “cultural colonialism” – but in truth is almost the oposite.

    There was no plan to convert the locals to Christianity (or to athiest Randian Objectivism or to….) indeed the world was endlessly told…..

    “There is nothing wrong with Islam – it is a religion of peace” Total REVERSE cultural imperialism – Western government comming out with the line of their traditional foe. “The only problem is naughty Saddam in Iraq and the naughty AQ and Taliban in Afghanistan”.

    With a view like that the wars were an absurdity. Although I am NOT saying that there should have been any government plan to convert the local populations (or anything like that).

    In truth the occupation of places like Italy, Germany and Japan (after World War II) worked because the regimes there were just a bit of evil scum that had got on top of the culture (even in Japan – the mass militarist regime only dated back to the late 19th century, and the new State Shinto was an invention on top of the old Shrine Shinto).

    But in Iraq and Afghanistan one is talking about cultural traditions (a religion) that goes back more than a thousand years.

    The situation is totally different .

  • Paul Marks

    Illegal immigration – amnesty has already been tried.

    Reagan did it back in the mid 1980s – and he admitted it was one of the worst mistakes he ever made.

    The idea is that one is “humane” one allows people already in the country to stay, but that is an end to it.

    But, amnesty just tells the vast numbers of millions outside the border that America is weak, that they will be “legalized” also (eventually) if they come.

    “But we are libertarians – FREE MIGRATION”.

    Actually I agree with that – in a feudal way.

    If new people wish to come to sware loyality to a new polity (thus LEAVING their old one) that is fine.

    No “free” medical care (no ER compulsory use – another Reagan era mistake by the way) and no “free” education (in the old days local School Boards were just that – LOCAL, they covered the community they served and the money came from taxes on that community), but if they want to sware loyality to a new polity – let them come.

    However, is anyone really stupid enough to think that (for example) the millions of people comming to the United States from Mexico are loyal to the United States – not to Mexico? That they would fight for the United States AGAINST Mexico – some might (YES) but most?

    There is a name for when large numbers of people cross a border from one country to another – whilst remaining loyal to the country they are comming from and, indeed, holding that the border they are crossing does not (properly speaking) exist, as the land they are entering should really be part of the country they are (to other eyes) “leaving”.

    And this name is not “immigration” – although it does start with the letter “i”. And it does not just apply to Mexicans – and other Latin Americans also have anti American traditions (indeed seeing large parts of the United States as rightfully part of Mexico – and so on).

    “But the children”.

    In another age the children might well grow up loyal to the United States (the pro American stuff they were taught at school might “trump” the anti American stuff they were taught at home).

    But with this education system?

    “Happy Thanksgiving” people.

    And what has turkey and the Pilmgrims got to do with the above?

    Or am I a “bigot” (and an English Bigot at that) for pointing out that most (although not all) of the newcommers feel that Thanksgiving (the Pilgrims landing and…..) has NOTHING to do with them.

    And that included the people who got amnesty.

    This has nothing to do with skin colour.

    Let us say that a Latin American (of any shade of skin) decided he (or she) was loyal to the United States (not to Mexico or whereever), the American military has long allowed such people to join up.

    At the end of the service (not before) they should indeed be offered citizenship.

    Civilians should have legal pathways to citizenship also – if they do not break the law.

    But someone who breaks the law (enteres illegally) and who celebrates Mexican independence day (not July 4th or Thanksgiving).

    What sort of suicidal polity is it that sees this happening on an ever greater scale?

    To boil it down…….

    Simple questions for illegals (or their children).

    “Which side was right in 1836?”


    “Which side was right in 1848?”

    That NOT “race” is what this is all about.

    Political loyalities.

    And yes they matter to the “ignorant” people picking crops in the fields – they know these dates (know them well). Know them better than an lot of “Anglos” do.

  • Paul Marks

    I have been thinking about things – as much as my old (and repeatedly hit) brain can.

    Why do I share Ron Paul’s (and Gary Johnson’s) view about pulling back from big wars – and yet I am wary of the candidates themselves (espececially Ron Paul).

    I think it is because there is a difference between not seeing any enemy out there (what I think is Ron Paul’s position – he just sees victims of the naughty policies of the West, who would “leave us alone if we left them alone”) and thinking that there really are enemies out there (who will have to be defended against – and killed from time to time). But that the United States simply does not have the the option (the abillity to – the resources) to “reshape the Middle East” or anything like that.

    Oddly enough this puts me in Jon Huntsman’s camp on these questions.

    A candidate who has no chance of winning the Primaries.

    Although he would beat Comrade Barack.

  • PeterT

    Sorry Paul but I disagree. Even if the UK were to become 99% muslim through immigration, and they had no knowledge of our history and so on, that would be ok in principle AS LONG AS our freedoms remained intact. The fact that they might not remain intact was the one possible objection to immigration that I thought was reasonable. I don’t deny that there are practical problems with mass immigration, but the principle of free immigration is right.

    The concept of a country is to my mind an embarrassing anachronism.

  • All that reading just makes Newt look like an “intellectual” and Republican voters hate intellectuals.. and that’s just sad.

  • AKM

    “I don’t deny that there are practical problems with mass immigration, but the principle of free immigration is right.”

    But surely is there are practical problems that need to be solved, then some practical solution is required whatever the principle is; and what might that solution look like if not involving some form of state control/regulation of the borders?

  • M

    I don’t deny that there are practical problems with mass immigration, but the principle of free immigration is right.

    And it is real easy to be principled when you aren’t the one suffering the consequences of the ‘practical problems’!

    What happens in the real world is important. Principles are overrated.

  • M: principles are never overrated, they are simply misunderstood.

  • and Republican voters hate intellectuals.. and that’s just sad

    . I agree (to an extent), but can you really blame them?

  • Greg

    ‘All that reading just makes Newt look like an “intellectual” and Republican voters hate intellectuals.. and that’s just sad.’

    Hating intellectuals, and immediately doing the opposite of whatever they say… is actually a useful heuristic.

    What’s truly sad is the quality of our “intellectuals”.

  • Laird

    ‘What’s truly sad is the quality of our “intellectuals”.’

    Nailed it!