Saturday, December 3, 2011

Newt's World

On the day when Herman Cain "suspended" his Presidential campaign (in a precedent obviously set by the last Republican Presidential candidate, John McCain,), Chris Hayes began his panel discussion this morning with what was supposed to be a discussion of Mitt Romney's Fox News meltdown earlier this week. It quickly got railroaded by the current Republican politician who's stumping them all - Newt Gingrich.

What never ceases to amaze me about the rising cadre of political pundit is how little they know of recent history. I'm not sure whether this is down to their almost extreme youth or the fact that, for whatever reason, they're not very well-versed in what went before, historically, and how whatever did go before has a direct bearing on events today.

It's just the old saying that those who are ignorant of the past are condemned to repeat it.

Conversely, these same people buy into the myth of rhetoric surrounding past political figures, to the extent that they become almost deities in themselves - the sainted Roosevelt (Franklin, that is), the martyred Kennedys, and a Lincoln whose wisdom was clearly divine.

However, the youth on this panel, was brilliantly offset by the age and wisdom of Congressman Jerrold Nadler from New York, who schools the youngsters brilliantly on exactly who Newt Gingrich is and why he is relevant to the state of play in politics and in Congress today.

It's a brilliant, yet entirely simple, history lesson during the first ten minutes of this broadcast. Nadler is wonderfully concise and informative, without being "patronising," (which was the operative word during this segment of the program, applied, mostly, to describing (accurately) Mitt Romney. But it's also clear that Nadler, eyeing up the panel, knows exactly with whom he's engaging, as well as their ken (or lack of it) and masterclasses them in the relevance of Newt Gingrich.

It's all here in the first ten minutes of this broadcast:-

I was surprised that Chris Hayes's reaction to Nadler's tutorial was to admit that he didn't know Gingrich was responsible for all this - especially, the uncompromising stance of the GOP in Congress today, being the legacy of Newt's world. But one has to remember that, as clever as he is (and Hayes is one of the better up-and-coming political commentators), he was only in middle school when Gingrich held sway and beginning college when he got the boot.

It was nice to see this interaction between political generations, even though a lot of it probably went in one ear and out the other. At least Hayes admitted his ignorance, took instruction and allowed the penny to drop in that today's Republican party took root during Newt's watch.

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