The more I think about, listen to, and read about Newt Gingrich, the more I find myself concerned about his state of mind. No, I don’t think Gingrich is insane. Even if I did, I’m not a mental health professional and I can’t presume to diagnose Gingrich from my keyboard. I’m a writer, which some would argue isn’t exactly an advertisement for sanity. He who lives in a glass house, right??
That said, things have gotten so out of whack in the race for the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination that Slate’s Jacob Weisberg is asking….
Laugh if you must, but I think that Weisberg’s question is a legitimate one. Gingrich is prone to discussing himself in messianic terms, he possesses an over-developed sense of self-worth, and yes, there’s the “grandiosity, megalomania, irritability, impulsiveness, [and] spending sprees.” His tenure as Speaker of the House was characteristic of someone shooting to power and then flaming out through his own hubris and inability to control his impulses. His marital history could be interpreted as supporting doubts about Gingrich’s sanity (and certainly his morality)…as fuzzy as any definition of “sanity” is. I want to be careful here, because describing someone as “nuts” is as subjective as it is insulting. Gingrich clearly has some significant issues…which only means that he’s a thoroughly fallible human being.
Does (or should) concerns for Gingrich’s state of mind rise to the level of questioning his fitness to serve as President? That might seem a dangerous leap to make, but it’s not as if we’ve haven’t witnessed the damage that can be done by a President possessed of a precarious state of mind (Richard Nixon). I don’t know how to go about raising the issue of Gingrich’s sanity or lack of same. It might just be that Gingrich is merely a flamboyant personality with boundary issues and an over-cooked sense of self-worth. Or he could be a megalomaniac with a messiah complex and impulse control issues. Combine that with a questionable sense of ethics and an apparent unwillingness to hold himself to the same standards he demands others adhere to, and a reasonable person is going to have questions. For me, one obvious reason for not supporting Gingrich is the undeniable reality that his primary allegiance is to himself and his own self-aggrandizement.
I don’t know if Gingrich is “nuts”, but I do know that this country can’t afford a President possessed of a messiah complex and an inability to control his impulses. That, and his pledge to nominate John Bolton as his Secretary of
War State, should be more than enough to raise serious questions about his judgment and perhaps his fitness to serve as President, no?
Perhaps Americans should be asking themselves a very simple question: Do we want a President possessed of Gingrich’s mercurial personality to be making decisions about whether or not America goes to war?
I rest my case.
(More at What Would Jack Do?)