Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Could you imagine any leading British politician speaking this intelligently?

Jonathan Jones in the Spectator writes today about the revival in fortune of the Newt Gingrich campaign to become the Republican presidential nominee. After a disastrous decline to jusy 3% support earlier this year, Gingrich is now in third place, behind Romney and Cain.

Watching Gingrich's performance in the following video made me wonder if any leading British politician would be able to argue this cogently - or clearly - about anything of commensurate importance to the United Kingdom. Here, Gingrich addresses the concerted attempt by left-wing American judges  to misinterpret the Constitution to reflect their ridiculous, trendy "values":

Given how massively wet Romney is, and assuming that Herman Cain's campaign eventually implodes, who knows what might happen? As everyone keeps pointing out, Gingrich brings a lot of baggage with him - but, boy, is he bright!


  1. For some odd reason this got me thinking of the brouhaha over the following Donald Rumsfeld statement: "There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know."

    This, as you'll remember, had the liberal media falling off its collective sofa in hysterical delight. But, of course, it's a perfectly clear and logical statement. Yes, it might need reading twice, but I'm not sure why that led to it being endlessly rerun on the likes of "Have I Got News For You" and "The News Quiz". I was also astonished that the Plain English Campaign criticised it - what could be plainer?

    Rumsfeld got a lot of things wrong - particularly after the invasion of Iraq: he was sometimes a wrong thinker. But the above statement suggests he was also capable of very clear thinking.

    Is it just that we've got so used to our polticians talking in simplistic, largely meaningless clichés designed to sound either vaguely compassionate or tough that we can no longer stand it when they talk in terms that any intelligent adult should be able to grasp?

  2. Defence Enthusiast2 November 2011 at 13:21

    "But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know." Or as Harold MacMillan said: "Events, dear boy. Events."

    Strange guy, Rumsfeld. Very hard-nosed, hughely intelligent. He laboured under the delusion that he knew more about military matters than his defence experts [ Lloyd George and Churchill had the same problem]. He severely curtailed the effectiveness of the US Military during the attack phase in Gulf War II by limiting troop numbers and materiel and therefore caused unecessary death. Space does not allow a proper comment on the intolerable interference that Lloyd George and WSC exercised on the army during the two world wars.

  3. In answer to your question...William Hague before his return to the shadow cabinet. Now, no. Pity

  4. Michael Gove has a fluent and assertive debating style and is one of the few members of this Government who gives the impression of being driven by something that almost amounts to a consistent set of beliefs. But there are no great orators around in US politics and haven't been any since Ronald Reagan. I find Obama's emotion-tugging theatricality almost Blair-like in its ability to prompt a lunge for the channel changer. As the great Frank Zappa put it, US elections are usually a choice between Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. Next year's doesn't look like breaking the mould.

  5. Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Very Dum, more like. But I'm not interested in oratory - last thing we need - but clear thinking, which seems to be in short supply amongst our top politicians.

    You are right Harumphrey about Hague, of course, as you are, EX-KCS about Gove - a very bright chap who I tried to employ as a political talk-show host at the BBC during his Times days, before being over-ruled by my terrified left-liberal bosses. This trio of very clever and clear-thinking Tories simply can't express themselves clearly on issues such as Europe, Immigration and Green Energy because it would make their Lib-Dem partners (who can't string a sensible sentence together, because they can't think clearly about anything) burst into tears. It makes this much less intelligent Tory feel frustrated (as they must feel) but also abandoned and leaderless. In fact, given the performance of Clegg and Miliband, I wonder if any follower of any of the main political parties doesn't feel abandoned these days.

  6. Yes, he may look like a pissed leprechaun, but he sure can talk - here's a link to another example of Gingrich giving it some welly - this one from 2009 (hat:tip SDG) http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=qtjfMjjce2Y