January 22nd, 2012
It is gratifying, for those of us who enjoy our schadenfreude warm, to watch the Republican presidential contestants expend upon each other the slyly ad hominem vitriol they normally save, to the betterment of our political discourse and in service of the nation’s preservation, for the defacement of their electoral adversaries from the other party. One can perhaps attribute this delightful leveling of the playing field at least in part to the recent return to prominence of Newt Gingrich, a character who sometimes seems to have sprung straight from the pen of Charles Dickens on one of that Master of Snark’s more sardonic days. Newt has the gift of bringing others to his own level, just like what happens when you flush. I’m prompted to these thoughts by the recollection that last week, television ads aired in support of Gingrich famously twitted Mitt Romney for the sin of speaking French. Today we learn, from David Bromwich’s article in the New York Review of Books, that Newt’s Ph.D. dissertation relied on sources in that very language. What a nice smile he has, though: a shark with a full belly.