Let’s be honest — both the left and right wings of this country’s political machinations accuse the other of being allergic to facts. The right-wing especially loves to tell itself that liberals only react to emotion, and not to the facts in front of them. But if that’s the case, then Newt Gingrich is a mega-liberal.
Case in point, the clip below from CNN’s coverage of the Republican National Convention. Take a minute or so and watch this exchange, brought to us by the fine folks at “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.”
Yes, that is Newt Gingrich straight-up telling Dana Bash that “liberals have a whole set of statistics that may be theoretically right but it’s not where human beings are.” So in other words, if you tell Newt Gingrich that water is wet, dunk him in a tank up to his knees with water in it, and then take him out of it. If he feels dry, he’ll tell you that water is not only not wet, but that you only think it’s wet because the government is telling you to think it.
Newt Gingrich and facts go together like Newt Gingrich and marriage fidelity.
What might be even more astounding to me than the revelation that Newt thinks average Americans are fact adverse, is the fact that Newt doesn’t get how geography works, or math I think for that matter. Ms. Bash rightly points out, and Oliver confirmed on his show, that violent crime statistics show — on a national level — a steady decline in violent crime over the last 25 years. What was Newt’s response to that?
“Then how come it’s up up Chicago? Up in Baltimore?”
It’s usually at these points when the phrase, “Are you fucking kidding me?!” comes spewing forth from my fingers. But you know what? I actually think this reveals a lot about conservatives. It reminds me of their stubborn resistance to clime change. How many times have you been asked how climate change can be real when it’s either hot/cold/whatever where you are that day? It’s the same kind of weird thinking with Newt asking about Chicago and Baltimore’s specific stats when the discussion is about the national average.
They can’t figure out that climate isn’t weather for the same reasons they can’t understand why Baltimore or Chicago having a slight uptick in violent crime doesn’t mean fuck-all for the national average. In other words, their perspective is so skewed that they will ignore a talking point they regularly use to argue against gun control laws — that violent crime is down while gun ownership is up — if it means they can feel good about pretending all the crime is committed by the darkies and Mexicans.
It’s that out and out refusal to deal with the world around them as it is that I find most hilarious and sad. Newt is outright telling the world that as a politician it’s his job to ignore facts if it means he gets more votes. Isn’t what we want in a politician the opposite, though? We want the guy who will sacrifice votes for the truth, for reality. But ask ol’ Newty and he’ll tell you, “as a political candidate I’ll go with how the people feel, and let you go with the theoreticians.”
So let me see if I can sum up how Newt looks at the world:
- Violent crime is so far down that we don’t have to worry about access to guns even though we already have more guns than people here.
- Violent crime is so far up that average Americans don’t feel safe, and they blame liberal policies. And that’s why we need to elect an angry orangutan as our next president.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my kitchen. I think my head could use a little oven time.
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.