Column: Once again, Newt Gingrich is faking it
AUSTIN, Texas -- At last, Newt Gingrich has come bucking out of the presidential chute, shouting "Yippie-ty-yi-yo, here I go!" On March 3, that grizzled old cowpoke working the far-right-wing corral of American politics declared that he's raring ...
AUSTIN, Texas -- At last, Newt Gingrich has come bucking out of the presidential chute, shouting "Yippie-ty-yi-yo, here I go!" On March 3, that grizzled old cowpoke working the far-right-wing corral of American politics declared that he's raring to go for the Republican presidential nomination.
Maybe. But probably not. You see, Newt didn't actually declare his candidacy, or even declare that he had formed a committee to explore the possibility of running. Instead, he convened a national press conference to announce the exciting news that he was forming a campaign website. Yes, a website. Its purpose, he informs us, is to explore the possibility of exploring a possible candidacy. Now there's a decisive leader for you.
Actually, Gingrich has been posing as a possible candidate for a decade now, using the attention he gets to promote his books, speeches, lobbying business and other hustles. His newly launched website, NewtExplore2012.com, looks like just another of his non-stop money making schemes. Since it's not a real campaign committee, he can raise cash without reporting who's giving it to him and spend it all on himself.
A measure of The Newt's genuineness can be seen on the website. It features Newt and his lovely third wife Callista smiling at the camera while a large crowd of very happy, flag-waving Americans stands in the background, beaming at the couple. The crowd is a picture-perfect mix of white, black, Latino, and Asian-American citizens -- as though they're right out of central casting.
They are. It's a stock photo dubbed "Large Crowd of People Holding Stars and Stripes Flags." Newt simply bought the right to use this shot of "supporters," as have several other politicians, groups, and businesses. That's Newt for you -- a fake picture in support of a fake campaign by a fake candidate.
Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer and public speaker. He's also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.