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The Conscience of a Conservative

2012 edition.

Feb 6, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 20 • By MATT LABASH
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This must not be lost on Newt Gingrich, who is not only a student but a professor of history (why else would Freddie Mac pay him $1.6 million?). So Newt rolled the dice, pushed back hard, and won big. Demonstrating in the process a new Republican paradigm. I call it the Jim Thompson Strategy, named after the great writer of noir pulp fiction, who laid it plain in his 1954 book, The Nothing Man:

I may be wrong—I have been wrong about so many things—but I can’t recall ever hearing or knowing of a son-of-a-bitch who did not do all right for himself. I’m talking about real sons-of-bitches, understand. The Grade-A, double-distilled, steam-heated variety. You take a man like that, a son-of-a-bitch who doesn’t fight it—who knows what he is and gives his all to it—and you’ve really got something. Rather, he’s got something. He’s got all the things that are held out to you as a reward for being a non-son-of-a-bitch.

Remind you of anyone? As Newt correctly calculated, it turns out that the reprise of the adultery story was a break for him. The excitement caused by his reaction to it might even have won him the primary. Now he just needs a few more similar breaks. With a little luck and a lot of hard work on Newt’s part, Callista might come down with a debilitating disease. He can then break up with her, via Twitter, while simultaneously announcing that he’s taken up with a Hooters waitress, preferably from a swing state like Ohio. He’d better get cracking, though. The election is only nine months away. By the time some lamestream media moderator like John King pops the question again in a debate against Obama, Newt will want to be able to castigate him for bringing up ancient history. As a professor of history, Newt knows that those who ignore their past get to keep repeating it as often as they’d like.

Matt Labash is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard.

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