I just listened to the first part of the Diane Rehm show, where I had the pleasure of hearing Newt f*^king Gingrich lecture today's politicians on, yes, being too partisan. Then, in his answer to the very first caller's question, he claimed that the only answer liberals have to global warming was "to raise taxes and give more power to trial lawyers."
That was right after he totally evaded the first emailed question about his own dubious role in the country's polarization with the Clinton impeachment.
But damn those politicians and their partisan soundbytes!
UPDATE 12:06PM: My landlady tells me that Gingrich eventually skipped out on Diane only 40 minutes into the show, which royally pissed her off, as he had promised her the whole hour, so she had no guest for the last 20 minutes (apparently, she spent it ranting about Gingrich's performance).
Gingrich is perhaps the worst of these hyperpartisan politicians (Tom Delay being second) when it comes to practicing oppositional politics. He doesn't care about actually fixing anything. Rather, his entire being is geared toward soundbytes and framing and political maneuvering. Everything, and I mean everything, that comes out of Gingrich's mouth has one purpose: to disparage and discredit his opponents. There are no moments of candor with him; he's always got one hand on his dagger and one eye on the backs of Democrats, liberals, and intellectuals.
This is what, to me at least, is emblematic of current Republicanism: defeating Democrats and marginalizing liberals is the point of every word and every action. You don't see this with liberals, or even most major Democrats (with perhaps the exception of Rahm Emmanuel). When Al Gore is talking about climate change or John Edwards about poverty, you don't get the sense that they've got Republicans or conservatives in the back of their mind, and they hardly ever come up.
Republicans, however, just won't STFU about Democrats and liberals and how stupid and evil and weak and traitorous and fascist they are, and Gingrich is one of the main reasons for this. He showed them a way of winning that was no holds barred, that had no vision, no answers, no end other than winning, and he molded the GOP to work like him. It's all they know, and that probably goes a long way to describing just why they've been so singularly ineffectual administrators and lawmakers. They can cut taxes, they can start wars, they can stage PR stunts, and they can denigrate liberals, but that's all they've got. That's the entire GOP playbook: 4 moves designed and poll-tested to win elections. They're not so great at maintaining healthy economies or keeping government running smoothly or answering societal problems or stopping impending environmental catastrophies, but for a decade and a half the GOP has been winning by pretending everything is a nail and they put all their other tools in hock when Gingrich proved to them that responsibility and openness are unnecessary in government. Now, of course, they're reaping what Gingrich and Armey and Delay sowed, as these tried-and-true techniques are diminishing in their returns. Authoritarian cultism, propaganda, and corruption can only hide one's incompetence for so long.