Saturday, August 20, 2011

Didion on Gingrich

"...What has lent Mr. Gingrich’s written and spoken work, or, as he calls it, his “teaching,” the casual semblance of being based on some plain-spoken substance, some rough-hewn horse sense, is that most of what he says has reached us in outline form, with topic points capitalized and systematically, if inappositely, numbered. There were “Seven key aspects” and “Nine vision-level principles” of “Personal Strength” (Pillar Two of American Civilization), there were “Five core principles” of “Quality as Defined by Deming” (Pillar Five), there were “Three Big Concepts” of “Entrepreneurial Free Enterprise” (Pillar Three). There were also, still under Pillar Three, “Five Enemies of Entrepreneurial Free Enterprise” (“Bureaucracy,” “Credentialing,” “Taxation,” “Litigation,” and “Regulation”), which would have been identical to Pillar Four’s “Seven welfare state cripplers of progress” had the latter not folded in “Centralization,” “Anti-progress Cultural Attitude,” and “Ignorance.”
In Window of Opportunity, Mr. Gingrich advised us that “the great force changing our world is a synergism of essentially six parts,” and offered “five simple steps to a bold future.” On the health-care question, Mr. Gingrich posited “eight areas of necessary change.” On the issue of arms control, he saw “seven imperatives that will help the free world survive in the age of nuclear weapons.” Down a few paragraphs the seven imperatives gave way to “two initiatives,” then to “three broad strategic options for the next generation,” and finally, within the scan of the eye, to “six realistic goals which would increase our children’s chances of living in a world without nuclear war.”
Outlining” or “listing” remains a favored analytical technique among the management and motivational professionals whose approach Mr. Gingrich has so messianically adopted (balancing the budget and “finding a way to truly replace the current welfare state with an opportunity society” could both be done by the year 2002, he advised the Congress on the occasion of his swearing-in as Speaker, “if we apply the principles of Edwards Deming and Peter Drucker”); yet few of his own “areas” and “imperatives” and “initiatives,” his “steps” and “options” and “goals,” actually advance, on examination, the discourse..."

Newt on himself: "There's a large part of me that is four years old. I wake up in the morning and I know that somewhere there's a cookie. I don't know where it is but I know it's mine and I have to go find it. That's how I live my life. My life is amazingly filled with fun."