As more Republicans inch toward entering the presidential race, Newt Gingrich is dialing up the rhetoric. The former House speaker warned at a Texas church meeting this week that if we're not careful, America will become a "secular atheist country, potentially ... dominated by radical Islamists." In a separate speech, Gingrich told the American Family Association that the country was being led by an "anti-Christian and anti-Jewish elite." This kind of talk, said one commentator, makes Gingrich sound like a "second-tier A.M. radio Glenn Beck wannabe." Is the 2012 presidential hopeful trying to woo the same conservative audience the Fox News favorite attracts?
The similarities are noteworthy: Gingrich is grasping for "huge, world-historical theories and systems," says Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic. He is also "too emotional to separate his feelings from his thoughts," and he has an "absurd reputation for being an intellectual." Sound like anyone else you know?
"How loony is the right? Ctd"
Like Beck, Gingrich is just cynically playing to the crowd: "Can Gingrich really believe this?" asks Michael Crowley at TIME. More likely, this is merely his "showman impulse." Gingrich knows he can't win, and is using this presidential campaign as a "giant self-promotional opportunity" for his other business pursuits. Bashing Islam and atheism is "an easy sell" for the far-right fringe, as figures like Beck have discovered.
"Newt Gingrich and the Islamic radical states of America"
No, Gingrich has a unique strategy: The former Georgia congressman isn't just targeting atheists and Muslims, says Jonathan Turley at his blog. He's also going after academics, calling out college professors who, he says, are "secretly undermining Christian values." This trio of targets will become a "trifecta of hate" upon which Gingrich may just build a presidential platform.
"Gingrich: America in danger of becoming secular atheist country dominated by radical Islamists"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- 10 things you need to know today: September 2, 2014
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
Subscribe to the Week