Newt Gingrich's Libya 'flip-flop': What was he thinking?

Gingrich hammered President Obama earlier this month for not intervening in Libya. Now he's griping, "I would not have intervened." Huh?

GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich criticized Obama's decision to intervene in Libya... mere weeks after saying America should intervene.
(Image credit: Facebook)

Former House speaker and current GOP presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich has done a "complete flip-flop" on his Libya position, says George Zornick at ThinkProgress. On March 7, he told Fox News that, were he president, he would unilaterally "exercise a no-fly zone this evening," on the grounds that "we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable." After President Obama did just that a couple weeks later, Gingrich slammed him, telling NBC, "I would not have intervened," especially not using "American and European forces." Gingrich has since tried to explain the discrepancy in a Facebook post. Is this cynical politics at its worst, or just a minor misstep?

He just has loose lips: Gingrich stuck his foot in his mouth, and it's hardly the first time, says Ben Smith at Politico . The only question this time is whether his gaffe is a product of Gingrich's inexperience with the new level of media scrutiny he's facing in 2011 "or the lack of discipline that always drew criticism."

"The full Newt"

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Gingrich knows that consistency no longer matters: The only explanation for Gingrich's "obvious and public U-turn," says Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, is that he just doesn't think such inconsistencies matter. And he may be right. "The media doesn't really care" anymore, and the GOP base "doesn't read ThinkProgress," so Gingrich has learned that he might as well be "really brazen about your flip-flops." That must be "pretty damn liberating."

"The new media rules"

Sure, Gingrich is consistent — about opposing Obama: Gingrich is simply letting us know that "he thinks whatever Obama isn't doing is the right thing to do," says Brian Doherty at Reason. He's certainly not the first politician to flip-flop like this — Joe Biden threatened to impeach George W. Bush for waging war without Congress' green light, which Obama essentially just did. But it does make Gingrich "an absolutely 100 percent shoo-in to be one of the guys dropping out of the GOP presidential race in 2012 early."

"One advantage of blind partisanship..."

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