In his Washington Post column, Eugene Robinson examines the perception that current GOP presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich is an intellectual heavy weight. Not so. Gingrich is just a magnificent curator of the ideas of others, Robinson concludes.
Can we please bury the notion that Newt Gingrich is some kind of deep thinker? His intellect may be as broad as the sea, but it’s about as deep as a birdbath.
I’m not saying the Republican presidential front-runner is unacquainted with ideas. Quite the contrary: Ideas rain through his brain like confetti, escaping at random as definitive pronouncements about this or that. But they are other people’s ideas, and Gingrich doesn’t bother to curate them into anything resembling a consistent philosophy. Given enough time, I’m convinced, he will take every position on every issue.
The week’s most vivid example of Gingrich’s intellectual promiscuity sent principled conservatives into apoplexy. Mitt Romney, his chief opponent for the GOP nomination, had called on Gingrich to return the $1.6 million in consulting fees he received from housing giant Freddie Mac. Gingrich replied that he would “be glad to listen” if Romney would first “give back all the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees” during his time as head of the investment firm Bain Capital.
Read Eugene Robinson's entire column at the Washington Post.