Slouching Towards Tampa (How the Flighty Have Fallen edition)

Put your hands together for Screeches & Herb!

Sarah Palin, like bubonic plague or the X-Men movie franchise, seems destined never to go away completely. Last Tuesday, for no special reason, she sat down with the ever-obliging Greta Van Susteren and talked about the presidential race. I’ve transcribed some of it for you so that you don’t have to give Fox a hit. You’re welcome.

A little less than five minutes into the segment, Van Susteren, sounding eerily Palinesque herself, asks:

“How does, though, a politician, though, connect with the people and get it across so it doesn’t just sound like, more like ‘blah, blah, blah’…”

At “blah, blah, blah,” an attentive Palin nods tersely. Van Susteren then drags the question out a little more and Palin launches into a generalized answer. Soon, though, she gets a little more specific:

“Take Herb Cain. Look at why he’s doing so well right now. He’s, I guess you could say, with all due respect, the flavor of the week, because Herb Cain is the one up there who doesn’t look like he’s part of that permanent political class. Herb Cain, he came from a working-class family. He’s had to make it on his own all these years. We respect that. That has an automatic connection with the electorate, where we say we can relate to him. He knows the issues, the problems that we face every day, and he’s determined to do something about it. He’s not elite. He doesn’t seem to allow us to be disenchanted with what it is that he’s proposing, because what he proposes in terms of solutions, Greta, for our economy are based on time-tested truths and common sense and true economic principles that will work. So Herb, Herb Cain is a good example of a connection with the voters, and why his message – good messenger! – he’s resonating with the people.”

Grendel Van Susteren then asks Sandra Palin about her own possible candidacy, and Saginaw is happy to respond:

“Earlier today, Greta, on Fox News, you had a host who said: Sarah Palin in the show – in the polls, she’s way, way down there in the polls, and I’m kind of scratching my head, going: Wait a minute! On another network, on CNN just the other day, they showed a poll where I was, like, within five points of President Obama. I was doing well, much better than many of the other candidates. And I’m thinking all this misinformation and contradictory information, contradicting information from even hosts here on this network itself, it adds to, I guess, the disconnect, even not just the permanent political class but many in the media also, because sometimes they don’t do their homework and many times a host or a reporter, they have their own agenda and they interject their agenda in the information they’re providing their viewers and readers. So it didn’t surprise me or many of us that Herb Cain was doing well, but it certainly surprised many in the media, ’cause sometimes they don’t do their homework and they do perpetuate misinformation.”

“Other candidates”? So is Saltine Palin in or is she out? Well, she just refuses to be pinned down, but if I were Ralph Perry, Milt Romney, Nate Gingrich, Maureen Bachmann, Rob Santorum, Jim Huntsman, Rhett Paul or even Herb Cain himself, I’d be worried. Salada Palin has lost none of the keen wit and incisive political acumen she displayed back in ’08 when, soon after Jake McCain had chosen Sartre as his running mate, Kandi Couric tried to play “Gotcha!” and Sanka, famously, would have none of it.

I’m thinking Sassafras Palin has no doubt that she would make a great president, as long as her presidency remains perpetually hypothetical. Oh, and as to “Herb… doesn’t look like he’s part of that permanent political class”? Ouch! I think your slip is showing there, Sayonara, but I still look forward to your next informative segment with Grumman Van Susteren.

Waiter, could we get this guy seconds on his just desserts, please?

Newton Leroy Gingrich has been an assistant professor, an author, an entrepreneur, a media figure, and the 58th Speaker of the House of Representatives. In other words – most of his political positions firmly notwithstanding – he’s hardly unintelligent. All of which makes his breathtakingly unintelligent run for next year’s Republican nomination that much more difficult to understand.

Mirabile dictu, Forbes.com, the unlikeliest of websites, brightened my week with this little item on Wednesday:

A floundering presidential bid has fractured what was once a rock star Republican image. Not long ago, Newt Gingrich sat atop a lucrative political empire, the sought-after intellectual guru of the GOP.

Now, all but broke, he’s traveling coach. His vaunted political operation, American Solutions, has gone under. And he’s finding himself fighting for air time – if not respect – at Republican presidential primary debates.

Gingrich has become an asterisk in the race.

Gracious me, I love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning! Not as much as an Egg McMuffin, but still.

But wait! Put down the snark and back away, pinkos! A day after “Forbes & Friends” published his obituary, the Newtster almost unveiled, to applause so deafening that nobody could hear it, his “21st Century Contract with America“!

Gingrich’s not-quite-reveal kicks off with a quote from Abraham Lincoln, who resembles modern Republicans the same way that homo sapiens resembles australopithecus yet still gets trotted out every time some Republican wants to wrap himself in misappropriated greatness. Once that’s out of the way, the Newtinator’s riffin’:

The 21st Century Contract with America will… be much larger than the original, and will consist of four parts.

• A set of legislative proposals to shift America back to job creation, prosperity, freedom, and safety;

• A “First Day” project of Executive Orders to be signed on inauguration day to immediately transform the way the executive branch works;

• A training program for the transition teams and the appointees who will lead the shift back to Constitutional, limited government;

• A system of citizen involvement to help us sustain grassroots support for change and help implement the change through 2021.

Wow! Much larger than the original set of unworkable, destructive ideas that he and his cackling cronies rolled out way back in the last century? Tell me more!

The 21st Century Contract with America is so large and covers so many changes necessary to get America back on the right track that it can’t possibly be developed by a small group.

Instead, it will be developed with the help and support of the American people.

The entire next year will be devoted to harnessing the wisdom and perspective of the American people to improving, developing and clarifying all four phases of the Contract.

This website, Newt.org, will be the central hub where citizens can participate in this development.  It will be released in final form on September 27, 2012.

WTF? September 27, 2012?! Dude, you’re going to be chewing gum on the sole of the eventual Republican nominee’s shoe probably weeks, if not days, from now. If you think anyone outside of a few rightwing “news” outlets will give a rhinestone-studded damn about your opinion on September 27, 2012, you’re out to an overpriced, undercooked lunch. But by all means do save this crud for 2016. That year’s GOP field, at least for the time being, is still wide open.