HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Newt Gingrich and the Pol...

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 01:11 PM

Newt Gingrich and the Politics of Resentment

Newt Gingrich and the Politics of Resentment

Howard Schweber

Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison; 2011 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/howard-schweber/newt-gingrich_b_1225572.html

Gingrich and his supporters do not oppose Obama, they resent the fact of his existence. He will speak
for his constituents by articulating their resentments in more strident, more combative, more articulate
terms than they can themselves, which is why they find him brilliant. Ron Paul's supporters find him
brilliant because he reduces the complexities of the world into easy soundbites. Gingrich does that too,
but he does much more -- he tells them that their nastiest, darkest, angriest, most irrational self-indulgent
justifications are 100%, absolutely right. It's a negative version of a politics of self-esteem: not that you
are right to feel good about yourself, but that you are right to be resentful of everyone else.

snip

When Gingrich talks I hear Rowdy Roddy Piper in They Live: "I am here to kick ass and chew bubble gum,
and I am all out of bubble gum." Gingrich is the WWF version of a national politician, playing out an over-
the-top script where the championship belt would belong to us except we were cheated and the refs are
crooked and this time we're bringing the folding chair into the ring and that'll show 'em! It's infantilizing
in just the way that professional wrestling is pitched to a 12-year-old boy's sensibilities (have you seen
those costumes?). Gingrich frequently give the impression of a child about to have a tantrum, and that's
just fine -- tantrums are all about resentment. It's not quite the same thing as anger, not even righteous
anger -- this is more personal, more envious, more spiteful. The difference between anger and resentment
is the difference between "this injustice shall not stand" and "it's not faaaaairrr." Romney wants to be the
grownup in the room -- Newt wants to be the bad boy in the corner.

snip

They don't really care what Gingrich says he will do, or whether it makes sense, or even whether they would
approve of his policies or benefit from them. The are filled with resentment, and Gingrich has captured that
voice. Romney can't project it, nor can Santorum or Paul. Plenty of the other candidates share the good-versus
-evil absolutism, the paranoid style, the willingness to say anything no matter how crazy. But only Newt, Bad
Boy Newt, Nasty Newt, the Grandiose One, the Historian (the guy has too many monikers to keep track of, we'll
have to hold a contest) -- only Newt has captured the key emotive element that drives the Republican core this
year: resentment. The hard right core of the Republican Party is filled with resentment, and they have found just
the man to let us all know about

0 replies, 311 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Reply to this thread