…or how Newt's dreams were buried in a little blue box
I am loathe to defend Newt Gingrich. It just feels preposterous and, maybe, a little unnatural. And yet, here I am. Damn you, Mr. Speaker…and your taste in jewelry!
Newt Gingrich, declared candidate for the Presidency of the United States, is currently baffled. He said as much on NBC News this morning. He is at the center of a storm because he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on jewelry from Tiffany's for his wife. His own wife! Not somebody else's wife. Not the wife of some contractor doing business with the government. Not a mistress…
(You think he has trouble now…a mistress would generate the type of firestorm media moguls live for. Tomorrow's headline: Arnold Who!)
...but his wife, the woman he married, loves and has the little blue boxes to prove it.
While discussing his befuddlement Mr. Gingrich announced that he is not carrying ANY debt. The house, the car, the family jewels: all paid for from proceeds from his four businesses. You would think that would make him the darling of Conservatives far and wide. A politician who does not indulge in deficit spending, who has not mortgaged his future and who, apparently, lives within his means. A politician who invests in the community, pays his taxes and grows business. At least jewelry businesses. Apparently that is a little simplistic, if not naive.
The problem is the amount. My mother was absolutely incensed by the cost of the "Royal Wedding". How dare they spend that kind of money? Couldn't they do it for half and use the rest to do some good?" Newt, on a significantly smaller scale, is the victim of greenback envy. He is spending money most people cannot imagine spending; most people actually believe they would do things differently if they had Newt's money. For the record, I would not think twice about buying a $45,000 necklace for my wife and, while I wouldn't buy myself a $10,000 watch, I would take delivery on a ($100,000+) Tesla Roadster. I am a friend of the planet and it is a small price to pay to go green. Besides, it's a hot ride. In the world a little closer to reality, I will not be taking delivery on my favorite breed of dog (the English Bulldog) anytime soon. At present the $2,500 canine is 17 on the list - well below food, lodging, gas for the car and the occasional family vacation.
Have we come to a place in American Politics where a candidate has to buy gifts for his wife from Wal-Mart to be a credible candidate? I do not agree with Mr. Gingrich's politics but he is intelligent, committed, dedicated and passionate. With emphasis on the intelligent accolade, the Republican Party could do a lot worse. I will not mention former 49th State governors or reality show moguls by name, but they really could do worse.
To paraphrase Paul Simon, everyone wants to be "Richard Cory". We should be honest about that.