C’est Vraiment Incroyable!

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 13, 2012

Standing on its own, Newt Gingrich’s latest critique of Mitt Romney–he speaks French!–is . . . well, I would say that it has a certain je ne sais quoi about it, but I think that it would be more accurate to call the critique “stupid.”

Gingrich being Gingrich, however, he had to compound the stand-alone stupidity with a total lack of self-awareness:

Gingrich’s 1971 dissertation – “Belgian Education Policy in the Congo 1945-1960” — contains a multitude of sources in French in his bibliography.

In total, Gingrich relied upon 143 French-language sources to write his dissertation — including 18 “public documents,” 90 books, 33 published articles and 2 unpublished documents.

He also conducted 8 “private interviews” in Belgium during the course of his research, although the language that he used wasn’t specified in the bibliography. Belgium’s officials languages are French, German and Dutch.

To consider all possibilities, Gingrich either knew French (which makes his attack on Romney entirely and unbelievably hypocritical), or he wrote a dissertation regarding an African country where French is spoken, which was colonized by a country which has French as one of its three official languages, and included 143 French-language sources and 8 interviews in his dissertation, without knowing a lick of French (which would raise concerns about the competence with which he wrote his dissertation). In either event, Gingrich actually attacked Romney for knowing a foreign language. That’s right, his criticism is that Romney possesses actual knowledge regarding a skill set that many employers value. A skill set that sets apart those who possess it as being relatively intelligent, sophisticated, cultured, civilized, and educated. It boggles the mind.

It ought to be clear by now that Gingrich’s campaign is being fueled by personal pique. He hates Romney, and is willing to do whatever he can to damage him, irrespective of the damage that he does to the Republican party, and its 2012 presidential prospects. He’s attacked capitalism to get at Romney, and now he has decided to open a second front against polyglots. I hope that Republicans remember what Gingrich’s idea of party loyalty is, and ensure that they pay him back in kind for the incredible pettiness he has decided to show during the course of this campaign.

  • Anonymous

    I have an idea for Romney’s next ad. Off-camera, Romney recites a quote by Frederic Bastiat, then one by some French statist, repeat process twice. Each quote is accompanied by a screen image of some Romney or Gingrich policy associated with the quote being recited. Then the punchline: “Whose fluency in French bothers you more?”

  • Demosthenes

    I really thought Gingrich had matured…his performances in the debates were models of decorum and thoughtfulness, and indicative of profound depth of knowledge.  And I appreciated his out-of-the-box ideas like two-person discussion panels with Cain and Huntsman, and his offer of a real Lincoln-Douglas style debate.  That’s how he won my allegiance.

    However, though I can’t blame him for being angry at the savage beatings his poll numbers took at the hands of Romney’s associated super-PACs, I do blame him for the spiteful and vindictive manner in which he has chosen to respond.  He’s treading into useful idiot territory now, and I am sick of worrying about whether all he’s doing is opening up lines of attack which will be listened to once Barack Obama starts mouthing them.  That’s hos he lost my allegiance, and he’s not getting it back.

    Sigh.  So who does that leave?  I won’t vote for Romney (in the primary, anyway), Santorum is a general-election loser, Huntsman left a permanent sour taste in my mouth with the way he started his campaign, and Ron Paul is living proof that the dodo is not extinct after all.  Guess all that leaves is Perry.  At least he just looks like a bumbler…

  • Demosthenes

    I really thought Gingrich had matured…his performances in the debates were models of decorum and thoughtfulness, and indicative of profound depth of knowledge.  And I appreciated his out-of-the-box ideas like two-person discussion panels with Cain and Huntsman, and his promised offer of a real Lincoln-Douglas style debate to President Obama in the fall.  That’s how he won my allegiance.

    However, though I can’t blame him for being angry at the savage beatings his poll numbers took at the hands of Romney’s associated super-PACs, I do blame him for the spiteful and vindictive manner in which he has chosen to respond.  He’s treading into useful idiot territory now, and I am sick of worrying about whether all he’s doing is opening up lines of attack which will be listened to once Barack Obama starts mouthing them.  That’s hos he lost my allegiance, and he’s not getting it back.

    Sigh.  So who does that leave?  I won’t vote for Romney (in the primary, anyway), Santorum is a general-election loser, Huntsman left a permanent sour taste in my mouth with the way he started his campaign, and Ron Paul is living proof that the dodo is not extinct after all.  Guess all that leaves is Perry.  At least he just looks like a bumbler…

  • Demosthenes

    I really thought Gingrich had matured…his performances in the debates were models of decorum and thoughtfulness, and indicative of profound depth of knowledge.  And I appreciated his out-of-the-box ideas like two-person discussion panels with Cain and Huntsman, and his promised offer of a real Lincoln-Douglas style debate to President Obama in the fall.  That’s how he won my allegiance.

    However, though I can’t blame him for being angry at the savage beatings his poll numbers took at the hands of Romney’s associated super-PACs, I do blame him for the spiteful and vindictive manner in which he has chosen to respond.  He’s treading into useful idiot territory now, and I am sick of worrying about whether all he’s doing is opening up lines of attack which will be listened to once Barack Obama starts mouthing them.  That’s hos he lost my allegiance, and he’s not getting it back.

    Sigh.  So who does that leave?  I won’t vote for Romney (in the primary, anyway), Santorum is a general-election loser, Huntsman left a permanent sour taste in my mouth with the way he started his campaign, and Ron Paul is living proof that the dodo is not extinct after all.  Guess all that leaves is Perry.  At least he just looks like a bumbler…

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