Newt, Newt, Newt. So much to say, so much time to say it, now that the biggest windbag this side of George Steinbrenner has won the South Carolina primary, and once again looks like he might, improbably, be the GOP nominee for President.
I’ve had a few days to digest the Rise of Newt, and a few quick thoughts on the last week of his rise:
— There’s no possible way Newt can sustain this; the man has nine eruptions a week, from his past and his present. Then again, nobody likes Mitt Romney. That’s been proven over and over again. So there’s that.
— Andrew Sullivan and other conservatives keep saying this: There’s no way Newt can win a general election. He’d be paying Delta hundreds of dollars in baggage fees, put it that way. So do the Florida voters, and the other primary states, feel so strongly about beating Obama that they’d hold their nose and vote for Mitt? Or are they so Tea Party-infused and blinded that they actually think Newt can beat that “black fella” in the Oval Office?
— Putting politics aside, it is wildly entertaining watching Gingrich at these debates. He’s just SO pompous and so disdainful of everyone else on stage, it’s hilarious.
— Finally, I’ll let a Twitterer named Jesse Taylor have the last word; he filed this right after Saturday’s debate.
“Given what South Carolina did tonight to keep a black man in office, I think they’ve atoned for any previous racism.”
**And now, as a palette-cleanser from King Newt, the beautiful farewell from Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona, who is resigning from Congress one year after her near-fatal shooting.
**Finally saw “The Descendants” last weekend. Every good thing I’d heard about it was true. George Clooney, who I see having a Paul Newman-like acting career (meaning he gets better and better with age; I could totally see Clooney starring in movies in his 70’s) was terrific as a father and a husband dealing with an unfaithful wife, a mouthy and unhappy teenage daughter, and an extended family counting on him to make a sound financial decision.
The cinematography is gorgeous (hey, it’s Hawaii, how ugly could they make it?), the acting is top-notch (Clooney’s teenage daughter, Shailene Woodley, is superb), and the movie never treats its audience with anything else than charm, wit, and emotion.
Go see “The Descendants.” It’ll be up for lots of Oscars, and will deserve more than a few.
**Finally today, think about this: What if Joe Paterno had died four months ago? What if the legendary Penn State football coach, maybe the greatest college coach of all time, passed away in mid-October, during another outstanding Nittany Lions season?
The obits that flowed like wins to Paterno’s program over the last four decades would’ve been universally positive. “Great coach, great man, philanthropic, stoic, won the right way,” etc.
But because this 85-year-old man didn’t die then, but after four months of absolutely image-shattering headlines, his obits all had caveats and references to his unspeakable silence while an assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, molested boy after boy.
It’s a very complicated legacy, Joe Pa leaves. Too many will vilify him and all the good work he did in his life (read this beautiful story for a small slice of what Paterno was like) for what he didn’t do in the Sandusky case. And I don’t in any way absolve him of his sins in that matter.
But he was a giant among football coaches, maybe one of the greatest of all time. He gave so much money and time, and shaped so many men’s lives, and I’d hate to think any of that will be forgotten now.
One final thought: It’s incredible how fast Paterno’s life went downhill. From being fired, to the lung cancer diagnosis, to breaking his pelvis, to death, all in a little more than three months.
I know the wounds are still fresh over his inaction with Jerry Sandusky. But Paterno’s is a life that should be mourned, and (mostly) celebrated.