Matt Lewis

Newt Gingrich’s ‘Lake’ Analogy Doesn’t Hold Water

In Iowa on Saturday, former Speaker Newt Gingrich sought to explain his apparent flip-flop on whether or not to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.

(Before Obama intervened in Libya, Gingrich said if it were up to him, he would “exercise a no-fly zone this evening” — but then after Obama imposed the no-fly zone, Gingrich said he “would not have intervened”.)

Speaking at the Conservative Principles Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday, Gingrich sought to push back on the notion that he had changed positions. Sadly, he didn’t help his cause.

“The fact is that on each day I was on television I was responding to where the president was that day,” Gingrich said. “And so obviously there were contradictions.”

“It’s true, I was trying to follow Obama,” Gingrich added.

Unfortunately, this is still confusing.

Was Gingrich essentially admitting that his position on whether or not to exercise a no-fly zone was simply based on opposing whichever option Obama chose?

… But it didn’t stop there.

Gingrich went on to explain the contradictions, saying: “If you had asked, ‘should we jump in the lake?’ I would have said ‘no.’ Once we jumped in the lake I said, ‘swim as fast as you can.’”

Again, this makes no sense.

The lake analogy might make sense if Gingrich had originally opposed a no-fly zone.  In that scenario, Gingrich could have opposed intervention — but then (once Obama committed us to it) — Gingrich would have been within his rights to criticize Obama for not doing it swiftly enough, decisively enough, or effectively enough.

Instead — to overextend the lake analogy — Gingrich told Obama to take the plunge.  And once Obama did, Gingrich called him stupid for doing it.