Mark Steyn: Gingrich ‘in a benign sense … is a totalitarian’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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The December 31 issue of National Review — the last one before the Iowa caucuses — will feature a cover of Newt Gingrich appearing as “Marvin the Martian,” which some of have suggested could be one of the most memorable covers of the bi-weekly magazine.

The cover story is the latest in a series of eyebrow-raising moves by the magazine, often considered to be the gold standard for periodicals in conservative politics. On Wednesday afternoon, its editorial page came out vehemently against Gingrich, warning his nomination would place the White House out of reach for the GOP.

Mark Steyn, one of the magazine’s columnists and author of the year-end cover story, explained on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Thursday why Newt is a bad choice.

“If you’re like me and you think, you know your idea of a conservative president is Calvin Coolidge – Newt is actually the antithesis of that. Newt has – what’s his website called, GingrichSolutions.org, American Solutions? He’s got more solutions to stuff that most of us didn’t even know were problems. This is his thing to have giant mirrors in space to light America’s highways by night and reduce the carbon footprint.”


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Steyn explained that Gingrich isn’t a conservative – but instead someone who thinks government has a solution for all the problems ailing the country.

“This is the problem for me,” he said. “People have deluded themselves that Newt is a conservative. He’s not. He’s kind of a big government – in a benign sense, I’m not comparing him with Mussolini – but he is a totalitarian in the sense that he believes in interconnected government solutions for everything. And what I find – that’s why the Freddie Mac thing is not a small point.”

And his payday from government-sponsored enterprise Freddie Mac “embodied” his assertion, Steyn explained.

“I mean it makes me physically nauseous how a guy can be Speaker of the House for four years then take a big office on K Street and be given $1.8 million by Freddie Mac for doing nothing,” he added. “Newt in that sense embodies the worst aspect of American public service.”

Not everyone is pleased about the National Review attack on the former House Speaker. CNBC’s Larry Kudlow, a National Review contributing editor, said he didn’t agree with the magazine’s editorial denouncing Gingrich and supporting consideration of Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, and Rick Santorum.

Also, on Thursday, Media Research Center president Brent Bozell, the nephew of National Review founder William Buckley, Jr., publicly stated his uncle would have been appalled by the bi-weekly magazine’s editorial.

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