“Of all the unmitigated gall.”
That phrase was used often in the Fifties and Sixties for someone who had the audacity to, while his hand is clearly in the cookie jar, say “My hand isn’t in the cookie jar.” In a classic moment on Steve Allen’s Tonight Show (see how old I am?), because Steve would often say “of all the unmitigated gall,” someone sent Steve a little vial of unmitigated gall and it broke him up spectacularly.
Newt Gingrich does not lack unmitigated gall. He’ll announce tomorrow that he’s running for president. That alone qualifies him for the Steve Allen line, considering how he torpedoed his own party by overreaching in the Clinton impeachment.
But the fabulous thing, the Orwellian thing, is how he’s handling the inconvenient little spill of hypocrisy that’s staining his nice white shirt — the affair he was having while he was going after Clinton for having an affair.
That affair resulted in another marriage to his current wife Callista, 22 years his junior. As Newt sails into the primary season dancing with the family values conservatives in his party, here’s how Callista’s chief of staff refers to their union, according to today’s New York Times: “Ms. (Karen) Olson summed up their history in what might just become a campaign catchphrase. ‘They’re a great couple,’ she said, ‘that had a nontraditional start.'”
A nontraditional start. Fantastic.
Bill had a nontraditional meeting with Monica. John Wayne Gacy had a nontraditional relationship with boys.
I’m not criticizing Newt for affairs — I’ve had ’em. I’m not criticizing him for multiple marriages. I’ve had ’em. I’m not even criticizing him for hypocrisy — I’ve been there myself, too many times. But spectacular, Hall of Fame hypocrisy — of all the unmitigated gall.
I’ve always called Newt “Newt the Poot,” since he started his career giving endless blowhard speeches on Special Orders in the House — Special Orders meaning the remarks were deep in the night to an empty chamber and the camera was forbidden to pan the room to show that the speakers were gassing only to themselves and their overweening sense of self.
Good luck at that president thing, Newt. You take yourself so seriously none of the rest of us have to.
— Bruce Benidt