Like a garden gnome, Gingrich sits there on the lawn and allows you to imagine him the way you want. In the judicious words of John Stoehr, the editor of the New Haven Advocate and a lecturer at Yale, “tirades on the poor work habits of poor children, the immorality of food stamps and the evils of the media” are the sorts of grand political wisdoms that Gingrich has to offer to this presidential election.
“Yet even in the South,” John Stoehr adds, “this land of racism and religiosity, there’s only so far a guy like Gingrich can go using the rhetoric of tribalism. Eventually, a serious candidate for president must stop saying what he is not and start saying what he is, and, in doing so, he must clearly outline what he will do to address the basic human needs that we all have, whether we’re racist or not.”
On that score, it is not just Gingrich that fails, but the entire political culture that has given birth to him and that he best represents - Republican or Democrat. Stoehr says: “A zero-sum game has been the foundation of his [Gingrich’s] career. Only when someone loses does he win. In short, Gingrich has no core. His self is truly a self that comes through the eyes of others. While Du Bois believed African-Americans’ “two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings” would metamorphose into a proud new American humanity, Gingrich’s two souls and two thoughts don’t synthesise, so much as self-destruct.” It is precisely that self-destruction that today defines US politics, precisely in the opposite direction of Du Bois’ noble dreams and aspirations.