Newt Gingrich says the darndest things

The media loves to quote Newt Gingrich, because for every few insightful things he says, he always says something really, really off-planet.

Take his recent Q&A with Christianity Today magazine, for example. The former Speaker of the House responded to most of the questions with reasoned answers, but when asked about Sarah Palin, this was Professor Gingrich’s reply:

Sarah Palin has an obvious role if she wants it. The question for her has to be, are she and her family willing to go through another couple of years of the kind of media coverage that they currently get? Is she willing to do the kind of development of national issues and development of a national profile that would be required? She is a celebrity in her own right. She is probably the most successful figure in the party right now, and she’s a formidable figure. I think to go from there to becoming a national leader would take a significant amount of work.

Now I don’t disagree with him that Gov. Palin still has some work to do to become a national leader. And Prof. Gingrich is still eying a presidential run, so it follows that he wouldn’t want to give too much help to his primary competition. But when asked if he saw any women emerging for the GOP leadership, his answer showed that the former bomb thrower can turn from reality to fantasy on a dime:

I would start, frankly, with Linda Lingle in Hawaii, who was a terrific governor who got re-elected in very difficult circumstances. You have Kay Bailey Hutchinson running for the governorship of Texas. If she wins that, she will automatically be a national figure because she’ll be the governor of the second largest state.

Um, excuse me, Professor, but Linda Lingle? Sure, she’s a successful Republican governor of a blue state, and she gave a good speech at the RNC convention in support of Gov. Palin’s nomination as the GOP vice presidential candidate. Moreover, Lingle’s admiration for her fellow governor seems entirely genuine. But this is the very first time I’ve heard any talk about Hawaii’s governor as a major rising star within the party.

And Kay Bailey Hutchinson? Don’t even get me started. I will say that I find it curious that the two women Newt Gingrich names as potential Republican leaders are both pro-abortion. And he does this in the wake of his recent conversion to the Catholic faith. Dr. Strange, indeed…

– JP