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article imageOp-Ed: Gingrich promises the Moon; Obama promises jobs

By Alexander Baron     Jan 26, 2012 in Politics
Addressing the faithful at a rally, Newt Gingrich promised a permanent base on the Moon by 2020. Barack Obama's promises are both more modest and far more credible.
Remember that old cowboy film where the Injun stares at his protagonist suspiciously and says: “White Man speak with forked tongue”. One would suspect that when he made this promise, Gingrich had his tongue firmly in his cheek, but watch the video, then answer the rhetorical question: does he?
How seriously should Americans take a man who can make a claim like this? To keep that promise he would have to serve two terms, and he made it clear that he was alluding to his second term. Although Obama has been a disappointment to many people, he never promised the Earth, much less the Moon, and if he hasn't kept all his promises, it hasn't been for want of trying. His killing of Bin Laden and more importantly his scaling down of American involvement in Iraq are real achievements, whatever one thinks of the morality of the former.
How realistic is such a promise by Gingrich? Ask his ex-wife. Both of them! This is a man who traded in his wife for a younger model twice. On the other hand, Obama's marriage is rock solid. If nothing else, that should ensure that women prefer him to Newt, and although Obama won't allude directly to this contrast, you can bet his speech writers will make some sort of veiled reference to it if and when the two men go head to head.
While it would be theoretically possible for America to put a permanent base on the Moon in a mere eight years, the cost would be staggering. A war with Iran is likely to cost a lot less - in purely fiscal terms - but whatever the long term cost, it is far more likely that he would start such a war or some sort of military action in the Gulf than follow in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong.
Like at least one senior American judge, Newt's Republican rival Ron Paul has proposed ending the drug war and legalising the stuff. Gingrich takes the opposite view, totally. In 1997, he proposed the death penalty for possessing more than a certain quantity of marijuana.
Obama's recent State of the Union address appears to have gone down reasonably well with the broader public, particularly his remarks about the economy; it remains to be seen what the American public will think of Gingrich when they have had time to digest this latest arrant nonsense, but if the above isn't enough to dissuade them from making this suicidal choice later this year, then they will probably deserve everything they get.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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