I didn’t watch the debate last night, but I gather that this fell flat for Mitt Romney:
Asked where he and Gingrich differed, Romney said, “We could start with his idea to have a lunar colony that would mine minerals from the moon. I’m not in favor of spending that kind of money to do that.”
… On moon mining, Gingrich doubled down — “I’m happy to defend the idea that America should be in space and should be there in an aggressive, entrepreneurial way” …
Amazing — Gingrich not only defended this, he wrapped it in the last refuge of a wingnut scoundrel, entrepreneurialism.
But that’s the thing about people like him: if you have that particular combination of screws loose, yes, you’re going to make manic, half-schizophrenic pronouncements about space colonization and the like, but you’re also going to have the cornered-rat instinct to jujitsu any direct attack on such pronouncements, so the attacker is the only one who winds up flat out on the mat. What I’m saying is that, with Gingrich’s particular brand of crazy, it’s futile to go at him head-on.
Far better to lull him into making even crazier pronouncements on the spot. Try doing it like this:
Romney: “We’ve suffered greatly in the three years of the Obama administration, and, well, it would be nice if we could just go into a time machine and turn back the clock to a moment before all that damage was done. Unfortunately, going back in time is just impossible — right, Newt? It’s really a shame that we can’t reverse all this damage with a time machine — isn’t it, Newt?”
Gingrich: “Well, in fact, Mitt, there’s been some extraordinary work done on time travel at a laboratory in Belarus, and it’s my belief that the United States would benefit tremendously from a massive program of research not only into time travel, but also into related possibilities, including astral projection….”
Now you’ve got him going.
Newt’s going to ambush you (his attack last night on Romney as a would-be career politician who just couldn’t manage to build a lengthy career was, I see, quite effective), and Newt’s primed to rebuff most direct attacks (though attacking him for supporting child labor, as I see Romney did, is a waste of time, because the stance is one of punishing the weak, which means it naturally appeals to the right). In short, I’d say you can’t actually defeat Gingrich — you have to find a way to get him to defeat himself. Which really shouldn’t be all that hard.
(X-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.)