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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Sokolove’

ESSAY | Politiska nördar kände säkert till Newt Gingrich redan innan starten av republikanernas valkampanj. Samma kan nog inte sägas om Rick Santorum.

Så för alla som gillar att dyka ner i tidningsarkiven kommer här två långa personporträtt publicerade 2005 respektive 2009 i The New York Times Magazine.

Båda håller än idag för en genomläsning. Och när man läst dem får man en betydligt mer nyanserad bild av personerna än om man bara följer dagsnyheterna. (För att inte tala om man följer amerikansk politik via svenska medier.)

Michael Sokolove skrev 2005 i The New York Times Magazine:

Santorum has never entirely shed his image as someone not quite fit for polite political company — he is the senator as hyperactive political pugilist, quick to engage in combat, slow to yield the floor, a little too eager to crush opponents. His instinct runs more toward total victory than to meeting somewhere in the middle. He has become important, a man for the political times, partly because he understands the Senate’s courtly veneer as just that — a fiction. He likes to fight from the extremes and disdains political moderation as wishy-washiness. He respects Democrats like Representative Henry Waxman of California; Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin; and the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota — determined, passionate liberals. ”They’re out there because they really believe this,” he said. ”This is from their core. They’re true believers, God bless them. That’s what political discourse is all about. You bring in your moral code, or worldview, and I bring in mine.”

[…]

Some of Santorum’s supporters, however, say they believe that his faith leads him into terrain that has been abandoned by other social conservatives. David Kuo, the former deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, says he has come to believe that, on social issues, the hard right of the Republican party is concerned too much with behavior, primarily abortion and homosexuality, and too little with poverty. He considered Santorum the exception. ”He was a singular voice in Republican leadership fighting for antipoverty legislation,” Kuo said. ”He kept pushing it. I was in meetings when people would start rolling their eyes when he started talking about it. It is very much at odds with the public perception of him. He fought behind the scenes where nobody could see it. His compassion is genuine.”

Om Newt Gingrich skrev Matt Bai i The New York Times (2009) följande:

“He’s a total idea factory,” [Paul] Ryan said. “The man will have 10 ideas in an hour. Six of them will be brilliant, two of them are in the stratosphere and two of them I’ll just flat-out disagree with. And then you’ll get 10 more ideas in the next hour.”

A lot of these e-mail messages are deeply wonkish, written in single-sentence paragraphs without punctuation or capital letters. It’s almost as if you can see Gingrich twittering away at a Starbucks while doing calculations on a wrinkled napkin.

[…]

Gingrich is a historian and a futurist; he’s comfortable looking backward or ahead, but he doesn’t actually do all that well with the present. Possessed of a chaotic mind that moves from one obsession to the next, Gingrich flailed from objective to objective, while his missteps came to dominate the news.

[…]

This has long been the chief criticism of Gingrich among those who share his ideological convictions — that there is a randomness to his brilliance, a lack of prioritization or discipline. Gingrich may be an “idea factory,” as Paul Ryan puts it, but it sometimes seems like a factory working on triple shifts without a floor manager or anyone keeping the books. Even Gingrich’s modestly bulging waistline, which expands and contracts on some kind of lunar schedule to which only fellow Republicans seem especially attuned, is mentioned as evidence that Gingrich can’t focus on any one objective for very long.

Läs mer: Artiklarna och tidskriftsomslagen är från The New York Times Magazine den 22 maj 2005 respektive den 1 mars 2009.

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