Newt Gingrich sells himself as the smart guy in the room. He can come off as arrogant and condescending, he often talks down to interviewers (think John King) and audiences, and he comes up with hair brained schemes that probably makes Dr. Evil a little bit envious (moon colony anyone?). This works for Newt Gingrich. It is not a put on., it is real. For all the bad things you can about Gingrich, you can’t say he isn’t pompous and sanctimonious. And despite the numerous people who have a visceral reaction to Gingrich’s personality, so far it has brought his campaign (and career) success. However, something has changed. Gingrich has started smiling, and it is creeping me out.
I have watched god knows how many interviews of Newt Gingrich. On Fox, on MSNBC (goddam liberals), on CNN, on the Internet, wherever, and the one constant is Gingrich’s scowl. It is practically his trademark. It shows he is serious, it shows his critiques of society are serious, it shows that Obama really is the worst President America has ever had, it shows how determined Gingrich is to stem the liberal/godless tide. It adds gravitas. But recently Gingrich has started toning down his scowl and even occasionally breaking into a very forced smile. Especially during interviews might scowl while (seriously) answering the question, but he will then quickly break into a forced smile while waiting for the next one. It hurts. I am not sure what bright spark strategist or pollster came up with this idea, but Gingrich is not someone who should be smiling. He is showing too much teeth. It is fake, it is creepy, and it slightly makes him look like a vampire.
I understand that there are many people out there who completely ignore the issues and just vote for someone that they would like to have a beer with, and Gingrich is probably afraid of ostracizing them with his intellectual grandstanding, but these are not Gingrich’s people. Gingrich is the ideas man, the slightly less evil version of Karl Rove. He should stick to his guns and stop courting those that don’t care. If he doesn’t, he runs the risk of creeping out those that do want to listen to his ideas, and those are the people who have gotten him this far. For gods sake, someone get Gingrich to stop smiling.