Category Archives: National

FOPs for Newt

I am hereby founding a new political group called FOPs for Newt. The acronym stands for Fat Old Philanderers. Believe me, I am well-qualified to be a member of this group: I have weighed north of 250 pounds for most of my adult life, I am now over 60 years old, and about the philandering, well the less said about that the better, but let’s just say I would not be qualified to cast the first stone.

I am speaking out now because I feel that there is a lot of subtle and (not so subtle) prejudice against Newt because of these three traits that he shares with so many of his would-be constituents. Let’s take these one at a time:

Fat: I don’t exactly know how much Newt weighs but I’m pretty sure it is less than Pres. William Taft who reportedly tipped the scales at over 300 pounds. Does anyone seriously think that in this age of televised political beauty contests, that a fat man (even Chris Christie) could ever again be elected President?

If you read any of the comments posted online after any article about Newt it won’t be very long before the words “fat slob” are flung as if that ended the debate. As a fat slob myself I highly resent that.

As Henry Miller pointed out years ago, fat men may be fat in body but they are usually anything but fat heads. As he observed in his novel Sexus (don’t even go there!), “Fat men were often most dynamic, most engaging, most charming and seductive. Their laziness and slovenliness were deceptive. In the brain they often carried a diamond.”

Any fair observer of this year’s Republican debates must have come to the same conclusion. Newt mind has run circles around the competition! Do we want a truly smart president or simply one who can look pretty reading a teleprompter?Don’t answer that!

Age: At Age 68, Newt is getting toward the far end of the traditional Presidential range. Of course Ron Paul is 75, but nobody (not even Ron Paul) really believes that he can be elected.

On the other hand, if elected, Newt would be a few months younger than Ronald Reagan was when he won his first term and he didn’t do too badly! It’s also important to remember that improvements in health have extended the lifespan of almost all Americans, so that 70 is looking more and more like the new 60 or less! (BTW over our long history the median age for a first term President at election is about 55. You could look it up!)

As Newt could say in any debate with Pres. Obama, “I’m not going to make an issue of my opponent’s youth and inexperience!”

Philandering: This is a tough one, but I have to say that it is not even clear that Newt meets the strict definition here. According to the free online dictionary,” A Philanderer is one who carries on a sexual affair, especially an extramarital affair, with a woman one cannot or does not intend to marry.” (emphasis added).

According to everything that has been reported, Newt did carry on affairs during his first two marriages, but he ended up marrying both of the women! This is not so much philandering as it is premature serial monogamy.

OK, I admit adulterers are never going to win that argument, but if adultery were a disqualification for high office, our nation would have been much the poorer for it. It is not necessary to pick on recent Democrats by recounting the sleazy sexual habits of President Bill “Alley Cat” Clinton or John “The Fornicator” Kennedy.

We can go all the way back to our Founding Fathers and discover that Ben Franklin and Alexander Hamilton (and maybe even Thomas Jefferson) were not immune from such foibles and they all got their pictures on our currency!

Although, fortunately the press in prior times was more circumspect, it is pretty much accepted that such otherwise great Presidents as FDR and Dwight Eisenhower strayed from the marital bed, although at least Ike had the excuse that there was a war on.

And as for divorce, I thought we laid that one to rest when we elected the Gipper! Case closed!

So, in conclusion, if you don’t like Newt’s ideas or policies then don’t vote for him. But if all you can bring to the conversation is stupid prejudice and a holier then thou attitude than please spare us the hypocrisy!

The FOPs for Newt is not authorized or paid for by any political committee, although I would be happy to accept donations!

Hudson River Schoolin’

I took a day off from watching the soil dry to take a tour of the historic Hudson Valley Tuesday. I was assigned to northern Duchess County as part of the “Ballot Security” legal team for Assembly Minority leader Jim Tedisco’s attempt to take back what should be a rock-ribbed Republican congressional district in a Special Election.

After counting over 150,000 votes Tuesday night, the margin between the candidates was only 65 votes with as many as 10,000 absentee, military and provisional ballots yet to be counted, so this one is truly too close to call! In such a close race, it would be nice to feel that I had an impact, but the truth is I had absolutely none.

Our job was to drive around to about 20 polling places and show the Republican flag, but there was really no concern of voter fraud in any of these districts. They were for the most part rural and small town areas much like Livingston County with a few of the tonier suburbs of Poughkeepsie thrown in. Towns like Redhook, Rhineback and Hyde Park comprise the southern tip of the sprawling 20th Congressional seat formerly occupied by our new Senator Kirstin Gillibrand

This district overall is reported to be the most Republican by registration in the state, so hopes were high for a Republican victory. Northern Duchess County sure looked like Republican territory to me, so I was shocked when the results showed that the Democrat had won the portions of the county that are in the 20th by over 1,000 votes! Of course that does include wildly liberal Bard College!

Politics aside, it was a beautiful sunny day and the landscape around the Hudson River was breathtaking. Despite development pressure from people fleeing NYC after 9/11, local planners and conservancies have done a good job preserving open space and the historic ambiance of the area.

Since we were really not needed at the polls, (other than to provide comic relief for bored poll watchers), my NYC lawyer partner and I took time off to walk around the grounds of the FDR estate in Hyde Park. Although not as big or impressive (or even as well-maintained) as certain homes in Geneseo, it does explain why many people felt that Roosevelt was a “traitor to his class.” He obviously led a very sheltered life growing up surrounded by servants in this elegant country retreat.

We listened in as a National Park Service tour guide recounted how the national media of that day had conspired to keep FDR’s polio-caused paralysis out of the press because “they liked his policies.” Without a hint of irony, he assured the listeners that such a thing could never happen today! Right!

As a rock-ribbed Republican myself, I would like to be optimistic over the party’s future. The sad truth, however, is that if we can not run away with the most Republican district in the state under a Socialist President and a corrupt Democrat Congress, then it may be time to put us in a museum as well!