QFTD: Bob Dole hearts Newt Gingrich edition.
Newt Gingrich: why do people take such an instant dislike to me?
Bob Dole: because it saves them time.
Andrew Sullivan labels this exchange “a quote too good to check.” Mark Shields refers to the exchange as “apocryphal.” I’d say, rather, that the short conversation excerpted above conveys a deeper truth that transcends such crude and unhelpful categories as “factuality” or “historicity.” Asking whether Bob Dole “really said that” is akin to putting a conch shell to a child’s ear and answering “no” when he asks you if that’s really the ocean he is hearing. Of course that’s the ocean the child hears, and of of course Bob Dole actually said that. How do I know? Because it couldn’t possibly have been otherwise.
Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich is on TV reminding us why it is we despise him so. Speaking to This Week host Jake Tapper on Sunday, the man who insisted that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae paid him 1.6 million dollars to act, not as a lobbyist for the mortgage giants, but as a historian, explained his poor debate performance on the most recent Florida GOP debate by noting:
“I don’t know how you can debate someone with civility if they’re prepared to say things that are factually false.”
There’s nothing so unseemely as a bully who’s finally been beaten up by a foe who chose to fight back, licking his wounds and complaining how unfair it was to be matched against an opponent who didn’t “fight fair.”