Professor of government John Pitney Jr. imagines the unlikelier of coming presidential debates -- those between the incumbent and Newt Gingrich -- and predicts that while "Obama might botch a name here or a fact there," the former Speaker would make "radioactive comments" alienating to all but the most ardent right winger:
The more time he gets to talk, the more likely he is to say something outrageous. Throughout his career, his speeches and extended interviews have been spawning grounds for odd or even grotesque Gingrichisms.
It's a pity these Obama-Gingrich showdowns of a high-noon farce -- one can, as well, imagine the numerous holes that Gingrich would blast in his foot -- will never materialize. If the faking Dudley-Do-Righting Mitt Romney doesn't put the Black Bart of Georgia away in Florida next week, then the dry gulch of February will; its intervening drought of non-debating dullness will bequeath Gingrich only the useless and arid wind.
But here's the unlikeliest of presidential debates that I'd like to see: an Obama-Gingrich-Romney showdown. Now that's the ticket.
Throughout the GOP's gang warfare of a primary season, Obama, whenever asked which of these dueling hooligans he expects to take on, has answered quite sensibly that it makes no difference. A Gingrich is indistinguishable from a Romney, and a Romney is as extremist as a Gingrich, (Santorum, I think we can all agree, is merely gunning for the VP selection). Obama's plan of counterattack awaits only for the name of the last man standing to be filled in -- for there is absolutely no guessing about the bloodied survivor's sick, reality-twisting, diabolically underhanded bushwhackings to come.
And there ain't no doubt in my Western-justice, Hollywood-nostalgic mind that the cool, white-hatted, imperturbably righteous Will Kane could plug two Frank Millers as thoroughly as one. Why, one of the Millers might even plug the other on stage in a desperate, double-crossing struggle to out-fanaticize his equally ornery hombre.
I am of course just daydreaming. Such things aren't done; presidents don't fight down or invite gang-tackles like that, and the divided opposition never unites until it has drunk-punched itself into a staggering, bloodied stupor. But the farce of both Romney and Gingrich trying to out-right-wing each other -- revealing, in the horrifying process, that there really is no de facto difference between them -- in the face of Obama's center-left Reason would decisively hammer an early nail in the formers' inevitable coffins.