Newt Gingrich -- he of limitless intellectual self-regard -- likes hyperbole the way others like respiration.
On Nov. 21, Newt Gingrich, who is leading the race for the Republican presidential nomination in some polls, attacked the Congressional Budget Office. In a speech in New Hampshire, Mr. Gingrich said the C.B.O. “is a reactionary socialist institution which does not believe in economic growth, does not believe in innovation and does not believe in data that it has not internally generated.”
Mr. Gingrich’s charge is complete nonsense. The former C.B.O. director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, now a Republican policy adviser, labeled the description “ludicrous.” Most policy analysts from both sides of the aisle would say the C.B.O. is one of the very few analytical institutions left in government that one can trust implicitly.
...In 2005, he wrote an op-ed article in The Washington Times berating the C.B.O., then under the direction of Mr. Holtz-Eakin, saying it had improperly scored some Gingrich-backed proposals. At a debate on Nov. 5, Mr. Gingrich said, “If you are serious about real health reform, you must abolish the Congressional Budget Office because it lies.”
This is typical of Mr. Gingrich’s modus operandi. He has always considered himself to be the smartest guy in the room and long chaffed at being corrected by experts when he cooked up some new plan, over which he may have expended 30 seconds of thought, to completely upend and remake the health, tax or education systems.
He also likes to speak in threes. And he loves the words "fundamental" and "transformative." And the phrase "single most important..." In his view, any declaration that pops out of his face is, ipso facto, the smartest thing anyone has ever said about whatever the subject might be.
I'll give him this: he's quick on his feet and a good debater, as long as you don't consider truth to be part of the scoring. Given the public's short attention span and lack of interest in facts, and given their evident unconcern for Newt's prior exit from Congress in disgrace, it's gonna be an interesting political season, now that he appears to be the last not-Mitt standing.
"One of the real changes that comes when you start running for President -- as opposed to being an analyst on Fox -- is I have to actually know what I'm talking about," he said. The woman let out a startled laugh, and the audience joined in. "It's a severe limitation," Gingrich added.]