"Because stupid people are ruining America ..." answered Herman Cain last week to a reporter's question about, well, to be honest, it doesn't really matter what the question concerned, as his answer appears to say it all as far as leading GOP candidates care.
And now the revolving door on the passenger side of the official clown car has again rotated to reveal (self-implied) Genius Gingrich, who replaces Crafty Cain, who replaced Perplexing Perry, who replaced Brainless Bachmann, who replaced non-Triumphant Trump and so on and so on.
Like Bristol Palin leading an abstinence crusade, Newt is helping redefine the meaning of that ever-popular political term: hyperbolic hypocrisy.
The man had not one, not two but 84(!) ethics charges filed against him during his time in Congress, yet he continues to condemn any and all who are ever caught crossing a similar line (as long as they are not members of the Republican Party).
Not exactly a paragon of intelligence.
In what was perhaps foreshadowing of what I call a Palinoscopy, he resigned the day after being re-elected in 1998 upon coming to grips with the fact that he was going to be replaced as speaker of the House due to his unethical, and downright bizarre, behavior.
Not exactly the brightest of moves.
He attacked Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and President Obama for their respective involvement with Freddie and Fannie Mac, all while he was busy cashing checks from Freddie for more than $1.5 million.
Too dense to realize people would notice?
He attacked President Obama for his health care plan, while the very foundation he founded (Center for Health Transformation) was taking more than $37 million (since 2003) from industry leaders to help construct, among other things, a health care plan involving "individual mandates," which he now rails against incessantly.
Just last June, most of his senior staff quit because of his incompetence at running a campaign and his fumbling attempts to explain away his Tiffany expense account.
The man talks out of both sides of his mouth concerning climate change and even did so - on camera - side by side with then gal pal Nancy Pelosi.
Look, being immoral or unethical is (usually) not against the law, and neither is making and spending money legally as a former congressman, but acting exactly like those he claims to be intellectually superior to, he is not only guilty of hypocrisy but of being an arrogant end of a cactus needle, as well.
And then, of course, there are the wives.
As a freshman in college, he married wife No. 1, his former high school geometry teacher.
Pardon me for sounding prudish, but that ain't right.
After having an affair, and the much ballyhooed hospital visit (wife No. 1 was recovering from the removal of a benign tumor, and in spite of their then 13-year-old daughter's latest recollection, has never publicly changed her story about Newt surprising her by discussing divorce terms during the visit), he married the affair-ee (wife No. 2), whom he proceeded to cheat on while leading the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton for playing hide-the-cigar with Mizzzz Lewinsky. The cheat-ee became wife No. 3 and, at least for now, continues to be so.
Time to hit the "stupid" button once again.
Listen, the best forecast for future behavior is past behavior, and if a person will cheat on their spouse, there's a good chance they'll cheat on you and me. Whatever "family values" this guy's selling, I don't want any.
Newt Gingrich is simply the fat kid at smart camp, not the other way around.
With Romney now starting to crack around his well-coiffed edges, Jon Huntsman is looking better and better. It's going to take actual intelligence to defeat Obama, and that's the entire point of all this, right?
Richard Carnes of Edwards writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.