In Iowa, Newt Gingrich teared up while talking about his mother.

Before a bit of commentary, here’s the video:

Gingrich was talking about his mother, so he’ll probably get a pass. Telling that story about his mother while maintaining a Norman Bates-ish demeanor would have been creepy and cold, so if anything it helped humanize Newt and connect him with his audience.

In the bigger picture, when it comes to our elected leaders crying — especially in the office of president or those who seek it — people tend to be skeptical. Why? Because political tears are like female orgasms: properly motivated participants can be convincingly fake them. Bill Clinton is the first that comes to mind. Clinton got fake-misty quite often and was still politically successful. A TV camera does to Bill Clinton what chopping onions does to the rest of us. Clinton can turn on an emotional dime, vacillating between tears and laughter with such ease that he must have trained himself to do so by simultaneously yanking out nose hairs while watching Three Stooges movies.

Hillary Clinton once teared up on the campaign trail in 2008, but that didn’t cost her the nomination. George W. Bush cried — so did his father. John Boehner’s legendary for crying. Political weeping has a long and distinguished history. I’ve even heard that William Howard Taft once cried for three days after the White House chef informed him that they were out of lobster Newburg.

Not all politicians, however, can pull off tears and survive. Back in 1972, it was alleged that Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie wept on the steps of the Union Leader newspaper in Manchester, N.H., while defending his wife, whom that paper editorialized as “emotionally unstable.” Word of Muskie’s cry ruined his presidential hopes.

As for Gingrich’s tears, they will neither harm nor help him. He’s been trending downward in Iowa and this probably won’t change things.

Comments

7 Responses to “To Weep or Not to Weep”

  1. backwoodsconsr on December 31st, 2011 4:33 pm

    I don't care who else cries, as long as Obama cries in November.

  2. SignPainterGuy on December 31st, 2011 5:18 pm

    Ditto !!

    And not no dadbern `gator tears either; I wanna see rivers; I wanna hear bawlin` !

  3. SignPainterGuy on December 31st, 2011 5:20 pm

    HAPPY NEW YEAR Doug and everyone here at TPTB !

    It has been a great year here if not out in the "real" world !

  4. backwoodsconsr on December 31st, 2011 5:54 pm

    I want to hear the sound of The Ego getting deflated.

  5. Marshall_Will on December 31st, 2011 6:43 pm

    Whooooosh! Speaking of getting the nod to *attack* Teh Once's All Prog All-The-Time @sshat Bounce House, machete in hand in a drunken fit of rage?

    In the words of my Company Commander…. Oblique… RIGHT!

    Marching Orders 2012: Free Fire Zone, Civility Safety OFF Attack all AttackWatch Prog scum on SIGHT! E'f dead in they 'S'. Enjoy your LAST 3-day weekend off ( FOUR-day for gubmint ) prog scum. The gloves come off in 48 hours. I suggest you spend them wisely. Perhaps a little The Hangover II tranny-boy action cuzz' it'll be the last you're going to get? I promise I won't tell a soul ( it's not like I'm a Conservative Blogger or anything? )

  6. SignPainterGuy on December 31st, 2011 8:26 pm

    You just know it would sound like a giant whoopie cushion ! ;-)

  7. Jimbo on January 1st, 2012 3:00 am

    God, I love Taft. I am now distantly related to him by marriage and I love bringing it up in conversation.

    Of course Gin-grinch is going to blubber at the ovulatorium for women voters. He expertly tailors his behavior for any event. No suprise that he could cry on a dime. Conversely, his mother cries when his life is mentioned too.

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