Yossi Sarid
Haaretz (Opinion)
January 27, 2012 - 1:00am

Newt Gingrich won in South Carolina and that's good, very good. What's so good about the victory of an egomaniac who has compared himself to Churchill, de Gaulle and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? It's good because it's bad for the Republican Party, which is drunk not on wine but on tea. That's how the wild party will continue until the summer, and they'll all swallow each other alive.

They will reach the end of the race for Republican presidential candidate bruised and battered, increasing U.S. President Barack Obama's chances of being reelected by the skin of his teeth. In spite of all the disappointment with him, he behaves like a normal and well-meaning human being, and that's no small thing nowadays - both in the United States and here. Another term in office - without the fear of big donors and AIPAC - may repair what has been broken.

From here, we will wish Gingrich good luck on his future path, where every patch of greenery he touches turns yellow. This is the man who has a reputation for making a fool of himself. This is the man who was thrown out of Congress in disgrace - the House Ethics Committee handled dozens of complaints filed against him when he was chairman, and fined him hundreds of thousands of dollars for "irresponsible use" of public funds.

He was the one who pushed for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton because of Monica, while he himself was having a secret affair with his platinum-blonde assistant, Callista. He informed his first wife that he was divorcing her while she was still bedridden with an illness, and to his second he suggested an "open marriage," according to her testimony. Sara Netanyahu would not be pleased with such behavior.

I have absolutely nothing against a womanizer. So why do I feel like vomiting when he of all people preaches the sanctity of the family and family values? The nausea increases when he publicly displays the indulgence he receives from his new church; Gingrich is now a devout Catholic. And the observer will wonder, how is such a historic and important party running such dubious candidates, who are infuriated by welfare and bought by wealth?

With all his character traits and views, Gingrich is the natural candidate of the "International Likud," as we learned in a conversation with journalist Yaron Dekel. Don't we finally deserve to have a president after our own heart, who considers the Palestinians an invented people, brings down the Iranian government with one shot, transfers the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, frees Jonathan Pollard and crushes the elites and the media?

Although Netanyahu is not interfering, we know whom he really likes - anyone but Obama. That's all he requires. The freebie daily newspaper Israel Hayom also wants Gingrich, because that's what the boss wants. The paper's patron, Sheldon Adelson, had good reason for contributing $10 million and rescuing his friend at the last moment. Our Sheldon knows how to gamble, that's his profession. Didn't he bet on Bibi Netanyahu and win? Didn't we lose?

I'm also tempted to gamble, but without chips. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is not a great bargain, but he still has a chance despite his unctuousness and evasiveness - only this week did he deign to reveal his absurd tax payments, as well as his Swiss bank account. But he is still the preferred candidate of the Republican establishment, major donors and independent voters. He, rather than the hypocritical Gingrich, whom Obama will make mincemeat of.

And that's how the experts on the United States - Netanyahu and his gang of advisers - have entangled us in a situation of almost certain defeat or, as they say in the Prime Minister's Office in an American accent, a lose-lose situation.

We'll have to be careful of Obama, who is gritting his teeth to hold back his grudge, and we'll have to be careful of Romney, who won't soon forget the bloodbath prepared for him by Newt and Bibi's friends.


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