Newt Gingrich: Friend to Man and Beast

Newt Gingrich with a binturong bearcat in 1995. (Joe Marquette/AP)

I’ll be the first to admit it. I can be a cynical person. I am often disparaging and sarcastic, mocking any target that seems to be asking for it. This list has in the past included people from every walk of life. One of the main marks of my razor-sharp wit has been a group that has disillusioned many (including myself) and has done its best to smack the childlike wonder out of the eyes of anyone who is still clinging to a life of positivity and optimism.

I have done my fair share of mocking our government officials.

There are quite a few reasons why. There is the massive amount of time spent on “useful” bills that have done things as valuable as edit sexual content out of “Romeo and Juliet” or guaranteeing that no one will sell a duckling that is dyed blue in the state of Kentucky, at least if there aren’t six for sale. There is the use of taxpayer money for stupid things such as building a soccer field at Guantanamo Bay. There is the general lack of likeability that any politician seems to possess.

As the presidential primaries heated up this year, I found a new lightning rod for my government dislike. Actually, I found several lightning rods. It seemed that I was very prepared for any sort of lightning storm that might approach.

The biggest recipient of my taunting, though, was none other than former speaker of the house, Mr. Newt “Giant Head’ Gingrich. He had it all. He said crazy things about putting a colony on the moon that were so ridiculous, they seemed to be a parody of themselves. He was proven to be immensely unlikable, divorcing two wives while they were battling serious illnesses. He looked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from “Ghostbusters.”

In short, there was a bottomless supply of taunting that Newt brought to the table. He seemed to perfectly capture every criticism I had about government in a nice package. Every time he opened his mouth, he might as well have started the sentence with, “Nathan, look what I’m about to do!”

Then, just when I thought that Gingrich had caused my cynicism to reach dangerous levels, he did a full 180. I opened up my news this morning to find this from Yahoo! News:


Newt Gingrich bitten by penguin at zoo, a place where he loves to go

By Dylan Stableford | The Sideshow 

Newt Gingrich was bitten by a penguin at the Saint Louis Zoo on Friday during a private tour, zoo officials said.

The candidate was on the tour before giving a speech to the National Rifle Association convention when “he was nipped on the finger” by a Magellanic penguin, Susan Gallagher, the zoo’s public relations director, told Reuters on Monday. A Band-Aid, she added, “took care of the injury.”

Gingrich has made frequent zoo visits a part of his presidential campaign, and he even wrote the foreword to 2008’s “America’s Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans & Families.” He’s the GOP’s Jack Hanna, if you will.

In 1995, then-House Speaker Gingrich was bitten on the chin by a baby cougar following a Capitol Hill news conference, drawing a spot of blood.

“Newt is a zoo fan,” Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond said. “He will be back.”


Newt wasn’t a crazed madman. He, in fact, is a person who loves zoos. Only a person who does, in fact, have a soul would love to witness the wonder that is nature, even if he has to see it stuck in cages.

More importantly, many of my criticisms now seemed unfair. Sure, he abandoned two wives. He, however, did not abandon zoos, even after a cougar bit him in the face and a vicious penguin attacked, forcing him to use a Band-Aid. Newt did have loyalty. He is a person just like me and you, although significantly more bloated and with more of a delusion that he will be president.

In fact, I began to wonder if I had been wrong about all politicians. Was Joe Biden not really completely insane? Was Sarah Palin actually unbelievably knowledgeable about all things, even if it didn’t involve Alaska or hunting? Was the entire Congress not really wasting time, but actually taking their time to make sure that the bills they passed were really what was best for America?

Instantly, I felt my childlike wonder return. I felt a smile creep over my face like Newt Gingrich would have at the very sight of a baby Koala feeding. The world wasn’t all bad. There was no reason to be cynical about everything in the government at all. Oh, happy day!

I wanted to find Newt and give him the biggest bear hug he had ever seen and thank him. He had done it. With one single action, he had returned at least a shred of my hopefulness for the world. How can our country really be doomed if we have gentle animal lovers like Newt looking out for us.

Of course, the next article was about Kim Kardashian wanting to run for mayor of Glendale, California. And, odds are, she would win.

If that doesn’t crush any optimism you have left for this country, I don’t know what will.

16 thoughts on “Newt Gingrich: Friend to Man and Beast

  1. Am I the only one amused by the fact that he went to the zoo (metaphor for going crazy) right before giving a speech to the NRA (guns, hunting, general death to animals) and a penguin bit him? Perhaps the penguin is an advocate of gun control. I think what we’re missing here is that Gingrich might like animals, but animals do NOT like Gingrich. Hmmm?


    • You are not the only one amused by that. Personally, there is absolutely no part of this story that doesn’t amuse me. Newt being bitten by a penguin? Hilarious. Newt being bitten by a cougar? Hilarious. Newt in general? Hilarious.

      Probably one of my favorite news stories of the year.


  2. Pingback: The Occupational Hazard of Blowing Smoke for a Living | The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

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