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Gingrich Flashback: 'Progressive' FDR Was 'Greatest President of the 20th Century' (Plus - SEIU's Andy Stern Is Visionary Union Leader!)

Scroll down for the video -- or read this first:

I've always liked the feisty tone Newt Gingrich brings to debate.

There is a cool, analytical detachment to his brutal and effective dissection of liberal failure.

I like it. And maybe that's the problem. A Blaze correspondent suggests this:

There is an interesting research study that sheds some light on why someone like Gingrich, who is abrasive and has a history of ethical lapses, enjoys his current standing in the polls.

Research has shown that the most important factor in charisma is self-confidence. Interestingly, the confidence doesn't even have to be justified for people to consider a leader charismatic. In fact, narcissists are initially viewed as confident and charismatic leaders-although that perception eventually changes when the leader's true capabilities are revealed.

In times of conflict, people who are aggressive and emotionally cool or cold are more likely to be seen as more charismatic leaders.  Since the focus is on the person's aggressiveness, the ethics of the person is not seen as important.

Why is this? In stressful environments and times, people instinctively look for people who are more aggressive and colder emotionally to protect them and to take on enemies. In less stressful, less dynamic, and less conflict ridden environments, leaders who less aggressive and warmer emotionally are more likely to be seen as charismatic because there is less of a perceived threat and the focus isn't on defeating an enemy.  Think of George Patton. The perfect personality for war time.  The wrong personality for peacetime.

The challenge is that voters are currently focusing on one thing-How do we beat Obama?  They want a Winston Churchill, to give 'em hell, storm Washington, fight Obama on his own turf, and set things right.  This is why we believe Newt Gingrich is enjoying his current lead in the polls. He is abrasive, emotionally cold, and has a history of ethical lapses. Even though Republicans are well aware of Gingrich's past character issues, they are giving more weight his aggressiveness and relative emotional coldness because they are looking for someone to very aggressively take on Obama--Patton style.

Do you buy that?

I'm not totally convinced. There is a part of me that really wants to see Gingrich as nominee on a stage with Obama and we have 90 minutes to see what happens. Did anyone see the movie Warrior?

In the past week, we have seen a significant challenge to Newt Gingrich via questions and arguments from Glenn Beck. Full disclosure: Glenn Beck recently reaffirmed his affirmation to me that we should post on The Blaze any story we feel newsworthy despite it's implications or effect on him.

You are probably aware that Beck and Gingrich have not seen eye-to-eye over this past week.  Begin the review here.

Is Gingrich a "progressive" in any real sense? Beck would argue yes. Many parts of me would scream no.  I do know that Gingrich is likely capable to debate the next two points to great effect.

But evaluate on your own.

A video tip provides us this montage of Gingrich describing his high esteem for Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Over and over again:



Well -- you can't deny that FDR was "effective."  But -- the "greatest President of the 20th century?"  Hmm.  Get me some jelly beans while I think about that.

Still -- I can understand the historian in Gingrich trying sketch an arc of the significant figures in the American story and finding FDR quite visible in that arc.

It's not like he's praising Van Jones or Andy Stern!

Oh. Wait.

The folks over at The Huffington Post have now noted this high praise for Stern (yes - the long-time SEIU wizzard) in Gingrich's book, "Real Chance: From the World That Fails to the World That Works":

Conservatives cannot cheer unions overseas and then be blindly anti-union here at home. There are legitimate historic reasons for workers to organize together, and there is a strong need for a healthy, competitive, union, movement that helps improve the lives of its members and the competitiveness of our country.

Andy Stern, the head of the Service Employees International Union, is the union leader who probably best understands the challenge of the world market and the need to make American union members productive in the face of world competition. Sadly, he is a distinct minority among union leaders.

HuffPo did get some follow-up info:

Praise for Stern –- certainly in this current political climate -- is the type of thing that would get a Republican candidate half an hour of intense armchair psychology from Glenn Beck and other prominent conservatives. And when presented with the passage, former Gingrich aide Rick Tyler stressed that his former boss no longer agrees with those sentiments.

"He met with Andy Stern several times and Andy Stern had given Newt the impression that he was a forward-looking union leader," said Tyler. "Turns out he wasn’t."

Is Gingrich up to another "half an hour of intense armchair psychology from Glenn Beck?"  I'm betting yes.  And betting Beck is too.

Doubt that?

Watch Beck on Monday night's GBTV program - click here.

UPDATE:  Gingrich has also described himself as a "Realpolitik Wilsonian."


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