How Do You Satirize a Politician Who Is Already a Self-Parody? Like This.

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Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 27 2012 10:10 AM

Follow Friday: Gingrich Ideas

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Newt Gingrich is a man of many ideas

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Newt Gingrich and I disagree on many things, from abortion and gay marriage to taxes to whether or not “people like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz” is a reasonable characterization of his role in American life. But we share a passion for alternate history and big ideas that verge, at times, on the wacky.

I think we could rid the world of recessions by eliminating coins and paper money, shifting to an all-electronic payments system. Bland technocrats of the Romney/Obama mold will never get us there, but the guy who proposed replacing highway lighting with a system of space mirrors to reflect sunlight just might.

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Newt would seem to be a man who defies parody. But the Internet knows no bounds: An excellent parody does indeed exist, in the form of @GingrichIdeas, whose feed has been brightening my day these past few weeks.

The format is simple. Rapid-fire ideas. Big ones. Launched into orbit with a perfect dry wit and no commentary. For example:

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But the feed doesn’t simply caricature Gingrich as a heartless rightwinger, it tries to capture the strong progressive strain in his thinking:

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And:

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Mostly it’s just a good-natured reflection on Gingrich’s egomania, suggesting everything from “use gene therapy to turn ex-wives into much cooler X-Wives,” “use an elaborate system of mirrors and false walls to make the Palestinians disappear,” “give smart people defective condoms,” and beyond.

Best of all, though, @GingrichIdeas respect’s Slate’s unique role in American culture, suggesting on January 17:

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He should have done it. The level of moon-related mockery out there already has me chomping at the bit to come up with some reason why Gingrich is right about this. Joshua Keating at our sister publication Foreign Policy says there’s nothing of value to mine on the moon—but how will we really know until we start digging?

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Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.