Newt Gingrich Wants You To Know He Is A Very Important Person

May 19, 2011 5:54 pm ET — Jamison Foser


For years, conservatives have tried to portray President Obama as unduly impressed with himself, falsely claiming that he refers to himself as "The One" and nit-picking the number of times he uses the word "I" in speeches. That isn't to say Obama lacks ego — it's hard to imagine anyone running for president without being fairly impressed with him- or herself. But when it comes to comically self-aggrandizing behavior nobody can hold a candle to Newt Gingrich. Here's the former House Speaker discussing his presidential campaign in Iowa today:  

"It's going to take a while for the news media to realize that you're covering something that happens once or twice in a century, a genuine grass-roots campaign of very big ideas," said Gingrich. "I expect it to take a while for it to sink in."

Gingrich has been waiting for his importance to "sink in" for quite some time — not that he's been shy about spelling it out. In 1992, for example, Gingrich described his role as "Definer of civilization," "Teacher of the Rules of Civilization," "Arouser of those who Fan Civilization," and "Leader (Possibly) of the civilizing forces." According to TimeGingrich once promised "to lead the entire human race to freedom, prosperity and safety," which seems like a pretty heavy lift — but perhaps not for the "Definer of civilization."

Then there's this, from Gingrich's days as a congressional back-bencher:

I have an enormous personal ambition. I want to shift the entire planet. And I'm doing it. Ronald Reagan uses the term 'opportunity society' and that didn't exist four years ago. I just had breakfast with [Richard] Darman and [David] Stockman because I'm unavoidable. I represent real power. And I can also, as an elected official, I can hold a press conference and that's a form of real power. The ambitions that this city focuses on are trivial if you're a historian. Who cares? [Washington Post, 1/3/85, via Nexis]

Fortunately, Gingrich assures us he uses his "real power" for good: "People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz."