Niall Ferguson on Newt Gingrich

Naughty Newt Gingrich
December 19, 2011
Commentary by: Niall Ferguson, member of the Belfer Center Board of Directors
Topic: Newt Gingrich

“The Christmas season is upon us, and that means it will be soon be time for the Ferguson family to deck the halls with holly and ivy, prepare the spicy mulled wine, and gather around the blazing Yule log to watch Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

Beyond question the funniest film ever made, Life of Brian also contains my favorite line in all cinema. It’s uttered by Terry Jones, in the role of Brian’s mother. For those whose religious principles have prevented them from watching the movie, I should explain that the late Graham Chapman’s Brian is an exact contemporary of Jesus Christ who entirely lacks the latter’s divine qualities. Despite Brian’s cluelessness, he is repeatedly mistaken for Our Savior. Finally, in exasperation, his mum erupts at a crowd of would-be Brian disciples: ‘He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy. Now piss off!’

In these words lies the key to one of the great mysteries of our time: why so many people seriously want the former House speaker Newt Gingrich to be the next president of the United States. It’s because … he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!”

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