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Jurassic Newt

If you thought that Newt Gingrich’s idea for a Moon Base that eventually becomes an American state was a bit wacky, back in the 90s the former Speaker was talking about resurrecting the dinosaurs:

The former House speaker has long been known for his boyish enthusiasm for subjects like dinosaurs, zoos and outer space. And in his 1996 book “To Renew America” he even devoted a short chapter to proposals that are, in some cases, directly inspired by popular science fiction.

“Why not aspire to build a real Jurassic Park?” Gingrich asked on page 190 of the book, adding in parenthesis that such an achievement “may not be at all impossible.”

“Wouldn’t that be one of the spectacular accomplishments of human history?” he continued. “What if we could bring back extinct species?”

In fact, Gingrich argued in the book that we have quite a lot to learn from the works of authors like Arthur C. Clarke and Jules Verne, and despaired those contemporary storytellers like Michael Crichton didn’t have the imaginations necessary to inspire Americans.

“Somehow we must reintegrate the scientific with the popular and reconnect the future to the present,” he wrote. “This is less a job for scientists, engineers, bureaucrats, and administrators and more a job for novelists, moviemakers, popularizers, and politicians.”

Gingrich says that as a boy he was taught by science fiction to believe there was “a whole universe waiting to be learned and explored” and that, having grown older, he still believes “this positive vision of my childhood was the right one.”

Apparently, part of that positive vision included the idea of honeymoons in space:

We could also have sex in space.

“I believe that space tourism will be a common fact of life during the adulthood of children born this year, that honeymoons in space will be the vogue by 2020,” Gingrich wrote toward the end of the chapter. “Imagine weightlessness and its effects and you will understand some of the attractions.”

This was in 1996, and Gingrich dedicated the book to “Marianne, who made it all worthwhile.” One imagines, though, that at the time his thoughts about zero-gravity honeymoons more likely involved a young House Committee Aide name Callista Bisek.

Now there’s nothing wrong with being inspired by science fiction. I’ve been a fan of the genre myself since at least middle school. But inspiration and rational public policy aren’t always the same thing, and when it’s all combined in the mind of a guy like Gingrich who seems to know a very little about a very lot but doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, it leads to ridiculous flights of fancy.

Besides, I think Dr. Ian Malcom pretty much established the wisdom (or lack thereof to be more precise) of Newt’s fascination with resurrecting the dinosaurs:

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. David says:

    Crazy is as crazy does.

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  2. michael reynolds says:

    I’ve been telling Republicans for at least two decades that their embrace of Newt as a smart guy, a big idea guy, all the rest of it was nonsense. Gingrich has never been very smart, he’s a wreck of a human being, both destructive and self-destructive. It’s nice to see conservatives are finally seeing what liberals have known since forever.

    But then, that’s the way of the world. Liberals get it, (Civil rights, social security, women’s rights, gay rights, medicare,) then spend decades trying to get idiot conservatives to accept it, only to have conservatives pretend they knew it all along. You want a more efficient government? Buy a giant jar of Vaseline that conservatives can use to get their heads out of their asses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  3. Brummagem Joe says:

    I have to smile at the way Doug behaves as if he and Newt have no ideological connection. This guy is a serious candidate for nomination of the party that Doug supports. Absent the ability of the money men of the party to deluge him with negative advertising he’d quite possibly win the nod and under those cirmcumstances no doubt Doug would hold his nose and vote for him because at bottom he subscribes to much of the nonsense that Newt does. Who can fathom the workings of the human mind?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. Joe,

    I am not a member or supporter of any political party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. “Why not aspire to build a real Jurassic Park?” Gingrich asked on page 190 of the book, adding in parenthesis that such an achievement “may not be at all impossible.”

    Did Newt actually read the book? Explaining why not was pretty much THE WHOLE DAMN POINT OF THE STORY.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. @Doug Mataconis:

    I am not a member or supporter of any political party.

    By your own admission, you refuse to even consider voting for a Democrat ever. You are a supporter of a political party, whether you want to admit it or not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. @Stormy Dragon:

    Find me a Democrat who supports fiscal conservatism, limited government, and a reduction in the size, scope, and power of the Federal Government, and I’ll see if they’re interested in running in an election I can vote in.

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  8. @Doug Mataconis:

    Name a Republican you’ve voted for who supports the same, in anything other than lip service.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. That’s why I don’t consider myself a Republican, Stormy.

    And who I vote for and why isn’t really anyone’s business but my own, is it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  10. John Burgess says:

    You know, one doesn’t really have to be a Democrat to understand both why he’s nuts and why he’s unelectable as president. Maybe Republicans don’t get that, but conservatives do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Yeah right Doug. Do I really have go through the logic process to prove that you are a de facto Republican unless you never vote.Viz.

    ” I am not a member or supporter of any political party.”

    “By your own admission, you refuse to even consider voting for a Democrat ever.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Brett says:

    I never really bought into Malcom’s “wisdom”. There’s nothing inherently dangerous about cloning dinosaurs, provided you don’t put them in the horribly designed park that was in the movie. Keep them in a proper zoo, and you’d be fine.

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  13. Vast Variety says:

    I say we combine the best of all worlds… Dinosaur Porn filmed in the low gravity of the Moonbase.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. @Doug Mataconis:

    That’s why I don’t consider myself a Republican, Stormy.

    Yes, I’m aware of how strongly you maintain your cognitive dissonance. But if there’s no difference between your actions and what your actions would be if you were a Republican, then I’m afraid you are a Republican, whether you consider yourself one or not.

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  15. Dazedandconfused says:

    What does Mitt Romney and Joe Lewis have in common?

    The Bum of The Month Club.

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  16. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I am not a member or supporter of any political party

    Keep telling yourself that, Doug! The big lie technique for self-delusionals.

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