Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Sometime after he was told to drop out “before you make a bigger fool of yourself” and before we learned that he and his wife had racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt at Tiffany’s, Newt Gingrich convened a conference call Tuesday afternoon in an effort to put a good face on what has been an epically disastrous presidential campaign rollout.
In particular, conservative activists and opinion-shapers are still fuming over the surprise criticism he leveled against Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” but according to the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein, Gingrich insisted that his rocky start as a candidate is nothing remarkable, likening his campaign to … Ronald Reagan’s:
“Every once and awhile there’s going to be a problem, and you gotta spend three or four days fixing it,” he said. “If you go back and look at Ronald Reagan’s record, the opening week of the campaign in Sept. 1980, they didn’t have a very good week. And they had to go back and fix it. This happens occasionally. The trick is to relax, look at it, try to figure out what happened, and keep moving.”
This is one of Newt’s favorite devices — the “fatuous historical analogy,” as Jonathan Bernstein has labeled it. Here, we are supposed to believe that Gingrich is in roughly the same political situation that the patron saint of modern conservatism was when he embarked on his history-changing campaign three decades ago.
Why this is a completely absurd comparison should be fairly obvious, but for the record:
It is hard to find a presidential campaign rollout that has failed as spectacularly as Gingrich’s.
A logical parallel might be Joe Biden’s in the 2008 cycle; on the same day in January 2007 that Biden filed his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, his infamous “clean, articulate” comments about Barack Obama appeared in a New York Observer story. Biden, like Gingrich now, was already a long shot for his party’s nomination, and the ensuing uproar merely validated why this was the case. But in another way, Biden’s botched rollout wasn’t nearly as destructive; the reaction from most Democratic elites was that poor old Biden had made another gaffe — not that he was a bad guy who needed to be condemned and isolated. The conservative establishment’s response to Gingrich has been much more hostile.
We’ve long known that Newt Gingrich is not a serious presidential prospect. In the last few days, the most influential voices in his own party have made it clear that they feel the same way. The question is: Will Newt ever realize it himself?
Steve Kornacki writes about politics for Salon. Reach him by email at SKornacki@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @SteveKornackiMore Steve Kornacki.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.