Oh, sure, you might think the obvious presidential candidate for Chuck Norris to endorse would be Rick Perry, what with his guns and boots and Texasyness, not to mention his own Chuck Norris Facts-inspired twitterer, RickPerryFacts. But you would be wrong. Only one candidate is a true kindred spirit of Norris: Newt Gingrich. Norris endorsed Gingrich Friday, saying he's the candidate most committed "to help Old Glory rise again to her heights of splendor."
Gingrich and Norris are spiritual soulmates. They're prone to grandiose statements. They believe their own hype. Their words, not their actions, are their tools for success. While Norris was an Internet joke meme, Gingrich is obsessed with technology, and considers himself an Internet pioneer. Most important, Gingrich and Norris both are extremely good at blurring the lines between the fakest fakery and sincerity. Several years ago, Chuck Norris heard about the ironic worshipping of his campy persona by kids on the Internet and was very convincingly appeared to take it seriously. He turned it into cable news appearances, and a brief TV show. That, in turn, made other people retake him seriously so that when in 2008 he endorsed a politician for president, Mike Huckabee, people gave Huckabee a whole bunch of real hard cash. Real money! The most Huckabee had ever raised in a single day. Normal people gave Mike Huckabee, the "authentic" candidate, real money because a sincere-ironic Internet joke told them to do so!
Gingrich also makes it impossible to tell where the irony stops. In 2007, for example, Gingrich gave a speech in Second Life that was protested by a fairy — what does it mean? Does he not get it? Or does get it at an even higher, more advanced level of irony than we're capable of? It's impossible to tell! The same thing happened at Thursday night's debate, when Gingrich was asked by moderator John King about the time he allegedly asked his wife for an open marriage. Gingrich he pretended to be shocked and outraged -- even though everyone had been talking about the story all day -- and said it was a completely inappropriate thing to bring up in a presidential debate even though he led the impeachment of Bill Clinton over lies about his infidelity. But what really made you wonder where serious stopped and joke began was when, in the post-debate spin room, Gingrich talked about what a great job King did as moderator.
Norris sounds positively Gingrichian when he invokes a bunch of world historical figures when talking about the need to beat President Obama:
No man or candidate is perfect. We all have skeletons in our closet. If buried bones became unforgivable bones of contention, the world would never know or will never know another Benjamin Franklin, King David and others like them. We must remember that we’re electing a president, not a pastor or pope. And with the mainstream media and a billion-dollar Obama campaign coffer on the president’s side, we need a veteran of political war who has already fought Goliath, because he will be facing Goliath’s bigger brother.
And in a final Newtonian flourish, he says he's backing Gingrich for traits no sane person thinks Gingrich possesses: "We believe Newt’s experience, leadership, knowledge, wisdom, faith and even humility to learn from his failures (personal and public) can return America to her glory days." Humility! We can't even tell if he's joking anymore.