A lot of people have Newt Gingrich pegged as a front-runner in the jumbled, muddled race to become king (or queen) of the Republican Party in 2012 -- so I find this little tidbit an odd piece of pre-White House positioning. By way of background, there's been a fascinating phenomenon that's been getting not enough fanfare these days -- totally bizarro right-wing-oriented survivalist, apocalyptic novels are shooting to the top of the book charts.
Here's one that's the No. 23 best-selling book of any kind on Amazon.com right now (and No. 1 in "Mysteries and Thrillers"). It's called "One Second After" (maybe because the title "The Day After" has been taken?) by William R. Rorstchen, but what caught my eye was the short review of the book from Booklist:
In a Norman Rockwell town in North Carolina, where residents rarely lock homes, retired army colonel John Matherson teaches college, raises two daughters, and grieves the loss of his wife to cancer. When phones die and cars inexplicably stall, Grandma's pre-computerized Edsel takes readers to a stunning scene on the car-littered interstate, on which 500 stranded strangers, some with guns, awaken John's New Jersey street-smart instincts to get the family home and load the shotgun. Next morning, some townspeople realize that an electromagnetic pulse weapon has destroyed America's power grid, and they proceed to set survival priorities. John's list includes insulin for his type-one diabetic 12-year-old, candy bars, and sacks of ice. Deaths start with heart attacks and eventually escalate alarmingly. Food becomes scarce, and societal breakdown proceeds with inevitable violence; towns burn, and ex-servicemen recall "Korea in '51" as military action by unlikely people becomes the norm in Forstchen's sad, riveting cautionary tale, the premise of which Newt Gingrich's foreword says is completely possible.
In a weird kind of way, Gingrich may be right -- at least quasi-military action by unlikely people, like a gun-obsessed loser mowing down three cops in cold blood, is already happening. Sadly it's going to happen a lot more if people like "respectable" politician Gingrich and the Fox News Channel, where he frequently appears, continue to peddle paramilitary end-of-the-world fantasies to a scared and economically battered populace. Endorsing this kind of survivalist porn as "possible" should automatically disqualify Gingrich from the 2012 race -- but there's no reason to expect that will occur.