Sunt lacrimae rerum

It’s probably not a good sign when a presidential candidate cries in public. At any rate, the associations aren’t positive. We have the legendary tears that seemed to mark the fall of Ed Muskie. Muskie was standing in the snows of New Hampshire, campaigning in the 1972 New Hampshire primary and defending the honor of his wife from the depredations of the publisher of the Manchester Union-Leader. The moment is captured on YouTube. (Thank you, leftwingescapee.)

We have the tears that Hillary Clinton shed campaigning in the 2008 New Hampshire primary. By contrast with Muskie, she was indoors and she was not defending the honor of her spouse. Rather, she was feeling a little sorry for herself. The tears might have given her a lift in New Hampshire, but they were in a losing cause. The moment is also captured on YouTube.

Now we have Newt Gingrich tearing up in Iowa as he recalled his mother. The context is key. After a swift rise as the non-Romney flavor of the week, Newt’s campaign is in descent. Will the tears brake or reverse the decline? I doubt it, especially if they prompt observers to look at what he was saying:

“I identify my mother with being happy, loving life, having a sense of joy in her friends, but what she introduced me to, is late in her life she ended up in a long-term-care facility. She had bipolar disease, and depression, and she gradually acquired some physical ailments, and that introduced me to the issue of long-term care, which I did with [Former Nebraska Sen.] Bob Kerrey for three years, and that introduced me to the issue of Alzheimer’s, which I did with Bob Kerrey for three more years, and my whole emphasis on brain science comes indirectly from dealing with the real problems of real people in my family[.]”

How did Gingrich “do” long-term health care with Bob Kerrey? It would be nice if the folks covering this story bothered to explain. Looking around on the Web, I find a 2008 New York Times op-ed column appearing under the joint byline of Billy Beane (!), Gingrich and Kerrey. Although I’m sure there is more to what he “did” on long-term health care with Kerrey, so far as one can deduce from the column, Gingrich “did” it by bloviating about it in the style to which we have become accustomed:

Working closely with doctors, the federal government and the private sector should create a new institute for evidence-based medicine. This institute would conduct new studies and systematically review the existing medical literature to help inform our nation’s over-stretched medical providers. The government should also increase Medicare reimbursements and some liability protections for doctors who follow the recommended clinical best practices.

I could go on, but I want to stop before I start crying myself.