When I heard Newt Gingrich's campaign staff had resigned, I called the premier political analyst in the country to get the lowdown on what really happened. That would be Junior E. Lee, general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located in Greater Garfield, Georgia.
Junior had just finished spraying for termites at Arveen Ridley's place and was washing up when I got him.
"Junior," I exclaimed, "what in the world has happened?"
"Arveen found termites in his tool shed again," he said, "It was no big deal. I just sprayed some Termidor with Fipronil and killed those suckers dead."
"That's good news," I said, "but I was talking about Newt Gingrich. What is going on with him and his campaign?"
"Oh, that," Junior replied, "I just finished a new poll and Newt has about as much chance to be president as termites have of eating up Arveen's tool shed."
Junior can work in a plug for the pest control business better than anybody I know. He loves his work.
"Why did everybody quit on him so suddenly?" I asked.
"One word: Callista," Junior said.
"His wife?" I said.
"Listen," he said, "It doesn't take a genius to know that Newt isn't exactly a Brad Pitt look-alike. In fact, when shown a picture of Newt Gingrich, most Americans thought he was the Pillsbury Doughboy. He's been shedding wives like Cimicidae shed their skins" — there goes Junior with his pest control analogies again — "until he finally got him one of those hot-looking trophy wives. He's not about to give her up. Whatever Callista says, Newt is going to do."
"Is that why they went on that cruise to the Greek Isles rather than on the campaign trail?" I asked.
"Absolutely," Junior said. "It is also why he bought her a half-million dollar diamond ring. Give me that much money and I could dang near wipe out the flea infestation in yard dogs."
Before I could react to that bit of hyperbole, Junior was off and running on one of his tirades. "Can you imagine Newt Gingrich in the White House and the phone rings and somebody says, ‘Mr. President, Trinidad just invaded Sweden and the Pope says you need to do something before Tobago and Norway get involved,' and Gingrich says, ‘I can't. I promised to take Callista shopping. She wants an Armani sweat suit for her aerobics class. Boopsie can be very cranky when Daddy disappoints her.'"
I wanted to tell Junior I didn't know Trinidad was thinking about invading Sweden, but I don't know near as much about these things as he does and didn't want to show my ignorance.
"Or," Junior went on, "the Queen of England comes to visit and the state dinner is late because Callista is still putting on makeup, trying to look like a Barbie doll and the figgy pudding gets cold, the queen gets mad and goes home in a huff and we've lost one of our most loyal allies."
I must admit that there are times I worry about Junior E. Lee. I hope he isn't inhaling too much Malathion while spraying for mosquitoes.
"What can Newt Gingrich do to get his campaign back on track?" I asked Junior. I would mention the Malathion concern some other time.
"Mr. Gingrich has lost touch with the common people, what with his young wife and her designer clothes and half-million dollar ring and him using big words most of us can't understand," Junior said. "He is going to have to reinvent himself."
"How can he do that?" I asked.
"Leroy and Louise," Junior said triumphantly.
"Leroy and Louise?" I replied.
"Listen carefully," Junior said, "Newt's middle name is Leroy and Callista's is Louise. All they got to do is start calling themselves Leroy and Louise. Most Americans could relate to Leroy and Louise a lot better than to Newt and Callista.
"It wouldn't hurt for Leroy to get a pickup truck and Louise to buy her clothes at Big Lots. I believe even Arveen Ridley would agree it would make them seem like our kind of folks and ol' Newt ... er, Leroy would be right back in the race."
Junior E. Lee may be on to something. I don't think we've ever had a president named Leroy or a First Lady named Louise who shopped at Big Lots. It just might work.
That Junior is one smart political analyst and he's deadly with termites, too.
Dick Yarbrough is a North Georgia resident whose column appears Saturdays and on gainesvilletimes.com. You can reach him at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139.