Tuesday, January 31, 2012
The Republican Establishment is pulling out all the stops to try to keep Newt Gingrich from becoming the party’s nominee for president of the United States - and some are not letting the facts get in their way.
Of course, he's talking about that son of a bitch Romney.
Among the claims going out through the mass media in Florida, on the eve of that state’s primary election, is that Newt Gingrich “resigned in disgrace” as speaker of the House of Representatives as a result of unethical conduct involving the diversion of tax-exempt money.
Mitt Romney is calling on Gingrich to release “all of the records” from the congressional investigation.
But the Wall Street Journal of January 28, 2012, reported that these records - 1,280 pages of them - are already publicly available online.
Although Speaker Gingrich decided not to take on the task of fighting the charge from his political enemies in 1997, the Internal Revenue Service conducted its own investigation which, two years later, exonerated Gingrich from the charges. His resignation was not due to those charges and occurred much later.
Do the Romney camp and the Republican Establishment not know this, a dozen years later?
Or are they far less concerned with whether the charges will stand up than they are about smearing Gingrich on the eve of the Florida primaries?
Again, folks... Romney is a man lacking in basic integrity.
There are also charges made about what Congressman Gingrich said about Ronald Reagan on March 21, 1986. But this too is a matter of public record, since his remarks are available in the Congressional Record of that date, so it is remarkable that there should be any controversy about it at this late date.
On that date, Gingrich praised Reagan’s grasp of the foreign-policy issues of the day but later questioned whether the way the actual policies of the Reagan administration were being carried out was likely to succeed. Gingrich was not alone in making this point, which such conservative stalwarts as George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and others made at the time.
Since a column of my own back in the 1980s suggested that the administration’s policies seemed to be to “speak loudly and carry a little stick,” I can well understand the misgivings of others. But that is wholly different from saying that all who expressed misgivings were enemies of Ronald Reagan.
One can of course lift things out of context. But if you want to read the whole context, simply go online and get the Congressional Record for March 21, 1986.
Among the other places where the smears are exposed are the Wall Street Journal of January 29, Jeffrey Lord’s article on the American Spectator’s blog of January 27, and an article by Heather Higgins on Ricochet.com of January 29.
Unfortunately, there are likely to be far more people who will see the smears than will have time to get the facts. But, if nothing else, there needs to be some understanding of the reckless accusations that have become part of the all-out attempt to destroy Newt Gingrich, as so many other political figures have been destroyed, by non-stop smears in the media.
Gingrich is by no means above criticism. He has been criticized in this column before over the years, including during the current primary season, and he will probably be criticized here again.
Here Sowell echos my oft-noted point! I criticize Gingrich - and indeed all candidates - when and where I disagree with them. But I don't stoop to lying in order to make my point!
But the poisonous practice of irresponsible smears is an issue that is bigger than Gingrich, Romney, or any other candidate of either party.
Here's I believe Sowell is too... diplomatic. Romney and his supporters are behind the smears. Period. Nothing wrong with slimming your opponent with the truth... but slimming him (or her) with lies... that's a different thing altogether.
There have long been reports of people who decline to be nominated for federal judicial appointments because that means going before the Senate Judiciary Committee to have lies about their past spread nationwide, and the good reputation built up over a lifetime destroyed by politicians who could not care less about the truth.
The same practices may well have something to do with the public’s dissatisfaction with the current crop of candidates in this year’s primaries - and in previous years’ primaries. Character assassination is just another form of voter fraud.
I tend to agree. Without the truth... how can voters be expected to caste rational votes?
There is no law against it, so it is up to the voters, not only in Florida but in other states, to punish it at the ballot box - the only place where punishment is likely to stop the practice.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Just throwing this out there...
Former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) on Sunday attacked Mitt Romney for "unseemliness and overkill" in his aggressive campaign against Newt Gingrich, the candidate Thompson has endorsed.
Romney's "modus operandi, basically, is to play Mr. Nice Guy until somebody gets close to him," Thompson said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "And then he unleashes his attack machine. And that's what happened in Iowa and it's what's happening in Florida."
Thompson said that a story in Sunday's New York Times depicts "Romney's staff ... patting themselves on the back, talking about how mean and down they are. How they've got Matt Drudge in their back pocket. And how Romney is in on all of it."
For months, Drudge has been running a steady stream of pro-Romney and anti-Gingrich stories on his website, Drudge Report.
I have no idea where Matt Drudge stands on the whole Romney vs. Gingrich thing.
I know Drudge and Ann Coulter are good friends and Coulter is firmly in the Romney camp having been disappointed by Chris Christie's refusal to run for president himself...
(And of course Christie supports Romney...)
...but on the other hand I can't see Drudge playing the role of "yes, dear" to Coulter - no matter how close they are.
Anyway... while it's true Drudge has been running pretty much every pro-Romney, anti-Gingrich piece out there... well... he's also been posting the pro-Gingrich, anti-Romney stuff.
Anyway... just found this piece interesting. Make of it what you will and in the meantime... keep reading Drudge... and keep reading Usually Right!
I love Pat Buchanan.
Just as I'm "Usually Right," so too is ol' Pat.
Pat doesn't support Newt, though.
I wonder why...?
Could it be because his sister, Bay Buchanan, is a prominent Romney supporter?
(Hey... btw... you know what I just found out? Bay Buchanan converted from Roman Catholicism to Mormonism in 1976...)
Buchanan has a husband, an ex-husband, and three "kids." Not sure if any are involved with the Romney campaign.
Now of course it's quite possible that none of this has had any influence on Pat and that his disdain for Gingrich is totally... er... "organic."
As I wrote up top, Pat Buchanan is one of my "go to" sources for news and analysis - a guy I trust because, hey... he's "usually right."
I take comfort in the fact that while he dings Gingrich he apparently can't bring himself to say much in actual support of Romney.
One thing I know - and can appreciate: Pat and Bay Buchanan are not just brother and sister... they're "comrades" of long standing - political allies by ideology, but more than that... by blood.
I'll tell you one last thing: I'd love to be a fly on the wall when Pat and Bay Buchanan talk privately - one on one with no audience and no threat that the conversation will go any further - about Romney vs. Gingrich.
Mary and I saw "The Iron Lady" yesterday afternoon at the Lafayette in Suffern.
We're talking a powerful film.
We're talking a powerful film that if you're a Republican or conservative or even a "moderate" or "independent" who is open to voting Republican... chances are - whether you realize it consciously or not - the effect upon you of watching this movie will be to make you far more likely to vote for Newt Gingrich and far more likely to viscerally recoil from Mitt Romney.
(If you've already seen the movie you no doubt understand where I'm coming from.)
Although of course there was no purposeful attempt to link Thatcher to Gingrich or the Thatcher era to America 2012, consciously - or unconsciously - a link has been forged.
Love her or hate her, Margaret Thatcher was the larger than life figure who along with Reagan and Pope John Paul II symbolized all that was right with "The Right."
(Of course the Left took - and to this day takes - the exact opposite view. But that's neither here nor there for purposes of this post.)
In the end Thatcher - the hero, even with all her faults - was stabbed in the back by "lesser" men... men who in taking power soon botched the job so badly that they lost power!
Again... while I'm not claiming that Newt Gingrich is in the same league as a Margaret Thatcher, or a Reagan, or a John Paul II, one can't help but come away from a screening of "The Iron Lady" without (at least subconsciously) placing Newt in the role of Thatcher and Romney in the role of one of the "extras" who betrayed Thatcherism (Reaganism) in a selfish and ultimately self-destructive pursuit of personal power... personal gain.
The Gingrich campaign - and every supporter of Newt Gingrich and opponent of Mitt Romney - should be shouting from the rooftops for likely Republican primary voters (and indeed all likely voters in advance of the general election should Newt win the nomination) to go to the movies... go to the movies and see "The Iron Lady."
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Folks... to reiterate what I've been pointing out all along... Fox News is clearly in the Romney camp.
Did any of you happen to catch all three Sunday morning news/interview programs this morning? If so, you witnessed Fox and NBC making the case for Romney while ABC News actually fulfilled the proclaimed "This Week" mission of providing fair and balanced coverage of the ongoing Republican primaries and particularly the Romney vs. Gingrich story.
Over at Fox News you had Chris Wallace interviewing Newt as if he were a representative of the Romney campaign - complete with wasting most of the interview on the whole "ghetto" nonsense which video and transcripts support Gingrich on!
Oh... and then after the interview it was of course time for "the panel," where Brit Hume continued his months-long habit of portraying Romney as the inevitable GOP... with the "tone" clearly being that Romney should be the nominee.
(Oh... and need I continue by highlighting Juan Williams' same-ol', same-ol' talking points?)
Hey... folks... were you aware that last night Herman Cain formally endorsed Newt Gingrich?
Well... while FNS did in fact show a clip while "mentioning" the nod, it wasn't a topic of major discussion... indeed, it was basically ignored... quickly swept under the rug.
As to yesterday's Sarah Palin Facebook posting slamming Romney and his GOP Establishment allies...
Unless I just missed it... NOT A FRIGG'N WORD ABOUT THE PALIN POSTING!
Folks... imagine... imagine if last night Herman Cain had endorsed Mitt Romney rather than Newt Gingrich.
Folks... imagine... imagine if yesterday Sarah Palin had posted a screed slashing and burning the GINGRICH campaign instead of the Romney campaign...
Folks... com'on... had either - let alone both - of these "alternate realities" happened... well... it would be Cain/Palin coverage 24/7 with nothing else mattering.
Folks... again... the common denominator here is that "the fix is in" - or at last the fix is intended to be in.
Over at NBC it was "conservative" panelist George Will lambasting Gingrich... with "conservative" guest panelist Laura Ingraham spouting out "wisdom" such as... (and I'm paraphrasing here)... "Gingrich shouldn't "whine" about Romney lying... even "if" Romney is lying."
Folks... what alternate reality are we living in when Fox is right there with NBC is bashing Newt Gingrich while ABC News is the voice of reason and fairness?!
Folks... how screwed up is it that instead of being able to rely upon Fox News for "fair and balanced" coverage of the Republican primaries we have to rely upon CNN and the Washington frigg'n Post for "outing" one Romney lie after another?
Folks... the Republican Establishment that gave us Bob Dole and John McCain and Tom DeLay and Trent Lott... that's the Republican Establishment which wants to give us Mitt Romney.
Folks... who are you gonna believe? Me, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Art Laffer, Herman Cain, Michael Reagan, et al...
...or the Republican Establishment which has time and time again betrayed true conservative ideal and idealists?
Saturday, January 28, 2012
We have witnessed something very disturbing this week. The Republican Establishment which fought Ronald Reagan in the 1970s and which continues to fight the grassroots Tea Party movement today, has adopted the tactics of the Left in using the media and the politics of personal destruction to attack an opponent.
We will look back on this week and realize that something changed.
I have given numerous interviews wherein I espoused the benefits of thorough vetting during aggressive contested primary elections, but this week’s tactics aren’t what I meant. Those who claim allegiance to Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment should stop and think about where we are today. Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, the fathers of the modern conservative movement, would be ashamed of us in this primary.
Let me make clear that I have no problem with the routine rough and tumble of a heated campaign. As I said at the first Tea Party convention two years ago, I am in favor of contested primaries and healthy, pointed debate. They help focus candidates and the electorate. I have fought in tough and heated contested primaries myself. But what we have seen in Florida this week is beyond the pale. It was unprecedented in GOP primaries. I’ve seen it before – heck, I lived it before – but not in a GOP primary race.
I am sadly too familiar with these tactics because they were used against the GOP ticket in 2008. The Left seeks to single someone out and destroy his or her record and reputation and family using the media as a channel to dump handpicked and half-baked campaign opposition research on the public. The difference in 2008 was that I was largely unknown to the American public, so they had no way of differentiating between the lies and the truth. All of it came at them at once as “facts” about me. But Newt Gingrich is known to us – both the good and the bad.
We know that Newt fought in the trenches during the Reagan Revolution.
As Rush Limbaugh pointed out, Newt was among a handful of Republican Congressman who would regularly take to the House floor to defend Reagan at a time when conservatives didn’t have Fox News or talk radio or conservative blogs to give any balance to the liberal mainstream media.
Newt actually came at Reagan’s administration “from the right” to remind Americans that freer markets and tougher national defense would win our future.
But this week a few handpicked and selectively edited comments which Newt made during his 40-year career were used to claim that Newt was somehow anti-Reagan and isn’t conservative enough to go against the accepted moderate in the primary race. (I know, it makes no sense, and the GOP establishment hopes you won’t stop and think about this nonsense. Mark Levin and others have shown the ridiculousness of this.)
To add insult to injury, this “anti-Reagan” claim was made by a candidate who admitted to not even supporting or voting for Reagan.
Romney was actually was against the Reagan movement, donated to liberal candidates, and said he didn’t want to go back to the Reagan days. .
You can’t change history.
We know that Newt Gingrich brought the Reagan Revolution into the 1990s. We know it because none other than Nancy Reagan herself announced this when she presented Newt with an award, telling us, “The dramatic movement of 1995 is an outgrowth of a much earlier crusade that goes back half a century. Barry Goldwater handed the torch to Ronnie, and in turn Ronnie turned that torch over to Newt and the Republican members of Congress to keep that dream alive.” As Rush and others pointed out, if Nancy Reagan had ever thought that Newt was in any way an opponent of her beloved husband, she would never have even appeared on a stage with him, let alone presented him with an award and said such kind things about him. Nor would Reagan’s son, Michael Reagan, have chosen to endorse Newt in this primary race.
There are no two greater keepers of the Reagan legacy than Nancy and Michael Reagan. What we saw with this ridiculous opposition dump on Newt was nothing short of Stalin-esque rewriting of history.
It was Alinsky tactics at their worst.
But this whole thing isn’t really about Newt Gingrich vs. Mitt Romney. It is about the GOP Establishment vs. the Tea Party grassroots and independent Americans who are sick of the politics of personal destruction used now by both parties’ operatives with a complicit media egging it on.
In fact, the Establishment has been just as dismissive of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum.
Newt is an imperfect vessel for Tea Party support, but in South Carolina the Tea Party chose to get behind him instead of the old guard’s choice. In response, the GOP establishment voices denounced South Carolinian voters with the same vitriol we usually see from the Left when they spew hatred at everyday Americans “bitterly clinging” to their faith and their Second Amendment Rights.
The Tea Party was once again told to sit down and shut up and listen to the “wisdom” of their betters.
We were reminded of the litany of Tea Party endorsed candidates in 2010 who didn’t win. Well, here’s a little newsflash to the establishment: without the Tea Party there would have been no historic 2010 victory at all.
I spoke up before the South Carolina primary to urge voters there to keep this primary going because I have great concern about the GOP Establishment trying to anoint a candidate without the blessing of the grassroots and all the needed energy and resources we as commonsense constitutional conservatives could bring to the general election in order to defeat President Obama.
Now, I respect Governor Romney and his success. But there are serious concerns about his record and whether as a politician he consistently applied conservative principles and how this impacts the agenda moving forward.
The questions need answers now.
That is why this primary should not be rushed to an end. We need to vet this. Pundits in the Beltway are gleefully proclaiming that this primary race is over after Florida, despite 46 states still not having chimed in. Well, perhaps it’s possible that it will come to a speedy end in just four days; but with these questions left unanswered, it will not have come to a satisfactory conclusion.
Without this necessary vetting process, the unanswered question of Governor Romney’s conservative bona fides and the unanswered and false attacks on Newt Gingrich will hang in the air to demoralize many in the electorate.
The Tea Party grassroots will certainly feel disenfranchised and disenchanted with the perceived orchestrated outcome from self-proclaimed movers and shakers trying to sew this all up. And, trust me, during the general election, Governor Romney’s statements and record in the private sector will be relentlessly parsed over by the opposition in excruciating detail to frighten off swing voters.
This is why we need a fair primary that is not prematurely cut short by the GOP establishment using Alinsky tactics to kneecap Governor Romney’s chief rival.
As I said in my speech in Iowa last September, the challenge of this election is not simply to replace President Obama. The real challenge is who and what we will replace him with.
It’s not enough to just change up the uniform. If we don’t change the team and the game plan, we won’t save our country.
We truly need sudden and relentless reform in Washington to defend our Republic, though it’s becoming clearer that the old guard wants anything but that. That is why we should all be concerned by the tactics employed by the establishment this week.
We will not save our country by becoming like the Left.
And I question whether the GOP Establishment would ever employ the same harsh tactics they used on Newt against Obama. I didn’t see it in 2008. Many of these same characters sat on their thumbs in ‘08 and let Obama escape unvetted. Oddly, they’re now using every available microscope and endoscope – along with rewriting history – in attempts to character assassinate anyone challenging their chosen one in their own party’s primary.
So, one must ask, who are they really running against?
In mid-February  President Bush signed a law that included a provision to raise the size of the jumbo mortgages Fannie and Freddie could buy, from $417,000 to $729,750 in high cost areas - a stunning, unnecessary increase that was supported by both Democratic Speaker of the House Pelosi and Republican John Boehner, the minority leader.
[Hank] Paulson fought the increase because he didn't see why the GSEs were needed to suppot the high-end housing market, and he told a group of Senate Republicans that he would hold firm. But it was a losing battle, raising the limits was popular with members of Congress on both sides of the isle.
In a meeting with Pelosi and Boehner, Pelosi told Paulson they were going to raise the limits. She said it in a way that suggested he would be unable to stop her. Then she laughingly showed him a note that Boehner had slipped her. "Let's role Hank," it said.
Folks... these are the sort of scum we're dealing with.
Boehner is Speaker of the House and Nancy Pelosi is minority leader.
Seriously... explain to me once again how violence isn't the only answer.
Friday, January 27, 2012
What have there been... something like 20 televised debates between the Republican candidates for president since the race began?
Without a doubt Newt Gingrich won the majority of those debates.
I'd even go farther to say that Mitt Romney won none of the previous debates... at best he came in as "co-winner" or "not loser" in previous debates.
Ahh... but last night... Romney kicked Gingrich's ass.
Hey... folks... I just call 'em like I see 'em.
Ahh... (yeah... another "ahh")... but just to throw another factual observation out there... it can well be argued that Rick Santorum kicked Romney's ass just as effectively as Romney kicked Gingrich's ass.
Final comment on my "ranking" of the "scores"... Ron Paul kicked ass against each and every one of his fellow candidates though I freely admit it doesn't matter.
And ain't that the shame of it...? Ron Paul who is more right on more issues and certainly more honest and forthright on most issues than any other candidate has no chance to capture the GOP presidential nomination - nor even if he could would he likely be able to beat Barak Hussein Obama come November.
Romney was confident and forceful last night; Newt was flat and on the defensive. Indeed, I could see that Newt was gonna have a tough night as the candidates took the stage; it was all right there on Newt's face.
Here's the thing, though...
ROMNEY IS A LIAR.
Hell... he got caught red handed by Wolfe Blitzer who outed him for "mistakenly" claiming that he wasn't behind a negative attack ad that slandered Gingrich.
But, hey... that's the point... that's been the point of post after post I've written: Mitt Romney lies. He lies... he obfuscates... he uses surrogates to do his dirty work - including claiming that his finances are in a blind trust even while... er... having them in a blind trust isn't and wasn't necessary except for the very short period he actually served as Governor of Massachusetts...
My contributor Rob recently posted that "Romney is a lock."
I don't believe that... but of course Romney may win. (I've never said any different!)
By the same token, it's quite likely that the Republicans will end up with a brokered convention... with real convention wheeling, dealing, and horse-trading.
Remember, folks... note all states primaries are "winner take all." If Santorum stays in, he'll have influence over who the nominee is. So will Ron Paul. (A key question is... can Romney co-opt Santorum?)
Last Sunday Bob Shieffer asked Newt Gingrich - who was his guest - if he'd debate Romney one-on-one this coming Sunday if he (Shieffer) could get Romney to agree.
I haven't heard whether Romney has agreed or not; my guess is that he refused, but... after last night... he might well reconsider. (And obviously Gingrich would jump at the chance!)
We'll see if Romney has the guts... if Romney has the respect for the voters necessary to "just say yes" and allow Americans to witness a true one-hour on-on-one debate between the two national frontrunners.
Sadly, if (when?) Romney once again declines to go mano-a-mano against Gingrich the mainstream media will provide cover for Romney and not make his refusal an issue - even though obviously the interests of the media would be served by such a debate!
Well, that's it for this post. As always, I'd welcome comments and/or question... but I won't hold my breath.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Last fall, people in Washington told me, “Get over it, Melissa. Newt’s not going to be the nominee.”
Later, in New York City over Thanksgiving, I was told, “Get over it, Melissa. It’s going to be Romney.
Well, here we are in the thick of the race, and I’m still not over it.
* THE AUTHOR OF THIS PIECE IS MELISSA O'SULLIVAN, WIFE OF JOHN O'SULLIVAN.
Many years ago, I spent a frustrating morning trying to ice skate when it hit me: I wasn’t trying to ice skate; I was trying not to fall. I submit that the Republican establishment is repeating my mistake. They are trying not to fall by endorsing - or at least accepting - the supposed safe bet. It is reminiscent of an encounter I had with some editorial types during another presidential-primary season.
I was in New York with my husband, John, a former editor and current editor-at-large of National Review. He had arranged to meet some friends from the Wall Street Journal for lunch. At the eleventh hour, John had a conflict, and I went in his place. As the meal developed into an election-strategy discussion, one distinguished woman writer declared firmly that obviously the most qualified person to carry the Republican banner into the election was John McCain. She said it was a pity that the Republican rhubarbs in the sticks would not be bright enough to choose him.
* PEGGY NOONAN...??? (JUST WONDERING...)
“Wow!” I thought, “Mr. Campaign Finance Reform? Our nominee?” I remember being truly stunned that she thought so highly of McCain.
Well, she and the Republican establishment got their wish, and we rhubarbs in the sticks got the shaft.
I have been told that Romney is the inevitable nominee, that he is the only one who can beat Obama, and that polls back up both of these propositions. My frustration with such talk is that it is about where the needle points at present. It ignores the issue of who can move the needle.
(*THUNDEROUS STANDING OVATION*)
For conservatives who have served on Republican committees at the county and state levels, have gone door to door for local candidates, and can remember when here in the South we couldn’t even field a candidate for most races, Newt is "The Man."
Back in the early Nineties he had, dare I say, a “grandiose” idea that we could be a majority party when most Republicans in the House were quite content with the leadership of the nice Mr. Robert Michel, minority leader. For that, I personally am forever indebted to Newt.
* AS SHOULD BE THE ENTIRE CO0UNTRY!
Right now, we are in a perilous state of affairs. We have a president who has put the kibosh on the Keystone pipeline at a time when Russia has just announced a new pipeline to provide energy to Western Europe, thereby increasing its influence in the region. China is building up its military while ours is shrinking. Our European partners’ defense spending is in even worse shape, with the U.K. and France having actually discussed a “time-share” arrangement for an aircraft carrier. To say nothing of the problems we face regarding Iran and Venezuela.
Now, Newt is a great debater. He has not failed to deliver in any debate I have seen. More important to me, however, is that as president he’ll hit the ground running on Day One.
* YES...!!! YES! YES! YES! THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN SAYING...!!!
He is firmly grounded in the kind of knowledge someone acquires by spending the better part of 30 years studying and advocating various public policies. More than that, though, he possesses the contextual knowledge - the historian’s perspective - that enables someone to stand back and draw on past events to understand current crises. [T]hat gives him a larger philosophical understanding of our past, present, and future role in world affairs. He’s not wandering in the dark; he knows where he wants this country to go and - just as important - where he doesn’t.
* YEP... AND I'LL TELL YOU THAT EXCEPT FOR RON PAUL, NO ONE WANTS TO TAKE THE COUNTRY MORE IN THE DIRECTION I DO THAN DOES NEWT GINGRICH!
To those critics who say he’s reckless, I reply that a bold president will sometimes seem reckless to those trapped in the status quo. Can you imagine a President Romney ignoring the advice of his State Department and National Security Council and delivering an incendiary line like “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”?
* GREAT FRIGG'N POINT! ABSOLUTELY 100% VALID!
And those ethics charges? What exactly were the offenses? A Rostenkowski-type scandal? Some sort of improper personal enrichment? Income from a Dominican Republic resort pad he “forgot” to report on his income-tax form?
The charges originated over the course he was teaching on American history; he supposedly violated some arcane IRS provision regarding the way the income is to be reported. Looked at from another angle, it was a kind of “ethics” charge that one party uses to tie up a dangerous opponent in a legal tangle. As Byron York wrote, at the end of the day, after the Dems had led a frontal assault against Newt, initiated by a candidate Newt had bested for a congressional seat and ginned up by the Dems as payback for their loss of the House majority, the conclusion of the three-year IRS investigation was:
Gingrich acted properly and violated no laws.
There was no tax fraud scheme.
What about the money he received as a consultant from Fannie or Freddie? Sure, I wish that Newt hadn’t bedded down in that particular flophouse. However, it was standard behavior for Washington, and not remotely illegal.
* YEP. UNFORTUNATELY... TRUE. WHEN YOU'RE THE FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE YOU'RE OFFERED MONEY TO "PONDER" AND "LECTURE." THAT'S BASICALLY WHAT GINGRICH DID.
* THINK ABOUT THIS, FOLKS: IF I WAS OFFERED A CONTRACT TO ADVICE THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ON WHAT IT WAS DOING WRONG IN TERMS OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC POLICY DO YOU THINK I'D TURN IT DOWN...??? HELL NO! I'D TAKE THE MONEY AND I'D TELL OBAMA ADMINISTRATION FIGURES EXACTLY WHAT I TELL ALL MY READERS DAY IN AND DAY OUT RIGHT HERE ON MY BLOG! WELL... THAT'S BASICALLY WHAT NEWT DID! HE GOT PAID BY FANNIE (FREDDIE?) FOR TELLING THEM EXACTLY WHAT HE WOULD HAVE OTHERWISE TOLD THEM VIA AN ARTICLES HE MIGHT HAVE OTHERWISE WRITTEN IN THE COURSE OF HIS "PONDERING" AND "LECTURING."
Married three times? That’s not a recommendation either, but half of America has been through a divorce and the other half has experienced sticky patches in their marriages. ... Besides, we’re not electing the president of the Baptist Sunday School Board.
The gender gap?
Two very liberal women friends of mine who voted for Obama have come up to me recently and said they like and would vote for Newt. Why? Because he’s “so damn smart!"
Bad poll numbers?
Being a change agent does not engender popularity (think cutting welfare rolls in half, cutting the capital-gains tax from 28% to 15%, balancing the budget for four years straight, etc.), but again, the current favorable/unfavorable poll numbers are a snapshot of one moment, not an indicator of where things will wind up - as Team Romney has been painfully reminded.
Speaking of electability...
[W]ith big bank bailouts still fresh in voters’ minds, do you really think it’s going to be easy to sell Mr. Bain Capital to working-class voters, a demographic that has been written off by this White House, which means they are up for grabs?
If you do, then explain to me why Republicans failed to effectively market their opposition to the Dodd-Frank financial-reform package to these same voters.
The late, great Tony Blankley told to me at the time that Republicans felt they would not be able to stop the bill, even though it was named after two who should have done the perp walk in the whole mortgage meltdown mania. If we couldn’t go to the country and mount a successful opposition campaign explaining the difference between the big investment houses and community banks - the latter of which have been hit hard by the increased regulatory burden of the act - how can we hope to defend poor Cayman Islands Romney against the demagoguery to come from Team Obama?
* GOOD FRIGG'N QUESTION... (*SHRUG*)
Finally, the fact that Newt was ousted from his leadership role by his own party reminds me of someone else who had her own party turn on her - Margaret Thatcher. (Enough said.)
(*ANOTHER STANDING OVATION*)
Actually, that isn’t enough said. The charge against him now is that he’s “reckless.” Yep. In 1990, as minority whip, Newt was reckless enough to stand up to his own president, George H. W. Read-My-Lips Bush, over the tax increase.
* DAMN STRAIGHT! I REMEMBER IT LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY! GOD BLESS NEWT GINGRICH...!!!
In 1995, as Speaker, he was reckless enough to go for a government shutdown over spending, only to have his fellow Republican Bob Dole, the Senate majority leader, cut the legs out from under him with his “Enough is enough” edict (as I recall, just as public opinion was starting to turn in our favor on this issue, Dole pulled the plug, thereby ensuring that we got zero out of the exercise).
* AGAIN, FOLKS... ALL TRUE! THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED! I WAS THERE...!!!
* OH... AND BTW... RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU RECALL "PRESIDENT DOLE."
* "PRESIDENT MCCAIN," ANYONE?
* HOW'BOUT PAPPY BUSH'S SECOND TERM; ANYONE REMEMBER THAT...?
(*SPITTING ON THE GROUND IN CONTEMPT*)
Newt was reckless enough to be above the fray and do what he had to do, going against the hard-line reactionaries to get welfare reform and a balanced-budget compromise from President Clinton.
And when members of his own party ousted Newt from the leadership, with whom did they replace him? Dennis Hastert. (NOW, enough said!)
We are living in extraordinary times. The American people are truly afraid of what kind of future we are bequeathing to the next generation. This is not the time for a green-eyeshade managerial type who doesn’t seem capable of selling himself, let alone his vision of the path forward.
We are electing someone to go into that cesspool we call our nation’s capital, make some really tough decisions, and then sell those decisions to a cynical public while fighting a rear-guard action against a hostile press.
Like Governor Chris Christie, Newt has endeared himself to the American people in dealing with his detractors in a head-on, unapologetic way. And the fact that Newt, like the Energizer Bunny, keeps coming back after every setback is a truly positive sign. He’s got the true grit that is one mark of a real leader.
As we have a late primary here in Alabama, we are out of the action until the middle of March. It is very frustrating to see early states pick nominees before we even get to weigh in. On behalf of the many Republicans in later states, I ask that early states (ahem, Florida) please send us someone we can enthusiastically rally behind.
Send us one of Reagan’s lieutenants.
Send us Newt!
Like I say, folks... piling on.
Elliott Abrams writes in National Review Online today, "As a new member of Congress in the Reagan years - and I was an assistant secretary of state - Mr. Gingrich voted with the president regularly, but equally often spewed insulting rhetoric at Reagan, his top aides, and his policies to defeat Communism. Gingrich was voluble and certain in predicting that Reagan’s policies would fail, and in all of this he was dead wrong."
Hmm... Elliott Abrams... wasn't he convicted in 1991 on two misdemeanor counts of unlawfully withholding information from Congress? (Oh, well... never mind...)
But, hey... my "problem" with Mr. Abrams isn't his history of ly... er... "withholding information from Congress," nor is it his loyalty to his last boss... George W. Bush. Nope. Abrams is clearly on a "team" and that "team" is the GOP Establishment. I get it!
No... what bothers me about this (latest) hit piece on Gingrich is simply this:
Where's the record of Abrams' "letting us in" on this "shocking" info in the '80's... in the '90's... in the '00's?
Where are the quotes; what exactly did Gingrich say "against" Reagan?
What "insulting rhetoric" is Abrams referring to and why are we only hearing of it now...???
Folks... there's a clear pattern here.
Again... I ask you: What does it say about Newt Gingrich that he's so hated and feared not by just the Democrats... not by just the mainstream media... but by the GOP Establishment - the same GOP Establishment which has betrayed conservatism time and time again?
If Ronald Reagan were on record making these accusations against Newt Gingrich... well... then I'd be anti-Gingrich too.
But Ronald Reagan clearly WASN'T anti-Gingrich!
Folks... again... and again, and again, and again... what's the record here? The record is of a man - Newt Gingrich - who "criticized" Ronald Reagan for not going as far RIGHT as the young firebrand Gingrich wanted to go!
Folks... Gingrich is being criticized - from the supposed "Right" - for having been more ambitiously conservative than... RONALD REAGAN!
That's the complain from the GOP Establishment. That's what they'd have us believe.
Folks... again... again, and again, and again... look at what Newt accomplished in little more than a decade starting as a back-bench member of the (then) Republican (minority) House: He organized conservatives into movement which achieved power in the 1994 Republican Revolution! He came up with and got much of the conservative Contract With America passed! He fought - and lost - a battle with President Bill Clinton where Gingrich's position was he wanted to shrink government and government spending... and yet having lost the battle he still ended up with his ideals "winning the war" (if only temporarily) via the balanced budgets of the late '90's and early '00's!
Folks... is what I'm pointing to - the facts I'm outlining - getting through?
I pray to God it is.
There are BAD people going after Newt Gingrich. People who obviously prefer to be "Big Fish" even in a polluted pond.
Look at who the people who oppose Gingrich are and look at the tactics they're using.
Ron Paul criticizes Gingrich.
Ron Paul doesn't LIE about Gingrich.
Romney...? Romney's surrogates?
Don't be fooled, folks. Don't let the pile on stampede you. Gingrich should be the GOP presidential nominee. As GOP presidential nominee Gingrich would win. As President... I have no doubt whatsoever that Newt Gingrich would put Country and Constitution first and foremost in every policy coming out of a Gingrich Administration.
Since I got my first home computer my homepage has been set to the Drudge Report.
That's not gonna change... but I have to say that I'm somewhat confused about Matt Drudge's continuing focus on "sharing" anti-Newt "news," opinion, and analysis.
Hey... it could just be that like me, Matt calls 'em as he sees 'em and so he's just providing the links and letting folks make of them what they will.
If so... kudos, Matt Drudge!
What's interesting, though, is that as with the other day's Weekly Standard "attack" on Newt which in reality only served to demonstrate how faithful to true conservatism New Gingrich actually is... so too do today's Drudge links serve the same purpose.
Case in point:
Check out the following from a Mark Shields column which Drudge highlights this morning...
In 1995, when Newt Gingrich first became speaker of the House, Bob Dole was already on the threshold of becoming the longest-serving Senate Republican leader in U.S. history. Relations between the two GOP leaders, which were never chummy, were not helped by Gingrich's openly disparaging Bob Dole as "the tax collector for the welfare state."
Well, well... criticizing Bob Dole... THAT supposedly supports the case that Newt isn't a true conservative...?!?! Really...?!?!
Referring (correctly!) to Bob Dole as the (then) "tax collector for the welfare state" somehow "outed" Gingrich as being what exactly... AN OPPONENT OF THE WELFARE STATE...?
It DOES "out" Gingrich as an opponent of the Welfare State and beyond this it provides further context to my oft-noted analysis that most of the hatred and fear of Gingrich coming out of the GOP Establishment is based upon their KNOWING that if elevated to the Presidency, Newt Gingrich will do everything within his power to shrink the Welfare State... and thus shrink the power of the GOP Spendacrats in the House, Senate, and throughout various state governments!
Folks... read the full Shields piece. It's fascinating. What Shield - a proud, committed, lifelong liberal democrat - does is provide a few quotes showing Newt Gingrich "criticizing" Reagan.
What Shields evidently hopes is that readers skip the broader context of these "criticisms" having been made FROM THE RIGHT OF REAGAN!
YES...!!! FROM THE RIGHT...!!!
(Read the full piece and you'll see what I mean.)
It is simply amazing to me that from both the Spendaholic Left and Spendaholic "Right" we're getting the same sort of desperate attempts to tar Gingrich as being somehow to the Left of Romney when, actual, what the record clearly shows is that in some ways Newt Gingrich was actually to the Right of Ronald Wilson Reagan!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
What really happened in the Gingrich ethics case?
Folks... I know the answer. I'm guessing many of you do as well. That said... perhaps not all of you do. That's why I strongly urge you to link to an article by Byron York which recently ran in The Washington Times.
The bottom line answer?
It [the Gingrich ethics case] ended with a special counsel hired by the House Ethics Committee holding Gingrich to an astonishingly strict standard of behavior, after which Gingrich in essence pled guilty to two minor offenses.
Ahh... but were these two "minor offenses" actually "offenses" in terms of the underlying accusations? No!
Afterwards, the case was referred to the Internal Revenue Service, which conducted an exhaustive investigation into the matter. And then, after it was all over and Gingrich was out of office, the IRS concluded that Gingrich did nothing wrong.
After all the struggle, Gingrich was exonerated.
Allow me to reiterate that...
After all the struggle, Gingrich was exonerated.
(By the frigg'n IRS! After he was out of power!)
The bottom line: Gingrich acted properly and violated no laws.
Folks... again... I've always known this. Romney knows this. Romney has to have known this. Romney's staffers and consultants must know this. And yet...???
And yet Romney continues to claim that Newt Gingrich resigned in disgrace.
Folks... the timeline doesn't even fit for that accusation - let alone the facts!
If Romney beats Gingrich and gains the GOP nomination I'll vote for him against Obama. But frankly, I'll be good and drunk prior to heading to the polling booth.
Romney is a dishonest and deceitful man. If he's the GOP nominee the only reason I'll be voting for him is as a vote against Obama.
Folks... the supposed "conservatives" who oppose Newt Gingrich are so far gone that they can't tell the difference between what's praiseworthy and what's "gotchya" ammo!
Case in point, this snippet from the neocons at the Weekly Standard used in a laughable attempt to diminish Gingrich's true conservative credentials:
There's one mention of Newt Gingrich in The Reagan Dairies.
It's in Chapter 3, which covers 1983. Page 123 in the book:
"Newt Gingrich has a proposal for freezing the budget at the 1983 level. It's a tempting idea except that it would cripple our defense programs. And if we make an exception on that every special interest group will be asking for the same."
Wow... how "liberal" of Gingrich... wanting to actually FREEZE federal spending!
Now here I was thinking that when all is said and done one of the few vulnerabilities of the Reagan record is that spending went up more than President Reagan would have hoped.
(*RUEFUL CHUCKLE*) (*SMIRK*)
(Yeah... funny how the folks at the Weekly Standard didn't bother to post Reagan quotes to that effect; you know they're in there!)
So let me get this straight... the criticism of Newt is that he wanted an even leaner FY-1984 federal budget than did The Gipper...???
THAT'S THE CRITICISM...?!?!
(*LAUGHING MY FRIGG'N ASS OFF*)
Remember, folks... by 1984 President Reagan had already undertaken the military build-up which ultimately fed the arms race which in the end led to the seizing up of the Soviet economy and the end of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.
Even so... let's assume President Reagan was right and the military budget had to grow from 1983 to 1984. Fine. Reduce spending elsewhere so as to allow this! Prioritize!
Folks... think about it... if there any legitimate criticism to be leveled at Newt Gingrich based upon the above excerpted Reagan diary entry it's this:
GINGRICH WAS TRYING TO "OUT-REAGAN REAGAN" IN TERMS OF FISCAL PRUDENCE...!!!
(*LAUGHING TILL THE TEARS FLOW*)
Folks... these so-called "conservatives" at outlets such as the Weekly Standard and National Review are nothing more than GOP Establishment pilot fish.
Wow... what a "bad" man Gingrich was... he wanted to FREEZE FEDERAL SPENDING as far back as 1984!
Sounds to me that Gingrich was a hero, not a villain.
And, folks... seriously... ten years later when Gingrich successfully led the "Republican Revolution"... what did he try to do?
YES... he tried to restrain federal spending...!!!
Remember the government shutdown...? That was Gingrich fighting Clinton, the Democratic Party, segments of his own Republican Party, the media, academia, and most of the Fortune 50 crony capitalists who feed at the federal trawl in order to reign in runaway federal spending.
He lost then. Yes... he lost. Momentarily. But while he lost that particular battle against a far superior force, even in losing he set set events in motion for the eventual budget discipline we saw for a few years in the late '90's through the opening couple years of the 21st century.
Folks, if anything what the Weekly Standard has done via their attempted smear is to demonstrate once again that the history is clear... the record is clear... Newt Gingrich has been fighting to hold back federal spending and the growth of government since the very beginning the the Age of Reagan.
A recent interview of Nancy Pelosi by CNN's John King:
John King, CNN -- "You make your case there passionately for President Obama. But also understand that this is a tough reelection climate for any president, Democrat or Republican in this economy. Because of your history with Speaker Gingrich, what goes through your mind when you think of the possibility, which is more real today than it was a week or a month ago, that he would be the Republican nominee and that you could come back here next January or next February with a President Gingrich?"
Rep. Nancy Pelosi -- "Let me just say this. That will never happen."
King -- "Why?"
Pelosi -- "He's not going to be President of the United States. That's not going to happen. Let me just make my prediction and stand by it, it isn't going to happen."
King -- "Why are you so sure?"
Pelosi -- "There is something I know. The Republicans, if they choose to nominate him that's their prerogative. I don't even think that's going to happen."
Folks... com'on... if this doesn't tell you how terrified the Democrats are of Gingrich than nothing will!
Think about it...!!!
If Pelosi had something so devastating on Gingrich, then, wouldn't she WANT him to be the nominee and then "spring it on Gingrich" a week or so before the November election...?!?!
Folks... understand... there's a REASON the Dems are desperate to face Romney and not Gingrich come November.
Folks... that reason is clearly - obviously - that they KNOW Gingrich as GOP candidate would decimate the Left via engaging in and winning a war of ideas... not just a contest held every four years.
Well, folks, I didn't bother to watch President Obama's State of the Union (campaign) speech last night; the simple truth is... I've heard it all before.
Allow me, however, to post as a "featured newsbite" parts of an essay I read yesterday...
What is so special about April 29, 2009?
It’s the last time Congress passed a budget.
One thousand days later, we are operating without any plan.
* O-BAM-A! O-BAM-A! O-BAM-A!
Oh, the irony that it is today - I can’t wait to hear about it during the State of the Union tonight.
Just like last year's State of the Union.
The budget Obama tried to pass shortly thereafter, modeled on the ideas espoused during his speech, failed 97-0. It was so outrageous, not one Senator of either party would put his name to it.
* THIS BEARS REPEATING:
The budget Obama tried to pass shortly thereafter, modeled on the ideas espoused during his speech, failed 97-0. It was so outrageous, not one Senator of either party would put his name to it.
* ONE MORE TIME..
The budget Obama tried to pass shortly thereafter, modeled on the ideas espoused during his speech, failed 97-0. It was so outrageous, not one Senator of either party would put his name to it.
The last time the Senate passed a budget was on April 29, 2009. Since that date, the federal government has spent $9.4 trillion, adding $4.1 trillion in debt.
As of January 20, the outstanding public debt stands at $15,240,174,635,409. Interest payments on the debt are now more than $200 billion per year.
President Obama proposed a FY2012 budget last year, and the Senate voted it down 97–0. (And that budget was no prize—according to the Congressional Budget Office, that proposal never had an annual deficit of less than $748 billion, would double the national debt in 10 years and would see annual interest payments approach $1 trillion per year.)
The [Democrat controlled] Senate rejected House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R–WI) budget by 57–40 in May 2011, with no Democrats voting for it.
In FY2011, Washington spent $3.6 trillion. Compare that to the last time the budget was balanced in 2001, when Washington spent $1.8 trillion ($2.1 trillion when you adjust for inflation).
Entitlement spending will more than double by 2050. That includes spending on Medicare, Medicaid and the ObamaCare subsidy program, and Social Security. Total spending on federal health care programs will triple.
By 2050, the national debt is set to hit 344 percent of Gross Domestic Product.
Taxes paid per household have risen dramatically, hitting $18,400 in 2010 (compared with $11,295 in 1965). If the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire and more middle-class Americans are required to pay the alternative minimum tax (AMT), taxes will reach unprecedented levels.
Federal spending per household is skyrocketing. Since 1965, spending per household has grown by nearly 162%, from $11,431 in 1965 to $29,401 in 2010. From 2010 to 2021, it is projected to rise to $35,773, a 22 percent increase.
So there you have it. We stopped having a budget with a Democrat in the White House, a Democrat-controlled Senate, and with a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
1000 days ago.
So how come they aren’t talking about it?
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Welcome to another exciting day of "Bill with no working home computer!"
O.K. In my defense... I'm still using the same DSL modem I originally was issued upon "upgrading" to DSL back in... oh... late '90's maybe?
No... no router. No... no wi-fi. I am Bill - proud technophobe - and unless absolutely necessary I tend not to "upgrade" until literally forced to.
THEREFORE... as noted yesterday... getting Phil's loaner laptop to actually work is just slightly more complicated than simply plugging in the power cord... and thus... I'm flummoxed.
Folks... I connected what I think is an ethernet cable from the modem to the laptop... and... couldn't connect to anything.
I know... I know... but all is not for naught! I did clean out all the papers and assorted manuals and old floppy disks and such which had been in, under, and piled around the desk upon which my system rests and now when one of my competent friends comes over to "fix" things up for me they'll be able to work!
(Hey... it's progress! Progress in Bill's World...)
Hey... folks... at least I demonstrate a sense of humor and can publicly acknowledge my neurosis where "wires" and such come in. I am a technophobe! I freely admit it!
Anyway... on to newsbiting!
Monday, January 23, 2012
Welcome to today's Newsbites!
Still blogging from the library, but... saw Phil last night and he gave me a laptop to use temporarily (which I haven't hooked up yet due to my technophobia) till he can get around to setting up my file swap into my "new" 8200."
(Phil even gave me a mouse accessory for the laptop in the hopes that this would spur my courage to actually use it!)
Anyway... cross your fingers that when I get home I can work up the courage to plug the laptop into the power supply and DSL connection!
*** UPDATE ***
Oh, well... so much for the laptop.
Too many wires...
My wires which connect my phone jack to my DSL/Phone Line interface to my modem doesn't fit into the laptop phone wire jack.
No doubt I'm doing something wrong... but frankly... I just don't care enough to want to aggravate myself further trying to make heads or tails of all the wires under/behind my desk.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Ya know... point of fact... I'm actually getting used to blogging from the library!
Anyway, folks, did you watch the Republican Presidential Debate last night? Bottom line, I'd give Newt the "decision," but it certainly wasn't a knockout.
Romney had some good moments... but he also had some terrible moments - for example trying to finesse the tax return issue.
Romney convinced a Republican crowd that "investment returns" are as worthy of respect as are direct return on labor... meaning paychecks... but does that mean that he'll be able to convince independents, "moderates," and even populist conservatives (never mind "Reagan Democrats") that the rich who live off their "investments" (including trust funds set up in their names which they benefit from simply by being born into wealth) should be paying a lesser percentage tax than a middle class individual or couple who earn two salaries, both in the mid-high five figures... or perhaps the skilled professional who earns in the low-mid six figures, but who physically busts his or her ass doing so?
I don't know, folks... you who are regular readers know my views on tax policy. It seems to me that just as we have graduated "progressive" rates on income tax, so too should capital gains be taxed according to the amount of the gain.
(Any questions... feel free to post 'em as comments or else email me.)
How'd Santorum do? He was hot-cold-hot-cold-hot-cold...
Frankly since Santorum has no chance of being the nominee it's a waste of my time to go in-depth with a debate performance critique - so I won't.
Ron Paul? Once again, folks... if Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum spent more time latching on to Dr. Paul's ideas and gave him more credit where credit is due...
Oh! Almost forgot! The big loser last night...? CNN. Leading off with the ex-wife slam... well... something tells me their purpose wasn't to set the stage for Newt Gingrich receiving yet more standing ovations while they themselves were roundly booed.
Anyway... on to the newsbites!
Thursday, January 19, 2012
The following obituary ran on January 8, 2011
Tony Blankley died this weekend after a long battle with cancer. His passing is a sad loss for America, the nation’s capital and The Washington Times, all of which he served with great honor and decency. He was editorial page editor of this newspaper for five years. His example, wisdom and political perspective will continue as guiding lights for the work we do here.
After years in the spotlight, Mr. Blankley achieved that status sought by so many but found by so few: He was instantly recognizable to the man on the street. He wore fame well and never stopped being a self-effacing gentleman. He was committed to responding to all of his correspondence and spent hours of each workday hammering away at the keyboard in discussions with cranky strangers who emailed criticism of his work. It was his view that it is the people who count in a democracy, and if their vote mattered on Election Day, their opinions should be respected every other day at a newspaper.
Mr. Blankley was part of every campaign Ronald Reagan ever ran, and he came to Washington as part of the Gipper’s California team after his election as president in 1980. His career skyrocketed when he served as spokesman for House Speaker Newt Gingrich and became a familiar TV face for the new Republican majority after the historic GOP takeover of Congress in 1994. Born in London, he retained an émigré’s nostalgia for the land left behind and admired things British, especially literature and history. His father was Winston Churchill’s accountant, and Mr. Blankley’s office was adorned with a wartime poster of the prime minister telling his people, “Deserve victory” – timeless advice Tony believed America needed to heed.
Mr. Blankley’s last column - published prior to his death - bears reposting:
America has been bewildered, shocked and disoriented since Sept. 11, 2001.
The economic collapse and the unprecedentedly statist policies of the past three years have just compounded the anxiety.
The rise of China, the fall of Europe and the chaos in the Middle East has been startling in their swiftness - and the lack of American leadership as these dramatic events unfold is sending a shudder throughout the world.
We don’t know what to make of events. We have not been convinced that either President George W. Bush or incumbent President Obama have had a clue about how to make things right.
The GOP primary voters reflect this helter-skelter search for leadership. I predict that when the general electorate is engaged in the election campaign [this] year, the independents and some Democrats will reflect the same desperate confusion and search for the right kind of leadership for these treacherous times.
But what kind of candidate is most likely to be able to make sense of the terrible events and forces that weigh down our country, be capable of vividly describing our plight and what needs to be done and convince the public that he has the intelligence, courage, experience and sheer will to force events favorably to America’s historic interests and needs?
As I have chosen to phrase that question, the question answers itself. It is the GOP candidate currently at the top of the polls, my former boss, Newt Gingrich.
But most Washington politicians don’t see it that way.
They see a conventional close election - not a bold, historic lunge by the voters to save the country.
They suggest Mitt Romney may be best positioned to stitch together a safe campaign that noses out President Obama by a point or two, or comes up short by a point or two. He might be that candidate. Thus, Mr. Romney received the endorsement of the GOP political types - congressmen and former congressmen. Now they are doubling down on their early bet and are out telling reporters that Newt was never much of a leader and never got much done.
Curious. I remember most of them enthusiastically following his leadership year after year as Republican whip from 1989 to 1994.
It was the most successful congressional opposition movement since Benjamin Disraeli formed the modern Conservative Party in Britain in the mid-19th century.
And after the GOP took back the House for the first time in 40 years (and the Senate, too, by the way), Newt’s four years as speaker proved to be the most productive, legislative congressional years since at least 1965 to 67, and they were led by Lyndon B. Johnson from the White House.
Working against - and with - Democratic President Bill Clinton, we passed into law most of the Contract With America, welfare reform, telecommunications reform (which ushered in the modern cell-phone and Internet age) and the first balanced budget since before the Vietnam War, and we cut taxes and lowered unemployment to less than 5%.
Just who the heck do all these professional political wizards think managed all that? It wasn’t us clever staffers or many of the now grumbling GOP K Street crowd.
We helped but Newt led.
I admit Newt’s methods were not orthodox. He modified the seniority committee chairman system and picked the best members for the key posts. More than a few feathers got ruffled. One of his key insights was to recognize that the two-dozen Northeastern moderates and liberals in the GOP caucus held the balance of power - we didn’t have 218 safe conservative votes in the House. Newt needed to prevent them from playing off the GOP against the Democrats (which is what such a faction in any congressional party normally tries to do), but rather feel fundamental loyalty and value in sticking with the GOP working majority. To do that, they had to get some of the provisions that they wanted in bills often enough that they would stick with conservatives on other issues. This required a lot of maneuvering by Newt. Conservative members got frustrated that he did that. They called that erratic behavior on Newt’s part. No, it was necessary and calculated maneuvering. He was actually shrewdly managing a precarious majority. If he hadn’t kept the Northeastern liberals in the fold, very little would have been accomplished in those spectacular four years of legislating and leading.
But when it came to fundamental conservative principles and the political strategies necessary to protect them, Newt saw the threats to them and never wavered. I was amused to see Gov. John Sununu, President George H. W. Bush’s chief of staff and a current Romney supporter, criticize Newt last week. I remember back in 1990, just after Newt had become GOP whip, when Mr. Bush, urged on by Mr. Sununu, was about to break his campaign pledge and raise taxes, which eventually cost him his re-election bid against Mr. Clinton. It was Newt who opposed it. In fact, Marlin Fitzwater, the loyal and shrewd White House press secretary, and no fan of Newt’s at the time, later wrote in his memoirs, “As it turned out, one of the few people on the Republican team who understood this trap [the Democrats demanded Bush raise taxes as the political price to reduce the deficit] was Newt Gingrich. … Newt had … recommended a different course of action: Abandon the budget negotiations [with Democrats], keep the tax pledge, insist that Congress cut spending, and make a political fight out of it. It’s clear now that we should have followed his advice.”
Years later, when Newt was speaker, he followed his own advice. He refused to raise taxes, he made a political fight of spending cuts with Bill Clinton (paying a big price in personal smears run against him), but we won the historic balanced budgets. In dangerous times, the safer choice for president is not the candidate who has always played it safe, nor is it the candidate who has not already faced and defeated adversity.
Amen, my friends... amen.