COMMENTARY | Newt Gingrich is a shrewd orator and very good at demeaning the opposition when confronted with a question he cannot answer honestly. He is very adept at doing this in debates, against his political opponents and the moderators, and in television interviews. For him to become the Republican nominee he must somehow negate his deceptive, hypocritical personal life and political career. His tactic is to use rage and one-liners to gain approval from the audience. A conservative audience it seems that is more interested in being entertained and not in a significant debate of the issues. Knowing this the disgraced former Speaker of the House provides “Survivor” or “American Idol” style entertainment rather than focus on the issues. Saul Alinsky said it best, “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”
It is no surprise that after his performance at the NBC debate Gingrich said he will “serve notice” he will not participate in another debate without the audience participation. In part 1 of this story we have shown that Gingrich is against free speech unless it supports his cause.
Newt is reframing the conversation, playing the distraction game away from his hypocrisy and list of negative qualifications for the office of president. He is waging a war of scorched earth politics against his political opponents.
As for the NBC Florida debate, Newt showed his penchant for exaggeration, hypocrisy and deceit. When NBC’s Brian Williams asked a question about electability and Newt’s history as Speaker of the House Mr. Gingrich responded:
“Well, first of all, the case I make is that, when I was speaker, we had four consecutive balanced budgets, the only time in your lifetime, Brian, that we’ve had four consecutive balanced budgets. Most people think that`s good.”
But according to factcheck.org what Newt said was false:
“This boast is something that we have refuted numerous times. He has claimed to have “helped” balance the federal budget for four consecutive years. This time, he went beyond that in claiming that all four occurred under his watch as speaker of the House.”
“The federal government had four consecutive balanced budgets from fiscal years 1998 to 2001. Gingrich announced in November 1998 that he would resign as speaker. He left the House in January 1999. He was speaker when Congress passed federal budgets in fiscal years 1998 and 1999, but not 2000 and 2001.”
This is an example of deceit that the former speaker has continued to perpetuate. Mr. Gingrich went on to say:
“I left the speakership after the 1998 election because I took responsibility for the fact that our results weren’t as good as they should be. I think that’s what a leader should do. I took responsibility, and I didn’t want to stay around, as Nancy Pelosi has. I wanted to get out and do other things.”
However former Congressman Tom Tancredo has stated it was because Newt did not have enough votes to remain speaker and was “not a good leader.” It was not because Gingrich wanted to do other things he resigned because he could not obtain enough votes from his fellow Republicans to remain speaker. It was a mutiny because of his lack of leadership.
Later in the night Gingrich said this about Governor Romney’s 15 percent tax rate he pays on capital gains:
“My position is not to attack him for paying a 15 percent marginal rate.”
Yet earlier in the month Newt ridiculed Governor Romney on his taxes:
“I think we ought to rename our flat tax. We have a 15 percent flat tax. So this would be the “Mitt Romney flat tax” that all Americans could then pay the rate Romney paid. I think that’s terrific.”
As you can see not only has Gingrich attacked Governor Romney over his tax rate, he used ridicule to do it. This shows that the former speaker is not just deceitful he is a good student of Saul Alinsky. According to Alinsky:
“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”
When questioned about taxes and jobs part of Mr. Gingrich’s response was:
“In North Dakota today, we have a boom in oil development, unemployment is down to 3.2 percent. They have had seven straight tax cuts at the state level because the oil was on private land.”
“If that oil had been on public land, the environmentalists and Barack Obama would have stopped its development, and North Dakota would be mired in 8 percent or 9 percent unemployment. So, get the regulations out of the way, get the tax incentives right, and you can get back to creating an amazing number of jobs very fast.”
However Newt’s record on public land is not pristine. He voted for H.R. 39 that locked up 68 million acres of mineral rich Alaska land. For that matter contrary to his contract with America his voting record on property rights has been spotty at best. According to the National Review Online:
“Gingrich personally prevented property-rights-protective reforms of the Endangered Species Act from passing the House and then gave one of the most liberal members of the Republican caucus and environmental activist groups a de facto veto over environmental legislation.”
Lastly the former speaker claims to be a Reagan conservative. However in another article by the National Review Online by Elliot Abrams, former assistant secretary of state for Ronald Reagan and deputy national security adviser for the George W. Bush wrote that Gingrich was often not a loyal supporter of Ronald Reagan but “often spewed insulting rhetoric” back at the administration. Abrams wrote:
“He voted with the caucus, but his words should be remembered, for at the height of the bitter struggle with the Democratic leadership Gingrich chose to attack . . . Reagan.”
“Measured against the scale and momentum of the Soviet empire’s challenge, the Reagan Administration has failed, is failing, and without a dramatic change in strategy will continue to fail. . . . President Reagan is clearly failing.’ Why? This was due partly to ‘his administration’s weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail’; partly to CIA, State, and Defense, which ‘have no strategies to defeat the empire.’ But of course ‘the burden of this failure frankly must be placed first on President Reagan.’ Our efforts against the Communists in the Third World were “pathetically incompetent,” so those anti-Communist members of Congress who questioned the $100 million Reagan sought for the Nicaraguan “contra” rebels “are fundamentally right.”
Abrams continued in his article:
“Such was Gingrich’s faith in President Reagan that in 1985, he called Reagan’s meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev “the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with Neville Chamberlain in 1938 in Munich.”
How can a man who deliberately and mercilessly attacked Ronald Reagan call himself a Reagan conservative?
It seems the Reagan conservatives have forgotten the lessons of Reagan. The party of Reagan it seems is no longer the party of family values. They no longer concern themselves about the extra-marital affairs of those they are about to elect. They are unwilling to ask themselves why the vast majority of Newt’s Republican peers voted to fine him for ethics violations then forced him from the speakership. Sadly they are not. Most importantly they are not concerned with the fact that he has taken both sides of almost every issue. Reagan may very well not recognize the party that deifies his name.
(You can read Part 1 of this article here)
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