Sunday, January 22, 2012

Newt Gingrich: A Question of Judgement - UPDATE: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords To Step Down

by Nomad

With yesterday's victory in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich has defied all of the predictions by the political experts. At least for the moment. Given his conflicting record on the issues, the remarks he has made over the years and his embarrassing private life, it is surely one of the most astounding primary election results in recent history.  
The moral of the South Carolina vote seems to be that it always pays to tap into unreasoning anger and frustration- and, yes, hate. His mock outrage at simply being questioned about an interview of his ex-wife- which threw into question his professed family values- was pure political theatrics. It was also effective tactics. The question remains whether the debate moderator was also in on the act or not. 
"One of the worst things in this country is the media," said Steve Chase, 61, of Chapin, who cast a vote for Gingrich Saturday. "They have an agenda. And (Gingrich) is the only one, probably since Reagan, who stands up to them."
Pretty misguided all around. 
In any case, I have compiled a few of video clips to illustrate how Gingrich has a long history of letting his mouth get him into trouble. Thankfully for Newt, South Carolina voters have remarkably short memories. 

Newt Gingrich on the South Carolina Primary

Newt Gingrich on Big Government and EPA regulations
How such statements about the need for regulation can ever be squared with the Tea Party membership in the GOP is hard to imagine. Of course, in this instance, he is absolutely correct, although his large boat analogy had the audience laughing at his expense. (As one would expect of such a ego maniacal person, Gingrich  seemed to be completely oblivious to how his remark sounded.)

The moderator's question at the recent debate was not- by any means- the only time he has faced painful questions about his apparent hypocrisy. Dot Crews, his campaign scheduler throughout the 1970s, said this of Gingrich "If the country today were to move to the left, Newt would sense it before it started happening and lead the way." Of course, as Romney knows, there's a price to pay for flip-flopping on issues. Somebody might remember.
The Hypocrisies of Newt Gingrich
Gingrich once reportedly told bestselling author Gail Sheehy, "I think you can write a psychological profile of me that says I found a way to immerse my insecurities in a cause large enough to justify whatever I wanted it to." 
Newt Gingrich on Leadership and Bipartisan Politics

Gingrich's ability to say things that sound good -at least superficially- has given him a kind of fame, but not a lot of esteem. The more you think about his so-called brilliant remarks, the more ludicrous they seem. But Newt knows his audience and knows they tend to be unable to discern the bats from the nightingales.
For example, when he took over the House speaker position he said, "We are open to working with everyone, we will cooperate with anyone, and we will compromise with no one." How can you have cooperation and how can you be open to working with anybody without compromise?
In fact, as the Speaker, Gingrich was a disaster for Republicans and for the nation as a whole. When given power, he managed to close down the government and to constantly stir up division.

(from Political Carnival)
Looking at it from another perspective, Gingrich did has a positive effect on bi-partisanship. As Speaker of the House, he showed that Republicans and Democrats really could work together. Only it was not in the way that Gingrich would have expected or preferred.
The Washington Post from January 22 1997 outlines what was the result the last time Gingrich was in charge.
The House voted overwhelmingly yesterday to reprimand House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and order him to pay an unprecedented $300,000 penalty, the first time in the House's 208-year history it has disciplined a speaker for ethical wrongdoing.

The ethics case and its resolution leave Gingrich with little leeway for future personal controversies, House Republicans said. Exactly one month before yesterday's vote, Gingrich admitted that he brought discredit to the House and broke its rules by failing to ensure that financing for two projects would not violate federal tax law and by giving the House ethics committee false information.

"Newt has done some things that have embarrassed House Republicans and embarrassed the House," said Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.). "If [the voters] see more of that, they will question our judgment."...
The article goes on to say:
House ethics committee members took pride in yesterday's bipartisan resolution of the case. "We have proved to the American people that no matter how rough the process is, we can police ourselves, we do know right from wrong," said Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), who headed the investigative subcommittee that charged Gingrich. 
For Newt Gingrich to be on the short list of candidates that the Republican party has to offer says so much about the decline of the party. Is this really their model of integrity, of leadership and vision? When it comes to knowing right from wrong, it appears that the GOP has once again forgotten the lessons it has already had to learn the hard way.

As per request:
Here is a link to  Newt's Congressional Ethics Report

In the Matter of Representative Newt Gingrich
Late Breaking News Update:
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has announced via video that she will step down from her Congressional seat this week, in order to dedicate herself fully to her recovery.  She feels this is in the best interest of her constituents in Arizona, and expressed her thanks for their support and her love of the state.  She also made a plea for our representatives to work together for the common good.  This message comes a little over one year after the horrific tragedy in Tucson that took six lives and shattered hers.  Her message is upbeat but also reminds us of the incredibly tough road she is on, trying to recover from such a devastating injury.  Here is Gabby in her own words.   

Here's wishing Gabrielle all the best in her recovery. This is what a hero looks like. Somebody who shows us all what personal courage is all about. Thanks for not quitting. 
(Special thanks to BBT for preparing this announcement.) 

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