Sunday, November 27, 2011

For Gingrich, the good bad news

THE GOOD NEWS for Newt Gingrich, the new Golden Oldie to capture the media's imagination, is that he was endorsed by the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader, the state's biggest newspaper (Sunday circ. 63,991; daily, 48,342). The bad news for Newt Gingrich is that the influential right-wing daily endorsed the nominations of Steve Forbes in the 2000 Republican primary and, for God's sake, Pat Buchanan in the 1992 and 1996 primaries.

The paper's front-page Sunday editorial signed by publisher Joseph W. McQuaid sent waves of breathless reports across the cyberworld, which figured it had some hard news to bestir the saliva of a politically inattentive nation caught up in the frenzy of the National Football League.

According to McQuaid's extrasensory perception, we can count on Gingrich to "improve Washington" just as he did in the 1990s as the Republican House Speaker. You can see where this is all going.

The same, though younger Gingrich, was reprimanded in 1997 by a bipartisan House vote of 395 to 28 and required to pay a $300,000 penalty on ethics violations. The Washington Post reported at the time that"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.
Added Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican,

"Newt has done some things that have embarrassed House Republicans and embarrassed the House."
No previous House speaker in 208 years had been so disciplined.

How's that for "improving Washington"?


JLM said...

Newt is in his current position at the top of the heap simply by default, due to so many of the other kids on this GOP playground shooting themselves in the foot. For God's sake, at one point he was considered a joke as a candidate. Give him time. He'll make another unpopular statement or another of his questionable moral actions will come to light. The prevailing opinion continues to be that Mitt Romney will be the nominee, regardless of the fact that he's yet to top the polls.

David Hess said...

Quite apart from the ethical missteps that ultimately cost him the Speakership in the mid-1990s, Newt most recently was noted for taking $1.8 million in "consulting fees" from Freddie Mac, the housing underwriter, a government-backed agency that Republicans in general have long hoped to abolish and has been blamed in part for helping to spawn toxic home loans that contributed to the collapse of the housing market -- which, in turn, worsened the impact of the Wall Street-inspired financial plunge and the Great Recession. Not to mention his personal foibles, such as declaring his intention to divorce his first wife while she was abed with cancer, cheating on his second wife while calling for Bill Clinton's impeachment for lying about his own liaison with a White House intern, and running up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to a fancy jeweler to shower gems on his third wife. Even some conservative Republicans -- not associated with the Union-Leader -- have questioned his fealty to their ideology. The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, for one, a conservative op-ed columnist and blogger, recently wrote: "...should Gingrich, by some miracle, get to the Oval Office, do we really imagine the presidency would be any different than his speakership (disorganized, frenetic, disloyal to conservatives, gaffe-prone, and all about him)?". Whatever Newt advised the officers of Freddie Mac, I doubt they got their money's worth. The agency is still running deeply in red, despite an initial bailout by taxpayers, and is expected to ask for billions more.