March 24th, 2007

Stupid Ass Of The Week: Newt Gingrich

Pot, kettle: Gingrich bemoans "attack politics"
Posted at Facing South

Newt Gingrich, in a rare moment of honesty, showing he's neither a grower or a shower.

Here at Facing South, we've been following the attempted political revival of ex-Rep. Newt Gingrich (GA-R). Since 2005, Gingrich -- known during his tumultuous days in Congress as the GOP's bomb-throwing attack dog -- has been trying to show a kinder, gentler side.

There have been lapses, like the time last September when he agreed that Iraq critics were the same as Hitler's appeasers. Or his claim at C-PAC earlier this month that people in New Orleans died because they were uneducated and lacked "citizenship" (as opposed to cars, good levees and a FEMA evacuation plan).

But the New Newt aims to be a voice of reason and conciliation, as when he confessed to conservative religious leader James Dobson this March that he was having an extramarital affair just as he was leading the charge against President Clinton's "moral failings."

It's unclear if Gingrich's admission helped him with "values voters" (for example, see here); it certainly armed critics with ammunition in charging him with hypocrisy.

If Gingrich's claims to personal morality have invited ridicule, so has his campaign to be seen as an "arbiter of political ethics." This ramped up in January 2006, when Gingrich began decrying the "unhealthy" and "dysfunctional" nature of D.C. politics. Gingrich didn't mention, of course, the fact that he was socked with an "unprecedented" $300,000 fine by his House colleagues in 1997 for "reckless disregard" of campaign rules. Indeed, it was the first time in the House’s 208-year history it has disciplined a speaker for ethical wrongdoing, and House Republicans said they were "embarrassed."

All of which makes Gingrich's latest entry into the "political ethics" debate even more rich. Joe DeSantis, Gingrich's communications director, eagerly sent me an announcement today about Gingrich's latest YouTube posting, footage from a conference in which Gingrich takes on the now-famous pro-Obama video created by a former employee of Blue State Digital.

You can see Gingrich's video here; here's a quick transcript of the good bits:
I don't know how many of you have seen the YouTube commercial about 1984 [...] It's a very interesting attack on Hillary and modest promotion of Barack Obama. And it is utterly, totally destructive to the process of thought.

There is not a single thing in that commercial that enables America to solve a problem. Oh it's clever, it fills up space on television, people can talk about it. It's the Entertainment Tonight version of governing our great country. And it's very dangerous.

Because we have no habits anymore of serious dialogue, we have no habits of serious citizenship. Everything is reduced to gossip, attack, whose consultant is cleverer. And it's really, very destructive.
He would know. Better than most.

Another email from my Neocon father

From my father, who is outraged that Democrats voted against making English the official language of the USA and voted to give illegal immigrants SSI benefits - conveniently listing by name the evil that is a Democrat:
I am forwarding this but adding the comment that I thought it interesting if you count the votes against making English the official language there are 32 Democrats, 1 Republican and 1 Independent. On the Social Security vote there are 39 Democrats, 10 Republicans and 1 Independent. There were no senators from the southeast voting against the English language measure and 2 voting for the S/S one. Makes you wonder who represents the average American citizen anymore, doesn't it!!!!

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My lengthy response:
Seriously, are these the most pressing issues we are facing as a society? $532 billion - BILLION - being COMPLETELY wasted on the abject shame that is now touted as bringing democracy to Iraq (or whatever is the latest excuse), which will have a direct affect on your own Grandchildren & Great-Grandchildren in a fiscal sense for decades to come. Citizens of this country, the constituents of elected officials, are languishing away in abject poverty while those very elected officials are touting 'the sanctity of marriage' as the most pressing issue facing us. Scandals within the ranks of the current administration and GOP collective hand over fist that are mired in corruption, greed, and hypocrisy. Education, civil liberties, health care, and the environment - all in the toilet. Why issues of official language and SSI benefits to illegal immigrants take priority over lives being lost in a bullshit war to the House/Senate is a complete mystery to me. The English language is under no more threat of imminent destruction than this country was by Saddam Hussein's imaginary WMD's, and the notion of SSI benefits dispensation is just one more red herring, a completely irrelevant $1 bill blown up to hide every $1000 wasted on the REAL problem of illegal immigrants, which is in border security that actually works. When your boat has a hole in it, don't put it in the ocean and bitch about all the water you have to bail out with a Dixie cup, that won't fly. Either you fix the boat, get another one, or you let it sink altogether - either way you claim responsibility for what is really wrong with the boat.

Let's talk about accountability, starting from the upper management offices.

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