Thursday, August 12, 2010

Is He? Newt

My thanks to long-time friend Todd for pointing out this Esquire article on Newt Gingrich.

Newt Gingrich: The Indispensable Republican

”In the twelve years since he resigned in defeat and disgrace, he has been carefully plotting his return to power. As 2012 approaches, he has raised as much money as all of his potential rivals combined and sits atop the polls for the Republican presidential nomination. But just who is Newton Leroy Gingrich, really? An epic and bizarre story of American power in an unsettled age.”

The article is lengthy. It is also fascinating. I was a long way into adulthood before I came to understand that the halls of power contain a fair number of people as flawed as Newt Gingrich. Well...okay. Maybe Newt takes the cake when it comes to flawed.

”"He was just full of hate and venom," says Beryl Anthony Jr., a Democratic congressman in those years. "He was driven mainly by trying to tear down the leadership and gain political power." "I've known Newt now for thirty years almost," says former congressman Mickey Edwards. "But I wouldn't be able to describe what his real principles are. I never felt that he had any sort of a real compass about what he believed except for the pursuit of power."

From that pursuit he would not be deterred. And so by the morning in the fall of 1994 that he gathered three hundred Republican candidates on the Capitol steps to announce his ingenious Contract with America, his transformation from fool to conqueror was complete. Newt Gingrich's ridiculous prophesies that he would change the world had come to pass.”

I’m not sure exactly what it is that sets me off about Newt. He was my Congressman for a short time when I was younger. But I wasn’t politically active then and didn’t pay much attention to him. I’m not a quick judge of character. My wife can size someone in minutes -- if not seconds. It takes me a long time -- if I even bother trying. But Newt sets me off. Believe it or not, I think it’s a simple as manners. He doesn’t have any. And he’s just plain mean.

Anyway, if he runs, I’ll do everything within my (very) limited power to make sure he loses. He’s bad news. He’s dangerous. I think incredibly dangerous. I can smell it.

”Ten years later, Gingrich has built an empire of wealth and influence by turning the fundraising scandals of his past inside out. His American Solutions for Winning the Future is a political-advocacy group similar to GOPAC or the PACs that support regular candidates like Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney, but with a twist: Regular PACs can't take corporate money or personal donations larger than $5,000. Instead, American Solutions is a "527" group, which can accept unlimited contributions as long as it doesn't promote the interests of a specific candidate. So Gingrich takes hundreds of thousands of dollars from coal and oil companies and spends it to fight energy regulations and promote conservative leaders at critical moments — as the archconservative observed, the "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" campaign he launched in the spring of 2008 was "likely the source of John McCain's miraculous rebound in the polls."”

And that is some powerful stink. It will become even more powerful. Newt is wrapped up with Citizens United -- the outfit that got the campaign finance laws overturned by the Supreme Court. That was the recent decision that opened up elections to unlimited spending by the entities that have unlimited funds -- like the coal and oil companies.

This is an article you need to read. And on the day Newt announces he’s running for President, you need to come back and read it again. I’ll remind you. Trust me.

Don Brown
August 12, 2010

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