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September 07, 2010

Comments

I should note that I don't have a problem with the simple fact of Newt's having become involved with a much older woman when he was 16.

I'd be hypocritical if I did, because I became involved with my then 22-year-old-lover, who was my third, when I was a few weeks away from turning 16, and we were together, with a bit of off-and-on, for the next eight years. (She also was unaware of my age at first; bit of a story there.)

But since I'm not for the sort of "family values" that Gingrich espouses, it's not a problem for me to not have a problem with that fact of his biography *per se*. For me, it would be the details that matter. And as a rule, I don't believe anyone outside a close relationship can completely understand what goes on within it, so I try to be as restrained as possible in drawing any conclusions about anyone's relationships.

Gingrich's pattern, though, I do draw some conclusions from.

I don't object to the way Newt started his relationship with his first wife, Jackie Battley; the way he ended it, during her cancer, does certainly appear to be very icky.

Perhaps more to the point, can *Newt Gingrich* be the person he is and be a good leader.

Newt is pretty successful as an instigator and blue-sky "idea man".

When it comes to tangible, hands-on leadership, he blows stuff up.

To lead, you have to put other people's interests ahead of your own. At least some of the time. I don't think that's our Newtie.

"Can you be a good leader and a bad person?"

Before I answer that question, tell me how low you are going to cut the top marginal rate, whether you will eliminate the capital gains rate, how much (all would be good) of Social Security you plan to turn over to TARP II (the coming real bailout of Wall Street and the banks), and how many parasitic old people and veterans you will cut from the rolls of Medicare and the VA as a downpayment to eliminating both, and if I'm sufficiently impressed with the Randian nature of those answers, among others, you can f*ck my wife, my mother, and all of my sisters with one hand while they are undergoing chemo and radiation treatment, while herausing American Muslims into containment camps with the other, for all I care.

As cover for the latter behavior, we'll set up a press conference in which you blubber into the mic Glenn Beck/Jimmy Swaggert style about your past mistakes, while surrounded by Glenn Beck, Jimmy Swaggert, Ted Nugent and a full, big haired phalanx of true American evangelical types, including a formerly Muslim formerly gay formerly transvestite-turned three-piece-suited hedge fund manager/confederate general who has renounced his former lifestyle choices in favor of selling short reverse pay-back collatoralized Obama futures from the confines of his plush John Wilkes Booth kissing booth in the corner of Rupert Murdoch's penthouse office, while convincing portly, but otherwise impeccably honorable Tea Party types to drink chilled formaldahyde through lead straws from the Koch Brothers memorial reflecting pool on the Washington Mall.

There, good leader, go forth.

When voting for a politician seems to be an act of faith (that they won't turn around and screw the people that voted for them), "personal integrity" does rank as a relevant issue.

Perhaps we need an occasional "auto da fe" to keep 'em honest.

Newt is a strange person, but, thank God, he doesn't know me.

Digressively, here's an Arizona Republican who shares Newt's energy and zest.

Newt is a strange person, but, thank God, he doesn't know me.

I know how you feel, son, 'cause it runs in the family.

From Gary's link:

Mr. Pearcy and other drifters and homeless people were recruited onto the Green Party ballot by a Republican political operative who freely admits that their candidacies may siphon some support from the Democrats.

A Randian conservative is running for the state rep seat in my district, against a Democratic incumbent notable for her activity in environmental issues.

The conservative describes herself as the "green candidate", because it's her first time at the electoral politics rodeo.

Get it?

I have to give her credit for creative use of language.

Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover are two 20th Century Presidents noteable for their personal integrity.

From Richardson's article...
His mantra was that the Democrats were a corrupt permanent majority. And the Republican establishment was the biggest impediment to changing that. "How do we move the politics so that conservative is acceptable?" he would ask. That was the main question.

What the nation needs is a Democratic Newt Gingrich -- someone who understands that the GOP is "permanently corrupt" and that the Democratic establishment is the biggest impediment to effective change.

And if such a Democrat existed, I think I'd support him regardless of his personal life. Thus, I can't say that Newt's narcissistic personal infractions are disqualifying for him.

I think Gingrich clearly demonstrates that you can be a bad leader and a bad person. As a leader, Gingrich really sucked, his primary talent was getting ahead of a mob, and yelling "Follow me!". But he didn't create the mob, or steer it. He just grabbed the credit for a lot of other people's hard work.

There is an excellent political film thriller to be made about a Republican cheat/liar/piece of Breitbartian filth like Mr May in Arizona who recruits various characters to run for numerous elective offices.

The plants, through various surprising political campaign machinations, mysterious financial resources, and unexpected but simple charm and eloquence on the hustings, gain momentum as the campaign progresses and not only overtake the hapless but anodyne Democrats in the races, but mount a furious assault on the unknowing Republicans' leads in nearly all of the statewide races ..
.......... and the plants win every race.

Mr May, the man with the set-up, gets his set-up upset, much to his later regret.

The plants are, of course, not liberals play-acting, but rather a group of formidable, ruthless and deeply vengeful operatives whose aim is to give the people of Arizona (or pick a place, how about Washington D.C.?) what the current Republican beast SAYS it wants: the total dismantling of civil government, no taxes (not a cent), except for a crack volunteer militia force (again made up of mysterious characters who come out of the woodwork) which begins the Republican program in earnest -- the bombing and destruction of the Federal Government's Central Arizona Project, the refusal of all Federal government money due to registered Republican parasites, including Medicare, Medicaid (ventilators keeping Republicans alive at Medicaid nursing homes unplugged en mass for efficiency's sake, Social Security, all infrastructure monies, and eventually the forced march of all Republicans south into the desert toward the Mexican border for expulsion form the country.

Mr May will be set upon by his fellow liar/cheat Republican compatriots and their families and beheaded (let's give them what their imaginations demagogue, every bit of it) before they are catapaulted over the border into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, who agree with their no-tax philosophy.

"But he didn't create the mob, or steer it. He just grabbed the credit for a lot of other people's hard work."

Creating a mob IS hard work.

As soon as I find out who has created this most recent mob, I'm going to give them full credit at an elaborate ceremony.

"Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover are two 20th Century Presidents noteable for their personal integrity."

And Truman and Coolidge, unless someone cares to remind me of some reason to reconsider.

Herbert Hoover was known for his personal integrity and complete corporate corruption.
Even the British were shocked at the raw way he tried to steal that railroad in China and refused to have anything to do with it.
But then, he didn't steal any of the money while he was handing out the food to the Belgians during the WWI occupation by Germany.
Not as far as we know, anyway. Is anybody here Belgian?

.......... and the plants win every race.

I'm predicting the first order of business on the legislative agenda will be legalization of marijuana.

As a leader, Gingrich really sucked, his primary talent was getting ahead of a mob, and yelling "Follow me!". But he didn't create the mob, or steer it. He just grabbed the credit for a lot of other people's hard work.

Could you elaborate on this? I was under the impression that Gingrich was the one who finally took the lead in creating a strategy to retake the House, starting from when he was a back bencher in the early 80s and the rest of the Republicans thought it wasn't worth the trouble.

Truman was very much a product of the Pendergast machine in Missouri; even if he didn't enrich himself personally, he knowingly allowed himself to benefit from the corruption of others. Which, as far as I know, is neither here nor there with respect to his behavior once he was president.

"Could you elaborate on this?"

Sure. His 'strategy' was the "Contract with America". The problem is, there's no evidence that many people knew about the "Contract" going into the election, or that the election results were due to it. OTOH, a number of generally 'conservative' interest groups, such as the NRA and Right to Life, put in an absolutely enormous number of man-hours worth of political activism that year. This is the sort of work which is traditionally expected to generate "mobs", and I see no reason to think that Gingrich, rather than the interest groups, deserves the credit.

OTOH, Gingrich was very successful at taking the credit for the election outcome. The result was that the interest groups that, (IMO, anyway.) actually engineered it got screwed.

Now, if the "Contract" had been worth the paper it was written on, Gingrich might have succeeded in taking control of the "mob", and making it his. A number of items in that 'contract' were, and still are, massively popular. But, as you will recall, it turned out to be pretty worthless as a 'contract', with Gingrich repeatedly having to say, "We didn't promise we'd pass any of this, just bring it to a vote!" after stage managed votes designed to make sure everybody who needed to could vote for "Contract" items without any risk of their actually passing. Which is why the states never got a crack at ratifying either the balanced budget or term limits amendments Gingrich promised. Multiple versions were brought to the floor, to make sure that no one version got enough votes...

In the end, the only thing Gingrich accomplished was to make sure that conservatives became demoralized, because putting in the work to elect Republicans didn't actually result in them getting what they wanted. The "Contract" became an excuse to violate other campaign promises that had actually driven the election, such as repealing the 'assault weapon' ban.

So, essentially, Gingrich got out in front of the mob, and then dispersed it. A lot of conservatives just dropped out of politics after that debacle proved to them that electing Republicans was pointless.

My friends, this here is the way to build a movement.

It's true, freedom isn't free, but you can get in on the action for a mere $12.00.

Onion or not-Onion? We report, you decide.

h/t TPM

"The democratic party (controlled by far left radicals) have finally shown their true colors and reveled their true agenda’s to the American people, their loyalty lies not with you, or this great nation we all love, but their loyalty lies with a self serving agenda (marxist - socialism) they truly despise America, and what it stands for."

We also stand firmly against run-on sentences.

Brett, I confess that's a perspective I haven't heard before. Obviously, that whole story looks a lot different from the perspective of a liberal. IIRC, "Contract with America" was sort of a late-stage gimmick of the 1994 election. A lot of work had been going on before then, by Newt Gingrich as well as by the right-wing activist groups.

Maybe I'm more cynical than you are: when I referred to the hard work that Newt Gingrich did laying the foundations for taking back the House, I'm talking about his innovative use of CSPAN to broadcast barn-burner partisan speeches to empty House chambers and playing up the "House banking scandal" in order to play up stories of Democratic corruption, etc. I would have argued that Newt channeled the mob into a Republican majority and then dispersed them before they caused too much trouble. If you had a balanced-budget amendment, you wouldn't be able to have ridiculous tax cuts, stupid wars, channeling of public money into private contractors, and other such things that are really the cornerstones of Republican governance.

I give Newt overwhelming, if not complete, credit for taking down Jim Wright.

Reference on what the Contract did and didn't acccomplish.

What this country needs is to two mobs with assault weapons to get rid of politics as usual.

What this country needs is to two mobs with assault weapons to get rid of politics as usual.

Seriously, be careful what you wish for.

What sounds cute in a blog comment is not so pretty IRL.

We've been down that path before. Let's not go there again.

ridiculous tax cuts, stupid wars, channeling of public money into private contractors

Agreed on stupid wars, or even less-than-stupid wars that never seem to end. As for ridiculous tax cuts, you would think with solid Democratic majorities in both houses and a Dem in the White House,if tax cuts were so awful, they would have long since been repealed. But, they haven't. Perhaps the notion that tax cuts are ridiculous is not as widely held as some would believe. Of course, it could be cowardly politicians who are afraid of facing voters. That would be the same voters who put Obama and the Dems in office, if I am not mistaken.

I fully agree that the channeling of public money into private contractors is a bad idea, which is why stimulus spending, as currently practiced and as proposed is a bad idea. Not only for its inherent administrative inefficiency, increased debt load and the long delay between enactment and execution, but mostly for the corruption attendant to having elected politicians pick winners and losers.

Obama seems to be toying with the idea of a FICA holiday. My guess is that he'll roll that out, if he does, later this month to maximize perceived the political lift that he and other Dems would hope flow from giving folks money directly. My guess, if he even does it, is that it will be too little, too late.

If the Repubs had any sense at all, which they don't, they'd have been on the FICA holiday a year ago and never let go.

what the Contract did and didn't acccomplish.

IIRC, the '94 sweep was a huge surprise to everyone. My sense then and now was that Hillary and Bill had gotten so much negative publicity by mid-94, in hindsight, the result seems pre-ordained, hindsight being the operative word.

"Negative publicity!"

That's certainly one way to put it.

Perhaps the notion that tax cuts are ridiculous is not as widely held as some would believe.

people truly believe all kinds of ridiculous things, without knowing how ridiculous they're being.

"We also stand firmly against run-on sentences"

No we don't, although we sometimes think we do, we really don't mind a good run on as long as it is decipherable but then we haven't really defined we, as in, is it we the people or we the front pagers or we the editting community or we the guest posters that really despise bad grammar in all cases or just runon sentences with speling errors.

people truly believe all kinds of ridiculous things, without knowing how ridiculous they're being.

Yes, they do. Often in a vacuum of objectivity.

Thank you for your comments, McKinney. We were all wondering, right at this moment, just what your opinion on the stimulus was in a thread about Newt Gingrich.

Russell:

Not a wish, far from it, but merely seeking an acknowledgement that when Mob A clamors for assault weapons, and in fact shows up with lethal weaponry at public meetings in which civil society is attempting to govern itself, then there ought to be a Mob B on an equal footing as a countervailing force.

people truly believe all kinds of ridiculous things, without knowing how ridiculous they're being

That's ridiculous.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/09/08/1675141/its-lucky-that-sheriff-andy-isnt.html

Even Sheriff Andy will be swept from office.

This, from a link by the Barney Fifes of Mob A over at Redmurder, who see the main chance to destroy the United States of America by killing those with pre-existing conditions and no health insurance.

It seems they've ginned up 71 cases of malfeasance against Sheriff Andy, right'ere in this briefcase.

Deputy Death Palin, Deputy Angle, Deputy Paul, Barney and all of the rest of the deputies in Mob A know their Constitution, too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBuPQgV8yBM

Will Sheriff Andy, like Socrates, drink the hemlock because he's an honorable man, or will he retreat (more honorably, in my estimation) to the mountains to commune with the Darling family and Gomer, and practice his deadeye as he assembles Mob B and prepares to take back Mayberry.

I think he requires some outside muscle, too

Barney has deputized the rock-throwing Ernest T and is distributing assault weapons to certain members of the citizenry. Aunt Bea and Opie are under house arrest.

Thelma Lou has cut Barney off from the sugar, but her tactic has no purchase because he's an ideologue who aims to do his worst with all of the other rogue deputies in the county.

What to do, what to do? Will Andy count himself out .. or in... of Lennon's choice.


Ezra Klein:

From my reporting, the problem wouldn't be in the White House. It would be in Congress. I've asked a number of Republican offices whether they'd be willing to work with the Democrats on a payroll-tax holiday. Without fail, they've told me no, that they no longer support a payroll-tax holiday given the size of the deficit.

square that with their position on the Bush tax cuts.

Republicans are frauds. "conservatism" is a fraudulent philosophy. a faux-sophy.

In the end, the only thing Gingrich accomplished was to make sure that conservatives became demoralized, because putting in the work to elect Republicans didn't actually result in them getting what they wanted.

As a leftie Democrat who volunteered for Obama and other Dems in '08, I feel their pain.

I give Newt overwhelming, if not complete, credit for taking down Jim Wright.

I'll give him credit for Clinton's landslide re-election.

What this country needs is to two mobs with assault weapons to get rid of politics as usual.

Only two? I can envision 3 or 4 in Nevada alone, and that's not even counting the bikers.

Perhaps the notion that tax cuts are ridiculous is not as widely held as some would believe.

That an idea is popular doesn't mean it's not ridiculous. Case in point: Real Housewives.

Somewhat off-topic: I saw the best headline ever yesterday at Roger Ailes' (not that one) blog.
"Will Jindal endorse Vitter? Depends."

-RobW
(I keep forgetting- I can apparently only post once without signing in w/typepad.)

Republicans are frauds. "conservatism" is a fraudulent philosophy. a faux-sophy.

Fox-sophistry?

The GOP is just saying outright that large and permanent tax cuts for the richest are preferable to a smaller temporary tax cuts for workers. So what else is new?

Oh and russell- great link to the Teapartybizzopp.info site.

I just read half the front page; I'm especially impressed with how every single sentence contains at least one, and often several, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, or usage errors. It lends verisimilitude to what must be (dear gods I hope) a scam. They know their market- the folks who want an English-Only law but who can't write in English.

Man, I wish I'd thought of that a year ago. I'd be rich enough by now to appreciate a tax cut.

"Republicans are frauds."

Well, this election cycle I think we can reverse that formulation to read "Frauds are Republicans".

But I'm not sure the Republicans who are Frauds know what have wrought by recruiting the Frauds who ae Republicans to take over the Party.

For example, we have Rick Scott, fraudster extraordinaire, who stole millions from Medicare, liable to win the Governor's race in Florida. He wants to privatize Medicare, the better to steal money from the sick and elderly strapped to wheelchairs in the sitting rooms of Florida nursing homes, which the attendants point in the direction of the television that is on one channel 24 hours per day -- FOX. Same at the airport and a good many bars.

They'll vote for Scott, because they see the black man on FOX accused of stealing their freedoms.

I expect Pete Rose, Lenny Dykstra, any number of reality show has-beens, and pretty much the entire population of white-collar criminals in prison today to run for Republican office, receive Moe Lane's endorsement, and win many more races in 2012.

But, look, Brett Bellmore has been chastized in numerous threads here for stereotyping all Muslims because of the acts of a few.

We shouldn't do the same to Republicans.

It may very well be that we can afford a more nuanced view than "the only good Republican is a dead Republican".

Some of my best friends are Republicans. My mother, for example, who to her credit is aghast at the current Republican lineup -- not that she wants to pay her taxes -- it's just that she really didn't expect to see the frauds who are Republicans actually trying to kill her by destroying the safety net.

That sort of fraud is just over the line.

How about this formulation:

Many Republicans are fine, decent people living their lives as best they can.

Some are like Imam Rauf, good men and women trying to let the world see the reality of the many Republicans mentioned above.

Some Republicans are frauds.

A few Frauds who are Republicans are the real thing -- Taliban and al Qaeda -- and should be dealt with by the professionals hired to take care of these things with whatever means deemed necessary.


If the Repubs had any sense at all, which they don't, they'd have been on the FICA holiday a year ago and never let go.

What, and let Obama sign a popular bill?

if tax cuts were so awful, they would have long since been repealed. But, they haven't.

That is highly likely because *they are already scheduled to sunset*.

And they were scheduled to sunset by the Republican Congress that passed them, so that they could (a) help mask their effect on the long term fiscal health of the country and (b) kick the can down the road for a later Congress to deal with.

What's under consideration now is *changing the original law* so that they don't just expire as planned.

And they were scheduled to sunset by the Republican Congress that passed them,

... also, because sunsetting them was the only way the GOP could pass them under reconciliation, given the well-known and well-understood deficit ramifications of the cuts.

everybody, including the GOP, knew these cuts were going to explode the deficit. but they passed them anyway - because cutting income is the smart thing to do when you're fighting two wars.

Why the hell have the Democrats allowed the discussion to be framed as "extending the Bush tax cuts" rather than "let's pass the Obama tax cuts" for 2011?

--TP

Um, because they're the Democrats. They suck at messaging.

TP,

I think the political reason is this: in the event they extend all of the tax cuts it is still Bushes tax cuts for the rich. The upside of renaming them doesn't outweigh the downside if "Obamas tax cuts" included a tax cut for the wealthy.

McK-in-TX:
I fully agree that the channeling of public money into private contractors is a bad idea, which is why stimulus spending, as currently practiced and as proposed is a bad idea. Not only for its inherent administrative inefficiency, increased debt load and the long delay between enactment and execution, but mostly for the corruption attendant to having elected politicians pick winners and losers.
---

You point out corruption of politicians as if it takes place in a vacuum. They're corrupted by what, then? A sweet tooth? The debbil? Certainly not all the money they are given quid pro quo by industries and industrialists to make the legal environment even more to the likings of industry?

However illegal it is to take a bribe, offering that bribe - and then leaning on the recipients in order to bend the nation to your preference - is "just good business sense". Is that how you see it? That's okay with you?

I have to ask: are you truly blind to the buying of political influence by the mega-wealthy - and the pervasive destructive effects on our nation - or are you simply indifferent to it?

Until a few years ago in Germany bribes were tax deductible as business expenses. A high court decided that legality/morality (or lack thereof) did not matter as far as the tax code was concerned (cf. that the income of prostitutes is taxed normally even when prostitution itself is illegal).

Fresh Newt from Peter Daou:

[...] Citing a recent Forbes article by Dinesh D’Souza, former House speaker Newt Gingrich tells National Review Online that President Obama may follow a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview.

Gingrich says that D’Souza has made a “stunning insight” into Obama’s behavior — the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama.”

“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”

“This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president,” Gingrich tells us.

“I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating — none of which was true,” Gingrich continues. “In the Alinksy tradition, he was being the person he needed to be in order to achieve the position he needed to achieve . . . He was authentically dishonest.”

Daou's commentary is spot on.

I think too Newt Gingrich must be famous leader. He is coming soon, thanks

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