Oh the irony: Newt Gingrich calls politics a ‘nasty, vicious’ business

Gingrich wept

Freshly knocked off the perch where he was certain he’d be the Republican nominee (thanks to the evils of unlimited corporate money injected into campaigns … ahem …) Newt Gingrich — yes, the Newt Gingrich — has taken to weeping publicly about his mom and ruminating on the nastiness of politics. Seriously. 

From ABC News:

In an interview with ABC News, Newt Gingrich accused his Republican opponents of lying in their negative ads and offering “no hope they will be any good as president.”

“Politics has become a really nasty, vicious, negative business and I think it’s disgusting and I think it’s dishonest,” Gingrich told ABC News aboard his campaign bus in Iowa.

Of course, Newt only believes that when the nastiness and viciousness is directed at Newt Gingrich. …


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And then recall, that THIS is Newt Gingrich:

March 20, 1989 and After: Dick Cheney Becomes Secretary of Defense
…Cheney’s House colleague, Republican Mickey Edwards, later reflects, “The whole world we live in would be totally different if Dick Cheney had not been plucked from the House to take the place of John Tower.” Cheney was “in line to become the [GOP’s] leader in the House and ultimately the majority leader and speaker,” Edwards will say. “If that [had] happened, the whole Gingrich era wouldn’t have happened.” Edwards is referring to Newt Gingrich (R-GA), the future speaker of the House who, in authors Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein’s own reflections, “ushered in fifteen years of rancorous, polarized politics.” While Cheney is as partisan as Gingrich, he is not the kind of confrontational, scorched-earth politician Gingrich is. According to Edwards, no one can envision Cheney moving down the same road as Gingrich will.

September 20, 1990: Republican Political Action Committee Advises Candidates to Call Democratic Opponents ‘Sick,’ ‘Bizarre,’ ‘Traitors’

GOPAC logo. [Source: Mullings (.com)]A New York Times editorial derides a recent effort by a conservative political action committee to label political opponents with slanderous epithets. According to the editorial, GOPAC, the GOP Political Action Committee chaired by Representative Newt Gingrich (R-GA), has issued a glossary mailed to Republican state legislative candidates urging them to use the following words to characterize their Democratic opponents: “sick,” “traitors,” “bizarre,” “self-serving,” “shallow,” “corrupt,” “pathetic,” and “shame.” GOPAC later “regretted” including the word “traitors” in that list of characterizations, the editorial reports, but has continued to back the use of the other epithets.

The glossary is part of a pamphlet entitled “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control,” and features a letter from Gingrich advising the candidates to step up the personal invective against their opponents because, he writes, vilification works. The Times writes: “Mr. Gingrich’s injunction represents the worst of American political discourse, which reached a low during the dispiriting presidential campaign of 1988 (see September 21 – October 4, 1988). Then, more than ever before, negative argument displaced reasoned discussion about how a nation might best be governed. The sound bite reigned. Attack commercials flourished. The signs this year aren’t any better. Evidence that negative campaigning can come back to sink the sender has had little impact. The races for governor in California and Texas have already seen the same slash and burn. No doubt the proceedings will grow more rabid still as November nears. Negative discourse serves democracy poorly. The temptation to avoid serious debate is already great. It increases as the stakes soar and slander becomes a rewarding, easy option. The issues of the day go untended. The whole affair takes on the character of the gladiator’s art. The GOPAC glossary may herald a descent into even lower levels of discourse. It comes blessed by a politician of some influence—the Republican whip in the House—and it is intended for candidates on the state level, many of them presumably running for the first time. Even though Mr. Gingrich himself may not have seen the list before it was mailed, this is a disturbing document. The nakedness of the GOPAC offering also makes it useful. There must be limits to the negative politics that voters will bear; the bald appeal to invective will certainly probe those limits. For now, it should be said that some adjectives in the glossary aptly describe the glossary itself: shallow, sensationalist, and, yes, shame(ful).” [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/20/1990PROPAGANDA CRITIC, 9/29/2002PROPAGANDA CRITIC, 9/29/2002]

Later in the year, the pamphlet will win the Doublespeak Award from the National Conference of Teachers of English. [PROPAGANDA CRITIC, 9/29/2002] Gingrich and GOPAC will expand upon the original pamphlet in 1995, after Gingrich becomes speaker of the House (see 1995).

More Gingrich goodies?

- He said women are unfit for combat because the “get infections every 30 days...” (1995)

- Equated Democrats with Woody Allen’s incestuous relationship with the adopted daughter he later married… (1992)

- Linked child murders and school shootings to voting for Democrats… (1994 and 1999)

Later, he would lead the charge to impeach the president of the United States over an adulterous affair, at the same time the then-twice-married Newt was sleeping with the staffer who would later become his third wife.

Yes Newt. Politics is a nasty business. And we can in part thank Newt Gingrich for it.

Relive some of Newt’s more recent gems, including calling then soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor a “Latina woman racist” (2009) … here.

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One Response to Oh the irony: Newt Gingrich calls politics a ‘nasty, vicious’ business

  1. Pingback: Your New Year’s Eve Sift - Florida Social Blog

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