Thursday, January 5

What's That Smell?

When he catches Newt Gingrich on the news lecturing Congressional Republicans from the DC Rotary Club podium on the need to get out in front of Republican Scandals, Inc., the wizened political observer instinctively grabs both ears to keep his head from spinning all the way around. At my age, whiplash is serious business.

Here's my favorite piece of advice from the man who never fails to have some and never once takes it:
Gingrich, who helped lead the Republican takeover of the House in 1994, called on his party to overhaul lobbying and campaign-finance rules. Both parties have created an environment that allows lobbyists like Abramoff to prosper, he said.

Hoo, boy, it was still a close call on the head-spinning thing. Some older readers may recall that Gingrich was at one time Speaker of the House of Representatives which, under his leadership, handed campaign finance reform the gas pipe. Newt was the first witness at the Oversight Committee's hearings on reform. Among other things, he said the call to campaign finance reform was a "nonsensical socialist analysis based on hatred of the free enterprise system."

They did pass a lobbyist gift "ban" in late November of '95, after Newt's famous handshake agreement with Bill Clinton and his and Dick Armey's attempts to push that boxcar onto the siding thereafter. It was pure political calculation, as demonstrated by the following, first reported in the Atlanta Constitution:
"For anybody not on board now, it's going to be the two coldest years in Washington."

The speaker was Newt Gingrich, a month short of the 1994 elections. The audience was a group of lobbyists and Gingrich reminding them that they owed the GOP for killing a lobby reform that session. In return, he expected campaign cash for his troops -- and lots of it.

The message was received: according to the Center for Responsive Politics: "In October alone ... Republican candidates enjoyed an almost unprecedented $4.2 million edge over their Democratic opponents in individual donations of $200 or more."

Of course no one knew better than Mr. GOPAC that campaign finance was the real ballgame, unless it was the fledgling fixer once nestled in his ample man-bosom, a Texan, name of DeLay.

The Republican-controlled Congress effectively eliminated the limits on lobbyists' gifts in 2003. Who does Gingrich think is responsible for toughening the standards now?

This is a helluva lot more than just another Claude Rains moment, and way beyond being explicable by Newt's desire to be President, though it's obvious he thinks he found an opening. It's a mark of just how far our politics have sunk that Newt Fucking Gingrich can make this sort of speech without being laughed into that Phantom Zone where Superman used to imprison intergalactic criminal masterminds.

3 comments:

Heydave said...

Ah, forgot to grab my ears! Knew I was forgetting something. I was channel surfing when I saw the Newtster babbling this crap and couldn't turn away. The room melted into fog and the television grew larger and larger... this was real? Man, and no one around to lecture on what shit had just transpired!

Heydave said...

p.s. Didn't see him in the cited venue; he was on some news-attempt.

harry near indy said...

gingrich is to lenin as delay is to stalin -- the inheritor and perfector of a shitty system.

at the least, no one gets shot under this current system.