What about Gingrich?
So, dear readers, Newt Gingrich has finally announced formally that he’s running for president. Newt built his political career from my home state, Georgia. I even reside in the district Newt represented during his final stint in D.C.
Prominent Georgia politicians have already lined up behind him. Newly elected Governor Nathan Deal has signed on, along with former Governor Sonny Perdue and longtime-beloved Georgian Zell Miller.
You can bet your bottom dollar that Newt is holding more political IOUs than three politicians could possibly use in one lifetime. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Newt’s parade of Georgia “supporters” ends up including every small-town Junior League and Garden Club president, from Atlanta to Valdosta to the Alabama line. Heck, Newt probably has little old ladies from the Daughters of the Confederacy in his political back pocket already.
Well, whoop-dee-doo. Praise the Lord and pass the hat.
What about Newt? Not for me.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me, dear readers. If Newt Gingrich were to win the Republican nomination for president, I would enthusiastically support him -- with my pen, my laptop, my phone, and my vote. Newt Gingrich, as president, would run circles around the guy the Democrats are stuck with. Newt could use just half his brain and still best the adolescent affirmative-action president. But in the primary, with a field of other fine candidates, Newt is nearly last on my list of contenders.
And I’ve got my reasons. Lots of ‘em.
I’ll start with the reason everyone with a working set of eyes and ears already knows about, from its sordid beginning to its begging-for-respectability-regained end -- that big, fat Scarlet A that sits upon Newt’s puffed-up chest wherever he goes a hobnobbing for votes. At the moment, I imagine that Newt Gingrich is having to trade his political IOUs at 3-to-1 value, just to make up for the big-A factor.
Newt recently converted to Catholicism -- my own faith -- but voting for a man has nothing whatsoever to do with forgiveness. As far as I’m concerned, Newt’s penance for his lifetime of debauchery is between himself and his confessor. And, frankly, I don’t want to know a thing about it.
For Democrats, of course, a lack of sexual self-control seems to be a bonus qualification for high office. But Republicans, thankfully, still appear to have a grain of common sense when it comes to understanding that private character failings can’t help but affect public-office performance.
Frankly, I’ve always considered known infidelity to be a deal-breaker for candidates I’m considering. I think that adultery and politics make forbidden bedfellows.
But it’s not because I give a flying flip what my candidates do in the privacy of their bedrooms. I don’t care and, again, I don’t want to know, either.
Adultery, however, is not the victimless crime that libertines suppose it is. The big, fat political no-no -- LYING -- is the kissing cousin of adultery, no matter who is shacking up with whom. It is impossible to imagine the adulterer who hasn't told a basketful of bold-faced lies to his spouse, or even his children, to cover up his foul deeds. Adulterers I’ve known, in order to cover their tracks, often lie to their friends, their extended families, their colleagues, and on and on. And I submit that it is far more difficult and conscience-challenging to lie to one’s closest partners and confidants -- and one’s own children, for crying out loud! -- than it is to lie to a vast public constituency of strangers.
Lying under oath, as President Bill Clinton did, was truly an impeachable offense. Clinton’s impeachment trial, however, was a circus. Gingrich, then speaker of the House, should have known he didn’t have the votes before he launched the thing. And Newt should have known the Clintons well enough to know they would fight like hell -- that Bill would never resign the way Nixon did.
But perhaps Newt's political instincts were dulled from overexertion in D.C. hotel rooms -- and the stress of keeping his own lies straight.
At the very same time as Clinton’s impeachment trial was being put together, Newt himself was carrying on an affair -- with the woman he later married after he divorced wife #2. Newt, I’m quite sure, would love to split hairs on how his adultery lies weren’t really the same thing as Bill’s. Newt would say, I’m quite certain, that Bill Clinton lied under oath -- while Newt himself wasn’t being sworn in anywhere in conjunction with his own adultery. And if any of you readers is buying that childish hair-splitting, I’ve got some prime oceanfront property in Wyoming I’d love to sell you.
Really -- truly -- “hypocrisy” is too mild a word to describe the audaciousness of Gingrich’s prosecution of Bill Clinton at the same time he was deceiving his own wife, children, colleagues, friends -- not to mention his entire constituency and the whole American people.
But the fact that Newt Gingrich decided to attempt to impeach Bill Clinton while he himself was having an affair is not the worst thing about that failed circus-trial. The worst thing about it all, in my mind, is that Newt’s grandstanding and foiled political play against Clinton sucked every ounce of air out of Republican power in Washington.
So when a far bigger scandal broke later in 1999 -- after Newt’s ignominious resignation -- Republicans were left without the necessary political capital to do anything about it. I’m talking about Russia-Gate.
Now, Russia-Gate was something for which big heads should have rolled. But they never did.
Due to the malfeasance of the Clinton administration and capitalist cronies like George Soros, the American people lost the trust of the Russian people, right as the end of the Cold War was just beginning to pay dividends. In the words of Rep. Jim Leach, then head of the House Banking Committee, the Russia scandal was “one of the greatest social robberies in human history.” At least $100 billion was laundered out of Russia by scam artists, oligarchs, and mobsters -- all under the overseeing eye of the Clinton administration.
Political sleuths David Horowitz and Richard Poe brought some of the sordid Russia-Gate details to light in their book The Shadow Party. Testimony before the House Banking Committee on September 22, 1999, revealed a web of Clintonian subterfuge and cronyism that made Monica-Gate look like nothing more than a gnat buzzing a dead carcass. Journalist Anne Williamson recounted how the Clintons had set up an “international patronage machine,” and how these Clinton insiders had been sent to Russia under the guise of “consultant” titles. These “consultants,” in turn, asked for and received -- almost at will -- loans for Russia from such international lending agencies as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Export-Import Bank.
The money flowed -- most of it from American taxpayers.
And, in the end, as usual, the little guys paid while the fat cats played.
Faster than you can say poof, more than $100 billion was laundered into the pockets of those Clintonites and their Russian counterparts. The Russian ruble collapsed, Russian commoners lost everything, and the big players flew off in their private jets. Business as usual, no?
In any final accounting, of course, the Clintons, Al Gore, George Soros, and their host of Democrat “holier-than-thou” scam artists were guilty as hell. But the Republicans had lost all the clout they had due to Newt Gingrich’s failed impeachment proceedings.
And, once again, the American taxpayer got left holding nothing but the empty bag and a lot of broken promises.
Now, for all we know, dear readers, Newt may have thought that going after Bill Clinton for the relatively small-potatoes perjury was a sort of Ness-finesse, Capone-prosecution way of ridding the country of Clinton’s mountain of scandals. But considering Newt’s own affair, one need ask whether Elliot Ness could have successfully nailed Capone on income tax evasion if Ness had simultaneously been found banking his paycheck offshore and filing for tax refunds.
So, vote for Newt Gingrich in the 2012 primary?
In a word, “No.” In two words, “Hell no.”
In four, “Not on your life.”
But if my fellow Republican primary voters decide to take a chance on Newt, I’ll back him 100% in the general. Because, sadly, even Newt Gingrich’s befouled character makes Barack Obama look like Eddie Haskell doin’ the ‘hood.