If GOP wants someone to blame, start with Newt Gingrich

Gingrich-AP-640x480

Let’s lay this baby at the feet of its father: While Donald Trump may prove to be the one who administers the coup de grace, finishing off the Republican Party as we have known it, the individual most responsible for the GOP’s ongoing self-destruction is Georgia’s own Newton Leroy Gingrich.

He has always pined for a great historic legacy, and we are now witnessing it.

If you think that’s an exaggeration, make a list of the changes in the GOP that have been led or inspired by Gingrich over the last quarter-century. Then make a separate list of the problems that have undermined the party and brought it to a place in which Trump may be its next and last presidential candidate. You’ll find that the overlap between the two is significant:

— Start with the style and tenor of modern Republican politics. Ceaseless confrontation, bullying, appeals to anger, resentment and persecution, a capacity for shamelessness that allows you to say or do anything to win — these have long been the hallmarks of Gingrichian politics. As we’ve seen in this presidential cycle, the Gingrich style has become the house style of the Republican Party as well.

— The GOP world view, in which their political opponents are not merely wrong or mistaken but agents of pure evil out to betray all that is good and decent in America, is also a distinct Gingrichian legacy.

“These people are sick,” he said in a typical comment back in 1989, describing his Democratic colleagues in Congress. “They are so consumed by their own power, by a Mussolini-like ego, that their willingness to run over normal human beings and to destroy honest institutions is unending.” At the time, that kind of apocalyptic rhetoric was so rarely heard that it was shocking. Gingrich has made it standard behavior. It’s not just how they talk; it is how they have been taught to think, and how their base has been taught to think. As Gingrich once put it, “People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz. I see evil all around me every day.” Again, you can hear that same messianic mindset every day on the GOP campaign trail.

— Gingrich came to power in the early ’90s through an all-out, brutal assault on the credibility of the GOP establishment, inspiring a cycle of cannibalism in which each succeeding wave of Republican politician is instantly cast as insufficiently conservative and ardent by those ambitious to replace them. Such constant purges build strict party discipline, making any breach of orthodoxy unforgivable, but as Eric Cantor can testify, they also cement in place an ideology that over time can only get more extreme.

— “One of the great problems we have in the Republican Party is that we don’t encourage you to be nasty,” Gingrich told a group of Republican college students way back in 1978, and he launched a decades-long crusade to correct that problem and teach them to “speak like Newt”. Based on the crude invective now being leveled by Republican presidential candidates — allegations of pant-wetting, Mafia connections, the public use of the “p word”, innuendo about genitalia size — his efforts can be deemed a success.

— Two words: Government shutdown. During his tenure as speaker, Gingrich showed the party that it can accrue an easy form of power by always saying no, by never saying yes. Saying no made them feel good, as if they mattered, as if they were bravely standing up to the system. The fact that it is negative power, capable of shutting down the system but never capable of governance, does not register.

Look at what is happening in Congress right now, where House Speaker Paul Ryan can’t even get his GOP caucus to agree among themselves on a 2017 budget. The stubborn far right won’t give in to the stubborn far far right, and vice versa, because the instinct to say no, to refuse to compromise, is that ingrained in Republicans. By now, it is the only way they know how to operate.

It’s also telling to watch Newt react to all of this. Mitt Romney, John McCain and other top Republicans are horrified by Trump, but Gingrich is not. Trump’s attack style, his crudity, his appeals to bigotry and his lack of policy comprehension — I mean, what’s not to like, as long as it works?¹ The mere idea of Trump appeals to Newt’s romantic Jacobin instincts.

In short, Trump is the culmination of Gingrichian politics, and Gingrich rather likes it.

————-

¹In a speech today, Gingrich even condemned Romney’s recent attack on Trump as “vitriolic and nasty,” terminology that he has never applied to Trump himself.

 

 

 

 

Reader Comments 1

1774 comments
17890127890qu
17890127890qu

Well said regarding the "Blame Newt" editorial.  I have been telling friends for years they can lay the blame for the current tenor in politics directly at the feet of Newt Gingrich for his campaign inciting Republicans to demonize opponents.  I have even had to give up associations with some I considered "friends" after being labeled un-American and worse over a simple difference of political opinion.  

I hope you and others with a voice will continue to keep this issue, with or without Newt, in the public conscience.  I'd like to think we can begin to reverse this trend of saying and treating people in political discussion in ways that would be unthinkable and bring shame in any other area of conversation. 


PS - in case it is of interest, this is my first time ever sending a letter to an editor or columnist. 

Octgal26
Octgal26

The primary reasons for Trump's emergence are social networking, the 24/7 news cycle, and Barack Obama.  None of those things existed in the early 90s.

jerrycat
jerrycat

When Newt and his gang goosed stepped into Washington he sowed the seeds of all the ills the Republicans are reaping today. 

If Washington is dysfunctional he led us down this path. Finally when he was caught with his own pants down he was forced out,  So whom shall we thank for the state of politics in America today?


Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

This kind of stuff will crater Rubio, true or not. But CNN sez it's true:

"JAIME GANGEL: Now, for the record, Alex Conant, the communications director for the Rubio campagin came on our air last hour and said he was very upset about this report. He said it is not, true, that there is no dissent inside the campaign. And once again repeated that Rubio was staying in.

BUT, we double checked with our source who confirmed that our story was 100% correct.

So the Rubio campaign may not be happy that this story is out there when they are fighting for their life, they don't want people to know there is dissent in the campaign, but the reality is we were told there has been a serious debate about whether he should drop out before the Florida primary."

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Dumb question, but can't Rubio change his mind and decide to seek re-election to the Senate after (he loses) next week's primary?

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Visual_Cortex You mean after telling all the voters in Florida that he hates his job in the Senate and doesn't want to show up any more?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Maybe the Goopers can draft this guy. He's a decent orator and shares those super important family values.


http://news.yahoo.com/turkeys-erdogan-says-women-above-mothers-130234085.html


The president -- who has two sons and two daughters -- has angered feminist groups by saying that women are not equal to men.

He has also made proposals to limit abortion rights, the morning-after pill and Caesarian sections.

Violence against women in Turkey -- often involving wives killed by their husbands -- has risen sharply in recent years and activists say nowhere near enough action has been taken to tackle the problem.

stefpe
stefpe

@Visual_Cortex Caesarian sections

So what the hell is so evil about C-sections all of a sudden?

rimsky
rimsky

@Visual_Cortex I really really don't like that man.  And you just added to the list of what I hate about him.

rimsky
rimsky

Some Rubio advisers say get out before Florida///////

There is a boat leaving for Cuba at 1 oclock in the afternoon.  Pack your own sandwiches.  LOL

ByteMe
ByteMe

@TBS If the powers-that-be think it'll keep Donald from getting the nomination, they'll keep him in money until the end.  It'll be a gamble, though.

TBS
TBS

@rimsky


I read that.  I made the comment a week or so ago would he get out to avoid the embarrassment of losing in his home state.

Seemed the conventional wisdom at that time is that he would stay in.  If he is still in and loses FL he may as well stay in for the long haul if he has the financing

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

all this super top secret double naught spy techno talk is harshing my chi, mon

ByteMe
ByteMe

 A Gmail or Hotmail account is NOT your own private server where you control everything on it. 

You are correct, td, they are not at all alike.  Email received into hotmail and gmail are searched and indexed by their respective search engines (google and bing), so "confidential" info is now in their databases.  Those public servers are LESS secure than a private one few people know about.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@rimsky I have a private server here and sent a link to its location to a client who uses gmail and now the private server is publicly visible in search results.  Not nice.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@ByteMe

 a private one few people know about.

yeah, about that.

STILL nobody on the record about what they thought upon seeing a "CLINTONEMAIL.COM" domain showing up in their inbox?

nobody at all?

/pet peeve

TBS
TBS

@Visual_Cortex @ByteMe


I guess the assumption is that the only people who ever received an email from her were already vetted and it was known they wouldn't tell.

And all those who may have been forwarded correspondence from her by someone else

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@TBS @Visual_Cortex @ByteMe

I know maybe I'm being silly here, but it really does bug me that nobody, apparently, has called out any Republicans for their apparent incuriousity all those years.

Some Republican, somewhere, had to have received such an email, even if (as you mention) it was just a forward.

TBS
TBS

@Visual_Cortex @TBS @ByteMe


I agree.  And there is a reason you get very little response from the right leaners on this blog.  They know it is as much a witch hunt as any potential laws being broke... and they are good with it if it results in damaging her chances in the election. 

I'd be more respectful of their opinions on the issue if they were honest in what they would really like to see

TBS
TBS

@CommonSenseisntCommon @TBS @Visual_Cortex @ByteMe


Well they did their best to keep those emails away from anyone who might tattle...

And those who saw it who reverent vetted didn't seem to care about it at the time.

You see I working on my one million scenario shtick to show how this was a huge cover up from the beginning.


PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@ByteMe  Maybe TD thinks it is just a coincidence that when you are reading a Gmail the ads on the side just happen to be related to some of the words in the Email.

TBS
TBS

@Visual_Cortex @TBS @ByteMe


Well I didn't say you didn't get any responses.  I stated very little but DIA is noted as responding. 

Cool

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

@Kamchek,

I happen to hear just this part. I'm was,very surprised Scarborough and Wallace said this. And of course Trump appeared on the show later

The Doom
The Doom

Only got a minute for a drive by. I read last night that Trump's original family name was Drumpf but was changed by an ancestor to sound more aristocratic. I thought that was kinda funny. Drumpf. LOL! 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Doom Classical liberal

changed by an ancestor to sound more aristocratic.

I wonder if "Trump" was British slang for flatulence back when the ancestor did that?

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  1. […] fondness for the Man in the Mirror offer more than enough foundation for a productive partnership. As I’ve noted before, Newt in many ways made the rise of Trump possible in the Republican Party, and there would be […]