By Bill Press
Tribune Media Services
What do you get when you put Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Ron Paul and Gary Johnson on the same stage together? A plea for help!
That’s what we heard from the Republican Party last week after those five lightweights showed up for the first GOP 2012 debate: a plea for help. Please! Isn’t there some heavyweight willing to ride in and challenge Barack Obama?
Maybe, someday, there will be. But the candidate who jumped into the race this week isn’t the man on the white horse, either.
Forget the personal stuff about Newt Gingrich. I don’t care how many wives he’s had. See how liberal I am? I’m sure Christian conservatives will accept Newt’s simple excuse that love for his country caused him to cheat on his first two wives. “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate,” he told the Christian Broadcasting Network. And who could disagree with what one friend told the New York Times about his third marriage to a woman with whom he first conducted a six-year extra-marital affair: “They’re a great couple — that had a nontraditional start.”
No, it’s not his personal life. It’s all the other baggage that’ll sink the Newt. Our memories are not that short. We remember. …
This is the guy who shut down the government in 1995. This is the guy who whined because President Clinton wouldn’t let him sit up front on Air Force One — only to have the White House release a photo of Newt actually chatting with the president, up front, on Air Force One. This is the guy who was reprimanded by the House of Representatives, 395 to 28, and ordered to pay a $300,000 fine for violating House ethics rules — when he was Speaker! And this is the guy who was forced to resign as Speaker after Republicans lost five seats in the 1998 midterm elections.
And now he wants to be president?
This is the guy full of bad ideas, then and now. In 1993, Gingrich insisted that President Clinton’s economic plan, which included higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans, would be a disaster. “I believe this will lead to recession next year,” he predicted. “This is the Democrat (sic) machine’s recession, and each of them will be held personally accountable.” Instead, Clinton’s plan led to a record eight years of economic growth, the creation of 23 million new jobs and the only balanced budget in recent memory.
Newt’s record is no better today. This is the guy who, on March 7, called for bombing Libya immediately. Yet, two weeks later, after President Obama had actually ordered the bombing of Libya, Gingrich declared it was a mistake to intervene. And, yes, this is the same guy who’s actually campaigning on a pledge to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, created by Republican President Richard Nixon. Meanwhile, according to The Daily Beast, in 2010 his American Solutions organization received $1.5 million in contributions from oil, coal and power companies who want to continue polluting the environment.
And now he wants to be president?
And, yes, this is the same guy who introduced the politics of personal destruction to Washington. Gingrich alone turned the Congress from a place where, in between elections, members of both parties would sit down together and try to solve problems — to a place known for its non-stop campaigning and partisan political sniping. It was Gingrich who gave Republicans a list of words to describe themselves: “courage, dream, opportunity, vision, freedom, strength, moral.” And a separate list for Democrats: “incompetent, sick, radical, destructive, shallow, liberal, anti-flag, traitors.”
In fact, there is no one in American politics more guilty of sliming his political opponents. Overlooking his own ethical problems, Gingrich blamed Democrats for producing “the greatest political corruption ever seen in modern America.” He declared that the Obama administration “represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.” He accused gay rights advocates of trying to impose a “gay and secular fascism.” And he slammed Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as a “Latina woman racist.”
And now Newt wants to be president? Forget it. It just proves God’s a Democrat. If not, he wouldn’t create Republican candidates as bad as Newt Gingrich.
© 2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.