Newt Gingrich

Everything Is Awesome!

ARLINGTON, VA – DECEMBER 24: Dressed as Santa Claus, Kerry Nistel (R) holds an American flag after water-skiing along the Potomac River near the Washington Monument December 24, 2003 in Arlington, Virginia. This is the 18th year Nistel has dressed as Santa and water-skied on Christmas Eve. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Politico Magazine ~ Michael Grunwald

Well, not everything. But America’s looking much better than you think

Good news! The U.S. economy grew at a rollicking 5 percent rate in the third quarter. Oh, and it added 320,000 jobs in November, the best of its unprecedented 57 straight months of private-sector employment growth. Just in time for Christmas, the Dow just hit an all-time high and the uninsured rate is approaching an all-time low. Consumer confidence is soaring, inflation is low, gas prices are plunging, and the budget deficit is shrinking. You no longer hear much about the Ebola crisis that dominated the headlines in the fall, much less the border crisis that dominated the headlines over the summer. As Fox News host Andrea Tantaros proclaimed earlier this month: “The United States is awesome! We are awesome!”

OK, she was talking about the Senate torture report, not the state of the union, but things in the U.S. do look rather awesome. Mitt Romney promised to bring unemployment down to 6 percent in his first term; it’s already down to 5.8 percent, half the struggling eurozone’s rate. Newt Gingrich promised $2.50 gas; it’s down to $2.38. Crime, abortion, teen pregnancy and oil imports are also way down, while renewable power is way up and the American auto industry is booming again. You don’t have to give credit to President Barack Obama for “America’s resurgence,” as he has started calling it, but there’s overwhelming evidence the resurgence is real. The Chicken Littles who predicted a double-dip recession, runaway interest rates, Zimbabwe-style inflation, a Greece-style debt crisis, skyrocketing energy prices, health insurance “death spirals” and other horrors have been reliably wrong.

Come to think of it, the 62 percent of Americans who described the economy as “poor” in a CNN poll a week before the Republican landslide in the midterm elections were also wrong. I guess that sounds elitist. Second-guessing the wisdom of the public may be the last bastion of political correctness; if ordinary people don’t feel good about the economy, then the recovery isn’t supposed to be real. But aren’t the 11 million Americans who have landed new jobs since 2010 and the 10 million Americans who have gotten health insurance since 2013 ordinary Americans? It’s true that wage growth has remained slow, but the overall economic trends don’t jibe with the public’s lousy mood. And the public definitely does get stuff wrong. A Bloomberg poll this month found that 73 percent of Americans think the deficit is getting bigger, while 21 percent think it’s getting smaller and 6 percent aren’t sure. In fact, the deficit has dwindled from about $1.2 trillion in 2009 to less than $500 billion in 2014. My favorite part is the mere 6 percent who admitted ignorance; 73 percent are definitely sure the shrinking deficit is actually growing.

The point isn’t that the midterm election’s discontent was illegitimate. The point is that Americans should cheer up! Six years ago, the economy was contracting at an 8 percent annual rate and shedding 800,000 jobs a month. Those were Great Depression-type numbers. The government was pouring billions of dollars into busted banks, and experts like MIT’s Simon Johnson were predicting that the bailouts would cost taxpayers as much as $2 trillion. In reality, the bailouts not only quelled the worst financial panic since the Depression, they made money for taxpayers. Nevertheless, last week, after the government sold its stake in Ally Bank, its last major holding in a financial institution, Johnson complained to The New York Times about the “unfortunate and inappropriate message” being sent by people pointing out the bailouts were actually profitable. In this holiday season, can’t we be a little bit happy we didn’t have to waste the $2 trillion he thought we were going to waste?

This bah-humbug brand of moral superiority has flourished since the crisis: How dare you celebrate this or that piece of economic data when so many Americans are still hurting? It’s awkward to argue with that view, since many Americans are indeed still hurting. But the economic data keep showing that fewer Americans are hurting every month. No one is satisfied with 5.8 percent unemployment, but it’s way better than the 10 percent we had in 2010 or the 11 percent Europe has today. Declining child poverty and household debt and personal bankruptcies are also worth celebrating. Better is better than worse. Whether or not you think Obamacare had anything to do with the slowdown in medical cost growth, it’s a good thing that Medicare’s finances have improved dramatically, extending the solvency of its trust fund by an estimated 13 years. It’s a good thing that U.S. wind power has tripled and solar power has increased tenfold in five years. And while it’s true that the meteoric rise of the stock market since 2009 has produced windfalls for Wall Street, it has also replenished state pension funds and 401(k) retirement plans and labor union coffers. It definitely beats the alternative.

Let’s face it: The press has a problem reporting good news. Two Americans died of Ebola and cable TV flipped out; now we’re Ebola-free and no one seems to care. The same thing happened with the flood of migrant children across the Mexican border, which was a horrific crisis until it suddenly wasn’t. Nobody’s going to win a Pulitzer Prize for recognizing that we’re smoking less, driving less, wasting less electricity and committing less crime. Police are killing fewer civilians, and fewer police are getting killed, but understandably, after the tragedies in Ferguson and Brooklyn, nobody’s thinking about that these days. The media keep us in a perpetual state of panic about spectacular threats to our safety — Ebola, sharks, terrorism — but we’re much likelier to die in a car accident. Although, it ought to be said, much less likely than we used to be; highway fatalities are down 25 percent in a decade.

The other problem in acknowledging good news, not just for the press but for the public, is that it has come to feel partisan, like an endorsement of whoever occupies the White House. Republican leaders have exacerbated this problem by describing everything Obama has done — his 2009 stimulus package, his 2010 Wall Street reforms, his 2013 tax hikes on high earners, his various anti-pollution regulations aimed at coal-fired power plants, and most of all Obamacare — as “job-killing” catastrophes that would obliterate the economy. It’s hard to point out that the economy is humming along nicely without making those doom-and-gloom predictions sound ill-advised and over-the-top. Because they were. Liberals who predicted disaster when Obama refused to nationalize the banking system during the financial crisis and when Republicans insisted on the harsh budget cuts in the 2013 “sequester” were wrong, too. Disaster hasn’t happened.

As ideologically inconvenient as that may be for chronic complainers on the left and right — and for pundit types invested in their bad-year-for-Obama narrative — it’s wonderful for the country. You don’t have to endorse Obama’s economic philosophy to realize that it hasn’t wreaked short-term havoc, just as you don’t have to endorse the Obama or George W. Bush anti-terror philosophies to acknowledge that America hasn’t endured a rash of terror attacks since 2001. Last week, polls finally found a majority of Americans recognizing that the economy is improving, which is to say a majority of Americans are recognizing reality. It’s probably time for politicians to discover a new Ebola to scream about.

There is no shortage of candidates in this less-than-perfect union. The U.S. is still plagued by inadequate public schools, crumbling infrastructure, soaring college tuition costs, stark inequality. Many Americans want accountability for reckless bankers, torturers and fatal choke-holders. Washington is still almost as dysfunctional as everyone says it is. Congress this session really was the second least productive ever. And even though Obama is winding down the U.S. involvement in overseas wars, the world remains a scary place. There’s still plenty to worry about.

But for now be merry! And may the new year be as awesome as this year.

H/t: Don Babets

Report: Sheldon Adelson thinks Ted Cruz is “too right wing” to win the presidency

“Boo Ted Cruz.” | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Vox

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is one of the most important donors in the Republican party. He more-or-less singlehandedly kept Newt Gingrich’s 2012 presidential hopes alive for months. So it is a big deal that Adelson reportedly dismissed Sen. Ted Cruz, thought to be a top contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, as “too right wing” and “a longshot.”

That’s based on a report by the New York Observer‘s Ken Kurson, who quotes what he calls “one source close to Adelson.” Adelson allegedly said this after speaking to Cruz spoke at a recent Zionist Organization for America dinner. The day after the dinner, Adelson and Cruz met again for two hours at a hotel. Afterwards, Adelson concluded that Cruz is too conservative to be a likely GOP primary winner, according to the New York Observer’s anonymous source.

Israel is Adelson’s top issue (aside from banning the online gambling sites that threaten his casino empire), so this meeting was a big chance for Cruz to impress him.

The implication of this quote appears to be that Adelson doesn’t himself object to Cruz’s politics, but merely thinks they make him unelectable even in today’s Republican Party. Indeed, the conservative Texas Senator has managed to alienate a massive chunk of the Republican establishment, party elites whose support is critical in the all-important “invisible primary.”

Adelson’s view of the Republican presidential field matter. His 2012 donations made him the “single biggest donor in political history,” according to the New York Times. Adelson’s support could make or break a bid for the GOP nomination. If Cruz has lost him, that’s a major blow.

Update: Adelson got in touch with the Observer after the report went out. According to Kurson, “Mr. Adelson called the Observer after publication of this story to dispute that characterization of his reaction to Mr. Cruz. Mr. Adelson made clear to the Observer that he was the only person in the room with Mr. Cruz and thus the only one in a position to know how he felt about the Senator.”

Sunday Talk: The year of living dangerously

Daily Kos

On October 1, 2013, in a last-ditch effort to prevent millions of Americans from getting affordable health care coverage,House Republicans loyal to Sen. TedCruz forced a government shutdown for the first time since Bill Clinton hurt Newt Gingrich’s fee-fees in 1995.Or at least that’s what President Obamaand his fellow travelers would have you believe.

Unfortunately for them, the facts do not bear this out.

Really, those brave patriots in the shutdown caucus were fighting for our freedom; and, in the year since then, all of their dire predictions about Obamacare have proven accurate.

But you’d never know that—because themedia has been too busy carrying water for Obama to say so.

Morning lineup:

Meet The Press: Senior White House Adviser Dan Pfeiffer; RNC Chairman Reince Priebus; Former Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA); Dr. Nancy Snyderman (NBC News); Others TBD.Face The Nation: Director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIHDr. Anthony Fauci; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; House Majority LeaderKevin McCarthy (R-CA); Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD); Roundtable: Anthony Salvanto (CBS News), Jonathan Martin (New York Times), Nancy Cordes (CBS News) and John Dickerson (CBS News).

This Week: CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden; Treasury Secretary Jack Lew; Roundtable:Van Jones (CNN), Peggy Noonan (Wall Street Journal), Mark Halperin (Bloomberg Politics) and John Heilemann (Bloomberg Politics).

Fox News Sunday: Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH); Former Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino; Roundtable: Brit Hume (Fox News), Julie Pace (Associated Press), George Will (Washington Post) and Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden; Dr. William Frohna ( MedStar Washington Hospital Center); Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI);Roundtable: Former White House Chiefs of Staff Bill Daley, Andrew Card, Mack McLarty and Ken Duberstein.

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: an interview with FBI Director James Comey (preview); and, a report on the “smartest dog in the world” (preview).

Sorry, Republicans: We know exactly ‘what Reagan would do’ about ISIS

This should cause the right-wing noise machine’s collective heads to explode. This concerns how Reagan handled the “Iran-Contra Affair”

Daily Kos

American hostages have been brutally murdered by terrorists in the Middle East. Other Western captives may suffer the same fate at the hands of the Islamic State. In response, President Obama’s opponents are doing what they always do when the going gets tough for the United States: ask WWRD? In “What Would Reagan Do,” CNN Crossfire host Newt Gingrich penned an imaginary speech that a mythical version of the Gipper would deliver to the nation about the threat from ISIS. Over at the Washington Times, Gayle Trotter used the same gambit, inventing a Reaganesque address announcing military strikes to make the point that “Americans expect their president to vindicate the victims of terrorism.” Meanwhile, Breitbart News even interviewed President Reagan’s former National Security Adviser Robert “Bud” McFarlane to provide a lecture about “peace through strength.”

Unfortunately for the Gipper’s hagiographers, we know exactly what Reagan would do about terrorists with American blood on their hands. President Reagan would send them a cake, a Bible and American weapons. And the Oval Office address he would deliver to the nation would start something like the one he gave on March 4, 1987:

“A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. As the Tower board reported, what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages.”

Iran-Contra, as you’ll recall, almost laid waste to the Reagan presidency. Desperate to free U.S. hostages held by Iranian proxies in Lebanon, President Reagan provided weapons Tehran badly needed in its long war with Saddam Hussein (who, of course, was backed by the United States). In a clumsy and illegal attempt to skirt U.S. law, the proceeds of those sales were then funneled to the contras fighting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. And as the New York Timesrecalled, Reagan’s fiasco started with an emissary bearing gifts from the Gipper himself:

A retired Central Intelligence Agency official has confirmed to the Senate Intelligence Committee that on the secret mission to Teheran last May, Robert C.McFarlane and his party carried a Bible with a handwritten verse from President Reagan for Iranian leaders.According to a person who has read the committee’s draft report, the retired C.I.A. official, George W. Cave, an Iran expert who was part of the mission, said the group had 10 falsified passports, believed to be Irish, and a key-shaped cake to symbolize the anticipated ”opening” to Iran.

Please read below the fold HERE for more on this story.

Diagnosing Paul Ryan’s psychopathy: Arrogant, manipulative, deceitful, remorseless

Diagnosing Paul Ryan's psychopathy: Arrogant, manipulative, deceitful, remorseless

Paul Ryan (Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

Salon

Paul Krugman revealed Ryan’s big con years ago. It’s gotten worse. Why does anyone take him seriously on policy?

If the GOP as a whole has pretty much given up on the whole “rebranding” thing, their 2012 vice presidential nominee, Congressman Paul Ryan, most definitely has not. In fact, rebranding is pretty much his thing, regardless of how credible — or incredible, actually — his efforts may be.

For years, Ryan touted himself as an avid Ayn Rand disciple, until he didn’t in early 2012, even calling it “an urban legend” that he had anything serious to do with Rand at all. He then tried to present the latest iteration of his draconian soak-the-poor/shower the rich budget proposal as grounded in Catholic social teaching, rather than Rand’s fiercely anti-Christian philosophy, a claim that the conservative U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops soundly rejected, writing that his proposed budget failed to meet certain “moral criteria” by disproportionately cutting programs that “serve poor and vulnerable people.”

Now, seeking to put all memory of the “47 percent” campaign behind him, Ryan’s trying to take that reinvention to a whole new level. He’s still touting a budget that dramatically slashes spending on programs that benefit Americans of limited means — 69 percent of all cuts — including $137 billion from food stamps, 24 percent or $732 billion from Medicaid, and $125 billion from Pell Grants, among others — while giving millionaires an average tax cut of at least $200,000. Yet, at the same time, Ryan is trying to reinvent himself as someone who’s serious about fighting poverty, only from a conservative perspective.



Setting the massive contradictions aside for the moment, it’s not an absurd idea in theory. The modern European welfare state was actually invented by conservatives, beginning in Germany, under the first post-unification chancellor, Otto von Bismarck. But this happened in the face of a powerful socialist movement, amidst tremendous dislocations, as well as international pressures that gave German elites powerful reasons to want to make life in Germany much more tolerable for the German people as a whole. In short, when the real-world political incentives are there, history shows that conservatives really can find effective ways to help fight poverty. The only problem is, the solutions they come up are the very thing that cause conservatives today, like Ryan and his Tea Party brethren, to foam at the mouth, and call “socialism!”

And so he came up with his 204-page report, The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later, a con job, as Paul Krugman called it, but that was hardly a surprise. Con jobs are a Ryan’s specialty, More on that later.

What was a surprise, at least to some, was the utter clumsiness of how Ryan’s new focus on poverty got him into trouble on race. He went onto Bill Bennett’s radio show and channelled Newt Gingrich from the 2012 primaries:

We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.

Ryan also cited Charles Murray, white nationalist author of “The Bell Curve.” While many people took him to be speaking in racial code, it was arguably even worse if he was not, as Brian Beutler pointed out:

But if Ryan genuinely stumbled heedless into a racial tinderbox then it suggests he, and most likely many other conservatives, has fully internalized a framing of social politics that wasdeliberately crafted to appeal to white racists without regressing to the uncouth language of explicit racism, and written its origins out of the history.

Of course, something like this has actually happened repeatedly throughout the history of white supremacy in America: True origins are constantly being erased, nefarious intentions hidden, unspeakable injustices naturalized. But what I find fascinating about Ryan is how self-assuredly he switches from all-knowing to naif, without for a moment even thinking this might tarnish his moral authority in any way. He later said his comments had “nothing to do” with race, and the next day issued a statement saying, “After reading the transcript of yesterday morning’s interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make.” There was no sense of moral responsibility at all, no sense that he owed anyone an apology. (This is all quite typical of a psychopathic personality — as will be touched on below.) But he did have to do something, from a political point of view.

And so he met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus this Wednesday, in order to try to pretend to have a dialogue on poverty. It was not very much of a success. “We didn’t get a whole lot accomplished,” CBC chair Marcia Fudge said to the press afterward, but Ryan found it easy to pretend otherwise. “What is good out of this is that we need to talk about better ideas on getting at the root cause of poverty, to try and break the cycle of poverty.” Ryan also spoke about the need to “improve the tone” in the conversation about poverty — something that he himself might have thought about earlier, no?

Continue reading here…

Crossfire Explodes over AZ Bill: ‘Wrapping Your Homophobia Around the Bible!’

Mediaite

Crossfire got really heated up Tuesday over the Arizona bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT individuals. Van Jones posed a provocative question to former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli: “What is the difference between a business owner saying no blacks are allowed here versus no gays are allowed here?” Cuccinelli dismissed the comparison, but CNN columnist LZ Granderson insisted the principle is the same because the bill is just “straight-up, plain nothing but discrimination!”

He told Cuccinelli that it’s not a matter of religious principle, it’s always about protecting the Christian faith, and called him and others out for pushing what he deemed institutionalized homophobia.

“Where in the Bible does Jesus say no to people? He’s always bringing people in! So are you really using this as––you brought up your religious faith, or are you wrapping your homophobia around the Bible and trying to find scriptures that justify your homophobia?”

Cuccinelli scolded Granderson for resorting to a personal attack, but Granderson stood on that point, telling Cuccinelli that he’s made “several remarks over the years that I would classify as homophobic, so I would say that you personally are probably a homophobe.”

Newt Gingrich asked if Catholic priests should be “coerced” into performing gay marriages. Granderson said no, because there’s a difference between churches doing what they want and a public businesses “that’s actually utilizing taxpayer dollars to help sustain itself” discriminating against people.

Cuccinelli insisted, “They undercut a fundamental precept of this country and that is religious freedom.”

Watch the video below, via CNN:

There was nothing high-minded about the budget deal

Smiles before the debt storm.

Smiles before the debt storm. Photo: (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

The Week – Taegan Goddard

Many recent articles have trumpeted the “bipartisan breakthrough” that led to a federal budget deal. Don’t believe any of them. Partisan warfare is very much alive.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a key broker of the budget deal, signaled that a standoff over the debt ceiling is coming soon.

Said Ryan: “We, as a caucus, along with our Senate counterparts, are going to meet and discuss what it is we want to get out of the debt limit. We don’t want ‘nothing’ out of the debt limit. We’re going to decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt limit fight.”

The comments show how broken our legislative system has become. Just days ago, Ryan agreed to a budget deal that increases the federal debt — and hailed it in a series of interviews — but now he won’t agree to raise the debt ceiling mandated by the very same budget deal.

In the last fiscal standoff in October, the Obama administration held firm and refused to negotiate over the debt ceiling. Expect the same reaction this time.

Of course, the real reason there was a budget deal is that Republicans felt it was politically advantageous. With the White House on the defensive for nearly two months over the ObamaCare implementation, Republicans don’t want to do anything to distract from their woes.

Newt Gingrich said it best: “I think this is mediocre policy and brilliant politics. It doesn’t get them what they want on policy terms, but it strips away the danger that people will notice anything but ObamaCare. And the longer the country watches ObamaCare, the more likely the Democrats are to lose the Senate.”

He’s right. The budget deal probably is good politics — at least in the very short term.

So as both sides move the country to the edge of the fiscal brink early next year, remember it’s all about politics. But will the politics still be good for either side?

Jon Stewart Schooled Tea Partiers For Racist Reactions To Nelson Mandela’s Death

The Huffington Post

Jon Stewart kicked off this week’s “Daily Show” by shedding light on some truly odd reactions that some folks had about the passing of Nelson Mandela — including at least one prominent Republican.

Newt Gingrich and Ted Cruz, to their credit, offered sincere notes of gratitude for the South African leader’s life work on their respective Facebook pages. What they did not expect, however, were the swift and racist reactions they saw from several of their fans. Example: “This clench-first gorilla [sic] warrior does not deserve respect from informed Americans,” one user wrote on Gingrich’s Facebook.

Stewart was hardly surprised by the outpouring of bile. “Of course, that’s why the Internet was invented,” he said. “To say hateful things with greater efficiency, reach and freedom to keep people from finding out how truly disgusting you are in your home. ‘I would never say those things, it was Dr. Awesomeballs69!'”

Racist Facebook fans are one thing, but Stewart could not let an actual Republican leader off the hook so easily. Rick Santorum, appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor,” somehow equated apartheid, South Africa’s former system of segregation that Mandela helped end, to the Affordable Care Act.

“The systemic subjugation of a race of people is different than the establishment of subsidized insurance exchanges,” Stewart helpfully explained before channeling his inner Julie Andrews with a “Sound of Music” parody: “Obamacaaare is not apartheeeeeid!”

Check out the clip above to see Stewart lay into the reactions to Mandela’s death.

 

Newt Gingrich To Conservatives: ‘What Would You Have Done?’

newt gingrich nelson mandela

I don’t often view Newt Gingrich in a favorable light, but this time is an exception…

The AtlanticTa-Nehisi Coates

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said Sunday he was “very surprised” at people who were critical of his decision to praise Nelson Mandela this week, standing by his admiration for Mandela’s “very long, deep commitment to freedom.”

On Thursday, upon hearing of the former South African president’s death, Gingrich put up a post on Facebook, expressing his condolences.

“President Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest leaders of our lifetime,” he wrote. “When he visited the Congress I was deeply impressed with the charisma and the calmness with which he could dominate a room. It was as if the rest of us grew smaller and he grew stronger and more dominant the longer the meeting continued.”

Gingrich’s statement, however, was met with backlash from many of his followers.

“Newt, I was rooting for you to win the primaries and become the next president; please tell me your joking!! Mandela was a commie murderer!!” read one comment that was popular with other users.

“You’re forgetting Mandela’s extreme racism! There are YouTubes of Mandela singing songs about murdering the white man. I spit on his grave….,” read another.

When asked about the criticism in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Gingrich replied, “I was very surprised by it. [My wife] Callista posted my statement on her Facebook page and was amazed at some of the intensity — some of whom came back three, four and five times repeating how angry they were.”

In response, on Saturday, Gingrich put out a new statement and video to his supporters, challenging critics to put themselves in Mandela’s shoes.

“I was surprised by the hostility and vehemence of some of the people who reacted to me saying a kind word about a unique historic figure,” he said. “So let me say to those conservatives who don’t want to honor Nelson Mandela, what would you have done?”

Responding to conservatives who dismiss Mandela as a communist, Gingrich added, “Actually Mandela was raised in a Methodist school, was a devout Christian, turned to communism in desperation only after South Africa was taken over by anextraordinarily racist government determined to eliminate all rights for blacks.”

As Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic pointed out, Gingrich’s support for Mandela is not new or an attempt to rewrite history.

“Newt Gingrich was among a cadre of conservatives who opposed the mainstream conservative stance on Apartheid and ultimately helped override Reagan’s unconscionable veto of sanctions,” he wrote, adding, “When Gingrich compliments Mandela on his presidency he doesn’t do so within the context of alleged African pathologies, but within the context of countries throughout the world. It’s a textbook lessons in ‘How not to be racist,’ which is to say it is a textbook lesson in how to talk about Nelson Mandela as though he were a human being.”

Watch Gingrich’s video:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also encountered a fair amount of vitriol last week when he honored Mandela in a Facebook post, writing, “Nelson Mandela will live in history as an inspiration for defenders of liberty around the globe… Because of his epic fight against injustice, an entire nation is now free.”

When CNN host Candy Crowley asked Gingrich if he believed his and Cruz’s critics were fellow conservatives, the former House speaker said they were people who bought into “a rationale that defined everybody who was in any way in rebellion against the established system in the third world as anti-American.”

 

‘Worse than Watergate’

The Watergate Hotel Washington, D.C., June 11, 2012.

The Watergate Hotel Washington, D.C., June 11, 2012.  JIM WATSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Steve Benen, a contributor on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC website makes a few salient points about the GOP comparing every perceived left-wing failure to the Nixon Administration’s Watergate scandal.

The Rachel Maddow Show

On his Fox News show yesterday, Howard Kurtz sat down with Bob Woodward and raised a question that caught me a little off guard. “Some of the president’s detractors compare every scandal to Watergate, with which you are famously associated,” Kurtz said. “And so Benghazi is worse than Watergate. IRS was worse than Watergate. Bill Kristol said the other day that Obamacare is worse than Watergate in its impact on the country. What do you make of those comparisons?”

Woodward, who’s had some unfortunate missteps this year, didn’t fully answer, but the question itself gave me pause. Bill Kristol actually said the other day that Obamacare is worse than Watergate?
As it turns out, yes, he really said that.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich this week compared the Affordable Care Act to the Watergate Scandal, but Kristol believes the healthcare law is far worse. “Obamacare, honestly, will do more damage to the country than Watergate ever could’ve done,” he said.
“Watergate was stupid, petty, partisan politics and [President Richard] Nixon did misuse the Oval Office and then did lie to the country about it, probably. But, here, we have a legislative takeover of a huge percentage of the economy and an area that’s so important to everyone’s lives.”
Remember, as far as the Beltway is concerned, Bill Kristol is an establishment figure in good standing. He also thinks Nixon “probably” lied about the criminal conspiracy the disgraced president ran out of the Oval Office.
But it’s the comparison to the Affordable Care Act that’s uniquely incomprehensible. “Obamacare” critics are on safe ground complaining about a dysfunctional website, but to suggest that the law itself – a Republican-friendly reform system, which focuses on private insurers, cost-saving measures, and deficit reduction – is worse than the constitutional crisis posed by the Nixon White House becoming a criminal enterprise is plainly silly , even for contemporary Republicans.
That said, I suppose it’s time to updating a post from last year. Republicans are on record arguing:
* Benghazi is “worse than Watergate.” [Update: this argument comes up quite a bit.]
* The IRS story carries “echoes of Watergate.”
* National security leaks are “worse than Watergate.”
* A job offer for former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) might be “Obama’s Watergate.”
* “Fast and Furious” might be “Obama’s Watergate.”
* The White House’s relationship with Media Matters might be “Obama’s Watergate.”
* NSA surveillance is one of “Obamas Watergates.”
* The James Rosen controverys is “becoming Watergate.”
In May, Peggy Noonan was so overwhelmed by her contempt for the president, she wrote in her column, “We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate,” and then neglected to mention which perceived “scandal” she was even referring to.
If you’re thinking this overheated nonsense is hard to take seriously, you’re not the only one.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,076 other followers

%d bloggers like this: