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Author Topic: Gingrich and Reagan
philnotfil
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Gingrich has been wrapping himself in the mantle of Reagan, but it sounds like he forgot to wait until everyone else from that era was dead, or at least senile.

nationalreview.com

quote:
In the increasingly rough Republican campaign, no candidate has wrapped himself in the mantle of Ronald Reagan more often than Newt Gingrich. “I worked with President Reagan to change things in Washington,” “we helped defeat the Soviet empire,” and “I helped lead the effort to defeat Communism in the Congress” are typical claims by the former speaker of the House.

The claims are misleading at best. As a new member of Congress in the Reagan years — and I was an assistant secretary of state — Mr. Gingrich voted with the president regularly, but equally often spewed insulting rhetoric at Reagan, his top aides, and his policies to defeat Communism. Gingrich was voluble and certain in predicting that Reagan’s policies would fail, and in all of this he was dead wrong.

quote:
There are two things to be said about these remarks. The first is that as a visionary, Gingrich does not have a very impressive record. The Soviet Union was beginning to collapse, just as Reagan had believed it must. The expansion of its empire had been thwarted. The policies Gingrich thought so weak and indeed “pathetic” worked, and Ronald Reagan turned out to be a far better student of history and politics than Gingrich.

The second point to make is that Gingrich made these assaults on the Reagan administration just as Democratic attacks were heating up unmercifully. Far from becoming a reliable voice for Reagan policy and the struggle against the Soviets, Gingrich took on Reagan and his administration. It appears to be a habit: He did the same to George W. Bush when Bush was making the toughest and most controversial decision of his presidency — the surge in Iraq. Bush was opposed by many of the top generals, by some Republican leaders who feared the surge would hurt in the 2008 elections, and of course by a slew of Democrats and media commentators. Here again Gingrich provided no support for his party’s embattled president, testifying as a private citizen in 2007 that the strategy was “inadequate,” contained “breathtaking” gaps, lacked “synergism” (whatever that means), and was “very disappointing.” What did Gingrich propose? Among other things, a 50 percent increase in the budget of the State Department.


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AI Wessex
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No surprise. Reagan mentions him once in his 794 page diary, and only then for bringing up a dumb idea in a session Reagan had with Congressional Republicans. Yesterday Gingrich also said that his multiple marriages make him more "normal" than Romney and allow him to better appreciate the concerns and plight of the common man. Last month he explained his multiple affairs as caused by excess energy resulting from his passion for his country. He doesn't just rewrite history, he floats above it like a hot air balloon at a parade.
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KidTokyo
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quote:
Last month he explained his multiple affairs as caused by excess energy resulting from his passion for his country.
He actually said that? Wow... [LOL]

I'm seriously curious -- why does anyone like him? As a candidate, I mean.

[ January 26, 2012, 11:05 AM: Message edited by: KidTokyo ]

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Pyrtolin
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Because he knows how to appeal to his audience emotionally. He doesn't need to actually offer anything or be consistent about anything as long as he can make the people that he's talking to feel like he understands what's frustrating them and redirect that frustration at a clear target. (It's likely also why he seems to do less well when he can't respond to audience feedback)
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AI Wessex
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Here:
quote:
"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," said Gingrich during an interview with CBN's David Brody.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Because he knows how to appeal to his audience emotionally. He doesn't need to actually offer anything or be consistent about anything as long as he can make the people that he's talking to feel like he understands what's frustrating them and redirect that frustration at a clear target. (It's likely also why he seems to do less well when he can't respond to audience feedback)

We're talking about Newt Gingrich, not President Obama.

Oh wait, you don't like it when people mischaracterize how YOU feel about something? How about you try not doing the same. You're clearly not the person the question was addressed to, and you're not equipped to answer the question. You don't like him; you can't competently answer why people DO like him.

I like Newt because he's smart, articulate, experienced, appears to be decisive, appears to makes his own decisions (rather than saying what his advisers tell him to), and has a lot of what I believe to be the right ideas. I also think he is hands down the smartest candidate for the job.

The things I don't like about him seem much less relevant than the things I don't like about the other candidates. A legitimate criticism of Newt is that he has too many clever ideas. The office of the President has built in shock-absorbers to prevent things like that from happening.

Most importantly, I believe he is absolutely not corrupt. (I believe the same about Romney). I do not believe the same about President Obama.

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Pyrtolin
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You deny that Newt has a talent for emotional appeal and connecting with his intended audience?

To be fair- the fact that I pointed out that such appeal easily trumps a lack of content could be misinterpreted as an implicit suggestion that he does lack content. That was not my intent there, but rather to emphasize how he can appeal even to audiences that would otherwise revile him based on their stated interests.

[ January 26, 2012, 11:55 AM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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JoshuaD
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quote:
You deny that Newt has a talent for emotional appeal and connecting with his intended audience?
Of course he has that skill. But that's not why I like him. That's not why most people I talk to like him. We like him because he is smart and he is thinking about problems in the right way.

Please show me a successful politician who doesn't have that skill, it's sort of a job requirement.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
I like Newt because he's smart, articulate, experienced, appears to be decisive, appears to makes his own decisions (rather than saying what his advisers tell him to), and has a lot of what I believe to be the right ideas. I also think he is hands down the smartest candidate for the job.

The things I don't like about him seem much less relevant than the things I don't like about the other candidates. A legitimate criticism of Newt is that he has too many clever ideas. The office of the President has built in shock-absorbers to prevent things like that from happening.

Most importantly, I believe he is absolutely not corrupt. (I believe the same about Romney). I do not believe the same about President Obama.

I would agree with what you wrote JoshuaD.

However, I would add that I don't think that Gingrich has the temperament to be a successful President. I think he's too prone to argument and that he doesn't tend to pick a good idea and stand behind it. He tends to be off to the next good idea without actually accomplishing anything with the last one.

In my mind he would be a better choice than Obama or Ron Paul, but a worse choice than Romney.

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KidTokyo
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Newt is diabolical. Yes, very smart -- but the stuff he slings about history, culture, the courts, is shameless pandering BS and he must know it. Obama does this too, but Newt is better at it, and more radical.

I think his appeal is more than just emotional, though. He is very good and articulating feelings into ideas and pseudo-policies. he channels not just popular emotion, but popular conceptions about how things should be (popular among some).

I consider him to be substantially more dangerous than the usual politician.

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Jordan
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The source is obviously biased, but here are some quotes to corroborate AI's assertions.

quote:
AI Wessex:
Yesterday Gingrich also said that his multiple marriages make him more "normal" than Romney[…]

I must credit Gingrich for providing some sterling entertainment. Gingrich says his multiple marriages make him more relatable than a faithfully-married Latter-Day Saint? It's exquisite, given how Romney's detractors have denigrated his religious beliefs, to see it asserted that Romney not being married to more than one woman is a strike against him, however anaemic.

The notion that the voting public should identify with him is especially delightful in light of Gingrich's apparent inability to relate to same-sex couples in commited relationships. For example, he did not attend his gay sister's wedding, advised voters who strongly care about universal marriage to vote for Obama and thinks gay people should consider celibacy. We should relate to his infidelity, but he cannot relate to our wish to get married?

I honestly don't know if it is more charitable to believe he is oblivious to the hypocrisy or is simply ignoring it. In fact, I'm finding it a challenge to construct a narrative that portrays him in a flattering light at all. [Frown]

[ January 26, 2012, 12:19 PM: Message edited by: Jordan ]

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JoshuaD
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There is no flattering light here, Jordan. He cheated on two wives. It sucks. He shouldn't have done that.

Since then, he has been in a monogamous relationship with the woman he loves. He has been there for over a decade, and I believe him when he says he conquered the demons that led to those actions.

This is unrelated to the question of gay marriage. I understand why gays would like for people to have the ability to get "married" to someone of the same sex. but I don't agree that society should grant them that privilege. I'm not going to get into the reasons, you know them and you've heard them before. This isn't the place for that discussion.

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AI Wessex
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To put it most simply, Newt is a self-serving liar. He said in the last debate that he decided to step aside after the 1998 House elections because the results weren't as good as he had said they would be and somebody needed to take responsibility.

Really? Raise your hand if you believe a word of that.

The litany of his lies is pretty extensive, and although all politicians bend or break the truth, he raises it to a high art. He is responsible as a partner in the Reagan revolution. Really? He balanced the budget as Clinton's ally 4 years in a row. Really? He's not a lobbyist. Really?!?

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:

In my mind he would be a better choice than Obama or Ron Paul, but a worse choice than Romney.

I like Romney just fine. He's capable, smart, and seems to have his heart in the right place. I have doubts because I really don't know how much of the real man I'm seeing on television. He has been planning this campaign for the last 5-6 years, and he has all of the political machine behind him. More importantly, I feel like Obama would eat him alive in the election and debates. I don't think he can think and react on his feet fast enough.

I like Newt more. He hasn't been running for the past 6 years, he clearly isn't being run by his advisers, and he's really really bright. I worry about his lack of focus sometimes, too, but I feel like that minor flaw is one that is tempered by the office. I prefer it to the flaws I see in the other candidates.

[ January 26, 2012, 12:34 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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Jordan
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I do not wish to start a debate on the ethics of gay marriage, Joshua. I am observing that there is an extraordinary tension between justifying your own affairs as "normal" or relatable, and treating other people's fidelity as something remarkable, even reproachable. Same-sex couples are simply the most striking example of his seeming double-standard.

You are welcome to believe he is now prepared to commit fully to his partner, and I do not question him in this respect. I question his casting suspicion on those who have made similar commitments, and his expectation that voters should identify with him when he shows no intention of reciprocating.

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KidTokyo
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I'd be much happier with a politician who just says "I like women, and I like to fool around, and I am not a role model for family values. Mind your own business."

Instead, there has to be this narrative of sin, repentance, redemption, over and over again, ad infinitum. Ick.

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JoshuaD
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Kid: Why do you think the former is the right narrative for Newt's history? It seems to me that the latter fits the facts more closely, and it also happens to be what he is telling us to be the case.
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KidTokyo
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The wealthy lead different lives. They do not live by the same social rules as us proles. I take this as a given, regardless of party affiliation, nationality, etc. This tendency for political candidates to make themselves appear "just like us" is nothing more than third-rate performance art. It's how they manipulate us. They key to the trick is, whenever there's a crack in the facade, to make it seem like an exception, rather than the rule.
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D.W.
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Agreed Kid. There are only two times I care about the personal life of a politician.

1. They are engaging in activities someone could use to blackmail them with.

2. They are campaigning or promoting moral issues / legislation.

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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
There is no flattering light here, Jordan. He cheated on two wives. It sucks. He shouldn't have done that.

Since then, he has been in a monogamous relationship with the woman he loves. He has been there for over a decade, and I believe him when he says he conquered the demons that led to those actions.

If his ex-wife (second) is to be believed it's far from certain he's been in a monogamous relationship for the past ten years.
quote:
She revealed that when the former House Speaker admitted to having a 6-year affair with his current wife, Callista, he asked if Marianne would be okay with his serial dalliances.

"And I just stared at him and he said, 'Callista doesn't care what I do,'" Marianne Gingrich told ABC News. "He wanted an open marriage and I refused."

If I'm reading that right, it sounds like his third wife is okay with an open marriage. If true, it's not that he's finally learned to be faithful to the wife he loves but rather he's found a wife who is okay with his unfaithfulness.

I'm not going to assume the ex is being totally honest here. That said, there seems to be enough instances in both his personal and professional life to wonder whether his "independence" is a strength or just a PC term for backstabbing.

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AI Wessex
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"I'd be much happier with a politician who just says "I like women, and I like to fool around, and I am not a role model for family values. Mind your own business.""

The Charles Barkley defense! Worked fine for him: "I play basketball. I ain't no role model."

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
"I'd be much happier with a politician who just says "I like women, and I like to fool around, and I am not a role model for family values. Mind your own business.""

The Charles Barkley defense! Worked fine for him: "I play basketball. I ain't no role model."

Wasn't that the Bill Clinton defense? The second one, after the first one "I didn't have sex with that woman", won him a $90K fine and the loss of his law license.
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Viking_Longship
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quote:
Most importantly, I believe he is absolutely not corrupt.
On what grounds do you believe he's absolutely not corrupt?
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AI Wessex
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"The second one, after the first one "I didn't have sex with that woman", won him a $90K fine and the loss of his law license."

At about the same time Gingrich was leading the impeachment hearings while he was having an affair with one of his staffers, wasn't it? Which is worse, a horny staffer getting schtupped by a Congressman touting his family values platform or a horny intern smoking cigars with a facile President? How to choose? But how did Clinton creep into this discussion?

And how much was Gingrich fined? $300K, wasn't it and he resigned his seat in the House in disgrace? He says he didn't do anything wrong, either. The way he explains it, he was overcome with his passion for the country, which led him to do things that make him more like the common man and for which he resigned his House seat out of respect for the office and a sense of personal responsibility.

[ January 26, 2012, 03:48 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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D.W.
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The respect they have for their wives may speak to their character. The respect they have for the law speaks to their ability to lead our country.

Sadly the damage president Clinton caused to his reputation and how that damage reflects on his party will indeed be relevant for awhile. Defending* it only makes the drivel Gingrich is spewing about his personal life seem less ridiculous.

*Or explaining how others are “just as bad”

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AI Wessex
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I'm not sure I follow the logic. Callista had an affair with a married Congressman (and didn't care apparently if he fooled around with his wife on this side) for at least 6 months, during which time he was prosecuting impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States for lying about having an affair with a WH intern? Who are we bending over backwards to respect here, exactly?

[ January 26, 2012, 04:48 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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D.W.
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No idea if that question is directed at me or someone else but…
It is entirely possible to respect a politician’s views and ability to execute on those views while finding their marital behavior to be reprehensible. To answer the question of who must do more bending between liberals/democrats supporting our past president vs. conservatives/republicans supporting this candidate, I think without a doubt it would be conservative/republican voters with their fixation on moral issues.

If that’s what you were asking.

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Pete at Home
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For lying under oath to a court, Al. It's called perjury.

To frame the issue as simply about Clinton getting a blow job is obtuse at best, and at worst, outright nihilistic.

There's nothing so sacred about who you are sporking that it gives you license for perjury. A number of other people that year actually went to prison for lying under oath about their affairs.

Clinton had even less excuse than those other defendants, since Clinton's presidential immunity gave him license to refuse to answer the question; the judge was constitutionally barred from slapping the President for criminal Contempt of Court.

You can't even mitigate what Clinton did by saying that it was personal, since he'd actually run a poll to see how Americans would react if he came out and confessed. His decision to perjure himself was a political calculation.

If you want to point fingers, point to the idiocy of SCOTUS for saying that a civil sexual harassment trial would not distract a President from his office. Paula Jones' case should have been continued, the Statute of Limitations tolled until after Clinton was out of office. Or point to Congress for publishing the Starr Report; another grotesque deriliction of duty. But if you want to be respected, don't trivialize or evade the seriousness of Clinton's perjury in court. Calista's sport-sex, contemptible as it may be, is utterly irrelevant to the issues for which Clinton was investigated and impeached.

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AI Wessex
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DW, the questions were directed at people who were sniffing around the idea of "respect for the candidate's wife". Based on her actions, we could reasonably assume that she's a gold-digger and trophy wife and not particularly respectful of the institution of marriage herself, right?

Relax, Pete. Clinton is not the issue here, and I'm not defending him, only bringing him up for his proximity to Gingrich for contrast. Gingrich's active campaigning for the Presidency based on his moral uprightness and forthrightness is the topic of the day. IMO, he leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. He is in the spotlight and we should look closely at all of his turpitudes, insufficiencies and failings, since he's doing his damndest to attack every real and imaginary one he can stick to Romney.

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D.W.
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Other than "trophy wife" being used normally to objectify the woman I think your assumptions are very likely. I would replace that with either “power/attention hungry” or transpose him as her trophy. [Smile]
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AI Wessex
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I have followed Gingrich's career somewhat closely ever since he took down Jim Wright on ethics charges (sound familiar?) from his role as Speaker of the House in 1989. I should say I've watched him with fear and loathing ever since then. Nobody ever summarized his diseased personality along the way, but with enough distance we have some good hindsight. Yesterday Bob Dole and Elliot Abrams both came out very strongly against him as an unstable and dangerous person to give leadership responsibilities to. We know that Reagan thought little of him in what little thought he gave to him and that Gingrich attacked Reagan mercilessly as incompetent and cowardly when he had the chance. Now he claims to have been Reagan's friend and to have been given Reagan's mantle to lead in his name by Nancy. Bull****. Here's a good perspective on Newt in yesterday's paper:
quote:
When not holding forth from his favorite table at L’Auberge Chez François, nestled among the manor houses of lobbyist-thick Great Falls, Va., Dr. Newton L. Gingrich likes to lecture people about food stamps and how out-of-touch the elites are with real America.

Gingrich, as he showed in a gasping effort in Thursday night’s debate in Florida, is a demagogue distilled, like a French sauce, to the purest essence of the word’s meaning. He has no shame. He thinks the rules do not apply to him. And he turns questions about his odious personal behavior into mock outrage over the audacity of the questioner.

After inventing, and then perfecting, the modern politics of personal destruction, Gingrich has decided now to bank on the dark fears of the worst element of the Republican base to seize the nomination — using skills refined over four decades.

...


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