What's Really Wrong With Newt Gingrich-- From The Republican Perspective?
The Republicans who served with him in the House, better than anyone, know he's an undisciplined, pedantic egomaniac-- and worse. Those aren't my words; they come to us from Long Island Congressman Peter King (R-NY), who was first elected to Congress two years before Gingrich's Contract With America, watched him implode and resign and is now worried that Gingrich will destroy whatever chances the GOP has to win the White House in 2012. Almost none of the Republicans who served with Gingrich in Congress have endorsed him. They're all either staying out of it-- like King-- or endorsing Romney. Gingrich, who, King says, appeals primarily to radical right Southern Neanderthals has been endorsed by only 6 current Members of Congress-- and all 6 are indisputably radical right Southern Neanderthals, Joe Barton (R-TX), Michael Burgess (R-TX), Jack Kingston (R-GA), Tom Price (R-GA), Phil Gingrey (R-GA), and Austin Scott (R-GA). As of Friday evening 48 current Members had endorsed Romney and one deranged fascist, Trent Franks (R-AZ) has endorsed Bachmann. Only two of the Gingrich supporters were in Congress when he was: Confederate hacks Jack Kingston and Joe Barton. The others haven't experienced what has repulsed King about the ex-Speaker, who King says takes on airs as an intellectual but is just a puffed up clown. King was excited that Gingrich was off to a good start as Speaker, but that went sour... fast. "The problem was, over a period of time, he couldn't stay focused. He was undisciplined. Too often, he made it about himself." King went on to describe him as "condescending," "dismissive" and "petulant."
The two men never quite saw eye-to-eye. In 1996, King, a son of Irish immigrants who grew up in Sunnyside, accused Gingrich of having "a Southern, anti-union attitude that appeals to the mentality of hillbillies at revival meetings."
On Saturday, Gingrich will have a revival of sorts out on Staten Island, where he'll speak to a Tea Party meeting, and possibly encounter another old enemy. Former congressman and current Romney supporter Guy Molinari called Gingrich "an evil person" this week, and threatened to show up at the event (though he conceded he probably won't).
..."It was like Newt would read a book and we'd go off into a different topic," King said. "He'd go on 'Meet the Press' and he'd go off message. If you're the speaker and you lay out an agenda, or a particular bill, you stay on that until the bill is passed. With Newt, it was hard to get that type of discipline. He'd say something else or come up with a different argument.
"He also has this incredible sense of exaggeration. Like, I don't know how many times he'll say, 'This is the most corrupt act in the history of Western Civilization,' or 'the most despicable.' You can only say that so many times. So to me, I just didn't see him having the sense of discipline or the sense of direction that's really needed."
...[H]e would never miss a chance to take a shot at New York. And this was even after we had elected Giuliani as mayor, Pataki as governor. That was like part of his routine, to attack New York. Big-city bosses. New York corruption, that type of thing. I just got tired of that.
"And then, just his style. I thought it was very, not just abrupt, that's the wrong word, because I don't mind guys being tough. It was just a very superior complex-- a superiority complex-- and I don't think he had that much to be superior about."
Part of the problem with Gingrich 2012, as King sees it, is that Gingrich won't be able to capture independent voters.
"President Obama does not have them," he said. "If we have a plausible candidate, we should get them, or we have a very good opportunity to win the independent voters. Newt Gingrich will drive them away. And I think it opens up an opportunity for someone like a Mike Bloomberg, an independent candidate, to come in. Independents who are fed up with Barack Obama but are not going to vote for Newt Gingrich.
...King said the "most egregious example" of Gingrich hurting the party in recent memory was his comment on Meet the Press that Paul Ryan's budget proposal, which had become a banner for the party in the budget battles, was "right-wing social engineering... "If we do have an intellectual in the party right now, it's Paul Ryan."
If a pompous hustler and windbag like Gingrich or an adolescent school girl with a crush on Ayn Rand's rantings about selfishness are the party's claims to an intellectual foundation, the GOP is in a lot worse shape than anyone would have ever predicted. And a PPP poll from Florida, where Gingrich is absolutely sweeping Romney off the map among Republican primary voters, shows what a Gingrich nomination would do to the Republicans in the general election (outside of the most backward, reactionary and racist states like Mississippi, Idaho and Alabama).
If the Newt surge persists over the next few months the biggest winner is going to be Barack Obama. We can see that pretty clearly in our newest Florida poll.
If Mitt Romney's the Republican nominee, Obama's in a lot of trouble in the Sunshine State. Obama leads Romney only 45-44, and given that the undecideds skew largely Republican he'd probably lose to Romney if the election was today. Obama being stuck in the mid-4o's against Romney is par for the course in our Florida polling. In September Obama led 46-45, in June it was 47-43, and in March it was 46-44. The dial has barely moved all year.
But if Newt Gingrich is the Republican nominee it's a completely different story. Obama leads him 50-44 in a head to head. To find the last time a GOP Presidential candidate lost Florida by more than that you have to go all the way back to Thomas Dewey in 1948. Even Barry Goldwater did better in Florida than Gingrich is right now.
The conservative Republican base is certainly a lot more enthusiastic about Gingrich than they are about Romney right now. But when it comes to appeal to Democrats and independents, Newt just simply doesn't have it. Romney beats Obama by 7 points with independents. Gingrich trails Obama by 1 with them. Romney holds Obama to 78% of the Democratic vote. Obama gets 83% of his own party against Gingrich. And even among Republicans Gingrich loses 14% to Obama, while Romney sheds only 9%. Conservative Republicans are going to vote for Mitt in the end in the general whether they like him or not. It doesn't looks like that's necessarily the case for moderate Republicans when it comes to Newt.
And they're making that kind of a sweeping prediction even before the general public starts to understand the depth of corruption that defines Newt Gingrich. Businessweek cracked open the gates to how Gingrich, a two-bit hustler and cheap Southern charlatan, has become so fabulously wealthy since first being elected to Congress-- and even more so since being forced to resign. John Tozzi points out for the magazine that "Since he left Congress in 1999... Gingrich has built a network of businesses and nonprofit ventures that have brought in more than $100 million from clients and donors. The Gingrich brand includes a consulting firm, a book and video company, and a political fundraising operation that is now fueling his campaign for President... Gingrich’s latest financial disclosures show total wealth of at least $6.7m as of July 2011." It's always interesting watching him explain and re-explain the next day, how he "earned" between $1.6 and $1.8 million from Republican Party bête noire Freddie Mac.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich highlighted the benefits of Freddie Mac's business model in 2007-- a position that appears to contradict his assertion that he warned the mortgage company of its "insane" business practices.
In an interview posted in an archived version of Freddie Mac's website, Gingrich discusses the so-called government-supported enterprise model, dubbed GSEs. "While we need to improve the regulations of the GSEs, I would be very cautious about fundamentally changing their role or the model itself," he said.
He went on to praise Freddie Mac's and Fannie Mae's "important contribution" to homeownership.
Asked about his consulting work for the quasi-governmental housing agency at a Nov. 9 presidential debate, Gingrich said he had offered advice as a historian and sharply criticized its approach.
"When they walked in and said to me, we are now making loans to people who have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything, but that's what the government wants us to do, is I said-- I said to them at the time: "This is a bubble. This insane. This is impossible,' " Gingrich said during the debate in Michigan.
That's not the tone Gingrich takes in the Freddie Mac interview in which he touts the GSE model.
"There is not much support for the idea of removing the GSE charters from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae," he said. "And it's clear why. The housing GSEs have made an important contribution to homeownerhip and the housing finance system. We have a much more liquid and stable housing finance system that we would have had without the GSEs."