Saturday, November 19, 2011

Republican Newt Gingrich: A Grand Poohbah of the 1%

He's back. Sometime presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has flown in from his vacation in Greece, Switzerland or Hawaii to assert himself in one of the weakest lineups of Republicans in years.

Newt Gingrich is a lobbyist who denies being a lobbyist and refuses to register as a lobbyist but is a lobbyist nevertheless. Although he receives money from various sources, including Freddie Mac, his real job is much broader. Gingrich believes in the right sort of 1%, the anything goes 1%, the movers and shakers 1% sucking the blood of American workers so they can buy one more estate or one more Lear jet or one more 80 foot yacht. He is a friend of Texas billionaires willing to do anything, and I mean anything, to make a buck, including taking down the American economy. Gingrich believes in a government for the rich and by the rich and will do and say anything for the party of people he serves and considers himself a member of. He is indeed a lobbyist, a bona fide lobbyist for the selfish 1% who are uninterested in democracy and uninterested in the problems of average Americans.

Personally, I think Newt Gingrich would be quite happy to be another Dick Cheney. Like the former vice president, he's discovered that it's actually easier and more fun to operate in the shadows. Would Gingrich deny himself the presidency if it were offered to him? Of course not. But in his heart of hearts he would be happier operating in the shadows.

Pay attention to what's being said in the article in The New York Times about Gingrich:
The payments were far more than had previously been known, or than Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker, had acknowledged.

(snip)

Not only is Freddie Mac a longtime conservative whipping post, but the extent of his consultancy for the mortgage giant seemed to be at odds with his own statements about his work there. He has also blamed it for the collapse of the housing market, saying that at least one Democratic supporter should be jailed, and, in 2008, that President Obama should give back any money his campaign received from its executives.

The news of the full extent of his Freddie Mac contract put him on the defensive all day. And all of his corporate work, in energy, health care and other industries, is now sure to be scrutinized by the news media and his opponents.

I have no idea why Gingrich is climbing in the polls. He is a strange character. Here's a guy who received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Freddie Mac but he was one of those behind the mythology that Freddie Mac caused the economic meltdown. Freddie Mac like so many other financial institutions was not innocent but it was a follower of the debacle, not one of the leaders that caused it.

Let me repeat: Freddie Mac did not cause the meltdown. But keep this in mind: President Bush was in charge during those years when regulation was lax, including at Freddie Mac. And if Republicans like Gingrich were advising Freddie Mac, do these clowns really want to put the blame on Freddie Mac?

There is very little logic or rationality in the Republican Party these days. Guys like Karl Rove work with focus groups to find out what nonsensical narratives might work on potential Republican voters. But why don't Republicans use narratives connected to the real values of the 1% that control the Republican Party? The answer is that those values don't connect with voters. Americans don't want to destroy social security and medicare. They don't want to destroy the unions, though they sometimes have gripes with unions. They don't want to see jobs sent overseas. They don't want to see the bottom line dominate everything in our country for the sake of a little extra profit for the next quarter that goes into the pockets of an increasingly smaller number of Americans.

When business corporations first appeared in America, they were allowed to exist so long as they contributed to the public good. Probably most American corporations continue to serve the public good though most of these same corporations could do a better job. A lot of the breakdowns involve the financial sector, the health insurance sector, the Alice in Wonderland world of expensive and sometimes worthless defense contracts, and corporate sectors who profit from the right to pollute in our country and to pollute in a country overseas without paying cleanup costs. There are many exceptions in all areas. For example, investors who are predatory have found it much easier since the early 1980s to buy a legitimate company and basically raid its assets for their personal use. There are articles that have been written about the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Dodgers and how their assets were stripped by their new owners. The same has happened to many other corporations.

Gingrich is an historian who knows these things. Or at least he ought to know. But he's infatuated with conservative economic ideas that no longer work and never did work, except for a very small number of Americans. He's a fossil. He's also an elitist in reality, if not by labeling in the media. When a self-important official threatens to shut down the government because he didn't like his seating on a presidential plane, that sounds like one of those self-important Dukes or Barons from the 18th century. We used to call such people Tories. We rebelled against them in 1776. We're a generous country. Guys like Gingrich, with nothing real to offer to a majority of Americans, ought to pull out of politics and enjoy his retirement.

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