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Favorable or Unfavorable #332: Newt Gingrich


Favorable or Unfavorable #332: Newt Gingrich  

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  1. 1. Did you read my first comment?

  2. 2. Favorable or Unfavorable #332: Newt Gingrich

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Speaker Newt Gingrich (GA-R) is the most consequential GOPer between Reagan and Trump. One could argue that post 1994 US politics is the Age of Gingrich because he initiated an activist politics that led to the current hyperpartisanship. 

I don't think you get the Tea Party or MAGA on a national scale without Gingrich. Trump is a symptom of Gingrich. He's ultimately historically more important than Trump. Reagan enhanced Gingrich but Gingrich was a conservative fire-brand before Reagan was president, and Reagan was more rhetorically conservative than he was in action. Gingrich was both rhetoric and action. 

Also, while Reagan (who may not have actually been that religious) gave the Religious Right a national platform, it was Gingrich who inserted the Religious Right as part of GOP policy. I sometimes think he did so without being that religious, similar to how Reagan wasn't that religious and Trump isn't that religious (if he is at all). Politicians will use whatever tools they can to win over voters. 

Gingrich's importance and influence could have been greater, but he undermined himself with hypocrisy. He was prone to going after politicians for sex scandals, meanwhile he had on-going affairs during his first two marriages, including one who was struggling in a fight with cancer. On top of this, he attempted to consolidate as much power into the Speakership as possible, likely becoming the most powerful speaker since Joseph Cannon about 90 years previously. This caused his allies to become his enemies. 

This all said, I've always been impressed with Gingrich's intelligence, which is often obscured by some hyperpartisan statements. What I like most about him is that he's an "idea person." During the 2012 GOP debates, Rick Santorum tried to attack Gingrich for being "an idea" person, arguing that the US doesn't need any more ideas. I thought this was the most backward statement ever uttered on a debate stage. Gingrich and I would probably agree that there "are no bad ideas" because an idea isn't an action. It's a brainstorm. Even a bad idea can be modified into a good idea. I think Santorum's comment almost felt like an attack on me and for a moment, I had some empathy for Gingrich. 

If one likes the direction that the GOP has been going in the 21st century, then those of you should probably hang portraits of Gingrich up in your homes. 

His actions:

Gingrich, Newt 1980 Eclipses Phil Crane as leading conservative firebrand in US House
Gingrich, Newt 1980 Criticized for requesting a divorce from his wife as she's in the hospital with cancer (Unknown to the public, Gingrich is having an affair with another woman, who would become his 2nd wife)
Gingrich, Newt 1983 Calls for the expulsion of US Reps Dan Crane and Gerry Studds in page sex scandals
Gingrich, Newt 1987 Votes against Civil Rights bill
Gingrich, Newt 1988 Forces Speaker Jim Wright to resign by leading ethics charges against him.
Gingrich, Newt 1990 Walks out of Bush speech when the pres breaks his no new tax promise
Gingrich, Newt 1993 Joins Pres. Clinton and leads the push of NAFTA for ratification
Gingrich, Newt 1993 Begins having an affair with his staffer, Callista, who would later be his 3rd wife (affair on-going and reaveled in 1998)
Gingrich, Newt 1994 Leads Contract w/ America, an attempt to build a conservative activist GOP; inaugurates hyperpartisanship in US politics
Gingrich, Newt 1994 Takes lead in House effort to kill Clinton Healthcare bill
Gingrich, Newt 1995 Becomes first GOP Speaker in several decades; Republican Revolution
Gingrich, Newt 1995 Tangles w/ Pres. Clinton in two long government shutdowns that backfire on GOP
Gingrich, Newt 1996 Leads and negotiates GOP Welfare Reform; Clinton signs it
Gingrich, Newt 1997? Following 1996 election, seeks to tie Christian conservatism to future GOP platforms and policies
Gingrich, Newt 1997 Reprimanded for ethics violation but keeps Speakership by narrow margin
Gingrich, Newt 1997 Survives coup attempt by other GOPers to oust him as Speaker
Gingrich, Newt 1997 Role in Taxpayer Relief Act, which sees biggest capital gains tax cut in history
Gingrich, Newt 1997 Forces Clinton to an agreement on Budget deal
Gingrich, Newt 1998 Leads inaugural stages of Impeachment effort, which backfire, and help cost him speakership
Gingrich, Newt 1998 Resigns after admitting to a marital affair while leading an impeachment effort on Clinton's affair
Gingrich, Newt 2000 Declines to run for pres, after initially considering it
Gingrich, Newt 2008 Decides not to run for pres after initially making moves to do so
Gingrich, Newt 2012 Rep pres cand
Gingrich, Newt 2012 Argues the GOPers should reconsider their opposition to gay marriage
Gingrich, Newt 2016 Argues that American muslims who believe in sharia law should be deported
Gingrich, Newt 2016 Calls on GOPers to rally behind Trump in general election, despite Trump scandals
Gingrich, Newt 2016 Considered for VP, Sec of State, or Chief of Staff by Trump
Gingrich, Newt 2017 Promotes discredited conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton had a DNC staffer killed
Gingrich, Newt 2020 Supports Trump's discredited voter fraud claims, following 2020 pres election
Gingrich, Newt 2021 Opposes investigation into Jan 6th Insurrection, calling the investigation a "lynch mob"
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I’m not opposed to the religious right having a platform in politics, hell before Gingrich Im generally alright with them outside of preachers using a political platform to scam for money. But my main gripe with Gingrich outside of the obvious bads is the rules he changed as Speaker of the House to create a more hyper partisan environment. He purposely made work periods shorter so Representatives would have to return to listen to their constituents. Doesn’t sound bad, right? In practice over time it began to radicalize many Representatives, and as sound bite politics began to rise it only exacerbated the issue.

In 2012 I’m pretty sure most of my family voted for him in the primaries. Their opinions have changed on him though, at least with some. Gingrich was a great debater which influenced that I think.

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