Tag Archives: Newt Gingrich

Yeah, listen to Newtie

Newt Gingrich makes me laugh, albeit derisively, as he tries to offer advice and a critique of the state of today’s Republican Party leadership.

The former (disgraced) U.S. House speaker doesn’t think much of GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s leadership style. He likes the notions being pitched by GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida and California’s U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy.

Newt Gingrich questions McConnell’s strategy for Republicans: ‘As bad as Pelosi’ | Just The News

Sigh …

I am left to wonder: What in the world is Newt Gingrich’s track record as a legislative leader?

It stinks, man!

Newtie became House speaker after the GOP took control of Congress in the 1994 Contract With America election. He managed to work pretty well (for a time) with Democratic President Bill Clinton. The two men found a way to hammer out a balanced federal budget. Good deal, yes? Of course!

President Clinton then got re-elected in 1996 and in 1998, Democrats retook command of Congress, which of course occurred on Gingrich’s watch as House speaker.

Then came the scandal that resulted in President Clinton’s impeachment. Who led the impeach-him chorus? Newt Gingrich! Oh, but wait. In real time, Newtie was boinking a staffer, cheating on his second wife, while at the same time decrying President Clinton’s behavior with the White House intern.

Gingrich eventually resigned from the House; he married the woman with whom he was taking the extramarital tumble. He went to work for Fox News and has become a royal pain in the patootie ever since.

So, when this clown critiques today’s political leadership, I am, umm … left to snicker.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Anger pre-dates Trump

Donald Trump gets blamed for a lot of what is wrong about today’s political climate and I take a back seat to no one in expressing my loathing for the man and what he brought to the table when he entered political life in the summer of 2015.

However, I want to give the former A**hole in Chief a pass on something that’s been kicked around since his arrival on the political stage, which is that he introduced this era of intensely bitter feeling.

Wrong. It pre-dates Trump.

The actual bogeyman, in my view, happens to be the Republicans who ran for Congress on that Contract With America platform cobbled together by a back-bench House of Representative member by the name of Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich called the cadence to which the GOP insurgents marched. Gingrich infamously declared that he wanted Republican officeholders and candidates for public office to label “Democrats as the enemy of normal Americans.”

They did. You know what? That message worked with Americans who had grown angry with “politics as usual.” The Republicans took control of Congress after the 1994 midterm election and Gingrich got chosen by the GOP caucus as speaker of the House, where he continued his anti-other-party bombast.

The anger carried over into the 2000 election cycle and the balloting that resulted in George W. Bush being elected by the slimmest margin possible.

Donald Trump, therefore, inherited a climate already tilled and planted with all manner of antipathy. But it was Newt Gingrich who sowed the ground with a form of nastiness that enabled Trump to take it to the next level and perhaps even to the level after that.

Those of us who are old enough to remember how the major parties were able to work together for the common good likely want a return to the “good old days.”

Political adversaries need not become enemies.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

‘Liberal’ is no epithet

Did you know the term “liberal” has become a four-letter word? At least among right-wingers it has become a sort of scarlet letter to hang around the necks of politicians and those who support those politicians.

I am a liberal, or a “good government” liberal. The term has been replaced in the lexicon, though, by “progressive,” which I guess among liberals is more suitable to their political agenda.

For the record, I don’t mind for an instant being labeled a liberal.

Here’s what my handy-dandy American Heritage Dictionary says about the term; mind you, it contains several definitions under the term, so the first definition is generally regarded as the most acceptable or prevalent.

It states: open-minded, tolerant. The book refers to a synonym, which is broad-minded.

Wow! Is that the stuff that should bring shame to an individual? I think not. It is the kind of description one should wear proudly. So, I do. I wear that label with pride.

My pride will enable me to dismiss the snark that accompanies descriptions that come from right-wingers who seek to denigrate liberal or progressive political thought.

As a side note: I continue to hold traditional “conservatives” in high esteem. I prefer to absolve them from the antics committed by the bomb-throwers on the far-right end of the political spectrum.

I turned to my American Heritage word book. Here is what it says about “conservative.” Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change. Hey, nothing wrong with that, either.

The right-wingers, though, take “traditional conservatism” to a level I do not recognize.

I remember when Newt Gingrich, the godfather of the Contract With America movement in the 1990s, said his aim was to make “liberals the enemy of normal Americans.” Isn’t that sweet? Do you get what that implies? It is to say liberals are, um, “abnormal.” That we are weirdos. That we live outside those so-called “traditional values.”

Well, none of that worked out well for Newtie. He got caught cheating on wife No. 2. He married the woman with whom he was having a fling. He also resigned from Congress and became a right-wing messenger.

That was then. These days I will continue to wear my political leaning proudly. I make no apologies for anything I believe. I am open-minded and tolerant, just as the dictionary describes me.

What in this world is wrong with that? Not a damn thing!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Pipe down, Newtie!

Newt Gingrich, the one-time Republican congressional bomb-thrower and former speaker of the House, needs to settle down and take a quick look back at a little Capitol Hill history.

“I think it’s clear that these are people who are literally just running over the law, pursuing innocent people, causing them to spend thousands and thousands of dollars in legal fees for no justification and it’s basically a lynch mob and unfortunately the attorney general of the United States has joined the lynch mob and is totally misusing the FBI,” Gingrich said over the weekend.

He is projecting that if the GOP takes control of Congress after the midterm election that Democrats on the 1/6 select committee could face criminal prosecution over the way they have conducted the committee’s probe into the insurrection that occurred on Capitol Hill.

What balderdash!

If we flash back to around 2016, when the GOP last controlled Congress, we can find evidence of the Republican-led House Oversight Committee badgering, tormenting and hectoring witnesses as it sought to find something for which it could blame for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Benghazi, Libya crisis. Remember that one? Terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and four Americans — including our ambassador to Libya — died in the melee. What did the House panel do? It launched a years-long probe into, subjecting Clinton, for example, to 11 hours of testimony before the committee.

That panel ran far more amok than the 1/6 committee that is trying to get the truth behind Donald Trump’s effort to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election result.

So, with that I’ll just demand that the ex-speaker shut his trap.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Get a grip, Newt

REUTERS/Mark Avery

Newt Gingrich told Fox News that President Biden is the most “incompetent” man ever to hold the office.

As usual, the former speaker of the U.S. House is wrong.

His hero, the 45th POTUS, is the most incompetent, the most corrupt, the most venal, the most immoral/amoral, the most indecent, the least qualified individual ever to sit in the Oval Office.

As is the case with this fire-breathing knuckle-dragger — Newt Gingrich, of course — he won’t acknowledge what most Americans know already.

Newt Gingrich: We have not seen a president this incompetent (msn.com)

Which is that the 45th POTUS should never again set foot in the White House.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

 

Newt sets new standard for idiocy

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Stand up, Newt Gingrich.

I want you take a bow and accept this dose of sarcastic admiration for the astonishing level of idiocy you have put forth.

The former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives has declared that one of his successors, Nancy Pelosi, is the greatest threat to democracy “in our lifetime.”

Here, though, is my favorite part. Newt writes: With the passive support of an apparently cowardly caucus, she is behaving as a dictator more like Fidel Castro, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, or Nicolás Maduro.

To those who don’t detect why that’s my favorite passage, I’ll explain. It’s the part about “apparently cowardly caucus.” You see, it is astonishing in the extreme that a Republican who has been beholden and blindly loyal to the most crooked, amoral, vengeful, venal and ignorant POTUS in history would declare that the other side is “cowardly.”

The Republican congressional caucus has blazed a new trail of craven cowardice during the term in office of the former Bully in Chief.

Here’s the entire essay that Newtie wrote for Fox News: Newt Gingrich: Nancy Pelosi is the greatest threat to constitutional liberty in our lifetime | Fox News

Pelosi is standing up for the rule of law. She is holding the ex-POTUS accountable for the insurrection he incited on 1/6. Pelosi is acting totally within her constitutional duties as the leader of the People’s House. It is the ex-POTUS who doesn’t follow the law, who flouted his executive limitations while in office, who stiffed the legislative branch of government at every turn, and who told the riotous mob on 1/6 to “take back our government.”

He got impeached twice by the House, the second time inciting the insurrection that sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election … which he lost bigly to President Biden!

Now to listen to a former speaker of the House declare the current speaker is the “greatest threat to our constitutional liberty in our lifetime” is beyond reprehensible.

Liberal: no epithet

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Yes, the term “liberal” has become a four-letter word.

For that we all should share in the shame of the demonization of a proud political philosophy. The quote attached to this brief blog post is attributed to the woman pictured with it, Eleanor Roosevelt … arguably the prototype of the modern first lady.

What troubles me about the degeneration of the term “liberal” is how liberals don’t even call themselves that these days. They call themselves “progressive.” I hear congressional liberals, virtually all of them Democrats, refer to their “progressive” agenda. They are afraid of what and who they are.

When did it become an epithet? I’ll go back to the days of the Contract With (on) America election of 1994. The conservative fire-breather who led the Republican takeover of Congress that year was Newt Gingrich, a House member from Georgia, who said the following:

“We intend to make liberals the enemy of normal Americans.”

I did not make that up. He actually said that and exhorted the conservatives who comprised the Republican ticket in all 50 states to do as Newtie suggested; they made liberals the “enemy of normal Americans.”

Here’s the weird part of that story: They succeeded. They whipped conservative Americans into a frenzy to establish the evil credentials of liberal politicians.

The conservative movement has continued to demonize liberal politicians. They have called them un-American. They speak to many Americans’ darker instincts.

The term “liberal,” though, is meant to connote an open mind, to look beyond the strict boundaries, the limitations of government. My goodness, there’s nothing evil in that.

So, I will examine the remarks attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt with thought and will make a solemn vow: I will not shy away from the term that defines my political world view.

Get ready for a blowhard

Based on what I have witnessed from afar and from my extensive knowledge of the man who has represented the 13th Congressional District of Texas since 1995, voters in that part of the world are about to get a whole new brand of congressman.

Dr. Ronny Jackson is the odds-on favorite to succeed Mac Thornberry as the Republican representative for the sprawling West Texas congressional district.

My knowledge of Jackson is limited. I acknowledge the obvious, given that I no longer live in the district. I know that he was born in Levelland, went into the Navy, achieved the rank of rear admiral, became a physician and has served as White House doctor for three presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

He moved into the13th District when Thornberry announced he wouldn’t seek another term.

What is the difference that will occur? It will arrive in the vocal, more media-hungry style of the new guy. He is going to become a right-wing blowhard, the type of individual who generally annoys the daylights out of me. 

He has popped off, for instance, about mask wearing in light of the global pandemic. He has been dismissive of masks as protection against the killer virus. It’s the kind of baloney we hear from right-wing talking heads and various politicians such as, oh, Rep. Louie Gohmert, the East Texas loon who tested positive for the virus after making a public show of his refusal to wear a mask; Louie is singing a different tune these days.

Thornberry has served the13th District for 25 years. He won election in 1994 as part of the GOP Contract With America Brigade led by fire-breathing Rep. New Gingrich. Thornberry, though, became a quiet back bencher for much of his time in the House. He voted according to the Gingrich world view. He didn’t say much about anything publicly.

Rep. Thornberry was able to parlay his loyal service into the chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee, where he served for a couple of terms before Democrats took control of the House in the 2018 election; he now serves — again, quietly — as the panel’s ranking member.

And so, Thornberry will leave at the end of the year. Jackson figures to win election over the Democrats’ sacrificial lamb. I will lay down a bet that Jackson will preen and pose for as long as he can, although some of that might be dictated by whether Donald Trump is still president after Election Day.

Whatever. A new day in congressional representation awaits my friends and former neighbors up yonder in the Texas Panhandle.

Standing with a courageous GOP senator

I want to stand with an embattled Republican U.S. senator who chose to honor his sacred oath rather than following a path toward blind partisan fealty.

Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee, voted to convict Donald John Trump on an allegation of abuse of power when the Senate cast its vote to acquit the current president.

That has brought a barrage of scorn and recrimination from Trump’s loyalists. One of them is Fox News talker Jeanine Pirro, a former judge from New York who said this, according to The Guardian: “get the hell out of the United States Senate,” while claiming that “your dream of endearing yourself to the Trump-hating left is a joke.”

Sigh …

Pirro doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Sen. Romney, a freshman from Utah, is more of a Republican than Pirro or her Fox pals ever have been or ever hope to be. He is a man of deep religious faith. He takes the oath he took to deliver “impartial justice” as seriously as he could take any oath he’s ever taken.

So he voted to convict Trump on a single charge brought to the Senate from the House of Representatives impeachment. Trump was still acquitted. Romney’s vote didn’t matter, a point he made while declaring his intention to cast a “guilty” vote in a speech on the Senate floor.

I am reminded a bit by a former Republican House member I got to know well while I worked as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News.

Larry Combest represented the 19th Congressional District, which for a time included the southern portion of Amarillo. In the mid-1990s, Combest resisted a GOP-led farm policy overhaul. It was called “Freedom to Farm.” Combest stuck it in then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s eye when he opposed the Freedom to Farm legislation.

Gingrich demanded loyalty to the party platform. Combest was unwilling to grant it. Why? Because the farmers and ranchers in West Texas — for whom Combest worked — opposed the legislation. Combest was more loyal to them than to the House party leadership.

Accordingly, Mitt Romney was more loyal to the oath he took than to the president of the United States. Mitt Romney didn’t get my vote for POTUS in 2012. He gets my undying respect now.

Newt’s legacy lives on with ‘Democrat Party’

REUTERS/Mark Avery

I laugh to myself when I see the term “Democrat” used as an adjective, or as part of the proper name of one of the nation’s two major political parties.

It’s a holdover from an earlier era when Republicans took control of Congress for the first time in 40 years. You remember the landmark Contract With America election of 1994, right? Of course you do!

A then-young GOP bomb thrower, Newt Gingrich, led the insurgency that elected Republicans to the House and Senate that year. The GOP slate took down plenty of heavyweights, including House Speaker Tom Foley and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jack Brooks.

Gingrich essentially coined the usage of the term “Democrat” in a way that sought to cast the other party as a sort of foreign element.

Democrats belong to the “Democratic Party.” Gingrich, who became speaker of the House in 1995, kept referring to the party as the “Democrat Party,” a term that just doesn’t roll off the way the proper term does.

Well, Gingrich left the speakership and the House after the 1998 midterm election and the failed impeachment of President Clinton. He ended up with his own personal baggage — the affair he was having with a staffer while married to his second wife — that took him out; it was one of the more ironic political downfalls in modern U.S. history, given the nature of the charges leveled against Bill Clinton.

However, Newt’s branding of Democrats and their political party lives on. Donald Trump refers to the Democratic Party as the Democrat Party; so do his allies in Congress; so do critics of this blog, by gum, use that term.

It used to annoy me, given my understanding of the motive behind its use: the demonization of a great political party. I’ve gone beyond the point of annoyance. I am now mildly amused.