Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
OpEdNews Op Eds

Is Gingrich Fit to Be President?

By       Message Robert Parry       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   5 comments

Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

Author 1553
Become a Fan
  (85 fans)
- Advertisement -

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Art by Robbie Conal,

If conservative Republicans are serious about making former House Speaker Newt Gingrich their presidential nominee, one has to conclude that they never meant much of what they professed to believe in -- from personal responsibility to humility to integrity.

All their attacks -- on President Bill Clinton for his womanizing, on Vice President Al Gore for his boastfulness, and on various Democrats for profiting off their insider status -- were not serious critiques at all, just talking points for winning elections.

Gingrich with his three marriages and serial infidelities -- which he says resulted from his excessive patriotism -- rivals Clinton for lack of personal responsibility. With his non-stop bragging about his historical importance, Gingrich makes Gore look bashful. And with his multi-million-dollar profiting off his government service and half-million-dollar line of credit at Tiffany's, Gingrich makes his own ethics targets, like Democrat Jim Wright, look like pikers.
- Advertisement -

Mix in Gingrich's inveterate lying -- such as his risible explanation that his $1.6 million consulting deal with mortgage giant Freddie Mac was for his skills as a "historian" -- and it's hard to discern what ethical standards conservative Republicans actually stand for, short of wanting power for "their side."

So, are conservative Republicans simply hypocrites or is something else involved? Clearly part of the problem is that they can't stomach voting for an endless shape-shifter like Mitt Romney, and the rest of the presidential field makes them queasy, too.

It's not like they haven't speed-dated some of the other contenders, from Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann to Texas Gov. Rick Perry to pizza magnate Herman Cain -- not to mention, flirting with almost-candidates such as real-estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump.

- Advertisement -

Though there were many reasons why those brief flings flamed out, what many conservative Republicans may have found unacceptable was the level of know-nothing-ism regarding basic information, especially facts about the Revolutionary War and world affairs, two areas where the Right views itself as more sophisticated than the Left.

Yes, it's true that the GOP Right often revels in denying empirical evidence, from rejecting the science of global warming to embracing failed economic experiments like "supply-side economics" to stubbornly believing that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

But the Tea Partiers also fancy themselves as inheritors of the spirit of the American Revolution, dressing up in period costumes and waving yellow "Don't Tread on Me" flags. Abject ignorance about those facts can be devastating for candidates.

Knowing the Revolution

Bachmann and Perry may have stumbled over the lowest hurdles for measuring competence, but they did themselves in by displaying jaw-dropping ignorance about the Revolutionary War.

Bachmann thought the first shots were fired in New Hampshire, not Massachusetts (apparently confusing Concord, New Hampshire, with Concord, Massachusetts), and Perry put the Revolution in the 16th Century, 200 years before it actually began in the 18th Century. [See's "Rick Perry's Revolutionary War "History'"]

- Advertisement -

Similarly, Cain -- who actually rose in the polls while fending off accusations of sexual harassment -- sank his own campaign when he couldn't respond to a simple question about Libya, as his pre-packaged talking points were "twirling around" in his head.

Granted, the Right is often contemptuous of nuanced opinions about foreign policy, but Cain's transparent ignorance about a major issue like Libya was embarrassing, not just for Cain but for conservatives who had supported him.

The Tea Partiers also have their own fictionalized view of the Revolutionary War and what the Founders believed. For instance, Tea Partiers don't seem to know that the coiled-snake "Don't Tread on Me" flag was aimed at the British Empire and the banner that targeted other Americans was one of a snake cut up into pieces with the warning, "Join, or Die."

The Founders' chief concern was to unify the 13 colonies, not promote hostility to an American central government. When Samuel Adams (who helped organize the original Tea Party in 1773) and his cousin John Adams traveled from Boston to Philadelphia in 1775 for the Continental Congress, they were not there to resist a union of the 13 colonies but to demand one.

Contrary to the Tea Party's view that the Founders were big advocates of states' rights, most of the Founders -- both before and after the Revolution -- favored a "robust" national government.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3


- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at

Robert Parry Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The CIA/Likud Sinking of Jimmy Carter

What Did US Spy Satellites See in Ukraine?

Ron Paul's Appalling World View

Ronald Reagan: Worst President Ever?

The Disappearance of Keith Olbermann

A Perjurer on the US Supreme Court