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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Newt’s Combative Rhetoric Still Haunts Political Discourse

Though it’s a safe bet that Newt Gingrich won’t win the Republican nomination, he has done well enough in the primaries to spare himself the embarrassment of abject failure. He has not made a fool of himself — or, at least, no more a fool than he does in the regular course of pontificating, lecturing and hectoring.

He will leave the campaign with his legacy intact. And what a legacy it is. Gingrich has done as much as any single person to divide the country, destroy civil discourse and promote incendiary rhetoric.

  • atcaputo

    Newt … Newt… Newt… Let’s hope and pray there IS a judgement day..

    Bring your friend Rush along for the ride down.

    T:

  • terango.lf

    You can’t shame someone who has no shame.

  • John Rigney

    Alas, big Republican boys have been teaching the little Republican boys how to be Republicans first, and Americans a far second. Which is obviously the opposite of the way it should be for elected officials. It very clearly hasn’t been good for the country, but it hasn’t been good for the Republican Party either. Due in large part to this culture of negativism, they are really in decline. The one great strength that they still have is that, they are still incredibly well-funded. And when you look clearly at that, being For Sale to Big Corporate Interests…isn’t much of a bragging point.
    While it seems highly unlikely to happen, I personally wish that they would nominate Newt Gingrich as their candidate for the Presidency. Newt being Newt, it would sure be interesting, it might even be entertaining. And…unless the Dems did something to really screw the pooch between now and November…there is very little doubt that Obama would clean his clock in the general election.

  • leeneegirl

    Great article on Newt’s rhetoric. I think two of those words quite rightfully describe himself.

    “Sick and Pathetic”.

  • stsintl

    Ask not what Rupert Murdoch or Newt Gingrich does for the Republican Party, ask what the Republican Party does for Rupert Murdoch or Newt Gingrich. Once “Social Responsibility” has been thrown out the door, the core values of Republican Party: No taxes, No regulations, Individual freedom, Carry the guns; are the same as those of Mafia and Drug Cartels. Here is the famous quote from FDR.

    “The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism ownership of government by an individual, by a group or any controlling private power.” –

    President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
    http://www.demsclub.com/quotes.htm

  • Common Sense Patriot

    It’s no surprise to me that such an amoral person as Newt Gingrich would be behind this kind of divisive rhetoric. I am a student of history, particularly American history, and I can think of no other time in our nation’s history when the country has been so divided and the electorate so at extreme odds with each other, and Congress virtually at a standstill — unable to accomplish much of anything. That time was the 20 year period before the Civil War! Just what we need – a house divided against itself, as President Lincoln so aptly put it, “can not long survive.” We are destroying ourselves with extremist politics and policies that are largely the result of extremist left and right wing radicals taking over the bases of each party, both Republican and Democrat, and controlling the party machinery. Romney is a perfect example. This is a man with a history of moderation and compromise. Yet, you’d never know it by the Republican primary campaign. He, and all the other candidates, have sucked up to the right wing extremist base, taking positions and spouting rhetoric that is disgusting. They have all realized that you can’t get the Republican nomination without appealing to that extremist right wing base. So he’s playing the game. Yet, even if he had won the primary race fairly early, he still would have to be backtracking in the general election. They all keep trying to “out-conservative” each other. There was a time when conservative meant something to proud of. Now, I’m ashamed to call myself one on any issue. The truth is that I, too, am a moderate — conservative on some issues and liberal on others. I try to look at each issue and make the right decision regardless of ideology. It’s why I’m no longer a Republican but have become an Independent. I’ve always voted for Democrats if I thought they were the better candidate, but more and more I find myself completely turned off by the disgusting Republican radicalism that is beginning to sound like Adolph Hitler and his Nazi’s before WWII. And the irony is, they may be able to gain their party’s nomination, but in the general election, those radical bases only count for about 20% each (at most) of the general electorate. So, the growing number of disaffected voters, who have no loyalty to either party and constitute some 30% to 40% of voters, are the swing voters in every general election. Unfortunately, the only people they have to choose for are the radical ideologues nominated by the extremists controlling the parties. In the last election, I voted for Obama and a number of Democrats. More than I ever have before. Where is the compassion, the concern for the non-super rich, the ordinary workers, consumers, the environment, and free market capitalism with a conscience? All I can do is try to balance my choices, but that’s put us in a place where one group of radicals controls one house of Congress and opposite extremists control the other half. The presidency seesaws back and forth. And we get nowhere. Serious problems like energy independence, climate change, a dismally failing education system, growing poverty and disappearance of the middle class, the disappearance of high paying jobs for non college graduates, and even unemployment for many heavily indebted college graduates, along with idiotic, poorly fought wars, an economic breakdown that has seen the growth of “too big to fail” corporations, and government bailouts that have done nothing to re-employ people, etc., etc., etc. go unaddressed and unsolved, when the answers are not all that difficult to solve. But the radical ideologues and down and dirty, corrupt, immoral politicians like Gingrich lead us into stalemate and growing frustration and class division and downright hatred. Vicious, lying emails circulate around the internet about Obama (as they did about Bush). The Super PACS fill the airwaves with more lies and dirty, negative campaigning. I have even encountered people advocating killing the President, or taking up arms to mount a violent takeover of the government in what they term as “saving” the Constitution. Some even suggest the Constitution should be done away with. They condone ignoring the law and breaking it if it serves their purposes. It’s time for the moderates and Independents to take back over the party bases and throw out the radicals so we start cooperating again. Otherwise, the Civil War may be repeated. Sounds impossible? Unthinkable? Don’t bet on it. It happened with the Roman Republic and it’s happened in my lifetime in several countries around the world. Dictators and immoral, corrupt politicians dominate our time. We need to stand up for and fight (peacefully) for what’s right, be willing to compromise, and move forward as a united nation — allowing peaceful dissent and honest disagreement, but pulling back from the radical edge.

  • Bigspender

    This pair of malcontents have at least one thing in common — they are both egg-sucking, chicken stealing gutter trash.

  • Sleipnir

    I agree with Common Sense Patriot. Divisiveness is destroying our country. I have a lot of republican friends but trying to have a reasonable discussion with them is impossible. They become hostile and argumentative if you don’t agree with them and quote Lushbaugh and Fox News as being the gospel. They talk about not wanting their tax dollars going to pay for birth control but have no problem with their tax dollars subsidizing big oil companies, farm subsidies, and religions institutions. I try to listen to all sides of the issues and then make an informed decision regardless of party. But after listening to the republicans refusing to raise taxes on the rich while taxing the middle class, saying there is no global warming, wanting to do do away with regulations that protect the environment and our health and safety, trampling women’s rights and pushing for a war with Iran and Syria no matter the cost in American lives and to the economy, they lost my vote. Even Barbara Bush, wife to one republican president and mother to another is disgusted with congress and the candidates lack of civility.

  • SandyJ

    A manifesto should be written using the components of your narrative above. A movement should be started. Give it a name and make its talking points graspable by everyone, including those whose brains have been programmed as described in Cynthia Tucker’s article and your post here. Do what Carl Sagan did for astronomy: He used language that everyone with half a brain could understand to describe it — made astronomy come alive for many who previously had zero interest in it. Despite that extremists likely have less than 1/2 their brains left, their intellectual functionality could be restored over time and the generation coming up would have to assume responsibility for reconfiguring public discourse and culture. But wait, astronomy isn’t politics.

  • freethinker

    Well Cynthia, it is pretty obvious from your column and most of the responders that name calling and demonizing can only come from the right. I don’t know what you call what you and the responders call your words, but it sure looks the same as name calling and demonizing to me. Could it just possibly be that you folks are part of the problem too?

  • Sadiki

    It seems that the temporary advantage that was gained by the systematic and strategic use of words to distort the facts and tear down those who disagree with the Republican agenda is coming back to create problems for the Republican party. It has caused a loss of credibility and a perception by many in the public that the Rebublican establishment is promoting its agenda at the expense of the public good. Once you lose your credibility, what do you have? Things will only get worse until politicians in both parties start operating on the basis of the principles that founded this country, which are that all persons are created equal and endowed with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is an inclusive vision and until politicians act with integrity for the benefit of all citizens our country will be stuck in inertia. We need a radical change in our system that will allow us to cooperate to create oportunities for everyone. Newt and the Republican approach discussed in this article is an approach based on the pursuit of self-interest at the expense of others (ends justify the means). We need a radical change in the system but we need an inclusive process to create that change. This would involve a willingness to have a civilized, public discourse in which all elements are included, radical left, radical right and moderates. Everyone has something to bring to the table. We will never get a better society until we take a better approach.

  • jwozniak

    Actually, I first experienced this bizarre lack of civilized behavior in political discourse all the way back in 1981. My maternal grandfather was a relatively notorious union organizer in the coalfields back in 1930s. Apparently, I was improperly proud of this bit of family lore. At least in the eyes of a Young Republican a fraction of my age. The little pencilneck was rude, loud, and would entertain no opinion which varied from his. I could have hammered the little guy into the ground, but sarcastic and derisive laughter worked much better. This occurred at WVU, a real hotbed of liberal snobbery even today.