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What Newt Learned From Nixon

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What Newt Learned From Nixon

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WASHINGTON — Conservatives may denounce class warfare, yet by shrewdly combining the politics of class with the politics of culture, Newt Gingrich won his first election in 14 years, humbled Mitt Romney and upended the Republican Party.

He also exposed profound frailties in Romney as a candidate, throwing him badly off-balance on questions related to his personal wealth, business career and income taxes. Unless Romney finds a comfortable and genuine way of talking about his money, he will present President Obama’s team a weakness that they’ll exploit mercilessly. The country is thinking more skeptically about wealth and privilege in the wake of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Romney has not adjusted.

E. J. Dionne

Besides contributing to The National Memo, E.J. Dionne, Jr. is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, and a university professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University.

His most recent book is Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent (2013).

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21 Comments

  1. Bob Phillips January 23, 2012

    Your article represents your point of view, how can so many be wrong and you be right?
    I am one voting person who is more interested in getting the country back then I am about Jaun Williams racial point of view. Since when did the media start worrying about political marital affairs representing one moral standing? Bill Clinton????
    Bob Phillips

    Reply
  2. crockerherrick January 23, 2012

    Write what you want. There is nothing that will stop me from voting for any of these Republicans over Barack Hussein Obama.

    Reply
  3. ToniD January 23, 2012

    I am boggled at the choices who have risen to the top for Republicans–like the foamy head on beer. Is this all you’ve got?!!? PATHETIC.

    Glad I don’t have to vote for any of these dangerous losers.

    I will be crying in my beer if the great unwashed masses put Newt, the bare-naked Emperor, in control of this country and all the brave men and women who defend, protect and build the USA.

    Reply
  4. Inquiring Lynn January 23, 2012

    But Pres. Clinton did not campaign as a so-called family values person! So, the problem is Leroy’s hypocricy.. Of course, that’s par for the course with come values people! So much for theo-con-job-servatives!

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  5. Common Sense Patriot January 23, 2012

    I am amazed that anyone would even consider voting for Newt Gingrich. He was censored and lost his job as Speaker of the House for ethics violations! Doesn’t that matter to anyone? These evangelicals lining up to vote for him conveniently put aside their own values to vote for a man with no ethics and who repeatedly cheated on two ex-wives. Add to that his working as a lobbyist in Washington since he lost his Speakership and left Congress? Yet they rail against Romney for being a Mormon. That’s religious prejudice if ever I heard it. Reminds me of the same outrage against John Kennedy for being a Catholic. Gingrich is morally bankrupt and not the kind of man we need in the White House. Do we want another Nixon? Do we want another Bill Clinton, who got little done because his administration was so plagued by sexual scandals? Oh, the economy did well, but not because of anything Clinton did. It was the feeding frenzy on Wall Street that was growing the bubble that eventually burst and gave us the Great Recession and 13.1 million people unemployed! So what if Romney is filthy rich? So is Bill Clinton. So is Gingrich. Half of the members of Congress or millionaires, many of them multi-millionaires. Obama is a multi-millionaire. Kerry is a multi-millionaire. Nancy Pelosi is multi-millionaire. Both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives are multi-millionaires. No one has accused Romney of being dishonest in getting his money. He inherited most of it. What he’s earned since is just par for the course once you’re in the “millionaire’s club.” Rich Santorum is sanctimonious and uses appeals to these apparently blind evangelicals against Romney, which is dispicable in itself. Remember the last major figure that was a criminal and ran for office on the basis of prejudice against a racial/religious group? His name was Adolph Hitler. The hypocrisy of these so called evangelicals is disgusting. They’d vote for the Devil himself if he declared himself to be a “Christian” with “family values.” What BS! Open your eyes, people! Look at what Gingrich is, what his record shows. Don’t be fooled or blinded. If Gingrich is nominated he’ll go down to defeat against Obama like we haven’t seen since the Goldwater race against LBJ, and that resulted in the election of one of the most hated men in American politics! Learn from history. Put your much vaunted Christian values where your mouth is and reject Gingrich 100%.

    Reply
  6. 1olderbutwiser1 January 23, 2012

    was made the old-fashioned american way, with a touch of brutality thrown in. Not the level of tyranny of the railroad tycoons, or Andrew Carnegie. If the liberals had their way, he would be treated as the landlords in japan were at one time, by the landlords all being rounded up, and one day a year, these peasants would stone the landlords (true) and then the other 364 days each year continue as serfs, peasants, and slaves. this was their way of getting even with those who were smarter than them. in America today, we have a jewish controlled media having class warfare being perpetrated as a normal EVERYDAY practice to be a preferable activity. In the end, the media gets the money, others influence may rise or fall but the most important point is that the jews got the money. And the media being jewish controlled, naturally wants AND GETS influence as much or moreso than any politician, by directing debate times alloted each candidate. Since Ron Paul is not strongly pro-israel, he gets left out of the time allotments. How can a population as small as 3% of our population have such an interference in fairness? Maybe it’s because thay are not fairminded at all, but rather somewhat glutonous. And unfair to say the least. The VERY least. I know and count them as my friends, many jewish people, and they for the most part, agree with me.And yes, they work hard everyday, as do I. Because you are born jewish is certainly no guarantee you will be wealthy.

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  7. imabrummie January 23, 2012

    So, the RePUBIC-clowns’ slimy amphibian (a newt is an amphibian, I believe) is appealing to the “us versus them” element. What a surprise! Does he have any recipe for solving the real problems of this country or is mud-slinging all he has the talent to do? Seems he also has the upper hand in the “pot calling kettle black” contest that has proliferated throughout this RePUBIC-clown campaign. However, none of the candidates in this race have yet shown they deserve the honor of my vote to become president.

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  8. kurt.lorentzen January 23, 2012

    I rarely disagree with “Common Sense Patriot”, but here I believe he sees a few things differently than I do. I fully agree that a man’s religion should not be a primary consideration for deciding his fitness for office. He points out that JFK’s catholicism was an issue in 1960. Mormons are pro-family, strongly encourage a work ethic, value honesty and have a huge system in place to see to the welfare of their fellow man. Just how these values would condemn someone is a mystery to me. But using Bill Clinton as an example of morality leading to a bad president doesn’t work for me. Contrary to the suggestion, Clinton got lots done including a balanced budget and welfare reform. He did it despite being a Democrat. Economic policies permitted what we now know to have been toxic practices, but we weren’t so informed at the time and the economic balloon wasn’t showing the signs of bursting as it did under GW Bush (who’s policies were atrocious in comparison). All that aside, Romney doesn’t impress me as a leader. Obama is criticized frequently for being an “all words, little action” guy. Romney doesn’t even have words. When Obama speaks he at least sounds as if the words he is speaking are his own. Romney sounds like a parrot echoing what his preparers have coached him to say. Gingrich, on the other hand, doesn’t mince words. You might not like what he has to say, but he says it anyway. He is clear, concise, authoritative and backs up what he says with history and logic. Like Clinton, there are moral issues that leave us wondering about his personal life and how those influence his character. But in my book Clinton was the best president since JFK in spite of his moral compass wandering at times. In the end, he loves his country and served it well. And in that regard, I can look past Gingrich’s sexual indiscretions much more easily than Romney’s moral ambiguity (ambition seeming to dicate his position on any given subject at any point in time). Either will be a longshot in the general election, but a clearly expressed philosophy trumps a record of private sector success in this case.

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  9. ladyj January 23, 2012

    I don’t give a care I believe he is racist but won’t come out and say it, the reporter had the right to asked that question he was doing his job but NEWT did not have the right to say what he did and a support who said he was glad he was put in his place. He or she is racists and he or she is religious person, I am glad that I do not consider them a christian in any way or form. Newt has to choose his words more carefully because it will come back and bite him. He won he SC primary but I will not vote for a racist guy who all he wants votes whichever way he can get them, damn who he step on. I for one does not want him as President.
    The rate this government is going with the Republicans, this country is going to be run by religious people, and I don’t have anything against that, I am a Christian but religion stay out of politics period. Right now I am sorry to be call a Christan because the hate in their voice and their hearts. Sorry people this is the 21st Century, Christians want to turn back time and be the same way it was back in the earlier days, no place for blacks,keep them back into slavery, give them no rights period. That is what Newt and Christians want to do. And who want a cheating husband for a President. Yes before anyone get up in arms, Sure Clinton did have an affair, which I don’t condone, but if Newt get into the White House they will have to put in a revolving door, because he would have more women coming and going.

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  10. akbarjenkins January 23, 2012

    Newt Gingrich really does channel the ghost of Nixon in terms of race-baiting and bashing the academic/media elite. He brings this sense of persecution and being under constant attack that also reminds one of Tricky Dick. The one thing that distinguishes them, though, seems to Newt’s cheerful arrogance versus Nixon’s dark paranoia. Newt really possesses a sort of sci-fi, Tofflerian enthusiasm, particularly about technology, that sets him quite apart from Nixon. A good historical comparison of the two men’s political styles and careers can be found here: http://tropicsofmeta.blogspot.com/2012/01/nixon-in-space-familiar-political.html

    Reply
  11. Dean May January 23, 2012

    I propose that we get a panel of distinguished experts (Speech, English, Writers, Philosophers,Logicians, Teachers, Professors)- make them as objective or bipartisan as possible. And have them grade the candidates with graphics at the bottom of the screen as to how well or or whether or not they even answered THE DAMN QUESTION.
    I think that after you you can say whatever you want about unfair it was or what the other side believes. But if you don’t answer the question I personally would like to see graphics along the bottom of the screen (from objective communication experts)saying the equivalent of blah blah blah.

    Reply
  12. ToniD January 23, 2012

    I’m wondering if we citizens and our media are bored with having a person of character, brains and ideas, not to mention dignity, in the White House.
    Have we given up hope of fixing the downward trek of this country? I believe it has taken Obama this long to set the emergency brake, what with all the ‘kids’ of Congress fighting in the backseat and throwing up down his back.
    I for one appreciate Pres Obama. None of us ordinary citizens have a clue of what goes on behind official doors, those things that we aren’t told so we ‘won’t panic.’
    I do not think we can survive another idiot like Bush holding the reins. Say it ain’t so, say we won’t do that again–!

    Reply
  13. Newfriend January 23, 2012

    I really enjoy reading the “News” articals.
    I don’t always agree (very seldom) with them
    I seem to get a clearer picture from all the “Replys*
    Thank you all for taking the time to help me understand.

    Reply
  14. EATHERICH January 23, 2012

    the klan loves you newtie your so butch.

    Reply
  15. Newfriend January 23, 2012

    I just wanted to add.
    I have seen (several times) on the TV news, while interviewing Republicanw and asking who they would vote for, the answer (Often enough) was:
    “I don;t care, as long as the defeat OBAMA.
    I find that really sad and a little scarry.

    Reply
  16. Honest responder January 23, 2012

    How can anyone say they are a born again Christian and vote for Newt?? He is first and foremost a sleaze bag who has cheated on two wives,kicked out of Congress, and is now married to a former whore. And she will be our First Lady if he’s elected. I wonder how many in this country really want this sort of representation running our white house. What we have isn’t great, but it’s better than having newt. Also I’m not picking on him or his wife, I’m just telling it the way it is. He is a sleaze bag, and she is a former whore. I’m sure God has forgiven both of them, if they have confessed to Him, but your past stays with you in the eyes of the people.

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  17. Dominick January 23, 2012

    What Newt learned from Tricky Dick is that it doesn’t matter how immoral, arrogant and unenthical a politician is as long as that politician knows how to push the right buttons among a segment of our electorate influenced by 30 second sound bites and emotional issues without ever offering specifics. Newt has an excellent education, relevant experience and is an excellent orator and debater, but when it comes to morality, principles and ethics he is a scumbag. Then again, that’s what it takes to win an election in Florida, if in doubt take a look at the record of our current Governor.

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  18. rustacus21 January 23, 2012

    … & worse of all, by election day, Conservative minds & eyes will be glued to Fox, awaiting “orders” of who they’d “better” vote for, if they don’t want to see welfare “negroes & mexicans” hanging out of W.H. porches & windows!!! I jest of course, but the Nixon/Newt parallels are stunning, considering Gingrich perfected his “art” in the “angry White male” era, which ushered in the “Contract ‘ON’ America”. Forgotten was how Gingrich’s “program” was merely “mirrorized” responses to the Clinton-Gore “Putting People 1st” book & election-year manifesto, which laid out the strategy the Clinton-Gore team planned to implement to reverse 12 consecutive years of Conservative-crafted national & international declines, in every significant life-measure of citizens, both domestic & international. But as President Clinton is the ONLY president, since Kennedy to lay out a comprehensive national & international strategy & see it followed thru to a successful implementation (albeit, JFK never lived to see his “Human” rights, technology, education & employment initiatives come to fruition…), it took just 8 yrs to fix a nation, intentionally “broken” by Conservatives. & yet, its Conservatives like Gingrich & Bush, etc., can get away w/being LIARS ALL! GWB SWORE b4 almighty God he would be responsible for even greater period of prosperity, peace & international cooperation than even the Clinton administration. We know who enjoyed the lions share of that prosperity & as for international cooperation, it turned out former imperialist nations & former colonial “subject” nations were distinctly divided “cooperatively” into their respective camps, designated as “friend” &/or “foe” & then all h#*l breaks loose!!! This is what the Conservative vote (post SCT intervention catastrophe) did for the nation. This is why Gingrich is so attractive to low-information Conservative voters: like Bush, Reagan & Nixon, they all sell very well from the “shop” window. & yet, Conservatives were ready to believe ANYTHING, as long as it promised to displace Obama from the White House. This was the basis for Conservative anger in 2010 – the guilt of being made massive fools of, in the eyes of the world, between 2001-2009. They’d rather be condemned to h&#l b4 they see an African American Liberal do a repeat of the Clinton “miracle.” W/Gingrich, they will in fact, get their wish… That is, if Progressives/Liberals decide to sit this 1 out, due to frustration over Obama being stone-walled into an ineffective by-stander & victim of the money tsunami of Citizens United…

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  19. Jim Groom January 24, 2012

    Newt is the master of deceitful take-no-prisons politics because he loves it. Being dishonest has no consequences in Newtworld. He got pissed off, or pretended to be, with Williams for asking a direct question. It is certainly fair to point out that he did not and could not answer the question.

    The man is a serial liar, but that will not make any difference in today’s republican party. Today the ineffective Speaker of House came out and claimed that the policies of the President have made the economy worse. Really, and just what policies is he talking about? The Bush policy decisions on taxes, wars and spending are still in place due to obstructionism by that very mouthpiece.

    The food-stamp argument is complete garbage and coded language for the mentally disabled among us. Playing the race card certainly worked in South Carolina. Oh my what a surprise playing to the fears and distrust of whites and expecting anything else. Newt claims Obama is the food-stamp president and the the program grew more under Obama than anyone else. In short, that is crap.

    Under Bush the program grew 14.7 million. Yes under Obama the program has continued to grow. Surprise, when the economy is put into the dumps and jobs are lost things happen. As example, during the 12 months before Obama was sworn in 4.4 million were added to the program. Any added in Obama first year are certainly a continuation of the problem caused by the economic downturn before he got into office. Anyone paying attention knows Newt is trying to comflate food-stamps to undeserving people of color.

    The facts show something completely different. From the Dept of Agriculture comes the real numbers. Forty-seven percent of beneficiaries were children under the age of 18. Eight percent were ago 60 or older. Forty-one percent lived in a household with earnings from a job–the so called ‘working poor.’ The average household received a monthly benefit of $287. Thirty-six percent were white (non-Hispanic_, 22% were African-American and 10% were Hispanic.

    As Kevin Concanno, the USDA’s undersecretary of food, nutrition and consumer services, told the Wall Street Journal. ‘I realize Mr. Gingrich is a historian, but I’m not sure he’d get very high markes on that paper.’

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  20. lejensen45 January 24, 2012

    We have Dr Newt “Family Values” leading the charge to impeach Clinton for sexual misadventures as President, when he, as Speaker of the House, is 1) having an affair, 2) chastizing Clinton for his immorality, 3) leaving a wife newly diagnosed with cancer and 4) engaging in the largest hipocrasies of the time. And you say you care more about the country than Juan Williams’ feelings. That gives you license to support a truly evil politician who purports to debate well. If you listen to Newt for 5 minutes you will realize that he makes up data and theory out of thin air. But he states his lies with authority so that he rarely is called on his purposeful deceits. Get real. “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” was written to describe the Newster.

    Reply
  21. DebbieBrady January 24, 2012

    Is this bunch of clowns the best the GOP can put out there for the Presidential Nomination, or are they just throwing these bozos out there as sacrificial lambs.
    The only question in my book is weather or not Obama will have the coattails necessary to give him a filibuster prof Senate and regain the majority in the House.
    In my humble opinion most, Americans see through the Republican shenanigans and will not only reelect the President but give him a Congress he can work with to get this country working again, in more ways than one. We shall see in the only poll that counts, on November 6, 2012.

    Reply

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