Posts Tagged ‘Gingrich’

Beginning of the End for GOP?

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Mitt Romney, oft befuddled, for a reason

By Bob Gaydos

Everyone pretty much agrees Mitt Romney has had a rough couple of weeks. He got the whole Libya embassy thing wrong, then repeated it the next day to make sure everyone knew. Then he called half the country lazy victims looking for a government handout and said he didn’t have to worry about them. The only insight he’s given voters into his tax returns is to show the most recent one, in which he paid more than he was required to, apparently so that he could justify his claim he paid at a 12 percent rate. And he apparently wonders (in public) why they can’t open the windows on airplanes when they‘re flying.

Even the Fox News team has struggled to spin some of this into electoral gold.

But I think it’s time to give Mitt a break. It’s not all his fault. After all, he is a product of his environment, acting in ways he feels are best suited to, not only his survival, but his success. It’s a kind of political Darwinism in which a particular species adopts the least favorable traits of its least socially adaptable members and the best of the rest try to prevent the extinction of the entire species.

Of course, we are talking here of the Republican Party. More specifically, the 21st century version of the Republican Party, of which Mitt Romney, by virtue of his name and great wealth (his birth environment), is a leading member, at the moment.

The perfect example of the decline of the party as a viable organism was the field of candidates put forth in the presidential primaries this year. It was far from the best the party had to offer, but it did include the most outlandishly conservative, if not radical, members the party has to offer. Also, some of the dumbest.

Newt Gingrich was easily the smartest. Also the most dangerous. Michelle Bachmann lives on another planet, Rick Perry can’t count to three, Rick Santorum reminded the country why they hated him in Pennsylvania, Ron Paul isn’t really a Republican, and another guy sold pizza. This is who Republicans apparently wanted to hear. How could Romney lose?

He outspent and outlasted the rightwing brigade and changed his opinion every day. He had to to get the votes of enough Republicans to be their presidential nominee. He still changes his opinion regularly, even though he is the nominee. Habits are hard to break.

But look back four years. John McCain, a respected naval hero and well-known as a contrary Republican senator, who voted his conscience, not the party line, on things like immigration and regulation, decided he had to sell his soul and agree with all the ultra-conservative views of the people running his party if he hoped to be their presidential nominee. His tongue-tying, butt-kissing performance (especially in South Carolina) was an embarrassment. Then he picked Sarah Palin, the personification of his party’s embrace of devolution, to be his running mate. Like Mitt picking Paul Ryan, Mr. No Abortion Under Any Circumstances, McCain felt he had no choice. The troglodytes were in power. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Of course, this decline of the Republican Party as a vital organism traces back to 2000 when it chose the affable but clueless George W. Bush to run for president and the Supreme Court stole the election for him. With Karl Rove pulling strings behind the curtain and Dick Cheney at his side, Bush and his Republican Congress created a massive deficit by slashing everyone’s taxes, starting two wars (off budget), creating a Medicare prescription program without paying for it, and bailing out failing banks.

Then the Republicans — all of them — blamed Barack Obama for everything and, since they have no shame, asked President Bush not to come to their convention this year, lest people remember what he did.

There used to be a breed of proud Republicans who were able to work through their differences with Democrats for the good of the country. New York offered Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, Kenneth Keating, Ben Gilman, George Pataki. There were similar examples across the country. Today, they are virtually extinct. RINOs they’re called by the troglodytes. Republicans in name only, because they believe in science and think government is obligated to help its least fortunate, as well as its wealthiest.

Mitt’s dad, George, who once tried to be president, would fall into that category. He would have a problem with Republicans in the Senate voting unanimously to defeat a jobs bill, that was mostly a Republican creation, just so Obama, the Democrat, couldn’t get credit for creating jobs while he’s running for reelection.

Pick an issue. To avoid the harsh backlash of the ultra-right, a Republican politician today often must discard decency and common sense. You’ve witnessed the Romney campaign. Yes, he made his choice. He could have run as a man of principle. Instead, he chose to run as a man of blind ambition. People without medical insurance can use the emergency room.

There are undoubtedly a variety of ways that a species begins its descent to extinction. For the Republican Party, it appears to have started with the loss of its soul.

bob@zestoforange.com

Is Gingrich Finally Over?

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

By Jeffrey Page

Dear Newt, Forgive me, but the temptation to kick you when you’re down is just too great to resist.

We all knew a kid years ago who said that if he wasn’t picked for a stickball team he would take his stick and go home. In you, we have someone who has no stick – just a big mouth and a smart-ass attitude – and still insists on having things his way or else …

Or else you’ll go to the Republican convention with your pathetic showing in the primaries and demand to be heard. Once you’re up at the rostrum you’ll be sure to let America know – yet again – how smart you are, how perceptive, how talented, and how much in demand you are.

Demand? You’ve won a grand total of two primaries in states with glorious traditions, Georgia and South Carolina. And now, after Rick Santorum’s withdrawal, you insist you’re the man to put Mitt Romney on a path that’s conservative enough to meet your failed expectations. “I am committed to staying in this race all the way to Tampa so that the conservative movement has a real choice,” you said after Santorum quit.

In truth, the conservative movement has had a choice for months, but the choice wasn’t you. Everybody except you understands this. Your inability to see this following defeat after defeat is astonishing. In the 15 primaries in which you and Ron Paul both appeared on the ballot, he beat you 15 times.

Newt, you’re 68 years old, a time to face facts. Nobody likes you.

What is it about you that makes people cringe? Could it be your insufferable hypocrisy? Or maybe it’s your insulting quote on same-sex marriage. You said, “The effort to create alternatives to marriage between a man and a woman are perfectly natural pagan behaviors, but they are a fundamental violation of our civilization.”

“Pagan behaviors?” Really, Newt, you ought not pass judgment on other people’s wishes to marry when you have defined marriage in your own life as courtship, marriage, affair, divorce, courtship, marriage, affair, divorce, courtship, marriage and counting.

Is it that self-delusion that turns people off? Recently you said you were the only candidate who could prevent Romney from getting the nomination. Newt, you couldn’t stop Minnie Mouse.

And now, your sugar daddy, Sheldon Adelson, says it seems like enough is enough. After pouring $15 million into your campaign, Adelson said it’s about the end of the line for you.

With a little luck, America is through with you, too.

jeffrey@zestoforange.com

A Republican’s Lament: ‘It’s a Disgrace’

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

By Bob Gaydos

I got an unexpected Christmas present the other day. Out of the blue. Unwrapped. Unsolicited.

Well, semi-unsolicited. I ran into a longtime colleague of mine, a veteran journalist and a dyed-in-the-wool, God-bless-Ronald-Reagan Republican. A lifetime red-stater and regular campaign contributor stuck in a mostly blue state.

Not having talked politics in a while, I asked, in total innocence, “What do you think of the presidential candidates your party is offering?”

Well, what to my ears should appear, but a diatribe worthy of Rachel Maddow, my dear:  “It is absurd, insulting. None of them is qualified. It’s embarrassing. Obama is going to win in a landslide. I couldn’t vote for any of them.”

“Not even Romney?”

“No.”

“But how did this happen? How did this gang become the Republican Party’s best and brightest?”

“They’re not. And all those (tea party) Republicans who got elected last time are going to lose next time. It’s a disgrace. I got phone calls from all the Republican campaign fund-raising committees. I told them not to call me. I’m not giving any of them any money.”

Pleasantly dumbstruck, I ventured on. “But you’re a conservative,” I offered.

“No, I’m a moderate.”

Well, maybe. But only if by moderate you mean I’m not a falling-off-the-edge-of-the-universe conservative. Which should tell you all you need to know about the Republican Party today. A lifetime, patriotic party faithful, who keeps the letters from the White House expressing thanks for a generous contribution, a traditional conservative Republican, can’t stand to be linked with the people running the Republican Party today.

That is, if anyone is running it.

Off the weekly free-for-all they call a debate, one would have to wonder if any adults are in charge of trying to salvage the reputation of the party of Lincoln. If they were, how could they stand by silently while a bunch of candidates has demonstrated a collective unworthiness for the right to run for president, never mind be elected? Their flaws have been spotlighted each week — by the candidates themselves as they attack each other. Inexperience. Inflexibility. Lack of understanding of world affairs. Self-righteousness. Lack of understanding of domestic affairs. Poor communications skills. Hypocrisy. Immorality. Ignorance. Intolerance. Total lack of credibility.

As I digested my colleague’s visceral response to my question, I wondered how many other longtime Republicans felt this way and what they would do when it came election time and, more to the point, why they were letting this happen to their party, the party of Ronald Reagan.

Do they hate Obama that much? I find that hard to believe. Do they hate all immigrants? Do they hate all gays? Do they hate all Muslims? Do they hate all poor people? Some of their candidates speak as if they do.

The latest candidate to be elevated to front-runner status as the Iowa caucus approaches is Ron Paul, a libertarian in everything but party registration. Republicans can’t stand him, and he would be better off running on a third party line, yet there he is, next in line after the rest of the GOP field got through chopping away at Newt Gingrich’s resume. Unpredictable, undisciplined, immoral, untrustworthy, self-consumed and irrational were some of the bouquets they threw at Newt, who modestly asked his fellow candidates to engage in a no-name-calling campaign. Too late for that, Newt.

See, the problem the Republican candidates have is that they all can see their fellow candidates’ flaws all too clearly. They keep quiet about them until it suits them to do otherwise, like when someone starts to pull ahead of the field. Suddenly, honesty is acceptable in assessing Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum. And Newt Gingrich.

No one talks much about the two Mormon candidates, Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney. Again, I think there’s a bit of unconscious honesty at work here. I think they, and a lot of stalwart Republicans, like my colleague, know that Huntsman is the best and brightest of this lot and that he scares all the tea partiers because he believes in science and taxes and making efforts at bipartisan governing and he let Obama appoint him ambassador to China. Oooh, scary.

And Romney, the supposed favorite of traditional Republicans? This the tea party Republicans have got exactly right. You can’t trust a word the man says. He will change his views on a dime, or whatever the going rate is. Some Democrats and independents actually like him because of this — they think he’ll drop his ultra-conservative views once elected president and that makes him acceptable instead of Obama. Now there’s something we want in a leader, someone who says and does whatever is necessary to advance his own interest on that particular day. John McCain tried that. Didn’t work.

So, who would my colleague like to see run for president?

“Hillary Clinton. And don’t use my name.”

Spoken like a true Republican.

bob@zestoforange.com

Of Winners (Aniston) & Losers (Putin)

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Jennifer Aniston ... hottest of them all?

By Bob Gaydos
OK, I know it’s Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa time, but the world refuses to stop turning and enjoy the moment and I feel compelled to comment on it.

So … maybe it’s none of my business, but I don’t know one male — young, old or in the middle — who would put Jennifer Aniston at the top of his list of the 100 hottest women ever. Ever? As in even when there was no photography or TV or movies to flash images around the globe? That kind of ever?

Beyond the chutzpah of Men’s Health (Did anyone even know about that magazine before this?) putting together such a list, there is the absurdity of declaring it to be a list of the sexiest women of all time. Maybe it’s just me, but Delilah must have been pretty sexy to steal Samson’s locks and Cleopatra toyed with emperors. That’s pretty hot. And while I will give her cute and maybe even sexy, I can’t see Aniston ever playing the role of Helen of Troy. Or Matahari. Now, Angelina Jolie, that’s another story.

All you really need to know about the list is that Britney Spears and Madonna are in the top five (behind Raquel Welch and Marilyn Monroe, either of whom could claim number one) and Sophia Loren is number 47 — behind Paris Hilton! Sacre bleu! Brigitte Bardot is number 75.

The magazine, which I suspect was hoping for recognition of any kind, says it was going for a total package of beauty, brains and talent in making its choice. That’s probably why Kim Kardashian made the list, but Ingrid Bergman didn’t. (Yes, your thoughts on this are welcome.)

* * *

Now that I’ve got your attention, I can move on to other, more legitimate, as it were, news. Like the 45-year-old out-of-work textile worker, upset at receiving no unemployment benefits for a year, who threw his shoes at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a memorial service. Like the reporter who slung his footwear at
President George W. Bush in Baghdad in 2008, the guy missed. Since throwing shoes at someone is a sign of strong disrespect in Arab countries, the shoeing of Bush made sense. But Iran being a Persian nation, the botched assault can only be seen as a poor copycat attempt. The man was beaten and arrested for his efforts and one would assume he will have plenty of time in prison to work on his aim. And while it’s none of my business, it would seem that long-suffering people in the Middle East need a lot more practice in expressing their disappointments.

* * *

Speaking of public protests in unexpected places, what’s with all those angry Russians demonstrating about the results of their last election? Thousands actually gathered in Moscow demanding Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin step down because, they say, the recent parliamentary elections were rigged. A rigged vote in Russia? Really?

With a former KGB head running the country? Hard to believe, but not as hard to believe as the fact that tens of thousands of Russians objected publicly across the country and no one was arrested.

This would tend to support Time magazine’s pick of The Protestor as the person of the year (see how I wove those stories together), from the Arab spring to Occupy Wall Street and Red Square.

A bit of irony, however, in Russia. It seems that the great democratic hope of the Russian 99 percent is Mikhail D. Prokhorov, a billionaire industrialist and owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team. Prokhorov says he plans to run against Putin for president next year. It’s none of my business, but as daunting as that may seem, Prokhorov would still seem to have a better shot at winning in Russia than in getting Dwight Howard to agree to leave Orlando and come play for the Nets.

* * *

OK, you knew I couldn’t ignore the Republicans and their ubiquitous campaign forever. In one of my favorites stories of the year, conservative radio host Michael Savage offered Newt Gingrich $1million to drop out of the Republican primary race.

Savage, who hosts the third-highest rated radio talk show in the country (scary, I know) said Mitt Romney was the only candidate capable of beating President Barack Obama. Savage further said Newt, patriot that he is, should drop out “for the sake of the nation.”

Why should Newt, who leads in the polls of those actually driving the GOP train, step down? Savage pointed to Gingrich’s serial marital infidelity, his performance as speaker of the House (including shutting down the government because he got a bad seat on Air Force One) and his lucrative and controversial involvement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Sounding like a Keith Olbermann wannabe, Savage wrote that “compared to Obama” during presidential debates, Gingrich will “look like nothing more than what he is: a fat, old, white man.” None of my business, but that doesn’t leave much for Democrats to say about Newt.

* * *

And finally, what would a week be without a proclamation from Donald Trump? The Donald, who famously and ridiculously announced he would host and moderate his own GOP debate later this month, said Tuesday he was dropping out of his own debate. He said he was doing it so that he didn’t have to give up his right to “run as an independent candidate” if he didn’t like any of the remaining GOP candidates. Trump, who was a sort of quasi-candidate earlier this year, said Republican Party officials said he would have to agree to this if he wanted to moderate the debate. He didn’t mention that the only candidates who had agreed to show up for his show were Gingrich and Rick Santorum or that Jon Huntsman, Mr. One Percent in every GOP poll, in essence told him to pound salt. Maybe it’s none of my business, but tell me again why any self-respecting Republican puts up with this lunacy.

Until next news cycle …

bob@zestoforange.com

Home of the Free, Land of the Dumb

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

A dunce cap for the whole country.

By Bob Gaydos

What a dumb-a** effin’ country we live in.

It’s a struggle each week just to keep track of all the stupid s**t that goes on. I even feel obliged to start this column with obscenities because I want to reach all those under-40 readers who, thanks to today’s culture, don’t think you’re angry unless you say you’re p***ed.

Well, I’m p***ed. And I will try vent that anger while trying to refrain from further colorful language in honor of, well, the English language. (And there’s a concept we have stupidly abandoned, but I digress.)

Exhibit Number One, this week and for the past several weeks: In what civilized universe is the field of presidential candidates put forth by the Republican Party considered anything but an insult to the intelligence?

How are such proven intellectual lightweights as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry still considered to be possible presidential timber? Is balsa wood the new oak? Is Rick Santorum fit to play with other children?

Is Herman Cain — who once ran a pizza company not as many people had previously heard of as he would lead you to believe and who apparently doesn‘t know where Libya is — to be believed when he denies four allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior and one 13-year-long extra-marital affair? Are the evangelical, family-values voters who wag the GOP tail really OK with that?

And when Cain’s lawyer says, in response to the allegation of an affair: “This appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults — a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public,” do the morally superior right-wingers buy it, or do they remember that the same argument did Democratic President Bill Clinton little good when House Republicans impeached him?

And how dumb is this: The man who led the charge against Clinton then is now said to be the leading GOP candidate, largely because of Cain’s mounting personal problems. No one can call Newt Gingrich dumb — he won’t let you. But how preposterous is it that he rises on the ashes of Cain’s marital problems?

For those too young to remember: Gingrich has been married three times, but it’s not the numbers that count here. He dumped his first wife, who was his former math teacher, for his second wife while the first wife was in the hospital recovering from surgery for uterine cancer. The compassionate Gingrich served the divorce papers on her in her hospital bed. He then dumped his second wife, who was stricken with MS, for a much younger wife. He was having an affair with this woman at the same time he was leading the congressional campaign against Clinton for adultery.

Yet Gingrich gets the bounce from Cain’s fall over morality? Apparently so, because, unlike most of the rest of the field, Newt knows about Libya and all those other countries and the budget stuff, too. And, although he has good reason to do so, he hasn’t lied about his first name, like Mitt Romney did. The smiling, white bread whatever-you-say-I-agree-with candidate insisted in a debate that “Mitt” is his first name, when it is actually Willard. That is consistent with his lack of credibility on every issue, yet there he is, still the favorite candidate nobody in the GOP wants.

Tell me that’s not dumb. (We’re leaving the not-dumb Ron Paul out of this discussion because the Republicans always do.)

And what about the governor of Kansas? If you do Twitter, you probably heard that a high school senior in Prairie Village, Kansas, was summoned to the principal’s office and told to apologize to Gov. Sam Brownback for comments she made about him after attending a youth conference at which he spoke. The 18-year-old coed tweeted: “Just made mean comments at Gov. Brownback and told him he sucked, in person, #heblowsalot.”

See what I mean about language? Anyway, the girl never actually said that to Brownback, just sent it out to her small group of followers, but the governor’s top aide felt it necessary to monitor social media reaction to the governor and felt the comments were not “respectful.” Duh. She called the school and demanded an apology. Dumb and dumber. The girl, no dummy, said no. First Amendment. The governor backed down and apologized to her. Her Twitter following grew from 60 to 8,000 overnight.

You want another one from last week — the idiot who pepper-sprayed fellow shoppers on Black Friday to get first shot a new X Box. I thought we were stuck in a post-recession economic malaise, but apparently Americans, lacking jobs and losing their homes, felt patriotic and spent billions last week on gadgets and high tech appliances to pump up the economy.

Which bring us back to politics and all those liberals and independents who are giving President Obama so much grief for not being all they think he should be. Have you guys looked at the sorry field of opponents mentioned above? Have you forgotten that, without any help from Republicans in Congress, he passed health care reform, banking reform and tuition reform, repealed don’t ask/don’t tell, got rid of Osama bin Laden and Moammar Gadhafi, effectively ended the war in Iraq, and extended billions in aid to Americans who really were suffering from loss of jobs and/or homes?

Do you think any of those guys would have or could have done any of that? Do you think any of them would do anything but serve their rich benefactors — at the expense of the rest of us — if elected president? When he is under attack from the narrow-minded, mean-spirited, anti-intelligence forces controlling the GOP today, the president needs help from his friends, not more self-centered criticism. This is not Utopia. This is America 2011.

Dumb a**es.

bob@zestoforange.com

Are They Forgiven?

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

By Jeffrey Page
Certain politicians think we’re a bunch of blithering idiots. How else to explain some of their statements when they seek forgiveness for their sexual or fiscal transgressions?

They look mournfully into the TV camera. They lower their voices. They sob once or twice but not too loudly. They dab at a tear. They tell us they’re sorry and offer explanations that are bizarre. And that, they hope, is the end of it.

The absolute, undisputed champion of this form of “apology” is Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House who once closed down the federal government because he was furious at having to sit in the rear of Air Force 1, far from President Clinton, on a flight back to Washington.

Recently, on the subject of his adultery, Gingrich declared: “There’s no question, at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”

I knew about Dr. Johnson’s famous observation that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, but now, thanks to Gingrich, I learn that love of country also happens to be the arch enemy of marriage, devotion, and honesty.

Can you hear Newt in the throes of passion informing his girlfriend, “Yeah, I love America; now let’s get it on!”

Newt, you’re telling us that America, the admittedly beautiful, is so alluring – so sexy – that your love of it forced you into the arms of another woman and she roused in you the same paroxysmal feeling in your loins that the nation did? Newt, give us a break.

Nowadays, Newt is thinking about running for president next year.

Let us now take it down a peg. Allow me to introduce Mr. Thomas W. Greto, a gentleman from South Jersey who is running for the State Senate.

The Associated Press reported over the weekend that Greto ran for a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1994 but disappeared around Election Day. It turned out that he was in jail on charges of having embezzled $400,000 from “friends and associates” in a business deal gone bad, AP said. It should be noted that Greto describes himself as a pro-business candidate and can be heard on the Internet proclaiming, “I want to restore fiscal sanity to New Jersey.”

Eventually, AP reported, Greto was found guilty of deceitful business practices, and spent two years behind bars. Get ready. Here comes Greto’s Great Gingrichism.

“It’s passé, it’s years ago,” Greto told the AP reporter over the weekend. “I know the Lord forgave me.”

Greto might hope God has forgiven him. But since God is not known to be an American citizen, and therefore likely not eligible to vote in Jersey, what Greto really needs is for the people of the First Legislative District of New Jersey to forgive him. They might not be so forgiving.

Jeff can be reached at jeffrey@zestoforange.com