Just when we had thought the bottom of the barrel had been scraped, along came Newt Gingrich to remind us how much worse things could get. It should be remembered that, like Paul Ryan, Gingrich liked to present himself as a man of ideas who would remake our country. Well, you could say he succeeded. When he led the takeover of the House of Representatives by the Republicans in 1994, he launched a whole new way of operating. He, along with Tom Delay, decided they would pass all measures with only Republican votes. In essence, they decided they didn’t need to involve the Democrats.
Prior to this time, it was normal for the Democrats to negotiate with the leader of the Republicans. There were too many southern Democrats, so they worked with midwestern and northeastern Republican moderates. This meant they had to compromise and, when they didn’t (like Clinton on healthcare in 1994), they couldn’t pass their legislation. Therefore, party discipline became a major issue which produced more Republicans in lock step as they entered the House in the following years.
Now Gingrich was, of course, morally offended by Clinton’s behavior with Monica Lewinsky. The fact that he as Speaker was having an affair with someone who worked for him was, to him, not a problem. And this leads us to his current comments on Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating the Trump administration’s Russia connection and activity. First, he praised Mueller, then said Trump should fire him and now is expressing his “great idea” approach to investigations by pointing out that Mueller needs to hire more “pro-Trump” lawyers. Not only did he lead the way in the cannibalization of the House of Representatives, he now believes investigators and prosecutors should be wearing team jerseys.
Everyone always says he is smart. Maybe he is. But sometimes smart people say the dumbest things. I have noticed, however, dumb people who like to be perceived as smart usually tell you how smart they are. The only thing missing from this latest tableau is Rudy Guiliani. I am sure he will be emerging from a sewer shortly to opine on this matter. I can hardly wait.