Topic category: Elections - Politics, Polling, etc.
Newt, We Hardly Knew Ye (Part 3) Will the Real Newt Gingrich Please Stand Up?
"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the anatidae family on our hands." ~ Douglas Adams
This is the third in a series on just who is the real Newt Gingrich? See Part 1 and Part 2 if you've missed them.
Republican presidential candidate Newton Leroy Gingrich claims to be a true conservative. Perhaps the reason so many take issue with this claim is that they define the term differently than does Gingrich. You see, in 2010 Gingrich also claimed a former U.S. Senator from Utah, Robert Bennett, was a “true-blue conservative” after Bennett was targeted for defeat by the conservative group Club For Growth. Bennett lost the race to Tea Party favorite Mike Lee who is now a powerful force in the senate. Likewise, Gingrich vociferously supported liberal Republican Wayne Gilchrist of Maryland in 2008 and liberal Republican Joe Schwartz of Michigan in 2006, over their conservative challengers.
When DeDe Scozzafava dropped out of the 2009 special election in New York's 23rd Congressional District, she endorsed the Democrat candidate. That was no surprise; they shared many of the same pro-union, pro-abortion, and pro-gay marriage positions. Gingrich's infamous endorsement of Scozzafava was also no surprise to those who knew him. After all, Gingrich believes the Republican party should be a “big tent” encompassing many viewpoints, even those that are liberal, apparently.
If Gingrich has anything at his core other than self-interest, it's definitely environmental issues and how they can be used to further his self-interest. Despite his recent claims designed to help him win the Republican nomination, Gingrich has had a long history of radical environmental positions. In his book, A Contract With The Earth, Gingrich promotes what he calls, “green conservatism.” This is very similar to “compassionate conservatism” in that the taxpayers get fleeced. It is also similar in that the proponents can be quite sanctimonious while hurting the economy through increased regulation and the expansion of government along with their own political power. The American Tradition Partnership (ATP), “America's largest grassroots opponent of radical environmentalism,” distributed “Power-Grabbing Newts” along with “...a list of 25 quotes from three of [Gingrich's] latest books seeking increased government power and taxation to seek what [Gingrich] calls “environmental compliance” at the 2011 CPAC.
Many have seen Gingrich touting global warming in a 2008 commerical with Nancy Pelosi. He later claimed this was, “the dumbest thing I've ever done.” Apparently realizing how ridiculous that sounded, he later amended his statement to, “the dumbest single thing [he'd] done in the last few years.” There is plenty of reason to doubt that too, such as Gingrich's explanation of why this was a “dumb” move. (Hint: It wasn't accepting Al Gore's invitation to appear in the ad.) On December 3, 2011, Gingrich actually told Mike Huckabee the commercial was “dumb,” not because of the content, but because Pelosi is so “radioactive” that it was “dumb” to appear with her. Of course, true to form, Gingrich also said that not only would he do it again, he'd appear in a commercial with Al Gore too. At the same time, contradicting his own statements, he walked back his support of global warming.
In fact, Gingrich had previously called for “urgent” action on climate change. Although Gingrich implies he was on the opposite side in a 2007 global warming debate with John Kerry, Gingrich was actually in full agreement with Kerry, and at times, even to Kerry's left. During this “debate” Gingrich promoted “green-conservatism,” noting that it would require “bigger government and higher taxes.” “And [spend] it urgently.” He also brags that while he was speaker “...on a whole range of biodiversity issues, [he] intervened again and again on the side of the environment.” Yes, Gingrich has since claimed to change his position on global warming. However, had he been president in 2007, he would have been “urgently” spending taxpayer money on it and “urgently” creating “bigger government” to regulate it.
That's one of the big problems with Gingrich; most problems are “urgent.” We're perpetually faced with a crisis or a crossroads and a false choice developed by Gingrich, one of his favorite devices to persuade. With him, it's either unpalatable 'solution A' or exaggerated and often improbable 'consequence B' with no room for choosing something else or nothing at all. Make no mistake – whether it's called “tax incentives” or “public/private partnership” or whatever other euphemism Gingrich uses that day, the solution always involves expanding government and spending a lot of taxpayer money. The free market provides its own rewards for innovation, as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates knew well. True achievement does not require government subsidies or other taxpayer funded compensation, such as that often achieved through manipulation of the tax code.
Now that he's running for president, Gingrich claims he was never in favor of cap-and-trade. Even if this is true of the most recent bill, it's a distinction without a difference, given his decades long, pre-presidential race history. Among other things, he must have forgotten (or hopes we did) his 1990 support of the Clean Air Act,  which included a cap-and-trade system. Perhaps worse, it included new authority for the EPA to issue administrative penalties of up to $200,000.00 and increased knowing violations to criminal felony status. (It also included hysteria about hairspray and spray on deodorant.)
In 2007, when he was for it before he was against it, Gingrich said, “I think if you have mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system, much like we did with sulfur, and if you have a tax-incentive program for investing in the solutions, that there's a package there that's very, very good. And frankly, it's something I would strongly support.”
Gingrich promoted the global warming hoax many times over the last two decades or so. One of the over 400 pieces of legislation Gingrich co-sponsored with Pelosi, (an average of almost 3 per month during the 12 years they served together), is a thoroughly unconstitutional bill titled Global Warming Prevention Act of 1989. Among the other usual high-tax-dollar provisions included in documents that assume global warming exists, is caused by humans, and is a problem, Title XI of this bill called for an international agreement on population growth to help reduce global warming. To this end, Title XI also appropriated taxpayer funds for “family planning” including voluntary sterilization and abortion “to all persons requesting them.” If this sounds a lot like the current debate about President Obama's contraceptive mandate infringing on religious freedom, that's because other than Gingrich being a co-sponsor, it's pretty much the same thing.
Those who are surprised that Gingrich would co-sponsor a bill with a provision for taxpayer funded abortion must not remember some of his other pro-abortion positions. (And didn't read parts 1 and 2 of this series.) We already know that Gingrich supported pro-abortion Rockefeller over over pro-life Goldwater; promoted the futurist and pro-abortion Tofflers; refused to allow social issues in the Contract with America; and while maintaining a nearly perfect public voting record, behind the scenes often urged Republicans to abandon social issues, including abortion, altogether. In 1990 Gingrich advised party members to “relax and accept” pro-abortion Republicans; in 1998 he fought to quash efforts to deny party funding to Republicans who supported barbaric partial-birth abortion and offered to campaign for them. In addition to the 1989 bill noted above, in cases of “medical necessity,” (originally including rape and incest but later expanded to include the mother's mental health), Gingrich again supported federal funding of abortion in 1995. In 2005 he expressed his opinion that Roe v. Wade would never be overturned but did not mention any attempt to fight his foregone conclusion, just like it was never an issue during his speakership. But I digress.
Back to climate change, in Gingrich's defense, after delaying the release of his most recent book until after the presidential campaign ends, he says he decided to drop the chapter about climate change written by a strong proponent of climate change, Katherin Hayhoe.
Gingrich's radical environmentalism has had many other fronts, including unconstitutional federal public land grabs. Gingrich helped secure millions of acres in Alaska, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, effectively sealing the vast oil reserves of ANWR to this very day. Gingrich also helped to set-aside over 2 million acres in Idaho and over 2 million more acres in California. He voted to enlarge Alabama's Sipsey Wilderness, the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri and wilderness areas in North Carolina. He also voted for land grabs to establish wilderness areas in Wisconsin and Virginia.
Furthermore, Gingrich was one of the few on either side of the aisle who supported President Carter's creation of the Energy Mobilization Board, expanding the Department of Energy. It was clear to most the nightmare bureaucracy was designed to create onerous regulations and even Jimmy Carter admitted it would cost “a lot of money.” Gingrich also voted for Carter's gas-rationing Emergency Program to Conserve Energy.
Gingrich attempted to inject his “green conservatism” into other areas, such as by voting for unconstitutional federal farm subsidies to encourage farmers to use “green” energy and practices. He also either thought it a wise use of taxpayer monies to fund potato research and to subsidize milk or thought it a good idea to use these taxpayer funded handouts to gain more political power.
Of course, his “green conservatism” necessitated his support for ethanol subsidies. Well, that and the $300,000.00 per year he was paid by an ethanol lobbying firm. It's very interesting that Gingrich's fee was the single largest expenditure that firm made. In his January 2011, keynote speech at the Renewable Fuels Association summit, Gingrich proposed that the government require all new vehicles to be “flex-fuel” vehicles. If this unconstitutional government intrusion was made into law, not only would consumers be faced with a much higher price-tag on new automobiles, there would necessarily be a(nother) large spike in the price of corn and corn based food products. Whose side is he on? It's clearly not the side of fiscal conservatives who have been frequently undermined by Gingrich's big-spending, vote-buying positions on this and many other issues. Even Al Gore now admits ethanol is not the answer. I don't see how anyone can criticize the likes of Solyndra while continuing to subsidize their own pet constituency – er – industry.
In his book, A Contract With The Earth, Gingrich wrote, “...I worked so diligently as Speaker of the House to protect the Endangered Species Act, historic legislation that has been mired in some controversy.” This means he refused to allow any amendment or scaling back of this oppressive, unconstitutional law. This is the very law that exponentially expanded the authority of the EPA and the very one so often abused by environmentalists to enforce even very unreasonable environmental demands. Among other unconstitutional provisions, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has resulted in (former) farmers in California who cannot get water; property owners in Utah who cannot protect their property from prairie dogs; Texas ranchers who cannot allow their cattle to graze in areas of their lands; and other private property owners who are not allowed to use their property as they see fit.
If you haven't been adversely affected by the overzealous enforcement of the ESA, just wait. The way it's going, you will be someday. Just ask many in Florida where it is common to see a series of wooden stakes with tape between them, not unlike crime-scene tape, denoting an owl or turtle nesting area. Those who own the property are not allowed to tamper with this designated area in any way, or they face criminal sanctions. Just ask the Englewood Florida property owner facing up to five years in prison for tampering with a turtle nest on her property. Or ask the Port Salerno man who faced up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 on top of his legal defense fees, because a loggerhead turtle got entangled in his fishnet and drowned, how he feels about the ESA. The list goes on and on but Gingrich defends his support of the ESA to this day.
In fact, Gingrich also supports the Environmental Protection Agency, in theory. Notice after the sound-byte call to “abolish the EPA” Gingrich goes on to explain his plan to rebuild it to his own specifications, not to simply get rid of it. This is not unlike his position on Obamacare, that he will repeal it and replace it with his own version. But more on that in a future installment.
Under the ESA, oil companies who harm so much as one duck are heavily penalized. But in another bout of stunning hypocrisy, the Obama administration has requested that wind-farms, which regularly kill several endangered species of migratory birds, be exempted from the law. While I can't assert Gingrich joins in this request, it's true that Gingrich also voted to fund Wind Energy Research.
Of course Republicans and Conservatives also want clean water, clean air, and many of the radical environmentalism agenda items. Where Gingrich goes too far though, in this writer's opinion, is advocating for taxpayer funding, more regulations, and bigger government to solve whatever he, in his infinite historical knowledge, deems a crisis that day.
If you're not yet convinced that we're looking at a very liberal, big-government duck, come back for the next installment where we'll continue to highlight the documented truth about Gingrich's history.
 If you're trying to place where you've heard about the Clean Air Act recently, think farm-dust; closed coal-burning energy plants; and higher electricity costs.
Biography - Lin Franklin
Lin Franklin is mostly retired these days but continues to advocate for children. She occasionally advocates for local single parents on a referral basis; primarily helping them to navigate the legal system and local resources for the benefit of their children. Lin has been devoutly religious since her earliest memories and consistently conservative since the days of Ronald Reagan. She believes in strict constitutional interpretation, very limited federal government, state's rights, and personal liberty. Lin's love of the law and the country led to her interest in U.S. and state politics. She believes apathy is the greatest danger to our society on every level; from schools, to entertainment, to politics. Lin believes if we as a society do not become involved and vocal in demanding better, we're unlikely to ever receive it.