Politics: The Case Against Newt Gingrich

Driven Out of His High Office

Former Speaker of the House Jim  Wright
Former Speaker of the House Jim Wright | Source

Clinton, Gingrich Compromise

Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton
Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton | Source

Newt Gingrich, the Republican attack-dog who drove former Democratic Speaker of the House Jim Wright out of office in disgrace because of (curiously) a book deal, had come full circle.

Not to mention Gingrich's own (questionable) book deal, the Georgia legislature and present Speaker of the House has admitted filing erroneous information with the Ethics Committee in connection with its investigation of the college course he taught. The course was an activity of his political action committee and, thus, contributions for the partisan course did not qualify for tax-exempt status.

But that didn't stop Newt, who now is seeking re-election as speaker when the new Congress convenes on Jan. 7. It didn't stop him from filing for the tax exemptions, and it didn't stop him from denying for two years that the course was political -- and that he did anything wrong.

Flip Flops

When he drove Wright out of office, Gingrich said the Speaker's high office called for a higher standard of ethics than that imposed on ordinary congressmen. But now he apparently flip-flops; now, while admitting to mistakes, he coyly tries to say that what he did was not bad, just an error in judgment.

What Gingrich now admits, he lied about for two solid years.

Ethics Panel

And his admission of guilt, which his supporters hold up as a virtue, is flawed because it comes only after he faced a unanimous decision of the Ethics panel -- when he could no longer deny guilt with a straight face.

Instead of facing the issue squarely, he and his lawyers seek to get around his troubles by negotiating their way back out. It won't, or at least, shouldn't work.

Despite it all, many Republicans continue to support Gingrich for re-election as speaker. While our own U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays (R-4th) is becoming adept at jumping fences, depending on which side of the issue gains him the most, he and other Republicans would like to believe that Gingrich's ethical lapses are only minor compared to the many charges President Bill Clinton faces.

But the truth is that Gingrich, by his own rather large mouth, is guilty, at least, of giving the Ethics Committee bad information -- and denying it for two years. Clinton, and Hillary as well, have been subjected to mostly partisan charges on a whole array of issues, principally Whitewater, but not one of these charges has uncovered any credible evidence against them.

Relentless Attacks

The GOP attacks have been relentless -- and strictly political. The unsubstantiated charges by Republican standard-bearer Bob Dole, and others, over the last two years have been especially egregious.

Apparently it's OK for Republicans to make one unsubstantiated attack after another, but Democrats should sit idly by while Republicans admit unethical behavior. Whitewater is an especially vivid example; after all, the savings and loan disaster it involves is a scandal that should be laid at the doorstep of the Republicans, not the Democrats.

Gingrich should save the Republican Party from two more years of leadership by someone who admits questionable ethics, and allow the American people to have a speaker who sets high ethical standards.

Why can't Gingrich be a man: Admit his guilt and pay the consequences.

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Dec. 28, 1996. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages. To view my HubPages Profile Click Here

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Comments 6 comments

Bob 8 years ago

Bill, Couldn't let this one go by. Though two wrongs don't make a right When is Congressman Jefferson from La. going to admit his guilt. It seems Congresspeople ( can't let the ladies slide) one both sides of the isle seem to be dirty , but it seems you dems always circle the waggons to protect yours where the republicans seem to run for cover and disassociate themselves and throw their kin to the wolves. .


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

It's true, Bob, that wrongdoing has no political party, but Gingrich was Speaker of the House not just a congressman. In the Bush Administration, I think the GOP is running up a very high score!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA

Was never a fan of Gingrich for this reason.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 5 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I think even Republicans have lost their enthusiasm for Newt Gingrich, SweetiePie. I think he has lost any credibility he ever had -- with everyone.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 4 years ago

That was a prescient article, William. No one has since accused Gingrich of being an honorable man or a gentleman. He's shown time again that he has serious character issues. But that won't hold back the men behind the GOP curtain if they decide he's their best chance to beat Obama next year.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 4 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

The right wing is bankrupt, Ralph, in everything but cash from their filthy rich benefactors. Their candidates for president are the most unqualified field in history, which will be proven beyond doubt if Newt Gingrich turns out to be their final choice. We'll find out in 2012 whether Citizens United money can overcome the good judgment of the average American.

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