- Politics and Social Issues»
- Politics & Political Science
Did the Voters Buy a GOP Pig in a Poke?
U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich and Co., loser of the 1991 presidential elections and unrelenting critic of anything that has the touch and feel of Bill or Hillary Clinton, or any Democrat, has taken front row center.
Rep. Newt Gingrich of Georgia, the freewheeling, big-mouthed loose cannon who was elected by his Republican cronies to a position obviously foreign to him -- Speaker of the House -- used his newfound position of power to try to lord it over the Democrats by bulldozing his so-called "Contract With America" through the lower legislative body of Congress.
But, as with most bullies, Gingrich soon found himself behind the eightball. It didn't take him long to benefit from an object lesson: What goes around comes around.
Gingrich Backs Down
At the same time his head was swimming with self-adulation he found out what it's like to be besieged by the press when his ill-advised $4.5 million book deal became public. Of course, after taking some of his own medicine, he backed down and said he would forgo the advance and settle for royalties.
But he soon learned that the press can be relentless, too. When the story took one or two new turns, he learned something else: Sometimes backing down is not enough.
Then he found himself embroiled in controversy once again; this time over the Connie Chung interview with his mother, who whispered in Connie's ear that Newt once called Hillary a "bitch." No denial, no apology.
Throw the Rascals Out
In November the majority of the electorate -- unhappy with "politics as usual" and obviously taken in by the pie-in-the-sky promises of Gingrich, Bob Dole, Phil Gramm, et al, -- decided to "throw the rascals out."
In this case the "rascals" were the Democrats, who were handed the blame for all the country's ills because they controlled the Congress for 40 years.
Only two years earlier after the "Comeback Kid" outpolled George Bush and became president, the majority of voters did a complete 360 and apparently bought the argument that the country's problems were all the Democrats' fault. This despite the fact that Clinton turned the economy around, as he promised, and put together one of the best overall records of any president since Harry Truman.
Finally, Clinton and the Democrats are beginning to fight back. The president is concentrating his major promises on improving the economy and giving a helping hand to the long-ignored middle class while his cabinet members and other Democratic leaders are leading the fight against Republican excesses.
Clinton Restoring His Credibility
On Friday President Clinton made a major move toward restoring his credibility and popularity with the appointment of Connecticut Sen. Christopher J. Dodd and Don Fowler of South Carolina as co-chairmen of the Democratic National Committee. Dodd has been called a "feisty wordsmith" who can counter the ramblings of the GOP rabble-rousers.
Now Gingrich and the Republicans are beginning to back down on some of their more outlandish criticisms and promises. They're retreating on the "supermajority" vote they wanted to approve tax increases and they're backpedaling on their wild and irresponsible assertions about kicking poor people off the welfare rolls.
Soon, when Americans get all the facts, the GOP will find as well that support is waning for their unwise balanced-budget amendment, line-item veto and term limits.
Personally, I think the American people bought a pig in a poke.
I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Jan. 14, 1995. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages. You can, too. It's easy, and free! Get paid for writing about what you love, or whatever interests you!. HubPages makes the technical part easy. Make friends and get help on its active forum.