Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Newt and the Bomb

The Conspiracy Theory of History. . . .

Which would be worse: Newt Gingrich becoming president of the United States or Iran getting the Bomb?

Of course, U.S. presidential history is replete with examples of scare tactics being used by political opponents.  In the 1964 election, Lyndon B. Johnson's operatives famously employed the TV commercial showing the girl counting from one to ten as she pulled the petals off the daisy followed by an image of a hydrogen bomb exploding, intended to discredit Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater and to imply that a Goldwater presidency would put the nation in peril.  Similar fears were expressed by the Left about Ronald Reagan, who did go on to beat Jimmy Carter for the presidency in 1980.

“Daisy ad” made for Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 presidential campaign.  It was broadcast on September 7, 1964.

At the NBC debate last night, Mitt Romney tried to discredit former House Speaker Newt Gingrich implying that he is erratic and unstable and that he himself would be the clear choice for GOP voters and the country -- the "stable" and "safe" candidate.

What was amazing about the debate last night was that you had two candidates pretending to be what they are not.  Romney insisted that Gingrich served for years as a "K Street lobbyist" while Gingrich kept saying that he acted as a "historian" for housing finance agencies Fannie May and Freddie Mac, which were complicit in the 2008 housing crisis and subsequent financial collapse.  Gingrich released a copy of one year of his contract with Freddie Mac prior to the debate which clearly shows that he was a "consultant" and that he earned $300,000 in that period.  Many might argue that consultant equals lobbyist.  Similarly, Romney is running away from his record as CEO of Bain Capital which was responsible for people losing their jobs let alone pretending that he is a staunch conservative when in reality he was the moderate governor of Massachusetts, and enacted a version of health care that is virtually identical to and was used as a model for the national health care bill passed by Barack Obama.

Clearly many Republicans are afraid that Gingrich will get the nomination and wish that his rise be stopped.  The trouble is that the bumbling Romney may not be capable of stopping him.  Attempts to do so, as shown in South Carolina, may only fire up the Republican base more.  Perhaps with the rise of the Tea Party the age of smoke-filled rooms has passed.  Maybe.

Meanwhile, as reported by NBC, at a rally, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was faced by a woman who said that Obama is a "practicing Muslim", a charge that Santorum refused to deny, which does him discredit.  At least in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, GOP presidential candidate Arizona Senator John McCain had the good grace to deny a claim by a supporter that Obama was a "terrorist."

The Florida primary is coming up in a week's time.  Will Gingrich continue his surge or will Romney have damaged him enough to win?

What would Gingrich be like as a president?  My fellow football (soccer) fans might appreciate this analogy.  What if Mario Balotelli became president of Italy?  Think about it.

the candidate's
past: he's someone else now
-- a new person. . . not the same old

Christopher T. George

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