Lying is a sin. Lying in order to smear a man’s good name is an abomination. I don’t care if you’re doing it in the interest of saving the Republic or whatever – because you think your guy is the only one who can defeat ‘President Spread-the-Wealth’ in the general. For the Romney crowd to be trying to paint Newt Gingrich as some kind of rabid anti-Reagan crusader when he was anything but – is proof positive that this bitter primary season is going off the rails, already, and some of the candidates and their surrogates need to have their knuckles roundly rapped with a ruler.
I posted an excerpt from Abrams’ piece, yesterday, believing it was written in good faith because he has a sterling reputation. I was confused, because it was flying in the face of everything I knew to be true about Newt, and I have been following his career since the early ’90s. Yesterday, I posted everything that was coming out about Gingrich – the good, bad and ugly – because I’m still trying to make up my mind about supporting him. I’ve updated it several times since it was posted as more pundits weigh in.
Via Legal Insurrection, according to Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator, that Elliot Abrams piece in National Review, the other day, was a gross distortion of how Gingrich treated Reagan in his speeches.
Yesterday we took note of former Reagan State Department official Elliott Abrams’ piece over at NRO that went after Newt Gingrich on his relationship with Reagan. While voting regularly with Reagan as a young congressman from Georgia, Gingrich, claimed Abrams, “often spewed insulting rhetoric at Reagan, his top aides and his policies to defeat Communism.” Abrams then goes on to cite ” a famous floor statement Gingrich made on March 21, 1986.”
Or sort of cites it.
In fact, I’m sorry to say, what appears to be going on here is that Elliott Abrams, a considerably admirable public servant and a very smart guy, has been swept up in the GOP Establishment’s Romney frothings over the rise of Newt Gingrich in the Republican primaries. He is even being accused of trolling for a job in a Romney administration. No way!!!! Really????
What else can possibly explain a piece like the one Abrams penned on a day when Gingrich was being of a mysterious sudden targeted in one hit piece after another for his ties to Reagan? The pieces invariably following the Romney line that Newt had some version of nothing to do with Reagan.
A piece like the one Abrams wrote depends for its success in garnering headlines — which it did — by assuming no one will bother to get into the weeds and do the homework. Usually a safe assumption when dealing with the mainstream media, particularly a mainstream media that, as one with Establishment Republicans, hates Newt Gingrich.
Not so fast.
Due to the diligence of one Chris Scheve of a group called Aqua Terra Strategies in Washington, Mr. Abrams has been caught red-handed in lending himself to this attempted Romney hit job.
Mr. Scheve, you see, is himself a former foreign policy aide to none other than Speaker Newt Gingrich in his days as Speaker. While now out on his own and not working for Gingrich, Scheve is considerably conversant with the Gingrich foreign policy record.
That’s right. Mr. Scheve, incensed at what he felt was a deliberate misrepresentation of his old boss by Abrams and the Romney forces, specifically of Gingrich’s long ago March 21, 1986 “Special Order” speech on the floor of the House, and aware “that most of his [Abrams’] comments had to have been selectively taken from the special order” — Scheve started digging. Since the Congressional Record for 1986 was difficult to obtain electronically, Scheve trekked to the George Mason Library to physically track down the March 21, 1986 edition of the Congressional Record. Locating it, copying and scanning, he was kind enough to send to me.
You need to go to The American Spectator to read the whole thing, but here’s one of the more shameful distortions:
• Abrams quotes Newt for saying in this speech that Reagan’s policies towards the Soviets are “inadequate and will ultimately fail.” This is shameful. Why? Here’s what Newt said — in full and in context:
“The fact is that George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Irving Kristol, and Jeane Kirkpatrick are right in pointing out the enormous gap between President Reagan’s strong rhetoric, which is adequate, and his administration’s weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail.”
In other words, Newt was picking up on a concern, prominent in the day and voiced by no less than Reagan’s then ex-UN Ambassador Kirkpatrick, not to mention prominent Reagan supporters Will and Kristol and the late-Mondale aide turned conservative Krauthammer, that Reagan’s anti-Communist policies could be stronger if better institutionalized and not tied as much to the Reagan persona. The entire speech focused on suggestions of how to do just that — to effectively institutionalize Reagan’s conservative beliefs in the government. Is Abrams seriously accusing Jeane Kirkpatrick and George Will of being anti-Reagan? Of spewing “insulting rhetoric” at a president everyone in Washington knew they staunchly supported? Really? Of course not. But in apparent service to the Romney campaign, in order to make Newt Gingrich appear to be doing just that, Abrams apparently quite deliberately cut out the original Gingrich reference to Will, Kirkpatrick, Krauthammer, and Kristol.
What gall Romney has to question the “Reagan conservative” creds of Gingrich, when he himself cravenly backed away from supporting Reagan when he had the opportunity to do so. As Lord says, the attacks on Gingrich are not only not true, but laughably untrue.
I wish I could laugh.
Sarah Palin feels exactly the same way I do – read her latest post on her FB page: Cannibals in GOP Establishment Employ Tactics of the Left
I didn’t want to say it – but she did. Tactics of the left. I’ve saw the headlines this week about the Romneys being Alinsky fans, or something, but I never got around to reading them. Tactics like what we’ve been seeing throughout this campaign, and especially in Florida are pure Alinsky. I almost alluded to it in my post. Something really smells, here.
I hope that this outrageous smear marks a turning point in the campaign. I don’t know if I can find a clothing pin tight enough to block my nasal passages from the stench of this particular candidate when it comes time to vote.
We have witnessed something very disturbing this week. The Republican establishment which fought Ronald Reagan in the 1970s and which continues to fight the grassroots Tea Party movement today has adopted the tactics of the left in using the media and the politics of personal destruction to attack an opponent.
We will look back on this week and realize that something changed. I have given numerous interviews wherein I espoused the benefits of thorough vetting during aggressive contested primary elections, but this week’s tactics aren’t what I meant. Those who claim allegiance to Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment should stop and think about where we are today. Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, the fathers of the modern conservative movement, would be ashamed of us in this primary. Let me make clear that I have no problem with the routine rough and tumble of a heated campaign. As I said at the first Tea Party convention two years ago, I am in favor of contested primaries and healthy, pointed debate. They help focus candidates and the electorate. I have fought in tough and heated contested primaries myself. But what we have seen in Florida this week is beyond the pale. It was unprecedented in GOP primaries. I’ve seen it before – heck, I lived it before – but not in a GOP primary race.
I am sadly too familiar with these tactics because they were used against the GOP ticket in 2008. The left seeks to single someone out and destroy his or her record and reputation and family using the media as a channel to dump handpicked and half-baked campaign opposition research on the public. The difference in 2008 was that I was largely unknown to the American public, so they had no way of differentiating between the lies and the truth. All of it came at them at once as “facts” about me. But Newt Gingrich is known to us – both the good and the bad.