Sunday, November 27, 2011

Supporting The Chameleon

The Manchester Union Leader today endorsed Newt Gingrich in the first-in-the-nation primary. New Hampshire's influential conservative paper does not pretend to be anything but staunchly Republican- its editorial is not entitled "For the Nomination, Newt Gingrich" but rather "For President, Newt Gingrich." In so doing, the editors hail Gingrich's views on..... nothing.

While claiming "we look for conservatives of courage and conviction," the Union Leader concludes

Newt Gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate. But Republican primary voters too often make the mistake of preferring an unattainable ideal to the best candidate who is actually running. In this incredibly important election, that candidate is Newt Gingrich. He has the experience, the leadership qualities and the vision to lead this country in these trying times. He is worthy of your support on January 10.

The editors might be looking for the Newt Gingrich who cut a commercial (created by Al Gore's Climate Reality Project) with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in which the duo urged national attention to global warming. Perhaps they are seeking the one who later condemned Pelosi as "a trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes...." or who earlier this month called the appearance "probably the dumbest single thing I’ve done in years."

The Union Leader may be looking for the Newt Gingrich who in 2007 endorsed "mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system" or the one who denounced President Obama in 2009 for proposing it.

Or maybe they are seeking the Newt Gingrich who tried (albeit unsuccessfully) as House Speaker to repeal the Glass Steagall Act (which separated commercial and investment banks), legislation passed in the wake of the Great Depression and revoked in December, 1992, helping usher in the Great Recession. Perhaps instead they are seeking the Newt who now says that revocation "was probably a mistake..... " and labels the less ambitious Dodd-Frank "a regulatory Tower of Babel that is paralyzing the American economy and depressing home values."

The Union Leader may be looking for the Gingrich who vented about "Chris Dodd and Barack Obama being the number one and two recipients of money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while they were going broke" and Dodd for being "a guy who’s totally in with all the people on Wall Street and all the people at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac." Or perhaps for the Newt who recently has claimed he was serving as a "historian" while picking up a cool million from Freddie Mac for peddling his influence.

The right-wing Union Leader probably is looking for the Newt Gingrich who in a video says "I completely opposed to the Obamacare mandate on individuals. I fought it for two and half years at the Center for Health Transformation. I am against any effort to impose a federal mandate on anyone because it is fundamentally wrong and I believe unconstitutional. " Or maybe instead for the Newt Gingrich who on the Center for Health Transformation website wrote (from 2008 before it was recently taken down) that the federal government should "require that anyone who earns more than $50,000 a year must purchase health insurance or post a bond" (chart below from David Corn of Mother Jones).

Take almost any issue. Newt Gingrich was for it before he was against it. Or against it before he was for it. Or against it before he was for it before he was against it. He apparently has adopted Rick's motto: "I'm the only cause I'm interested in."

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