I Learned It By Watching You!
Ever mindful of the Gingrich Rules, return briefly with me to last weekends' most overlooked gob of pure, media slovenliness to be found anywhere in the Seven Kingdoms -- this exchange between Martha Raddatz and Newton Leroy Gingrich.
Let's pour it out again and let it b-r-e-a-t-h-e:
RADDATZ: You, of course, resigned the speakership in '99. What's different here?GINGRICH: I'm not sure a lot is different. John and I both faced the fact that there was a hardcore group, sort of a minority of the party, who were prepared to cause total chaos. In my case, they had announced they would never vote for me for speaker, and I'd never get to win a smaller majority, I'd never get to the 218. And so you just have chaos in the House...
At this moment, literally the easiest thing in the world for Ms. Raddatz to do would have been to simply take Murrica by the hand and go for a little stroll down memory lane.
So of course she did no such thing.
But if we lived in a Better Universe. A Universe where journalists did such things...
The year was 1990, and night after night in a corner office at the Center for Advanced Wingnut Studies, two up-and-coming Republican sociopaths work diligently to synthesize a magic formula that would help them take power. And after months of research, they discover the secret to making all of their dreams come true: lying all the time in front of every microphone and camera you can lay your grubby paws on.
In 1990, after consulting focus groups with the help of pollster Frank Luntz, GOPAC distributed a memo with a cover letter signed by Gingrich titled "Language, a Key Mechanism of Control", that encouraged Republicans to "speak like Newt" and contained lists of "contrasting words"—words with negative connotations such as "radical", "sick," and "traitors"—and "optimistic positive governing words" such as "opportunity", "courage", and "principled", that Gingrich recommended for use in describing Democrats and Republicans, respectively.
And so, with the help of a ceaseless stream of slander and the powerful new medium of Hate Radio, Gingrich and a horde of radical, bomb-throwing lunatics swept to power. Over the next several years, Gingrich would become famous for deploy every filthy, ratfucking dodge in the book to destroy his political opponents -- from ginning up fake Congressional show trials to shutting down the federal government -- but to wage berserker attacks on all fronts every day he needed to install a team of hard-core, corrupt, fellow-travelling fanatics who were as committed to wrecking America's capacity for self-governance as he was.
And so, Newt Gingrich's Team of Heroes was born; each one destined to fuck the country up a little further in their own, unique way before leaving office under their own, unique palls of humiliation:
From 1995 to 1999, [John] Boehner served as House Republican Conference Chairman which is the party caucus for Republicans in the United States House of Representatives. In this post, he was the fourth-ranking House Republican, behind Gingrich, Majority Leader Dick Armey and Majority Whip Tom DeLay.
And thus did Gingrich and Conservative talk radio begat the Modern Republican Hate Machine, which only turned on its creator when his promise that Murrica would rally to his Impeachment banner collapsed:
In 1998 Republicans lost five seats in the House—the worst midterm performance in 64 years by a party not holding the presidency. Gingrich, who won his reelection, was held largely responsible for Republican losses in the House. His private polls had given his fellow Republican Congressmen a false impression that pushing the Lewinsky scandal would damage Clinton's popularity and result in the party winning a net total of six to thirty seats in the US House of Representatives in this election. The day after the election, a Republican caucus ready to rebel against him prompted his resignation of the speakership. He also announced his intended and eventual full departure from the House in January 1999. When relinquishing the speakership, Gingrich said he was "not willing to preside over people who are cannibals"...
And thus the Modern Republican Hate Machine continued to roll merrily along. Lurching violently and constantly Right, fueled by increasingly toxic doses of paranoia, rage and bigotry and crushing anyone who gets in its way or who doesn't qualify as "Conservative enough" as measured by the machine's demented barometer, but still running the same basic software it had back when Gingrich wound it up and set it in motion: shutdowns, show trials and a never-ending torrent of absolutely insane lies, repeated as holy scripture to and by the Base over and over again.
Until, finally, the Modern Republican Hate Machine arrives at the present day and begets a Kevin McCarthy: an empty-headed party apparatchik so thoroughly conditioned to think like a thug and brag like a pimp that he has no concept of a wider world where what comes out of his face hole may be considered horrifying.
And where did lil' Kevin learn such bad habits?
He learned them by watching you!