Golly, I wonder what "Newt's World!" will be like.Excited to announce the launch of my new podcast, Newt's World! Each week, we'll cover topics from the past, present, and future to understand where we’ve been and where we're going. Listen & subscribe here: https://t.co/BvRCHC8MHc @WestwoodOne pic.twitter.com/7vwczr5KwU— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) February 16, 2019
Oh, wait. Never mind. I don't wonder at all. From The New York Times nearly 30 years ago:
The Politics of Slash and BurnThe Republican Party has been fully the Party of Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh for more than a quarter of a century. And everyone who worked to advance the interests of the Republican Party during that time and turn it into a monster factory capable of producing Donald Trump is complicit.
'Sick.'' ''Traitors.'' ''Bizarre.'' ''Self-serving.'' ''Shallow.'' ''Corrupt.'' ''Pathetic.'' ''Shame.'' The group that urged political candidates to use these epithets has since regretted suggesting the word ''traitors,'' in response to inquiries from the press. But the others were allowed to stand; they appear in a glossary that a conservative Republican group recently mailed to Republican state legislative candidates.
The group is Gopac, the G.O.P. Political Action Committee. Its general chairman is Representative Newt Gingrich. With the pamphlet, ''Language: A Key Mechanism of Control,'' comes a letter from Mr. Gingrich himself. Its message to candidates: Step up invective. Use words like these to describe opponents. These words work.
Mr. Gingrich's injunction represents the worst of American political discourse, which reached a low during the dispiriting Presidential campaign of 1988. Then, more than ever before, negative argument displaced reasoned discussion about how a nation might best be governed. The sound bite reigned. Attack commercials flourished. The signs this year aren't any better. Evidence that negative campaigning can come back to sink the sender has had little impact. The races for governor in California and Texas have already seen the same slash and burn. No doubt the proceedings will grow more rabid still as November nears.
Negative discourse serves democracy poorly. The temptation to avoid serious debate is already great. It increases as the stakes soar and slander becomes a rewarding, easy option. The issues of the day go untended. The whole affair takes on the character of the gladiator's art.
The Gopac glossary may herald a descent into even lower levels of discourse. It comes blessed by a politician of some influence - the Republican whip in the House - and it is intended for candidates on the state level, many of them presumably running for the first time. Even though Mr. Gingrich himself may not have seen the list before it was mailed, this is a disturbing document.
The nakedness of the Gopac offering also makes it useful. There must be limits to the negative politics that voters will bear; the bald appeal to invective will certainly probe those limits. For now, it should be said that some adjectives in the glossary aptly describe the glossary itself: shallow, sensationalist and, yes, shame(ful).
A number of scholars have credited Gingrich with playing a key role in undermining democratic norms in the United States, and hastening political polarization and partisan prejudice. According to Harvard University political scientists Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky, Gingrich's speakership had a profound and lasting impact on American politics and health of American democracy. They argue that Gingrich instilled a "combative" approach in the Republican Party, where hateful language and hyper-partisanship became commonplace, and where democratic norms were abandoned. Gingrich frequently questioned the patriotism of Democrats, called them corrupt, compared them to fascists, and accused them of wanting to destroy the United States. Gingrich furthermore oversaw several major government shutdowns, as well as impeached President Clinton in a partisan fashion.
University of Maryland political scientist Lilliana Mason uses Gingrich's instructions to Republicans to use words such as “betray, bizarre, decay, destroy, devour, greed, lie, pathetic, radical, selfish, shame, sick, steal, and traitors” about Democrats as an example of a breach in social norms and exacerbation of partisan prejudice...And just in case you were wondering, yes, bomb-throwing racist thuggery --
-- pays really well.
After leaving Congress in 1999, Gingrich started a number of for-profit companies: Between 2001 and 2010, the companies he and his wife owned in full or part had revenues of almost $100 million. Currently, Gingrich serves as an advisor to the Canadian mining company Barrick Gold.
According to financial disclosure forms released in July 2011, Gingrich and his wife had a net worth of at least $6.7 million in 2010, compared to a maximum net worth of $2.4 million in 2006. Most of the increase in his net worth was because of payments to him from his for-profit companies.
Behold, my Twitter Legal Defense Fund!