Every now and then, Newton Leroy "Arouser of Those Who Form Civilization" Gingrich feels the heliotropic need for more spotlight than his usual, aging, peevish bile will attract. Maybe the cash flow from his various grifts is starting to drop off. Maybe going on teevee and saying despicable shit like this --
Newt Gingrich is the latest on Fox to go full great replacement theory: The left is bringing immigrants to the United States “to get rid of the rest of us” (ht @EricKleefeld) pic.twitter.com/C0We3CgUKH— John Whitehouse+ (@existentialfish) August 4, 2021
-- is what passes for foreplay in the Gingrich's sex dungeon. Or maybe it's as simple as Gingrich is a thoroughly loathsome monster who is so dead inside that the only thing that makes him feel alive is rubbing his scaly ass all over a Fox News camera.
Probably a Whitman's sampler of all three, but whatever the case, going on teevee and saying despicable shit has been Gingrich's one-and-only card trick for more than 30 years.
Sit with that for a minute.
Through five presidential administration -- from the days of Susan Smith ...
1. In 1994, Susan Smith killed her two sons— Jon Schwarz (@schwarz) June 24, 2018
2. Gingrich said this "vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting...The only way you get change is to vote Republican"
3. It later turned out Smith had been sexually abused by her stepfather, a prominent Republican pic.twitter.com/r6R6HD62r4
... and teaching a generation of Republicans the utility of constant lying and slash-and-burn politics (from The New York Times) ...
The Politics of Slash and Burn
Sept. 20, 1990
''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.
... until today -- how has an openly corrupt, serial adulterer and racist scumbag like Newt Gingrich managed to prosper decade after decade?
Well, if you really want to know, it's a two step process.
The first step was to become a mighty and noxious weed blooming in a dung heap of his own creation. Along with Rush Limbaugh and his many imitators on Hate Radio, no single person is more responsible for the creation of the modern Republican party -- a party of reprogrammable bigots and imbeciles -- than Newt Gingrich. For taking the basic elements that Goldwater, Nixon and Reagan had already wired into the Republican party -- racism, a contempt for government, demonizing the Left and a casual contempt for facts and history -- and supercharging them into the monster factory that the GOP is today
From Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party
The story of how Newt Gingrich and his allies tainted American politics, launching an enduring era of brutal partisan warfare
When Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, President Obama observed that Trump “is not an outlier; he is a culmination, a logical conclusion of the rhetoric and tactics of the Republican Party.” In Burning Down the House, historian Julian Zelizer pinpoints the moment when our country was set on a path toward an era of bitterly partisan and ruthless politics, an era that was ignited by Newt Gingrich and his allies. In 1989, Gingrich brought down Democratic Speaker of the House Jim Wright and catapulted himself into the national spotlight. Perhaps more than any other politician, Gingrich introduced the rhetoric and tactics that have shaped Congress and the Republican Party for the last three decades.
From The Atlantic:
THE MAN WHO BROKE POLITICS
Newt Gingrich turned partisan battles into bloodsport, wrecked Congress, and paved the way for Trump’s rise. Now he’s reveling in his achievements.
From Time Magazine:
How Newt Gingrich Laid the Groundwork for Trump's Republican Party
But by itself, becoming king of the racist dungheap he helped create would never have been enough to make Gingrich a durable, national figure. For that, Gingrich needed help from outside the Fox News/Hate Radio abattoir.
For that Gingrich needed the imprimatur of the Respectable Beltway media.
And that is when an amoral hack named David Gregory enters the story.
After Tim Russert shuffled off this mortal coil, NBC sent shopping for a successor to host it's prestige Sunday morning show, Meet the Press. NBC executive settled on Gregory, who took over the show on December 18, 2008.
By December 2009, Newt Gingrich -- who had not held any elected office for more than a decade -- had become David Gregory's most frequent guest.
Steve Benen in the Washington Monthly, December 28, 2009:
THE MOST POPULAR ‘MTP’ GUEST OF THE YEAR
In the previous post, I mentioned what disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on “Meet the Press” yesterday. I neglected to ask a relevant question: why on earth was Newt Gingrich on “Meet the Press” yesterday?
Yesterday was Gingrich’s fifth appearance on “MTP” just this year. In fact, Newt Gingrich, despite not having held any position in government for over a decade, was the single most frequent guest on “Meet the Press” in 2009 of any political figure in the United States. Literally.
From March to December, Gingrich appeared on “MTP,” on average, every other month. No one else in American politics was on the show this often...
There’s just no reasonable explanation for this. Gingrich was forced from office in disgrace — by his own caucus — 11 years ago. What’s more, he’s kind of a nut — we’re talking about a former office holder who speculated, just last week, about hidden messages from God in snowstorms.
And yet, no other political figure was on “Meet the Press” more this year than crazy ol’ Newt Gingrich. If someone can explain why, I’m all ears.
For reasons that no one has every explained, during Gregory's tenure at Meet the Press, rehabilitating Gingrich's reputation over and over again every time Gingrich publicly shit the bed became one of Gregory's personal projects. In fact, putting Gingrich on the air and then very conspicuously not asking him about whatever toxic, racist bile he had been spouting recently became such a regular feature of Meet the Press that when I was writing regularly about the Sunday Shows I codified the practice as The Gingrich Rules.
From me back in 2012:
In the game of professional punditry there also clearly exists a special set of rules designed with one person on mind. Or, rather, one sort of person: Conservatism's parade of bomb-throwing, hate-mongering, race-baiting bottom feeders. That breed which makes their daily bread from grifting the Pig People by generating an endless flood of books, magazine articles, broadcasts, speeches and videos all telling the GOP base over and over again that their bigotries are noble and their paranoia is patriotic.
Of course, part of the downside of wallowing in the wingnut sewer and trafficking in slander and lies is that, sooner or later, you become a toxic mess. Your stink becomes unacceptable to the general public, which is where the Sunday morning talk shows -- the Mouse Circus -- comes in. Because despite having long ago devolved into a sinkhole of Beltway centrist twaddle, it is still viewed by altogether too many people as a bastion of Very Serious people -- it's the strip-mall of political opinion where casual shoppers go to feel smart and validated.
And so a bargain is struck; the bottom feeders deliver a temporary hike in the only thing these show's owners really care about -- audience share -- and, in exchange for being teevee friendly and keeping the worst of their batshit crazy on a leash for a few minutes, the Mouse Circus deburrs the bottom feeders' public image, replates and burnishes their credibility and temporarily transfuses them with Seriousness, which can then be redeemed at ten times its face value back among the Pig People.
And in the key to that bargain we find "The Gingrich Rules": an agreement that the moderator will never, ever ask the bomb-throwing, hate-mongering, race-baiting goon sitting directly across from them a single question about their bomb-throwing, hate-mongering or race-baiting activities. Instead they will be represented to the public merely as a Conservative commentator or talk radio host or pundit who, at worst, might be known for some "controversial" opinions, which the moderator will never bother to explicate.
Because as surely as Newt Gingrich played a critical role in creating the modern Republican party, the Beltway Media played an equally critical role in creating the Newt Gingrich we see today. As I wrote back in 2017:
Obvious rapacious hucksters like Newt Gingrich find a safe and nurturing environment within the American political media for the same reason that clowns and flakes and demagogues and Jeffrey Lord and Hugh Hewitt and Boris Epshteyn prosper within the same media midden pile. Because they are needed for the media to keep their freak show running.
I'd say there's a revolving door between naked political pimping and network punditing, but as the case of Corey Lewandowski amply demonstrates, there is no door at all anymore.
*Thanks for the catch, Raymond :-)