“You’re an embarrassment to our party.” – Iowa Republican voter chastising Newt Gingrich, Monday, in-person, for his “undercutting” Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) Medicare proposal on this week’s “Meet the Press.”
What Newt Gingrich, and the GOP tomato throwers who have targeted him the last two days, have demonstrated so perfectly is that there is no room for intellectual thought , discussion or debate when it comes to a proposal that the party has sold to its activists. If an aspiring Republican politico wants to win anything party-wide, unflinching allegiance to the party line is what’s required to run with the elephants. Otherwise, you’re a RINO, and they won’t even look at you.
This disgruntlement is not merely a provincial, Joe-the-Plumber reaction from the plebes. Besides Ryan himself, GOP leaders in Congress, like House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R-VA), as well as the party’s rising stars, like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, have voiced their disapproval of Newt’s “right wing social engineering” characterization of the Wisconsin representative’s budget proposal.
According to The Hill, Cantor told a Chicago radio station that Gingrich calling the Ryan budget, which almost every Republican in the House voted for, a “radical change,” was ” a tremendous misspeak.” Haley told CNN “Newt absolutely cut him [Ryan] off at the knees.”
The majority leader went on to urge the former speaker to “get back on board with what we’re trying to do.” But what are the GOP “trying to do?” Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) told Politico, “the Ryan plan shows such a difference with Barack Obama. Holy cow!” Is it really that simple?
Another Republican, former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), thinks “Newt really stepped into it this weekend,” and admits that the Tea Party and other elements in the GOP caucus have made it so that any politician swaying from the conservative “path in the future is in trouble.”
“I think [Gingrich] hurt himself,” Hoekstra said in his statement to Politico.
Cantor seemed to agree, implying the wound may have been fatal. “Many have said now he’s finished,” he told WLS radio, but admitted that he “probably would reserve judgment on that.”
“President Obama is the most successful food stamp president in American history. I would like to be the most successful paycheck president in American history.”
– Former Speaker of the House, and declared GOP presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, in a speech to Georgia Republicans, May 13, 2011
Newt Gingrich’s words to a friendly audience in his political home last Friday has gotten a lot of press, with several people claiming that he was evoking “welfare queens” racism of the 1960’s and 1970’s with his carefully chosen words. After all, if there’s one thing this professorial politico is famous for, it’s carefully chosen language phrased to evoke a predictable response.
Here, though, it wasn’t the racial overtones of class and poverty he was trying to remind people of with his statement. Back in October, 2010, Gingrich tried to get Republicans running for Congress to use the rise in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/food stamp enrollments as a “closing argument” to voters going to the polls last November.
Republicans had a “closing argument for candidates seeking to unseat the left-wing, big spending, job killing Democrats: paychecks versus food stamps,” he advised his candidates from his party, in a memo dated October 5, 2010, according to several media reports (including CBS and Fox News).
“It’s perfectly fair to say they are earning the title of the party of food stamps,” he declared.
Only it’s not perfectly true – not then, and certainly, not now. While it is true that the number of Americans on food stamps has spiked significantly since the economy tanked three years ago, it is also true that unemployment numbers have swelled as well. Those who are unemployed, or under-employed, are using the food stamp program in record numbers.
As early as March, 2008, just as the money tumble began to fire broadside at the broader economy, the New York Times reported “recent rises in many states appear to be resulting mainly from the economic slowdown, officials and experts say.” The Times article goes on to cite Stacy Dean, director of food stamp policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, who stated “People sign up for food stamps when they lose their jobs, or their wages go down because their hours are cut.”
So while food stamp enrollment is up, it’s because of the economy, and not directly attributable to the Democrats: not Nancy Pelosi, not Harry Reid and certainly not President Obama. The NY Times article was written when the Democrats were still trying to choose a candidate in the last presidential election.
Gingrich, in his ego-driven enthusiasm, has resurrected an idea he had from last year’s midterms, repeating the argument “food stamps versus paychecks,” almost word-for-word. And why not? After all they’re words from someone he loves.
“I don’t shake hands with socialists.”
The Republicans did not wake up on the morning of November 5, 2008, and have some kind of revelation that they would proudly wear the brand, “The Party of No,” for the next two years. “No” has been in their DNA since Newt Gingrich and his Contract for America drew a line in the carpet of the House chamber, when the GOP took control in 1994.
Nountil we get the budget we want. Well, that backfired. Let’s try, no business until we embarrass the Clintons. Oh damn, he got reelected. Wait, he had sex with whom in the Oval Office? Well now at least we don’t have to hire a hooker. Who needs photos when you have a cum-stained blue dress? No business until we impeach him. No business until we deregulate the banking and insurance industries. No chance for a civil recount in Florida.
And then the Party of No put our country in danger.
Bin-Laden? No problem. No specific threat. He’s not Saddam. No talking to the “axis of evil.” No direct talks without conditions. No business with North Korea – we’ll make them halt their nuclear program because the whole world loves us and wants to be like us and wants to fuck our sister to get close to us. No negotiation with Saddam. No questioning the President in a time of war. Wow! The press actually bought that one? Let’s see what else we can get away with. No habeas corpus. No civil trials for Guantanamo detainees and definitely no rights for prisoners. No warrant wiretapping. No prison for Scooter. No truth when the people are happier with the lies.
. No hope. Nope. Nope. Nope.
No health coverage for 9-11 first responders. No repeal of “Don’t ask. Don’t Tell.” No unionizing the TSA. Absolutely no on government run health care (excluding us, of course). No immigration solutions. No extending jobless benefits. No stimulus. No bailout. Sure we voted for it, but we’re against it now. No revealing campaign contributions. No Pelosi. No Obama. No Reid. No sanity – it doesn’t play well. No, we won’t meet with the President. No sunset for the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest. No lame duck action. No leadership change.
No respect for the voter.
Why is the GOP elephant nay-ing like a horse? Because the Republicans found a way to make “No” profitable. You see, while they’re facing the cameras at a rally, or standing at the podium on the floor of the House of Representatives, moving their lips like fish-mouthed water breathers – “No No No” – to the cheers of the naive nabobs, their hands are out behind them collecting money and tickling the balls of the corporations that pay them to run our country their way. For every “No! No! No,” the fat cats are orgasmically screaming out, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
But I kind of feel sorry for the Republican naysayers. They don’t realize that like most felines, the fat cats are just playing with their food, before they devour it, one scaly piece at a time. The bad news for us is, when they’ve finished feasting on Congress and turn Capitol Hill into their litter box, we’ll all become the crazy cat lady, carting away their poop with big smiles, and letting them nibble on us until we die.