Analyzing Gingrich’s “baggage”

By Tom Quiner

One of three men will be elected President of the United States in eleven months: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, or Newt Gingrich.

Could one of the lower tier candidates like Michele Bachman or Rick Santorum experience a resurgence and win the presidency? It is possible, but unlikely at this stage in the campaign. The polls indicate it will come down to these three.

Each has serious baggage.

Mr. Obama’s baggage is profound. He has been president three years and things have gotten worse. Unemployment has gone up. Black unemployment is horrendous. The economy is running on fumes. Our debt is out of control, and the president’s only solution is to tax America’s most productive Americans, aka “the rich.”

In his State of the Union address earlier this year, the president could come up with only a single cut he’d be willing to make to the budget: block grants to community action agencies, which accounts for a little less than a billion dollars from the budget (a drop in the bucket in a sea of red ink). The irony is that community action agencies (which are not government entities), are on the front line in leading dependent people to independence in the fifty states. That’s the last place we’d want to cut.

The president has added a massive new entitlement, Obamacare, that nobody wants. And taxpayers feel conned by that boondoggle. At the time Mr. Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid presented Obamacare to the American public, they sold it as a way to reduce costs. Once it was passed and we “learned what was actually in it,” to quote Ms. Pelosi, the Congressional Budget Office revealed what conservatives had been saying all along, it is going to be very, very expensive. It will not save the government money; it will add to the deficit.

Mr. Obama has serious baggage with practicing Catholics. His party crammed abortion into Obamacare over their protests. His administration is stripping conscience protection laws away from Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims who work in the medical field and want nothing to do with what they consider to be nothing short of infanticide. And now the Obama administration is pushing to make the morning-after abortion bill available over-the-counter without a prescription.

Keep in mind that Catholics all by themselves represent 27% of the electorate.

Want to talk about baggage? The president is rich with it.

What about Mitt Romney? I will preface my remarks by saying I like Mitt Romney. I could vote for him over Mr. Obama in a heartbeat. Like every politician who has been around awhile, he has had some policy flip flops. His flip flops have been on core issues such as abortion and gay marriage, a source of huge concern for social conservatives. And his embrace of Romenycare, upon which Obamacare was modeled, reveals a comfort for big-government solutions that conservatives view as major baggage. In defense of Mr. Romney, he vetoed eight of the most onerous provisions of the bill, but the liberal Massachusetts legislature overrode his veto on six of the them.

Nonetheless, Mr. Romney loses a key point of debate with the president when it comes to the critical subject of healthcare. You can hear the president’s words: “Mitt, we were just following your lead.”

Like Barack Obama, Mitt Romney carries major baggage in this campaign.

That brings me to Newt Gingrich.

I’ve heard it many times: Gingrich has too much baggage. A frequent liberal contributor to the Des Moines Register’s letter to the editor page put it this way:

“I was shocked when I read the latest Iowa Poll that has Newt Gingrich taking the lead among Republicans. How can this philandering man in the party of family values be the frontrunner?”

We will quickly acknowledge that marital fidelity is not an issue to Democrats in light of their tolerance of infidelity, and accusations of indecent exposure, sexual harassment, and even rape, by former president, Bill Clinton.

It is a bigger deal to conservatives, but not a deal killer. Here’s the question: does marital infidelity affect a person’s ability to lead?

Evidence says no.

Just look at the presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. By all appearances, both have been faithful husbands. For that, I applaud them. But they were (and are) lousy presidents.

Ronald Reagan was divorced and was a great president.

Martin Luther King was known for his marital infidelities, but was a powerful civil rights leader who changed America.

One of the great leaders in biblical history is King David, a notorious adulterer who had the husband of his mistress killed.

A good conservative who had been so critical of former President Clinton’s escapades, said to me recently that he couldn’t support Mr. Gingrich. He said he’d feel hypocritical after bashing Clinton all those years.

Comparing Clinton to Gingrich is like comparing apples to oranges. Mr. Clinton took advantage of a young intern in the Oval Office. He was accused of even worse. Mr. Gingrich got divorced twice. I hate to say it, but people get divorced. Half of the country has been divorced.

I don’t see Mr. Gingrich’s divorces as an impediment to his ability to lead.

The liberal letter writer leveled another accusation at Mr. Gingrich:

“How about the fact that he faced ethics violations while serving as the speaker of the House and resigned?”

Mr. Gingrich faced 75 ethic charges while in the House. All but one were dropped. He evidently claimed tax-exempt status for a college course that was viewed as a political endeavor.

What happened?

The House had a hard time trying to figure out if Mr. Gingrich did something wrong on this issue, so they brought in outside counsel who identified two Gingrich infractions:

1. He “may” have violated tax law “by using tax-deductible contributions from nonprofit organizations to teach an allegedly partisan college course.”

2. He provided false information to the panel based on a mis-filed form. For this, Gingrich paid a $300,000 fine.

A year later, the IRS finished their review and found no improprieties in Gingrich’s tax filings.

Newt Gingrich was cleared. All the charges were bogus.

Our liberal writer continues with another bit of Gingrich baggage:

“Have you already forgotten about the luxury cruise he and his wife went on at the beginning of the campaign? “

Is it a crime to have money in this country? If it is, Barack Obama is disqualified. So is Mitt Romney. So is Ronald Reagan. So is Hillary Clinton.

Is the writer critical that Mr. Gingrich wished to take a vacation and spend some time with his wife, Callista, before the rigors of the campaign made this opportunity impossible?

Keep in mind, he took his cruise last Spring, a year and a half before the election. Is that really baggage? On the other hand, the president is in Hawaii for 17 days right now on his umpteenth vacation of the year. I don’t hear many liberals squawking about that.

Mr. Gingrich’s views are crystal clear on the subject of life:

“As I have stated many times throughout the course of my public life, I believe that human life begins at conception. I believe that every unborn life is precious, no matter how conceived. I also believe that we should work for the day when there will be no abortions for any reason, and that every unborn child will be welcomed into life and protected by law. That is why I have supported, and will continue to support, pro-life legislation that not only limits, but also reduces, the total number of abortions, with a view to the eventual legal protection of all unborn human life.”

Unlike Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich offers a complete package for Independent and conservative voters. He is unequivocal on life issues. He is not only a fiscal conservative, he actually balanced the budget when he had a chance to do something about it.

He reformed welfare when he had a chance to do something about it.

He reduced capital gains taxes when he was in a position to do something about it.

He ramrodded the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 which made Congress live by the same rules that business had to live with.

Newt Gingrich has demonstrated that he is an extraordinary leader with a brilliant mind. We need his talents to help restore America.

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  1. bobic7 on December 6, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Tom, I read and appreciate your posts. They are intelligent and thought provoking. Keep it up.


    Bob Roelf
    Iowa City

    • quinersdiner on December 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm

      You’re probably the only one in Iowa City who feels that way!

  2. maxinebechtel on December 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Thanks, Tom for clarifying a lot of the bogus charges about Newt! I REALLY appreciate your scholarly insights on all your blog entries! Thanks for your faithfully researching so many hot-button issues so well!

  3. Jeane Bishop on December 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Thank you for your thoughtful, concise posts. I read and enjoy them. Thank you for your efforts.
    Jeane Bishop