Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gingrich: The Honest Liar

Herman Cain quit. That he has suspended his campaign means that he can still raise money. How presidential. I feel for Cain's followers, especially the ones who donated their money and their time to his populist posturing. However, I do not feel anything but contempt for their candidate. Narcissists never apologize for anything, like dishonesty. It is not the alleged sexless extramarital business, which he denies; it is his dishonesty that has further disqualified him.

Strategic ambiguity aside, Newt Gingrich will do the same thing as Cain – raise money on the pretense of a further presidential campaign. At least, Newt is an honest liar. He admits it. But, lying is still dishonest.

Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) said that Newt Gingrich is dishonest. Frank called Gingrich “fundamentally intellectually dishonest” about the former House Speaker’s consulting contract with Freddie Mac. Frank used the word “ludicrous” during a recent MSNBC interview on the topic. Then again, there have been words between these former colleagues. Gingrich said the Representatives Frank and Chris Dodd “should be jailed” for their oversight of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in one of the GOP debates. So, Frank qualified “dishonest.”

In fact, as Bloomberg reported, Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac. Gingrich said that he provided only “strategic advice” over an eight year period. The Gingrich assertion has been since that such advice is not lobbying. Obfuscation notwithstanding, it is paid political influence wielding. We are supposed to forget about that just as we were supposed to forget about the multiple Herman Cain sexual harassment case settlements. Bygones are supposed to be bygones. The truth is irrelevant.

For examples, ten years ago when he ran for president, Gingrich said, “I helped balance the budget for four straight years.  We did it by cutting taxes and bringing the unemployment rate below 4%." He said that on “Meet the Press.” It was not true then and it has not become true now. President Clinton's 1993 tax increase on the wealthy lead to a booming economy, after it passed without a single Republican vote. That Mr. Gingrich is known for saying misleading and contradictory things, however, does not cover such dishonesty.

Consider the Monica Lewinsky affair. The former Speaker of the House engaged in an extramarital affair at the same time he was going after President Clinton for one. Gingrich admitted it in a 2009 broadcast interview, “There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards.” Moreover, he argued that he should not be viewed as a hypocrite for pursuing the impeachment of Clinton over infidelity. Perhaps, more accurately, he meant his “double standards.”

The House Ethics Committee went after Gingrich on numerous ethics charges. They found Professor Gingrich wrongly used tax-exempt funds to teach a college course. The House reprimanded him for his using tax-exempt funds to promote Republican causes and then lying about it to ethics investigators. Gingrich paid a $300,000 fine in 1997. The next year, facing with a revolt within his party, he resigned the speakership and quit the House of Representatives.

Cain caved because of his dishonesty. Gingrich has admitted to and paid for his. So the question is, do voters prefer a known liar to a discovered liar? With the Cain cancelation, eyes will focus on the comeback of Newt Gingrich. He has truly been there and done that. Under the circumstances, however, I have to question the veracity of a Gingrich candidacy. Dishonesty is still dishonesty, even if one is honest about it.

Article first published as Gingrich: The Honest Liar on Blogcritics. 

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