January 24, 2012

Problem is, with Newt you just don't know...

From Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt e-mail...

...While I'm sure the advisers think the gut-punch style will move votes, this argument glides over what's really disturbing about Gingrich's work for Freddie Mac. I'm willing to take Gingrich at his word. I think he honestly believes his work had nothing to do with lobbying. I think he could take a lie detector test and declare that he was hired for his wisdom, public policy, and historical knowledge, and the needle wouldn't budge. The biggest problem here isn't the lie he's telling to us; it's the lie he's telling to himself.

What did Freddie Mac really want from Gingrich? Cynics (waving my hand) will suspect that the organization, full of lifelong professional Democrats such as Franklin Raines and with close ties to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Christopher Dodd, wanted a prominent Republican name around to stick up for them. He was the fig-leaf/token Republican who enabled them to argue that they had bipartisan support.

But even aside from that angle, Gingrich isn't being honest with himself about what he was doing. The Washington Examiner's Tim Carney notes that legally, Gingrich was lobbying.
Specifically, the Freddie Mac executive who hired Gingrich was not the CEO, nor the VP for operations, nor the VP for communications, but Craig Thomas, the VP for Public Policy -- that is, the head of Freddie Mac's lobbying operations. Thomas was a registered lobbyist at the time.

So, Gingrich may or may not have made lobbying contacts on Freddie's behalf, but it appears he was being paid to aid Freddie Mac's lobbying agenda. Say Gingrich was providing memos to Thomas on how to lobby (and given Thomas's job as top lobbyist, what else would he be helping Thomas with?), that counts as "Lobbying Activity" according to the law.
The Romney campaign will argue that Gingrich's defenses on Freddie Mac are cynical lies, while ignoring the much, much more disturbing and damaging interpretation: Gingrich actually believes them.

It is all-too-believable that a guy like Gingrich would actually believe that Dems were showering moolah on him because they were hungry for his deep wisdom. He's a perfect example of intellectual brilliance untempered by wisdom or humility.

The Weidners are not happy with our choices...

Posted by John Weidner at January 24, 2012 6:28 AM
Weblog by John Weidner