If you feel like you’re hearing more from Newt Gingrich these days, it may be more than just a bad case of tinnitus (via):
[Rep. Eric] Cantor said he had studied Mr. Gingrich’s years in power and had been in regular touch with him as he sought to help his party find the right tone and message. Indeed, one of Mr. Gingrich’s leading victories in unifying his caucus against Mr. Clinton’s package of tax increases to balance the budget in 1993 has been echoed in the events of the last few weeks. “I talk to Newt on a regular basis because he was in the position that we are in: in the extreme minority,” he said.
Yglesias explains exactly why Gingrichism can be good politically but bad in terms of what I like to call “reality”:
In Washington, coverage of politics is dominated by politics rather than the policy consequences of politics. Thus, because of the outcome of the 1994 elections, Gingrich’s 93-94 tactics are held to have been a great success. But it’s important to be clear—those tactics included lockstep opposition to a Clinton economic program whose opponents set it would wreck the economy, but in fact laid the groundwork for years of prosperity. Gingrich’s success in blocking health care reform has been a small but persistent drag on the economy whose negative impact has compounded each and every year for the past fifteen years and has led to the preventable deaths of thousands and thousands of people at a minimum. Politics is politics and I understand that, but anyone who looks to that era as something to be emulated is dangerously indifferent to the real-world implications of congressional behavior.
I tend to think that this may be exactly why Washington is indeed wired for Republicanism: like Republicans, much of the media likes politics but finds their real-world implications distasteful to contemplate.
Speaking of Newt, it’s hard for me to shake this piece Joe Klein wrote about him:
It’s almost always a joy listening to Gingrich when he’s on a tear. And he’s almost always on a tear of some sort….Gingrich was certainly wild with ideas last week, flicking them off at warp speed, like a dog shaking himself clean after romping through a pond.
But there was always another side to Newt. He was an intellectually honest policy wonk with an appetite for taking on the most important issues facing society—poverty, education, health care, national security, the environment….