Party like it’s 1992

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….






29 replies
  1. 1
    Lola says:

    What makes me more optimistic about Obama than either Clintons is that his staff regularly talks about how things are different outside the DC bubble so they are not a slave to the pundits. They seem to really get what Americans think.

  2. 2
    JL says:

    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.

    Eric’s wife should be concerned about her husband’s new mentor.

  3. 3
    DougJ says:

    What makes me more optimistic about Obama than either Clintons is that his staff regularly talks about how things are different outside the DC bubble so they are not a slave to the pundits. They seem to really get what Americans think.

    I agree. Obama is much better with the big picture than Clinton was.

  4. 4

    Yes, Newt Gingrich saw to our shortage of poverty while keeping education, health care, national security, and clean environment down to acceptable levels.

    Even better is the comparison to a muddy dog shaking itself dry. Comparing him to the sort of thing that leaves everyone else dirty and with a bad taste in their mouth is just the branding the Republicans need to bring back.

  5. 5
    JL says:

    Last week the repubs mentioned that every day that Obama traveled outside of Washington was a bad day for them. Chris Wallace asked Axelrod today about Obama’s travel and whether or not it was wise considering he works at the White House. A friend told me that, his travel was also brought up by another talk show host. Next week watch for the media to start talking about the cost of his flights.

  6. 6

    @JL: Ya about that travel thing. Obama was actually working.

    I don’t expect him to beat the record set by W.

  7. 7
    gbear says:

    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.

    Ding,ding,ding!! The internets has a winner!

    I’d like to see a move by public radio members to get the NPR news staff moved back to NYC (or further) from DC. The smugness that’s overcome NPR’s reporting since they joined the village has become insufferable. No donations until they get the hell out of DC.

  8. 8
    DougJ says:

    I’d like to see a move by public radio members to get the NPR news staff moved back to NYC (or further) from DC. The smugness that’s overcome NPR’s reporting since they joined the village has become insufferable. No donations until they get the hell out of DC.

    No donations from me til they fire Juan Williams.

  9. 9
    gbear says:

    @DougJ: Yes. And Cokie Roberts too (she’s the reason that snooze alarms were invented).

  10. 10
    MaurS says:

    No donations until they get the hell out of DC.

    Hear, Hear…I noticed this change in reporting about a year ago. Previously I had listened to NPR for years and years. I finally had to stop. I couldn’t take the bullshit reporting anymore. Insufferable is a dead on description of their announcer/anchors.

  11. 11
    El Cid says:

    I dunno, I kind of like the idea of Republicans continuing to follow the awesomely wise insights of Newt "Frankly" Gingrich and Eric "Nancy Pelosi Made Us Cry" Cantor.

  12. 12
    Stuck says:

    They need to spin time back a few more years and figure out how relive Reagan at the Berlin Wall chiding Gorby to bring down this wall.

    I was thinking maybe Sarah Serendipity and Joe the Plumber Dancing the Night Fandango at an Anti- Hugo Presidente For Life rally.

  13. 13

    @El Cid: That Speaker Pelosi sure is mean. Golly. Really, really, really mean. I love Cantor. His utter lack of self-awareness is great entertainment.

    The Fallows piece Big Media Matt links to has made the rounds before but underscores the idea that the establishment media generally ask process questions and average citizen want to know how a problem will be solved. The Village is filled with process obsessed types. Ponderous, man. Ponderous.

  14. 14

    Eric Cantor is the best thing to happen to the Democratic Party since Sarah Palin.

    I expect we’ll shortly be flooded with assertions that the Obama White House is a panicking over Eric Cantor.

  15. 15
    Steve V says:

    Unlike 1992, we now have 16 years of republican governance and policy behind us. If dems can’t swat back repub talking points by referencing the last 8/16 years of actual experience, they’re hopeless.

  16. 16
    Ellid says:

    I refuse to give a penny to NPR. They never should have fired Bob Edwards from Morning Edition, and what they are doing with a Fox News shill like Juan Williams spewing nonsense –

    *shudders*

  17. 17
    mellowjohn says:

    no, gbear… cokie roberts is what makes snooze alarms redundant!

  18. 18
    sglover says:

    Look, if you accept the reality that the US is a banana republic, the otherwise mystifying prestige of an odious toad like Gingrich makes perfect sense.

    I’d like to see a move by public radio members to get the NPR news staff moved back to NYC (or further) from DC. The smugness that’s overcome NPR’s reporting since they joined the village has become insufferable. No donations until they get the hell out of DC.

    Well, if I remember correctly, the endlessly precious and cute pile o’ crap called "Marketplace" comes out of the West Coast. "Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me", which is about as masturbatory as it gets, is from the Midwest. Exodus from DC is no guarantee that NPR is going to be worth a nickel.

    NPR needs to hire people who aren’t either 1) well-connected wheezers or 2) middle-aged teenagers who never outgrew the low-watt campus radio station (and are STILL trying to be hip while they worry about their 401k’s).. Better yet, they could drop out of producing shows altogether, and simply distribute money to local stations. But NPR is every bit as much an entitled bureaucracy as the Pentagon or the financial "industry".

  19. 19
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    The Villager Syndrome would also explain why GOP bootlicker Ron Christie has a regular guest slot on News and Notes. Because everyone knows how much black folk love the GOP.

  20. 20
    gbear says:

    @mellowjohn:

    After a couple of sentences, I just can’t listen to Cokie any more. Snooze alarm is a must.

    @sglover: I kind of like Wait Wait. It’s Chicago based and can be a lot of fun.

  21. 21
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    NPR needs to hire people who aren’t either 1) well-connected wheezers or 2) middle-aged teenagers who never outgrew the low-watt campus radio station (and are STILL trying to be hip while they worry about their 401k’s)..

    You mean Kai Ryssdal isn’t teh cool?

    The only weekday shows that haven’t been infected with the Villager virus is Fresh Air and the Friday science edition of Talk of the Nation.

    I like Wait, Wait on the weekends as well.

  22. 22
    aschup says:

    "Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me", which is about as masturbatory as it gets, is from the Midwest.

    @sglover: Thin ice, my friend. Thin ice.

  23. 23
    jcricket says:

    I think there are a several things going on:

    1) Republicans tell everyone there’s a free lunch. Who doesn’t love free lunch? The public loves the idea we can pay no taxes and get what we want. It’s no different than the credit binge.

    2) Republicans make things simple to understand (even when they’re complicated). The press loves simple. Unfortunately, the world is not always simple, and things don’t always work out the way we first thought, and so on.

    3) Republicans are good at screaming. Being loud sells. The press needs to sell papers/advertisements.

    4) Republicans say, "all that matters is winning now, damn the long-term consequences". And much like we’re seeing with CEOs, you can go on a wild ride for a while where it appears you are right. Then everything comes crashing down and you’ve left a huge mess for everyone else. You might still have a pile of cash, though. And some people still think you’re worth listening to.

    I think #4 best explains why Gingrich is where he is. It’s easy to be successful if all you care about is winning, and the "short term" (for a big nation, Republicans being in charge for a decade is pretty short term). And, of course, the fact that the central Republican premise of that time (that Clinton’s tax/economic policy would lead to economic collapse) has been proven false, doesn’t seem to dampen the credibility of Gingrich. Remarkable, really.

  24. 24
    Mnemosyne says:

    @JL:

    Maybe someone should clue in the media that Obama is the president of the (whole) United States, not the mayor of Georgetown.

  25. 25
    DougJ says:

    The Villager Syndrome would also explain why GOP bootlicker Ron Christie has a regular guest slot on News and Notes.

    There is something really wrong with Ron Christie. Maybe it’s just lazy-eye, but I think it’s something worse.

  26. 26
    TR says:

    There is something really wrong with Ron Christie. Maybe it’s just lazy-eye, but I think it’s something worse.

    The lazy eye and the nasaly voice are both odd features in a regular TV pundit, but the real problem with Christie is the fact that his arguments are always so poorly constructed and usually rest on a foundation of childish whining.

    Actually, I guess it does make sense why he’s a Republican spokesman.

  27. 27

    Maybe someone should clue in the media that Obama is the president of the (whole) United States, not the mayor of Georgetown.

    That’s it, exactly.

  28. 28
    Ellid says:

    I just got my first look at Ron Christie…is it my imagination or is his head too long?

  29. 29
    charlotte says:

    Eric Cantor and Newt Gingrich sound like a marriage made in heaven. One appears utterly clueless to the effect he has on the gen. population (gag!) and the other seems to think he’s the love child of Lee Marvin and Atta Turk — A winning political recipe if, in our collective despair, we all opt to morph into Senta Berger circa 1971. Actually, that last part sounds good …

    As to the influence the ghost of Churchill has had on Cantor, please — I needed a good laugh. One can only hope that Eric learns from Winston in the same way, not, that W did. Or that cigars and brandy 24/7 help his synapses to actually start firing up in service of a cause, any cause, that might actually prove useful.

    This fellow Virginian makes my flesh crawl.

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