Newt Gingrich and the GOP’s terrifying authoritarianism
I’ve always had a soft spot for Newt Gingrich. While I’ve grown increasingly frustrated with his Trump bohemianism, I’ve always admired his intellect (hell, I even used to do that). he should be Trump’s companion).
But one comment he made Sunday on Fox News hint Gingrich was tilted too far for the world of MAGAworst domineering instincts changeable.
Gingrich warned that Republicans will be back in power after the 2022 midterms, and that “all these tough, mean and nasty people will be subpoenaed for every document, every conversation. , every tweet, every email.” In other words, Democrats are investigating Capitol Riot January 6 will be their turn, shortly after the Republican takeover.
“I think when you have a Republican Congress,” the former Speaker continued, “it all comes crashing down. And the wolves will find out they’re sheep now and they’re the ones who will face the real danger of, I think, going to jail for the kind of law they break. “
The “wolves” that Gingrich refers to are further explained in his recent book Newsweek column titled, “Wolves will become sheep. In this section, he accused the January 6 Commission of being a “lynch mob,” but (as was the case in his television segment) did not invoke any specific laws that had been rejected by the critics. break investigation. The closest he came to a real indictment was to say that “The January 6 Selection Committee is in the process of potentially cracking down on the scores of Americans who have worked for or supported President Trump. They faced financial ruin to protect themselves against the commission’s attack. ”
Gingrich responded to my email request for clarification by referring me to a Substack essay written by Glenn Greenwald, who cites examples, including raising the theory that Congress simply does not have the constitutional authority to conduct this type of investigation. Greenwald also argued that the committee was playing hardball for no good reason. Citing the subpoenas against former Trump campaign spokesman Taylor Budowich, he alleges that the committee planned “with JPMorgan and advisor Loretta Lynch to make sure that [he had] did not have time to seek judicial relief regarding the commission’s attempt to obtain his personal and financial files. “
Regardless, the legal arguments of Gingrich and Greenwald should be adjudicated on merit now, as opposed to the former speaker of the House issuing thinly veiled threats of retaliation. chopsticks in the future — threats include the word “jail”. After all, the Supreme Court only rejected Trump’s attempt to block documents sent to the Committee January 6. Presumably, this shows that the commission has the legal right to conduct the investigation.
A high-ranking statesman, like Gingrich, should not flirt with political retribution in his speech — especially in this political climate.
But that’s just what Gingrich did.
During an appearance Monday on Steve Bannon’s podcast, MAGA Representative. Matt Gaetz says, “You know what, Newt is right! We are about to take over. And when we do, it won’t be the days of Paul Ryan and Trey Gowdy, where Republicans limp, where they lose their spines and fail to send a single subpoena. (On Monday, Bannon also raised the idea of Joe Biden impeachment. It may be only a matter of time before both ideas — Gingrich’s and Bannon’s — are the default positions for Republicans to run.)
Gingrich is well aware that using political power to “lock her up, ”As it was the stuff of banana republics and dictatorships. In his column “Wolves Will Be Sheep,” seemingly oblivious to the irony, Gingrich compares the January 6 committee to some of the most vengeful committees in history:
“Think about Joseph Stalin killing his opponents. Think of the Castro brothers torturing, imprisoning and deporting political opponents. Consider the decline of Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe, when political opponents were jailed, murdered and exiled,” he wrote. “Recalling the ruthlessness of Hugo Chavez when he took over Venezuela…”
According to Gingrich, the January 6 committee were wolves, and Gingrich was advocating not revenge but restoration of the rule of law.
Ideas have consequences, and Gingrich is trading a very bad idea.
Republican House of Representatives in Exile Liz Cheney summed it up like this: “A former Speaker of the House is threatening jail time for members of Congress who are investigating the January 6 violent attack on the Capitol and our Constitution… Here’s what will happen when the rule of law is made clear.”
As future historians ponder whether Donald Trump is the inevitable conclusion to the GOP or a peculiar black swan, a complicating factor will be how many Republican heroes from those 1990 – think Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani and Rush Limbaugh – accepted and helped him.
Has Trump changed Gingrich, or is Newt really finally freed?
As a 78-year-old historian, Gingrich, unlike Gaetz, should be expected to know better. Unlike the opposing congressman, Newt has been third in the presidential row, and he has appeared on the highest-rated Fox News — not a sideline like Bannon’s War Room podcast, One America News Network. (OAN) or Newsmax.
Of course, the highlight for Gingrich has always been that he is great and has too many eccentric ideas. But he is excellent. He has a fanfare. In the age of television, that helps to add flair to the drama, and I’ve always thought that Gingrich worked at least within the tolerably wide range of liberal democracy.
That is to say, Gingrich has always been a super partisan culture warrior, but he is also an intellectual within the mainstream of the conservative movement.
The scary thing is, he still is.
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