Newt, and the conservative junta…

Posted on Saturday 29 September 2007

The Impact of Authoritarian Conservatism On American Government:
There is no way to summarize this series of columns written by John Dean. John Dean was a part of the Administration that started the Imperial Presidency, and paid the price. He learned from the experience and is increasingly becoming one of the truthsayers among us – warning of where all of this is heading. He confirms my biggest fear – that Newt Gingrich is the most dangerous person on the planet.

People who knew Newt Gingrich early in his political career have described him–and because he is a man who still wants to be president of the United States, such assessments remain relevant–in less than glowing terms. David Osborne spoke with many of them when he was preparing his telling profile for Mother Jones [1984], and he was given information that describes an authoritarian leader.

Osborne reported that Gingrich was dominating, opposed to equality, desirous of personal power, and amoral; that he can be a bully, hedonistic, exploitive, manipulative, a cheater, prejudiced toward women, and mean-spirited; that he uses religion for political purposes; and that he wants others to submit to his authority and is aggressive on behalf of authority.

When Gingrich took charge of the House in 1995 as Speaker, he imposed authoritarian rule unlike that of any Speaker before him. His bullying, demanding style provoked antagonism and incivility, and made demonizing one’s opponents standard operating procedure. Gingrich eliminated the seniority rights of Republicans in the House, and he personally selected committee chairs who would be loyal to him – and who could help raise money, using their posts for the good of the GOP. Gingrich lorded over the House, telling members not to bring their families back to Washington, and even suggesting which books they should be reading.

Not long after Gingrich’s authoritarian approach became evident, a reporter for the Independent (London) observed that Gingrich was an avid reader of Frans de Waal, a Dutch ethnologist whose book Chimpanzee Politics was on the Speaker’s list of twenty-five recommended books. In dead earnest, the reporter noted striking parallels between Gingrich’s rise to power and the efforts of "apes striving to acquire the coveted status of ‘alpha male,’" as de Waal’s study described, in his May 31, 1995 piece "How Newt Aped His Way to the Top."
If you don’t read anything else today, read John Dean [hat tip to No Quarter]…

Gingrich not running for president in ’08

A spokesman for Newt Gingrich on Saturday said the former U.S. House speaker has decided not to make a run as a Republican candidate for the White House in 2008.

The abrupt decision was the result of legal advice received this morning, said Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler. Gingrich was told that it would be "legally impermissible" to continue as head of his non-profit American Solutions effort while operating an exploratory committee for president — a move that was to be announced Monday.

"Upon learning this, he made a decision," Tyler told the Journal-Constitution. "He decided it’s better to continue as chairman of American Solutions. The news came as Gingrich finished two days of workshops on national problems on the campus of the University of West Georgia in Carrollton.

Only a day earlier, Gingrich’s advisors were saying that the former Georgia congressman’s entry into the race was made possible by the lackluster performance of former U.S. senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee.

I don’t care why he’s not running. Any reason he comes up with is fine with me. Maybe he actually knows some us of think he’s the most dangerous man on the planet. He can lie all he wants to so long as he stays out of government. It’s his right [and his nature]…
    September 29, 2007 | 8:44 AM

    There is a debate going on right now on PBS about Iraq that has my blood at a near boil. There 2 pro and 2 con and what the pro are saying is outrageous. I hope you can catch it but take your heart meds if you have any to take before watching it.

    September 29, 2007 | 1:13 PM

    I can’t say anything nice about the man. Not one nice word, so I’ll refrain from saying anything other than I’m glad he’s not running.

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