Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Do As I Say, Not As I Do"

That ur-Republican, Thomas Jefferson, once called slavery, "an abominable crime."

But that didn't stop him from owning slaves...

What it did do is create the rhetorical template for today's Republican Party: "Do as I say, not as I do."

It has been endlessly entertaining watching Mitt Gingrich and Newt Romney--they are in many ways interchangeable--distance themselves from almost everything they've ever done politically.

Mitt made most of his considerable fortune stripping companies down to their bare bones and selling the remains, and Newt made his fortune, tiny though it may be in comparison to Romney's, as a lobbyist.

Yet today, neither is willing to admit it. Mitt swears he was not a vulture capitalist, he was a "jobs creator." And Newt swears he was paid not for his insider access but for his knowledge as a "historian."

Willard Mitt Romney was the somewhat moderate governor of a somewhat liberal state. He was able to pass a universal healthcare program that in many ways was the blueprint for Obamacare. This was his only notable achievement as governor--and it was a worthy one. He apparently spent the remainder of his time in office planning his first run for the Presidency. Naturally, things being what they are these days in Tea Party Republican circles, he has spent this entire campaign cycle distancing himself from his sole achievement.

Gingrich is one of the founding fathers of a particularly virulent kind of negative campaigning, the kind that demonizes your opponent as "Un-American, dangerous, a traitor", etc etc etc, ad nauseam. Of course, he screams bloody murder when the same tactics are used against him. His two noteworthy achievements as Speaker of the House were shutting down the government and impeaching President Clinton. In the first instance, Clinton played him like a cheap fiddle and turned the whole debacle into a victory for the Democrats. In the second Gingrich ran the impeachment proceedings while he was having an adulterous affair with a staffer. He knew he never had the votes in the Senate for his trumped up charges, this was purely an attempt to hamstring the President. Once again he failed, his party turned on him, and he left the Congress in disgrace. Since then he has been nothing more or less than a lobbyist. He is paid for the access he provides, for the doors he can open. There is no one more "inside" Washington than Newt Gingrich. Naturally, he is running as an "outsider" touting his populism, promising a campaign based on "people power".

Welcome to the Republican Party circa 2012. Up is down, black is white, and always, always,

"Do as I say, not as I do."

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