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Will Newt be at the funeral?

Will Newt be at the funeral?

by digby

There's a lot of George H.W. Bush hagiography today and that's fine. He was an important figure in American politics for a number of reasons for a very long time. I'll leave it to others to examine his legacy and just say that he lived a long and consequential life and you can't ask for more than that.

Given that Bush's legacy includes his campaign's odious decisions to use the racist Willie Horton ad (unofficially) he's certainly in the pantheon of dirty political players. But one thing I doubt most people will talk much about in all this is the fact that he lost re-election in 1992, not just because of the dual opponents of Bill Clinton and Ross Perot signaling a desire for big change. He was also sabotaged by his own party:

To defeat the Democrats, Newt believed he must also destroy the old Republican mindset, the complacent minority, always compromising with the Democrats' liberal agenda. In 1990, when George Bush caved in to the Democrats on a tax increase, Newt, now the Republican whip, defied his party and refused to support his president. Behind the scenes, Newt had been building a new political army to take over the House. He took control of the Republican political action committee, GOPAC, and made it a potent instrument for his conservative vision.

Bob Woodward:

On the evening of Oct. 4, 1990, Newt Gingrich and his then-wife, Marianne, were enjoying a VIP reception at a Republican fundraiser when they were suddenly hustled over to have their picture taken with President George H.W. Bush.

“I thought it was a bad idea,” Gingrich said in a series of interviews in 1992 that have not been previously published.

Days earlier, Gingrich had dramatically walked out of the White House and was leading a very public rebellion against a deficit reduction and tax increase deal that Bush and top congressional leaders of both parties — including, they thought, Gingrich — had signed off on after months of tedious negotiations. The House was to vote on the deal the very next day.

“We went over and I said [to Bush], ‘I’m really sorry that this is happening,’ and he said with as much pain as I’ve heard from a politician, ‘You’re killing us, you are just killing us.’ ”


Gingrich said that made him feel like crying, which is obviously bullshit. He was thrilled. The whole country could see the power-mad look in his eye.

Today that "rebel" is working hand in glove with Donald Trump who, regardless of your opinion of Bush's career, perfectly represents the extreme decadence and degradation of the Republican Party since Newt began his crusade. These modern Republicans have never been great, as Bush's career attests. But they went into another dimension when Newt and his minions took over.