Mitt Romney’s campaign is deliberately trying to mislead people in Florida, as they did in Iowa. Evidently. Romney’s history in business is not enough to sway voters to hop on the Mitt Train. So now, the new strategy is negative ads to beat down a rising threat to Mitt’s delusion that he is owed this nomination.
At the center of the new argument is Newt’s ethics violation in the 90s. People who weren’t politically aware of the turn of events back then are now apt to believe Romney’s desperate falsehoods. This Washington Examiner article details more in depth the entire affair.
Given all the attention to the ethics matter, it’s worth asking what actually happened back in 1995, 1996, and 1997. The Gingrich case was extraordinarily complex, intensely partisan, and driven in no small way by a personal vendetta on the part of one of Gingrich’s former political opponents.
Imagine that. Someone who didn’t like Newt drove this train until it reached some utterly remote destination. I bet it was even a bitter Democrat.
The Gingrich case was driven in significant part by a man named Ben Jones. An actor and recovered alcoholic who became famous for playing the dim-witted Cooter in the popular 1980s TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, Jones ran for Congress as a Democrat from Georgia in 1988. He won and served two terms. He lost his bid for re-election after re-districting in 1992, and tried again with a run against Gingrich in 1994. Jones lost decisively, and after that, it is fair to say he became obsessed with bringing Gingrich down.
It wasn’t enough that Newt had engineered a GOP takeover of both houses of Congress, the first time both houses were run by the GOP in 40 years. It wasn’t enough the Democrats of that day had to identify themselves with the generation that lost what was held for four decades. The spark for all of this came from an embittered rival who felt entitled, probably because he was a former actor. It came from a sore loser.
Two days before Election Day 1994, with defeat in sight, Jones hand-delivered a complaint to the House ethics committee (the complaint was printed on “Ben Jones for Congress” stationery). Jones asked the committee to investigate the college course, alleging that Gingrich “fabricated a ‘college course’ intended, in fact, to meet certain political, not educational, objectives.” Three weeks later, Jones sent the committee 450 pages of supporting documents obtained through the Georgia Open Records Act.
So with the inevitable in sight, we now see a similar quality in Mitt Romney and it is evidenced by his campaign’s decision to exploit something that was really quite benign at the time. It was something that Newt just decided to settle so it would go away. For those details, you can read the rest of the article. But it is important to note that of the 84 bogus complaints leveled against Gingrich, 83 were found to have no merit at all. And the one that had some small hint of questionability, the IRS or the Justice Department (under Democratic control) found nothing wrong. The reason Gingrich gave up on the 84th was to get it out of the way was to eliminate distractions at a time when other things were more important.
Sore losers often operate out of desperation, which is often a position of weakness. In my view, this country has seen enough desperation and plenty of weakness from the current leadership. Isn’t it time we have someone who can restore some confidence and strength to this nation? Win or lose with Newt, we will know what he stands for and against. With Romney, can we be so sure?.