Gingrich Stock Up?
As the seven dwarfs in turn shrink under the pressure of being frontrunner-of-the-week, the Anybody But Romney crowd is scraping the bottom of the barrel in search of an alternative to Windsock Willard. The latest flavor-of-the-week appears to be Newt Gingrich, who has risen from single digits to join Herman Cain and Ron Paul as unelectable rivals to Romney.
I had been thinking of the Gingrich campaign as a sideshow, merely a moneymaking operation for a character whose toxic personal history has made him repugnant to voters. Gingrich’s unique “family values” may not be widely known, but would certainly surface in a nationwide campaign and turn off plenty of voters, especially women.
But if Gingrich becomes a serious candidate, I’d say that the way to attack him is through his money. When he was asked at the CNBC debate last week about his work for Freddy Mac, he said that they paid him $300,000 to be a historian. Turns out that they’ve paid him $1.6 million to lobby Republicans in Congress. Funny because he’s been a fierce critic of the Federally-sponsored mortgage dealer. Gingrich says he’s not a lobbyist for ethanol too, but that hasn’t stopped him from taking $312,000 from ethanol lobbying group Growth Energy. He’s received over a million dollars from various coal, oil and gas producers. His financial disclosure last summer gave his net worth as $6.7 million, with 2010 income of $2.6 million. Not bad for an Assistant Professor of History at West Georgia College.
His history of influence peddling and creative use of campaign funds, for example to pay the $300,000 assessed by the House Ethics Committee for giving the Committee false information about using a tax-exempt college course for political purposes, ought to raise questions about his fitness for office even for those unconcerned about his serial philandering and twenty-four carat line of bullshit.