The Republican establishment is pulling out all the stops to try to keep Newt Gingrich from becoming the party’s nominee for president of the United States — and some are not letting the facts get in their way.
Among the claims going out through the mass media in Florida, on the eve of that state’s primary election, is that Newt Gingrich “resigned in disgrace” as speaker of the House of Representatives as a result of unethical conduct involving the diversion of tax-exempt money. Mitt Romney is calling on Gingrich to release “all of the records” from the congressional investigation.
But the Wall Street Journal of January 28, 2012, reported that these records — 1,280 pages of them — are already publicly available online. Although Speaker Gingrich decided not to take on the task of fighting the charge from his political enemies in 1997, the Internal Revenue Service conducted its own investigation which, two years later, exonerated Gingrich from the charges. His resignation was not due to those charges and occurred much later.
Do the Romney camp and the Republican establishment not know this, a dozen years later? Or are they far less concerned with whether the charges will stand up than they are about smearing Gingrich on the eve of the Florida primaries?
There are also charges made about what Congressman Gingrich said about Ronald Reagan on March 21, 1986. But this too is a matter of public record, since his remarks are available in the Congressional Record of that date, so it is remarkable that there should be any controversy about it at this late date.
On that date, Gingrich praised Reagan’s grasp of the foreign-policy issues of the day but later questioned whether the way the actual policies of the Reagan administration were being carried out was likely to succeed. Gingrich was not alone in making this point, which such conservative stalwarts as George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and others made at the time.
Since a column of my own back in the 1980s suggested that the administration’s policies seemed to be to “speak loudly and carry a little stick,” I can well understand the misgivings of others. But that is wholly different from saying that all who expressed misgivings were enemies of Ronald Reagan.