It's the Perjury, Stupid

March 09, 2007 by susan

by susan
Put aside for a moment the saga of Scooter, and turn to Newt. Gingrich. The thrice married serial infidel, the mastermind of the Republican "revolution," the dark horse presidential wannabee.

In a heart-to-heart with James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Newt admits that he was having an extramarital affair with the current Mrs. Newt, a congressional aid twenty years his junior, during the same period of time that he was perorating against Bill Clinton for his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky. Read on.

That he was having affairs is not fresh news, nor is his callous dumping of the first Mrs. Newt while she was in the hospital following cancer surgery. Nor is it much of a surprise that he is having a come-to-Jesus moment with Dobson (Focus on the what?) as a way of getting his Lothario past out on the table before joining the increasingly sketchy field of Republican candidates. Giulliani must be jumping for joy to have someone whose sexual and marital history makes his own look Puritanical.

No, what astonishes in all this is the double helix of sexual and political hypocrisy he wraps himself in. It was not hypocritical of him to lead the charge against Bill Clinton the way he did, he tells Dobson, because it wasn't the sexual behavior that he was judging, it was the fact that Clinton commited felony level crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice -- albeit about a blow job.

Says the Newt, "I drew a line in my mind that said, 'Even though I run the risk of being deeply embarrassed, and even though at a purely personal level I am not rendering judgment on another human being, (wanna make a bet?) as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law, I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept ... perjury in your highest officials."

As we know, the Republics are waxing hysteric about Scooter's guilty verdicts, and demanding a presidential pardon sooner rather than later. (And it's only a question of when, not if.)

So let's see if the newly repentant Newt steps forward to remind his fellow hypocrites "that you cannot accept . . .perjury in your highest officials." Even when it's one of your own.

Posted in

Comments

Babs (not verified) | March 9, 2007 - 12:27pm

You know, there are days (weeks, months, years) when the duplicity of the Republics is simply staggering. I believe they've become so accustomed to spinning everything that they've completely forgotten how to tell the truth -- if, indeed, they ever knew. Actually, I think there was a time when they did. There was that one Tuesday in, oh, 1955 or so . . . .

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perhansa (not verified) | March 9, 2007 - 2:30pm

Zing! It feels good doesn't it? My first reaction this morning reading the news was Gingrich, you @#!#! hypocrite...and then, I've been reading a couple of books written by anthropologists lately that have been yanking my thinking around like a bad whiplash...what they keep providing for me is context and human nature. And it made me see the irony of the Clinton-Gingrich connection. Aren't they (I hate to say this) cut from the same cloth? Two very smart, successful, influenctial politicans who are also very flawed human beings? Where have we seen this before? The Bible, The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Greek mythologies, Shakepeare, Dante, Homer...? Deeply flawed humans that become heros (to some group of people) are the main theme of human history. Self and other deception is the most common plot twist. Big egos falling hard off the pedestal but rising again to later fame is what makes great story telling, doesn't it?

I started thinking the real genius of our founding father's concept of democracy was that they recognized the fundamental human failings and flaws and the temptations of power, money, and glory and tried to design a system of governance that compensates or safeguards against it by distributing power and inserting numerous checks and balances to prevent undue influence by small, powerful groups or large, mistaken majorities. What I find most frightening (and today's news story about the underreporting by the FBI on it's use of the Patriot Act was another grim reminder) is the erosion of that distribution of power and the extreme negligence in providing oversight, challenge and counterbalance to power by the rest of the government, the people, and the press. The genius of democracy is falling to the flaws and failings of human tendency and corruption. Clinton and Gingrich are just bit players in the bigger, scarrier drama that is unfolding...

Thomas Frank was trying to say that in "What's the matter with Kansas?" People are voting against their bests interests because our political process has fallen victim to the cult of personality, the culture wars, and the influence of money in politics along with the above mentioned failing of the media and the rest of the branches of government (and several other factors I'm sure I've missed). And so we end up with someone totally unqualified (read "W") running the world's largest and most influential government with a small group of greedy, powerful, ideological Machiavelli's pulling his strings. This is the worst administration in decades and it's exactly what we should expect when we get sucked down the same road that history and humans have gone down so many times before...we get distracted and we forget history, we forget context, we forget human nature, we forget vision and we learn to practice "single possibility thinking" where every "other" group is stupid except ours (and I'm not so sure sometimes about ours).

I don't know. Sorry for rambling and "preaching". But I felt bad after I felt good calling G a hypocrite while I daily miss the glaring reality of history repeating itself again and again and again...I felt a loss for the genius of our founding fathers who would be appalled at what we've let our unique democracy become...W is probably the worst president in decades and he's exactly what we'll get more of if we can't get the focus back on what we care about--democracy, good governance, honesty, freethought, progress, openness, accountability and results. There are plenty more flawed candidates waiting in the wings (some heros and some villains to be sure). What are we going to do about the loss of our democracy????

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Peter (not verified) | March 9, 2007 - 7:21pm

W is probably the worst president in decades and he's exactly what we'll get more of if we can't get the focus back on what we care about--democracy, good governance, honesty, freethought, progress, openness, accountability and results.

Perh

It took you four paragraphs to say this? Again; just because you wish this to be true does not make it so. The "cult of personality"?
If that was the case we would not have had a President Clinton. Quickly now-when you think of President Clinton, what is the first thing that history remembers?...... Yes, I know that is painful, but to attempt to sooth the pain of those times by tearing down subsequent Presidents dealing with truly dangerous world events serves no purpose other than your "feel good" first line statement.

I seriously doubt that you would recognize a Founding Father if he stopped in for a cup of coffee, so I would not worry too much about your fears of "the loss of democracy"

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susan | March 9, 2007 - 7:39pm

Love your thinking and writing, Perhansa. Keep it coming.

Peter, I can't figure out why you bother poking at us. Besides, your writing is tedious, not to mention incomprehensible, to wit: "I seriously doubt that you would recognize a Founding Father if he stopped in for a cup of coffee, so I would not worry too much about your fears of "the loss of democracy"
What does that have to do with what we're talking about?
As for Bill Clinton, believe me, it is not painful to remember anything about his presidency. You really think we are "tearing down subsequent presidents" just to feel good? For one thing, there's only been one subsequent president, and he's done a dandy job of tearing himself down -- and the country with him. He doesn't need us.

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Peter (not verified) | March 9, 2007 - 9:11pm

Please re-read. Subsequent President"s"-means possibly more that one ! The " S" is plural. "President" means just this one.

Susan, I am trying to help stimulate this blog-you have only three participants besides the authors-work with me! Does Lynnell say anything?

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susan | March 9, 2007 - 11:11pm

Funny thing is, this blog really started as a repository for old op-eds I've had published. I never meant for it to be an active blog. Because I've not cottoned to the writing format of a blog -- or the almost obsessive nature it take to make it better known -- I'm not in a big hurry to have it be more than it is. We'll make some changes, I hope to do a better job with my writing, and -- we'll see where it goes.
So if you're just hanging around to help us out, thanks, but we'll be fine. You do have a nasty snideness to you though, so I doubt your sincerity about trying to stimulate something.
As for subsequent presidents, singular or plural, what a hair to split. Your point was, I think, that we'll be putting down all subsequent presidents to make Bill look good, and if that's what you thought, nothing could be farther off.

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Babs (not verified) | March 10, 2007 - 8:48am

Peter, if you don't like us, why do you come here? It feels rather like holding an open house and having someone come in who eats all the food, belches, pees on the floor, insults the other guests and then complains about the hospitality. Got no problem with being contradicted. Differences are good. Bad manners are not.

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LynnellMickelsen (not verified) | March 10, 2007 - 5:44pm

Lynnell sez....don't feed the trolls and Peter sure sounds like one.

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LynnellMickelsen (not verified) | March 10, 2007 - 5:44pm

Lynnell sez....don't feed the trolls and Peter sure sounds like one.

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Swallow (not verified) | March 11, 2007 - 4:58pm

Ditto Lynnell M, and Babs You Rock.

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perhansa (not verified) | March 9, 2007 - 9:22pm

Peter
You have every right to your opinion of W & Co and if you helped elect him I hope you're happy with the "state of the union." I'm not and I'll speak for myself. I think that's what this blog is about. I appreciate that you have a different opinion. So does my far right born again son-in-law with whom I've had a number of these same conversations in the past. I haven't changed his mind nor have I changed mine but I've learned to listen and try to understand where he's coming from and what his thinking, fears and concerns are. Maybe you'd like to explain where you're coming from rather than simply dropping sarcastic bombs...that would be more helpful (and respectful). I try to speak from my own experience and try to be respectful as well as honest.

Professionally (and for fun) I do a lot of travel (often internationally). I always ask people I work with or meet what they think of the US and how they perceive us. It's not good. Our reputation has suffered severely in the international community, not because of the challenge of the problems but because of the lack of respect, thoughtfulness, and isolationist attitudes we continually convey to the world with our actions. (Their words not mine.) This is only one person's sampling so take with a grain of salt but most of them seem to be thoughtful, caring, and openminded people and I respect their feedback. They always followup their comments by saying they love Americans and tell me we are a generous and likeable people. They don't like our foreign policy and our apparent disdain for working together with the rest of the world (instead of acting like we own it). I think we need to listen to what others think and how they perceive us. If you don't that's your choice and choices have consequences.

Finally, I teach leadership and management skills as a profession and I am in a position to see good and bad leadership all the time. Personally I am appalled at the lack of good leadership coming from this administration. It's pathetic at times and reckless and irresponsible at others. And it nearly always reflects "one possibility thinking". The results, I think, speak for themselves. I don't need to say anymore. I also read extensively and have written in the area of philosophy so I have some background in history, philosophy, religion and politics. I would recognize a founding father and would even be able to carry on a meaningful conversation with one over coffee. Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson would be my first choices (if that gives you any insight into my philosophy). One was treated brutally by his countrymen (for his views on religion/god/reason) and the other, well, he had some of the same appetites as BC didn't he? Still,...he is remembered for a few other things.

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