Magazine article Insight on the News

Assault on Gingrich More Democrat Borking

Magazine article Insight on the News

Assault on Gingrich More Democrat Borking

Article excerpt

Most Americans assumed the political campaign ended last Nov. 5 when President Clinton and the Republican Congress both were returned to office.

But the real campaign, one much longer and uglier than any I have known, went on. The campaign I'm talking about is the liberal establishment's campaign to bring down House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Such is the state of their disarray that liberals convinced themselves that the source of their minority status is Gingrich, not an out-of-touch liberalism. They just wouldn't admit that the largest tax increase in history, a failed government takeover of the health-care system and 40 years of wasteful Washington spending caused their problems. Instead, they found it easier and more comforting to blame their minority status on a grand, Gingrich-inspired conspiracy worthy of Oliver Stone's next movie.

What Gingrich did was recognize America's disillusionment with the high-tax welfare state. While many Republicans resigned themselves to permanent minority status and made little effort to communicate our vision of a prosperous America through smaller government, Newt had the energy and optimism to see that we could be a majority only if we communicated an agenda that embodied the beliefs of a majority of Americans.

Following the 1994 elections, most Democrats recommended that their party stop proposing more government for every problem. But party liberals, risking marginalization and a political backlash, decided instead to find an enemy. For this small angry band, a minority in their own party, an admission that their own principles caused their defeat was unthinkable. They made Gingrich their scapegoat to avoid putting modern liberalism on trial within the Democratic Party.

The political play was not about the speaker's ethics. Unfortunately, it was about revenge. The speaker was on trial, in public, for denying to Democrats the congressional majority they'd come to consider a birthright. Liberals believed that by forcing Gingrich to resign, they could discredit the conservative philosophy that dominates today's political discourse nationwide. In their minds, the path back to control of the House ran over Gingrich.

In an especially ironic twist, when liberals charged Speaker Gingrich with "lying to Congress" and "tax fraud," they themselves had to lie to the American people. They knew full well that neither the special counsel's report nor any committee document charged the speaker with any such offenses.

The committee said that the speaker should have consulted a tax expert before beginning to teach a college course. …

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