I’d like to bring your attention to a profile of Newt Gingrich in the Atlantic yesterday by Mickey Edwards. Gingrich has been hawkish on the foreign policy front but he’s also proving to be quite the authoritarian domestically. Edwards, a former Republican congressman, doesn’t analyze his policy platforms here (he may agree with many of them), but he has no qualms about explaining why he and others are “so disturbed” by a Gingrich presidency. It seems Edwards is most perturbed by Gingrich’s “no-compromise war for political power” philosophy. Edwards says that over the course of the 33 years that he has known and worked with him, Gingrich has shown himself to be a “volatile”, self-obsessed showman who “sees the world as a battleground.” Edwards claims he is not associated with any political campaign. An excerpt of his article is below. Be sure to also read Eli Clifton’s post regarding allegations that billionaire casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson has been shadily bankrolling Gingrich’s candidacy.
To imagine a Gingrich presidency, one must turn to his attenuated term as Speaker of the House (attenuated because his fellow Republicans could take no more of it). Gingrich took control of determining who could chair House committees and swept away long-serving conservatives who he deemed insufficiently confrontational. If he was uncertain whether committees would do his bidding without question, he bypassed them altogether and created his own Newt-appointed task forces to write the laws. Leadership positions were awarded to those who raised the most money for the party. The party of Newt rose within, and became the core of, the Republican side of the House of Representatives. Congress as a governing institution was transformed into a Roman-style arena for combat. Imagine now a cadre built around allegiance to Newt Gingrich at the center of American government: not even Lyndon Johnson was so insistent on fealty.