Friday, November 18, 2011

Nice Work If You Can Get It

What’s all this hoopla about Newt Gingrich’s prior business dealings before he decided to be the anti-Washington outsider in his run for the Republican presidential nomination? A spokesman for one of his “businesses,” the Center for Health Transformation, set forth clearly what Gingrich’s acitivities were prior to his run. It is said that Mr. Gingrich did not take policy positions for pay; but rather clients sought him out because of the views he already held and his expertise in communicating ideas. As reported in the New York Times on November 18, 2011,“Newt’s vision didn’t change to meet the needs of his clients,” Mr. Hammond, an employee of the Center said. “They came to the Center for Health Transformation because they wanted to learn and understand the free market ideas Newt was putting forward.” One of the “views” that Newt conveyed to his paying clients was that billions of dollars of life-end medical expenditures could be saved by advanced medical directive planning. Four months later, he flipped his position and joined Sarah Palin in decrying the “death panels” set forth in the Obama healthcare plan.

One of the points of view he held concerned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who paid him nearly two million dollars through another subsidiary of his for stating his “opinions” to Republicans in Congress. He now says that Barney Frank should go to jail for causing the excesses that led these mega-institutions into trouble. In fact the excesses were recommended by Gingrich and approved by Republicans who were in control of Congress from 1998 through 2007. It wasn’t until Senator Dodds and Rep Frank ran legislation through the Dcmocrat-controlled congress in 2007 that the brakes were put on the self-destruction of these entities. The current situation is that the only deficits of these two entities were incurred during the Republican era. Everything has been stable since the controls were put into place by the Democrats.

Gingrich claims that he wasn’t a lobbyist during this time but functioned as a “historian.” Nice work if you can get it, but it seems to me that one of the first things a historian needs to do is get one’s facts straight.

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