Letters to the Editor

To the editor:

Decline and Pending Downfall of Our American Republic: Newt Gingrich (Part 1)

One of our two major political parties is threatening to renominate a man for president who was justifiably impeached two times – but was irresponsibly acquitted – and is awaiting four trials to defend himself against 91 felonies for which the evidence against him is legion. Donald J. Trump, two-time popular-vote loser, is promising to transform the executive branch's departments and agencies into his own autocratic tools and use the federal courts and justice department to get those he considers personal enemies. In this series of letters, I've been trying to explain how the Republican Party since WWII has been descending step-by-step into the current anti-democracy/anti-government Trump personality cult.

Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia.) was elected to the House of Representatives in 1978 and remained there until he abruptly resigned in early 1999. He early gained the moniker of Gingrich "Khan" because of his barbaric and very vocal contempt for the norms of government and contempt for his party's willingness to compromise with the House Democrats, who had held the majority since the Elections of 1954. Compromise - essential to governing a democracy – was anathema to him, although later as Speaker of the House he found it necessary to compromise. The current House Trumpistas don't know what compromise means.

As a leader of the New Right during the Reagan-Bush Era, he was appalled when those administrations and moderate congressional Republicans compromised with Democrats but supported them when they didn't. Predictably, in 1987, Gingrich voted against the bipartisan Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 and voted to support Reagan's veto of the bill. In general, both he and Reagan were opponents of civil rights legislation.

The Supreme Court was dominated by Republican appointees who were expected to undo as much popular progressive legislation as possible. In Grove City College v. Bell (1984), it ruled that only the particular activity of an educational institution that requested federal financial aid from Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 could by denied aid because of discriminatory policies – not the entire institution. The institution could still receive aid from other federal programs for other activities that still discriminated. The Restoration Act specified that the entire institution could not discriminate if it wanted that federal aid. There were still pro-civil rights moderates in the Republican Party, and they joined the Democrats to override Reagan's veto. Those moderates would not be there much longer.

GOPAC, effectively a political action committee, is a Republican state and local political training organization. In 1990, it sent out a memo with a cover letter written by Mr. Gingrich, who had become the minority whip in 1989. The memo's title was "Language, a Key Mechanism of Control." It encouraged all Republicans "to speak like Newt." Democrats should always be referred to as "radicals," "sick," and "traitors" or whatever other negative connotations the GOP decided on. Republicans should always be referred to positively, such as "courageous" and "principled."

David Offutt

Upcoming Events