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Comments by YACCS
Saturday, November 18, 2006

You could have said something

So I dumped my wife for a much younger mistress
after writing a book on Christian marriage

Good Riddance To The Gingrichites
CBS' Meyer:
GOP 'Chess Club' Ruled The House For 12 Years And Won't Be Missed

This is a story I should have written 12 years ago when the "Contract with America" Republicans captured the House in 1994. I apologize.

Really, it's just a simple thesis: The men who ran the Republican Party in the House of Representatives for the past 12 years were a group of weirdos. Together, they comprised one of the oddest legislative power cliques in our history. And for 12 years, the media didn't call a duck a duck, because that's not something we're supposed to do.

I'm not talking about the policies of the Contract for America crowd, but the character. I'm confident that 99 percent of the population — if they could see these politicians up close, if they watched their speeches and looked at their biographies — would agree, no matter what their politics or predilections.

I'm confident that if historians ever spend the time on it, they'll confirm my thesis. Same with forensic psychiatrists. I have discussed this with scores of politicians, staffers, consultants and reporters since 1994 and have found few dissenters.

Politicians in this country get a bad rap. For the most part, they are like any high-achieving group in America, with roughly the same distribution of pathologies and virtues. But the leaders of the GOP House didn't fit the personality profile of American politicians, and they didn't deviate in a good way. It was the Chess Club on steroids.

The iconic figures of this era were Newt Gingrich, Richard Armey and Tom Delay. They were zealous advocates of free markets, low taxes and the pursuit of wealth; they were hawks and often bellicose; they were brutal critics of big government.

Yet none of these guys had success in capitalism. None made any real money before coming to Congress. None of them spent a day in uniform. And they all spent the bulk of their adult careers getting paychecks from the big government they claimed to despise. Two resigned in disgrace.

Having these guys in charge of a radical conservative agenda was like, well, putting Mark Foley in charge of the Missing and Exploited Children Caucus. Indeed, Foley was elected in the Class of '94 and is not an inappropriate symbol of their regime.

More than the others, Newton Leroy Gingrich lived out a very special hypocrisy. In addition to the above biographical dissonance, Gingrich was one of the most sharp-tongued, articulate and persuasive attack dogs in modern politics. His favorite target was the supposed immorality and corruption of the Democratic Party. With soaring rhetoric, he condemned his opponents as anti-American and dangerous to our country's family values — "grotesque" was a favorite word.

Yet this was a man who was divorced twice — the first time when his wife was hospitalized for cancer treatment, the second time after an affair was revealed.

Gingrich made his bones in the party by relentlessly attacking Democratic corruption, yet he was hounded from office because of a series of serious ethics questions. He posed as a reformer of the House, yet championed a series of deforms that made the legislative process more closed, more conducive to hiding special interest favors and less a forum for genuine debate.

And he did it all with epic sanctimony..............................

When Gingrich stepped down, Republicans turned to a master Louisiana pork-barreller, Robert Livingston. That lasted a day or so, until Livingston (you guessed it) admitted to having extramarital affairs.

Livingston was succeeded by Dennis Hastert, perhaps the most, well, conventional of the GOP leaders of his era. Still, Hastert was a hawk with no military service and a defender of the rich with no money or experience in business.
What's next for the House is of course uncertain, but an undistinguished chapter has come to a close. Good riddance.

Dick, we knew all this, but you could have mentioned it on air. At least once.

But yes, this was the Pussy Brigade. All talk and theory and little action. Which is why people like Curt Weldon are now unemployed.

Which is why so many bad things happened. Which is why a redneck asshole like Adam Putnam can be elected to House leadership. Which is why they can pardon Bush for torture. Which is why party came before country.

And it's also why so many either lost this cycle, or will lose next cycle. They're weirdos. They say and do weird shit and now they will be called on it.

But all the time that we were told that they were serious people, someone could have just said they were the geeks from the Chess Club

posted by Steve @ 1:11:00 AM

1:11:00 AM

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