Monday, January 09, 2012

PoliticsUSA: Republican Party: Iowa, New Hampshire campaigns to become the Party's candidate for USA prez

At last the Republican Party USA is moving forward in its process of nominating an official candidate to run for it in the November 2012 elections for President of the USA.  refWrite turned away from support of the Presidency of Democrat Barack Obama, after the fiasco of the healthcare legislation he signed into law.  We had gambled, it turns out, in supporting the basic idea of supplying basic healthcare to the 30,000,000 people not insured thru private health programs, either of individuals or of corporations on behalf of their employees.  To support the basic idea, however, proved to be an ambiguous proposition, becawz the simplicity of the idea coud be distorted in the legislation and in the following legislative program of the Democrats.

The President's great error was in not campaigning among his Democrat majorities in the House and the Senate both, at the time, to assure that the basic idea of national healthcare was realized in a simple way to provide fair coverage, in the extensive terms proposed.  I woud add that refWrite further actively supported the idea that non-profit faith-based communal organizations should be written into the proposed law that so that the conveyors of insurance were both traditional for-profit healthcare insurance companies and non-profits, especially where faith-based communal organizations were already successfully offering coverage under the older laissez-faire system -- which left 30 million people uncovered.  Of course, if injured or sick people got to an Emergency Room at a hospital, the hospitals were often obliged to provide health care on demand (subject, I guess, to state laws, along with federal).  But that put hospitals receiving government financing into financial difficulties year after year.  Always begging for more.

Therein dwells a story of its own.  It was most recently revealed, according to the news sources giving advance notice of a new book, The Obamas (by Jodi White, the book is available Tuesday) which relates how the setting of priorities in the Obama administration was skewered by the interference of the President's closest advisor with her own agenda.  

Enter First Lady, Michelle Obama.  She had been a hospital administrator (earning a handsome salary, I mite add).  She insisted in private to her husband that the absolute #1 priority of the Obama administration must be universal national healthcare.  More than that, she had run a quiet recruitment and lobbying campaign among administration and congressional members to thwart the influence of the political advisors who didn't want all the administrations "eggs in one basket" -- over-elaborate, over-complicated, over-budgeted, and over-bureacratized healthcare.  Due to the President's uxoriousness, she and her phalanx won the day.  So, the President allowed the billionaires Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (San Fransisco, California), to play the game her way in using the House Democrats' majority at the time, to "deliver the goods."  In the Senate, the same role was played by Democratic majority leader, Harry Reid of Las Vegas, Nevada.  Speaker Pelosi, in order to bring all Democrats alongside, used the strategy of allowing her Congressional Democrats to add, according to the vision of each, all sorts of entitlements, exceptions thru presidential waivers, agencies that created a huge doubly expensive healthcare bureaucracy, etc., etc.  The monster that resulted was to be phased in over time, so that many of the deficits of the whole law woud not appear in the paycheques and wallets of everybody forced to buy this health insurance (on the basis of a dubious interpretation of the Constitution's commerce clause), the so-called "individual mandate."

We were sold a bill of goods that woud, in the end, cost us "an arm and a leg" -- again, becawz Obama woud not and coud not prioritize a more reasonable and bearable version of the healthcare law and its expenses -- under the First Lady, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid -- to a single instance.  Had he been able to bring in a cleaner law for the 30 million uninsured and had he been able to prioritize its nonetheless astronomical expenses, he woud have achieved historical standing on healthcare.  But he established no such prioritization, and continued after the passage of the Monster version of the legislation, to call for and support further egregiously expensive and over-wrawt laws on other aspects of life and governance.

refWrite has decided to withdraw support from the President it had previously support before the decisive turn in the misbegotten healthcare fiasco, a compendious bookshelf of legislation which is scheduled to being litigated before the Supreme Court's in its upcoming term, under a suit brawt by a majority of the states (26) of the USA.

Read more ... click the t+mstamp below ...

refWrite's publisher, general editor, and myself Politicarp the frontpage political columnist, have mutually committed ourselves to the role of non-voting journalist so as to better steer a course of non-partisanship (this is a recommendation of some journaletics ethical thawt, and the practice of some reporters and commenters in the USA and Canada).  Nevertheless, we hope to be of some value to readers of this blog in evaluating political events and candidates in the 2012 USA elections.

Turning from the presumptive sole candidate of the Democrats, to the many contesting candidates of the Republicans, we watched the seesawing of voters' preferences during the Republican debates, especially in Iowa and now, a week after the twin win of Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in Iowa, and the debates in New Hamphire where Romney had to take it on the chin in the din of the crowd of woud-bes who are after his hide and better numbers when the votes are tallied.  As you may recall, refWrite has taken a stand against obese candidates and possibles all together -- these struck off our list early-ons like Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, Donald Trump and the so-far-enduring Newt Gingrich.  Obama upped the bar, the standard of the Presidency, for physical and mental health (for that all Americans should be grateful indeed).  But in particular Gingrich, like Ron Paul (not a fatty!) are too old.  We need a younger candidate with stamina for the extreme difficulties of the office of President over time (I think that applies also to Vice Presidents).

But for the moment, please leave those rW private standards and Obama's example aside.  Look at Gingrich's record and rhetorical trickery against Romney.  On every occasion where he has opportunity, the man who wants to be president provides a smear against Romney:  "the Massachusetts Moderate."

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has maintained that his divorce from his first wife, Jackie Battley Gingrich, was amicable and requested by his wife. Divorce papers recently uncovered by CNN suggest that is not true.
  • Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista depart after attending Christmas Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington December 25, 2011.


Gingrich's daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, wrote a May 8, 2011 article for in which she defended her father against accusations that he divorced Jackie Battley Gingrich because she had cancer and delivered the divorce papers while she was lying in a hospital bed.  [Her defense of the loquacious former Speaker has been fully refuted since that time.  Indeed, he took a mistress before he left the first wife, then married the mistress, Marianne Ginther. -- Politicarp] 
A section of Newt Gingrich's campaign website devoted to debunking common criticisms refers the reader to his daughter's article and Gingrich often refers to that article when asked about it in interviews. 
While most of Jackie Gingrich Cushman's defense of her father is not in doubt, there is one detail that the new documents appear to contradict – that her mother requested the divorce.
“My mother and father were already in the process of getting a divorce, which she requested,” she wrote. repeats this claim. “It was her mother that requested the divorce, not Newt, and it was months before the hospital visit in question.” 
Court documents reveal, however, Newt Gingrich filed for divorce from Jackie Battley Gingrich. In a counterclaim, Jackie Battley Gingrich denied that the marriage was irretrievably broken and that she wanted a divorce. “Defendant shows that she has adequate and ample grounds for divorce, but that she does not desire one at this time,” the counterclaim states. 
Additional court documents show that the former wife took Newt Gingrich back to court after the divorce because he was not making alimony payments.
Thus, the Grinch added several layers of disrespect and then cover-up dishonesty to his rejection of his first wife.  Let's turn from his affairs to his tactics of smear against a former alleged "moderate" -- a term Gingrich uses like a curse word as part of his tactics in the present campaign.

Now, Romney has clearly evolved in his political thinking from where he was when Governor of Massachusetts to where he journeyed in his campaigns for the Republican nomination to run for the Presidency in 2008 and in the coming vote in 2012.  It seems to me that Romney's credentials as a conservative Republican are strengthened thereby, he knows whereof he speaks.  But aside from his transition due to political and governing experience in a liberal state (where he was always considered to be conservative), Romney has always been conservative financially in his business executive leadership and support for the American free enterprise system, short of being a laissez-faire version of capitalism like Ron Paul, another of the candidates on the upswing in Iowa and apparently in New Hampshire.
Indeed, the phrase "social conservative" is a term co-opted by anti-abortionists and homophobes.  The term has meant something else in the history of UK, Canadian, and USA conservatism.  It is the stance of those Tories and American conservatives who believe in the idea of a social fabric, indeed of a social organism, that unites all citizens and non-subversive residents in a government-supported primary unity.  Hence, the idea that Massachusetts and also the USA coud and should make provision for basic food supply, basic healthcare, and other provisions necessary to the well-being of all, even for the poorest among us, is not in itself at all unconservative (it doesn't however disallow welfare reform, such as when Gingrich as Speaker of the House in days of yore co-operated with Prez Bill Clinton and the Prez's new advisor Dick Morris, in legislating welfare reform).  

Showdown is the story of the most dramatic political rivalry in decades. The Democratic President, brilliant but seen as indecisive and vulnerable, is directly challenged by the equally brilliant new Republican Speaker of the House, who seeks to complete the Reagan Revolution by repealing the Great Society and the New Deal. In her last book, the highly acclaimed On the Edge: The Clinton Presidency, Elizabeth Drew took readers on a revealing tour behind the scenes of Bill Clinton's White House during his first year and a half in office, showing us how and why his administration failed. Then came the 1994 congressional elections, in which the Republicans gained control of the Congress, including the House, for the first time in forty years. This tremendous victory, long planned by Newt Gingrich, left the Democrats stunned and confused and set the stage for the Republicans to attempt a dramatic, possibly historic rearrangement of the country's politics. Drew writes with proven authority and intimate detail of the titanic battle that ensued between the Clinton administration and the Republican Congress -- especially between the wavering President and the determined Speaker. Drew's masterly reporting exposes the range of Gingrich's ambition and the way he sought to control the House. She describes Gingrich's complex relationship with Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, who, no enthusiast, struggled to keep up with Gingrich's revolution, and shows the impact the race for the Republican presidential nomination -- in particular, between Dole and Senator Phil Gramm -- had on national policy. Through amazingly candid interviews with key congressional figures, Drew elicits exactly how the GOP leadership formed a strategy to roll back the welfare state and destroy the power of the Democratic base. She again takes us behind the scenes to show us what the key players -- on both sides -- were doing and saying privately as they waged their all-out war. She tells us what the outwardly confident Gingrich worried about. She shows President Clinton trying to regain his footing following the devastating election (a humiliation that he and his wife took much harder than was publicly understood) and turning to a new key adviser, Dick Morris. Drew describes what effect Morris, a former Republican adviser, had on Clinton and the new strains within the White House his arrival caused. She presents a White House more riven than any in memory. Showdown makes clear the enormous stakes of this political struggle -- no less than the future direction of the federal government and the fate of programs that affect everyone's life.
In other words, Mitt Romney may best be regarded as a non-laissez faire free-enterprise entrepreneur in business and, when he entered politics in a hugely Democratic state, as a social conservative in the classical sense of Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot and his published dissertation The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Santayana (1953, where a non-Christian humanist is included by Kirk, review Political Science Quarterly, pp. 686-588) — and where he points to Edmund Burke, Sir Walter Scott, Coleridge, Randolph, Tocqueville, Disraeli, and others in the foundation and development of Anglo-American conservative political philosophy in the monarchical historical context of the United Kingdom after the French Revolution to more recent times, and in the USA after it broke free of the UK.  What is sure here is that Lockean individualism and laissez faire capitalism as espoused by Ron Paul is diametrically opposed to the social conservatism displayed often by Mitt Romney.  But it's also clear that Romney in his fortune-making business career added to social conservatism the putative wisdom of what we were so aptly tawt in Robert Heilbroner's "living classic" The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economists (1953, now in its 7th edition, like Kirk's).

Back to Gingrich and his attempt to smear Romney as "no conservative" and "the Massachusetts Moderate" (which latter awt not be a functional curse-word for Gingrich or any other Republican). First at this juncture, let us note that the Bible, in another context, advises "Let your moderation be known to all men" (Philippians 4:5). I think this verse speaks well also for prudent behaviour in a governor of an extremely liberal state.  

So, look again at the level of prudence attained by his most vociferous opponent.  Between the two would-be candidates,  the Grinch of Georgia likes to wrap himself in the flag, and protrude himself into present-day politics as the saviour of the Republic, the inheritor of Ronald Reagan's mantle, and the never-varying, never-developing, self-styled super-historian who woud return us to fancied good old days, upon his Second Coming to power in America.   

But this is the man who is so unstable as to break his marriage vows to two women, ending up with a third (no bachelorhood for this double vow-breaker, who even broke his obligation to pay alimony).  After he broke his vow to his first wife, after taking on a mistress, divorcing the first and then marrying the second; Gingrich in time also divorced her then in mid-Nineties, took on a second mistress, then divorced his second wife, and married a third, Callista Bisek, a staff worker for the House of Representatives, she being 23 years younger than he. "They continued their affair during the Lewinsky scandal, when Gingrich became a leader of the investigation of Prez Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with Clinton's affairs, says Wikipedia's biography of Georgia's Grinch. 

Then in the depths of hypocrisy and muddled finances, just short of graft, Gingrich took funds from political financiers to publicize one of his books, resulting in his being disciplined by the Ethics Committee of the House and then his (temporary) retirement from politics.  Says Wikipedia : "Eighty-four ethics charges were filed against Gingrich during his term as speaker. After extensive investigation and negotiation by the House Ethics Committee, Gingrich was sanctioned $300,000 by a 395–28 House vote. It was the first time in history a speaker was disciplined for ethical wrongdoing." But indeed he does have a way with words.

In a further milestone in Newt Gingrich's political career,  
Republicans lost five seats in the House in the 1998 elections—the worst midterm performance in 64 years for a party that didn't hold the presidency. Polls showed that Gingrich and the Republican Party's attempt to remove President Clinton from office was deeply unpopular among voters. Gingrich suffered much of the blame for the election loss. Facing a rebellion in the Republican caucus, he announced on November 5, 1998, that he would not only stand down as Speaker, but would leave the House as well. [This kind of move is one of the former Speaker's typical tactics -- if I can't be in charge, then I'll take my marbles and go home.  He doesn't want to be accountable -- not to wives or to his party's internal critics or to potential leaders who don't adhere to his self-made rules -- which apparently include:  no moderation. -- Politicarp] 
Gingrich made this announcement only a day after being elected to an 11th term from his district. Commenting on his departure, Gingrich said, "I'm willing to lead but I'm not willing to preside over people who are cannibals. My only fear would be that if I tried to stay, it would just overshadow whoever my successor is." Perhaps it was his manoeuvring with the companies he created, one headed by a dawter and another by his second mistress / third wife Callista, companies with their millions of dollars of revenue, his way of getting rich that demonstrates his folly to those who don't fathom the depths of treachery in his marriages and affairs.  In business, his flagship in later years was Gingrich Productions which paid the effluent former Speaker more than $2.4 million in 2010 alone.  Even more serious than his millionaire non-alimony-paying wealth, a wealth achieved by his parlaying his political career (which ended with failure and pouting), somehow parlaying all that for riches, Gingrich acquired $1.6 million from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for his services to them as "historian," as reported in "Gingrich's firm refuses to release Freddie Mac contract" Bloomberg via SF Chronicle (January9,2012). [By the way, he writes popular history, not scientifically validated historiography.]  Fannie and Freddie are notorious abusers of the public purse, and Gingrich fits into the pattern of their outrageous fees, wherein on the receiving end, Gingrich betrayed his country and his party just has he betrayed his wives and mistresses.

Yesterday, Gingrich let loose his gas on Romney, characterizing the leading GOP candidate for Mitt's prominent place in the Bain Capital corporation, described by Newt as a vulture-capitalist firm and Romney as a "predatory capitalist" for his investment in Bain and success in making money thru that firm, again, in which he had invested with considerable risk. 

CNN Money with Fortune, CNN, and Money (January9,2k11) 

Newt Gingrich's private equity past

January 9, 2012: 12:45 PM ET
Mitt Romney isn't the only presidential candidate with leveraged buyouts on his resume.Newt Gingrich 
Newt Gingrich has spent the past several days assailing Mitt Romney's business background, suggesting that the former private equity executive "looted" companies and "left people unemployed."

But here's an interesting note Gingrich doesn't mention: Upon leaving Congress in 1999, the former Speaker joined private equity firm Forstmann Little & Co. as a member of its advisory board.

It is unclear how long Gingrich served on the advisory board, or how much he was paid. The campaign has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Forstmann Little was one of the world's original leveraged buyout firms, although its founder -- the late Teddy Forsmann -- often railed against what he saw as over-leveraging by rival firms (presumably including Bain). It effectively began winding down operations in 2005, following a legal dispute with the State of Connecticut over failed investments in a pair of large communications companies. Forstmann Little lost the case at trial, but wasn't required to pay any significant restitution (both deals were done within two years of Gingrich being named to the advisory board).

During Saturday night's GOP primary debate in New Hampshire, Gingrich said: "I'm not nearly as enamored of a Wall Street model where you can flip companies, you can go in and have leveraged buyouts, you can basically take out all the money, leaving behind the workers."

Fortune has been unable to determine if Gingrich personally invested in the final Forstmann Little fund (raised in 2001). According to his financial disclosure form, the only alternative investment vehicle he currently has exposure to is a venture capital fund managed by Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Portfolio companies include several cleantech startups that have received Department of Energy loans, including Tesla Motors (TSLA) and BrightSource Energy.  Following the Solyndra bankruptcy, Gingrich called for the resignation of Energy Secretary Chu, adding that he "would have blocked any additional loan guarantees until a full investigation had taken place into the mismanagement and potential corruption in the loan for Solyndra."
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Commenting on his departure, Gingrich said, "I'm willing to lead but I'm not willing to preside over people who are cannibals. My only fear would be that if I tried to stay, it would just overshadow don't think such a man should be elected by either moderates or conservatives." The Presidency should not be handed to old, fat gasbags who have trouble applying the same rules that they imperiously bark out to others, while they themselves are guility of the same things with which they try to cudgel their political opponents.

— Politicarp

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