Well Mr. Gingrich Didn’t Last Long, Did He
[Editor's note: This is why The Dismal Political Economist is so upset with the Washington Post these days. It was once a great investigative newspaper, and even now it still has flashes of its former glory in stories like the one that is discussed in the following post.]
As Republicans went from one alternative to Mitt Romney to another, examining and then discarding Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain, the last folks standing were Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. That Republicans chose to focus on Mr. Gingrich says volumes about the qualities of the other three. And for a brief moment Mr. Gingrich has surged, and is even reported to be leading in some polls.
Now a story in the Washington Post will likely put an end to the short romance with Mr. Gingrich. Why? If there is one thing Republicans hate more than anything else it is the health insurance mandate in the health care proposal that Democrats and Mr. Obama proposed and enacted. The requirement that all individuals have health care insurance is such an abomination to Republicans that even Mr. Romney, who made that a central part of his health care plan while Governor of Massachusetts has condemned it.
The report about Mr. Gingrich and a consulting/pay for access firm he set up, the Center for Health Transformation, says .
A think tank founded by GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich collected at least $37 million over the past eight years from major health-care companies and industry groups, offering special access to the former House speaker and other perks, according to records and interviews.
Ok, that’s not a problem. Making millions off of their past service as elected officials is something all politicians of all political persuasion do, although Republicans and Conservatives seem especially good at it. In fact, the fact that Mr. Gingrich made millions selling access to himself and others should boost his standing in the Republican electorate.
No, the problem is this.
The health center advocated, among other things, requiring that “anyone who earns more than $50,000 a year must purchase health insurance or post a bond,” a type of insurance mandate that has since become anathema to conservatives.
The group also pushed proposals to build centralized electronic medical records and use such data to research treatment effectiveness, both central features of President Obama’s health-care reforms.
How bad is it, well the Center is trying to re-write history
The Gingrich health center’s support for such a mandate was part of an “Insure All Americans” plan that appears to have disappeared from the center’s Web site Thursday.
apparently forgetting that once something has been posted to the Net, you really cannot erase its existence by taking it down. This is not 1984.
The candidacy of Mr. Gingrich descends further into farce with this
“I am completely opposed to the Obamacare mandate on individuals,” he says in a recent campaign video. “I fought it for 2 1/2 years at the Center for Health Transformation.”
Of course, that would be after he spent far more than 2 ½ years supporting it.
And as far as the tens of millions of dollars Mr. Gingrich made from the Center and other similar organizations, even more farcical is this
Rick Tyler, a longtime Gingrich spokesman who left as part of a staff exodus from the campaign over the summer, said the think tank “was very successful financially” and played a vital role in promoting free-market solutions for the health-care system. He said Gingrich could have easily cashed in as a registered lobbyist after leaving Congress but chose to try to shape the debate over major public policies instead.
“I don’t think Newt was trying to be an influence-peddler,”
said. “If he had wanted to do that, he could have done that, and he would have been rewarded handsomely for it, I’m sure.” Tyler
which is noteworthy because (a) Newt was being an influence-peddler, (b) he was handsomely rewarded for it and (c) his spokesman apparently sees nothing wrong with being an influence peddler, that he and Newt probably think it is an honorable profession.
There are unconfirmed rumors that Mr. Perry, Mr. Cain and Ms. Bachmann have scheduled a “welcome back to the back of the pack” party for Mr. Gingrich. Details and a list of invitees to come later.