Gingrich 1, Pelosi 0


In an interview posted Monday by Talking Points Memo, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi crowed about the prospect of Newt Gingrich becoming the Republican nominee for president:

“I like Barney Frank’s quote the best, where he said ‘I never thought I’d live such a good life that I would see Newt Gingrich be the nominee of the Republican party,’” Pelosi said in an exclusive interview Friday. “That quote I think spoke for a lot of us.”

Pelosi didn’t go into detail about Gingrich’s past transgressions, but she tipped her hand. “One of these days we’ll have a conversation about Newt Gingrich,” Pelosi said. “I know a lot about him. I served on the investigative committee that investigated him, four of us locked in a room in an undisclosed location for a year. A thousand pages of his stuff.”

Pressed for more detail she wouldn’t go further.

“Not right here,” Pelosi joked. “When the time’s right.

(Emphases mine.)  Gingrich immediately pounced upon the hapless Pelosi – who was, let me remind America, voted into her position as Minority Leader by the Democrat Party caucus.  From Bloomberg News:

Gingrich, who was reprimanded by the House in 1997 after an ethics investigation, said members of Congress should bring charges against Pelosi, herself a former speaker, if she follows through on airing aspects of the probe.

“I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for what I regard as an early Christmas gift,” said Gingrich, taking questions from reporters in New York after meeting yesterday with real estate developer Donald Trump. “It tells you how capriciously political that committee was that she was on it. It tells you how tainted the outcome was that she was on it.”

Perhaps an expert in House ethics rules can help me out here.  Isn’t Pelosi violating them by merely making this threat?  Shouldn’t she become the target of an immediate and aggressive investigation to determine exactly what materials she is inappropriately holding in reserve?  She certainly isn’t doing much for public confidence in the transparency and professionalism of Congress.  The public is not exactly brimming with such confidence.

If nothing else, she exemplifies the casual corruption and astonishing arrogance of Democrat rule.  The former Speaker of the House thought nothing of boasting to a friendly media outlet that she thinks of sensitive House investigative materials as her personal dirty-tricks political arsenal.  Remember when Democrats made fun of Republicans for expressing concern about all the FBI files that mysteriously disappeared during the Clinton years?

A Pelosi spokesman rushed out to make the absolutely hilarious claim that she was “clearly referring to the extensive amount of information that is in the public record, including the comprehensive committee report with which the public may not be fully aware.” 

Sure she was.  Not for the first time, a frontal lobotomy would appear helpful for believing what Nancy Pelosi says.

Gingrich decisively won this little confrontation, and it will probably accelerate his rise in the polls.  He thinks fast and hits hard against Democrats, while remaining collegial and supportive of his Republican rivals for the nomination.

That doesn’t erase any of his negatives, including whatever a voter might make of the widely-reported results of his House ethics investigation, as summarized by Bloomberg News:

Pelosi sat on the panel, equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, that concluded Gingrich used tax-exempt contributions for political purposes and then misled congressional investigators about it. The charges stemmed from a college course Gingrich taught from 1993 to 1995 that was linked to GOPAC, his political action committee, in violation of federal laws barring the use of tax-exempt funds for partisan purposes.

Gingrich, 68, said yesterday he had turned over 1 million pages of material for the investigation, and that most of the charges against him were “repudiated as false.” He said that his “one mistake made was a letter written by a lawyer that I didn’t read carefully.”

And nobody’s going to forget about the infamous global-warming couch cuddle between Gingrich and Pelosi, which Gingrich now says was “the dumbest single thing I’ve done.”  Admitting this doesn’t ease the sting of stupidity, especially since it was only three years ago.  He says he raised objections to appearing with Pelosi at the time, but what he said was at least as objectionable as who he appeared with, especially as the “Climategate 2.0” scandal is blowing the global-warming scam out of the water.

On the other hand, voters respond to Gingrich’s erudition, quick wit, and hunger for battle with the Democrat-media complex.  They like the way he never seems at a loss for words, even if some of his words might have been better off getting lost.  (Community boards handing out citizenship for illegal aliens?  Really?  What bothers me most about that bit of Gingrich spotlight weirdness is the very uncharacteristic sense that he didn’t think it through at all.)

It’s characteristic of the Internet flame-war style that so many people think a candidate must be either a paragon or a rogue, and his strengths can’t be discussed without the ritual invocation of his weaknesses.  I’ve always thought it was wise to learn from both, and labored under the (perhaps mistaken) assumption that every campaign hires people to do so.  What Gingrich does well is very difficult for a candidate who doesn’t already have his educational and political background to emulate.  There’s nothing mysterious about the allure of someone who loves to debate – who arguably lives to debate – and comes to the arena of ideas heavily armed.     

At a moment when things are going badly wrong in this country, and the current President has absolutely no ideas beyond taxing and spending at epic levels, the attention of primary voters has been captured by a human Pez dispenser of books and policy papers.  He could blow his lead by dispensing too many questionable ideas, and it’s past time for him to settle on a focused, easily presented platform of specifics that he pushes with “999 Plan” intensity.  (Did you know Gingrich has a dramatic flat-tax proposal?  Why doesn’t he ever talk about it, except for a brief mention when Rick Perry rolled his own flat tax out?  And while we’re on the subject, why doesn’t Rick Perry ever talk about his flat tax proposal anymore?)

But as Nancy Pelosi just learned to her cost, the one thing Gingrich never does is what has dethroned each of the other GOP frontrunners to date: freeze.