Of all the odd phenomena in Republican Washington, perhaps the most inexplicable is the party’s embrace of Newt Gingrich–a man who hasn’t been elected to political office since the kids still listened to Fastball–as a man of ideas and political relevance. Today they turned to him to articulate some of those ideas before a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing on climate change legislation. We liked this exchange between Gingrich and committee chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) in particular:
“The problem with these numbers is that they’re simply not true…. When the American people hear the statements that you have made, they get scared. Which is exactly what I think is intended. Let’s scare people. This is not a new tactic.”
We’ve reported extensively on the Republicans’ mischaracterization of the MIT study Waxman cites. And despite repeated attempts by the study’s author to set the record straight, the GOP continues to say it says things it doesn’t actually say.
Gingrich also cites a Weekly Standard article and a study by the supply-side economist Arthur Laffer among others. But more on those later. For now, though it should be clear (if it wasn’t already) that Newt Gingrich isn’t a pure conservative man of ideas, untouched by Republican party orthodoxy, and that he drops the ruse entirely when Republicans think they’ve come up with a really, really good talking point.