Skip to content

Gingrich Doubles Down

Today, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich attacked current Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling for an investigation. “I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her. And I think this is a big deal. I don’t think the speaker of the House can lie to the country on national security matters,” Gingrich said in an interview with ABC Radio.

Gingrich, of course, is using all the typical slimy techniques:

  • Reframing the conversation from whether or not the Bush administration flagrantly broke the law and if they should be investigated, to whether or not Democrats knew that Bush was breaking the law and if the Democrats should be investigated for that!
  • Transparently threatening that if Congress actually does its job and investigates illegal and even treasonous behavior by the Bush Administration, that he will make sure that Congress (and the Dems) will also get dragged into the gutter with them.
  • Bullying Pelosi, to make her look weak. Gingrich called Pelosi a “trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes” and accused her of engaging in a “despicable, dishonest, and vicious political effort”. Vicious?

If you watch this interview with Democratic strategist Paul Begala and former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, it is clear that the Republicans are terrified that Congress is going to investigate the Bush administration for the use of torture. The amazing hypocrisy is that they are simultaneously claiming that the Bush administration did nothing illegal or even immoral, but Pelosi should have said or done something because she knew that they were doing something illegal and immoral.

Personally, I think Pelosi should agree with them and call for an investigation, as long as it also includes a full investigation into what the Bush administration did, including things like outing of Valerie Plame, lies told to the American people, and the use of torture. But she probably won’t, so the really ironic thing is that Gingrich’s craven ploy might just work.

UPDATE: Salon has a good analysis of the whole ploy, which they call “Cheney’s torture trap for Democrats”.

UPDATE 2: Matthew Yglesias points out that the conservative attack on Nancy Pelosi will actually increase the chance of an investigation into Bush administration war crimes. But the conservatives can’t help themselves — they love attacking Democrats too much. They would probably put a gun to their own heads and pull the trigger if they thought the bullet would come out the other side and hit Pelosi in the arm.



  1. Sammy wrote:

    I think you missed an important point. Of course, we don’t know if Pelosi is lying or if she was lied to, but Leon Panetta answered the question of whether Pelosi lied by not answering the question. He merely stated, “It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress.” He didn’t say the CIA hadn’t mislead in THAT case, just that it’s not their policy.

    Here is the link:

    Friday, May 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Permalink
  2. Sammy wrote:

    However, Pelosi does herself no favors with her painful vocal delivery and her maddening habit of taking five pages of (confusing) written material to say what could’ve been said in two paragraphs. Even if she’s being truthful, she comes off as evasive.

    Friday, May 15, 2009 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    The Dems do have an uncanny knack of making themselves look bad/weak/whiney/evasive, especially when responding to Republican attacks.

    Friday, May 15, 2009 at 9:25 pm | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee. So true: the Dems seem to assume that any of the rules of decorum in public debate are still valid. The Reps have learned that the seeming bulk of the great unwashed–us–can be impressed by false bravado, swagger, and bullying. (I say “seeming” there because I believe that that rhetoric is finally backfiring, if a slow backfire is possible…)

    Does this remind anyone else of a schoolyard? I’m back to my plea that we grow up, and see the uncivilized for who they really are–those who use intimidation and righteousness to replace civilized discourse on complex problems.

    Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 2:59 am | Permalink
  5. Donna wrote:

    I agree with all comments above with the addition of WHY is there so much focus on Pelosi!? For fuck’s sake, could someone please shine a bigger, more focused light on Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzolez, BUSH and all those other architects of this horror?
    Attacking Pelosi is such a ridiculous diversionary bs tactic.
    Yeah a school yard and these children are more insanely cruel than usual.

    Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 4:06 am | Permalink
  6. starluna wrote:

    Donna – maybe because the mainstream media is part of the vast right wing conspiracy.

    I only say that half joking. Yesterday on NPR, Sen. Bob Graham, who is apparently widely known to take detailed notes of all meetings, showed that the CIA was not truthful in those meetings. The CIA didn’t even have the correct dates for the meetings that allegedly happened. But, except for a brief mention in an article almost entirely focused on Pelosi in the NYT today, no one seems to be talking about it. At least not in the newspapers. I don’t watch TV news (except for PBS when I have time) so I don’t know what the networks have been saying.

    Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 6:31 am | Permalink
  7. Donna wrote:

    Starluna, I don’t watch TV either and saw no mention of Graham’s notes in the Globe. Maybe I just missed it but, without being front page above the fold, I’m sure a lot of other people have as well. Republicans may be fumbling now but in general they are real pros at getting their message out there, loud and repeated constantly. And our “liberal” media faithfully reports.

    Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 4:03 am | Permalink
  8. starluna wrote:

    Donna, I searched the Globe too and found nothing. Not even a copy of the NYT article. Sad, isn’t it.

    Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 11:25 am | Permalink

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. Political Irony › Political Torture on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    […] an article about Newt Gingrich attacking Pelosi. Close Bookmark and Share This Page Save to Browser Favorites / […]