Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 6, 2010

WHY IS NEWT ON MY TEEVEE?.... Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) was on NBC's "Today" show earlier, ostensibly to offer some support for beleaguered RNC Chairman Michael Steele. Gingrich suggested it's "foolish" for Republicans to focus on Steele's scandals when "it's better to focus on Democrats."

But while he was there, the former Speaker also shared his thoughts on the Affordable Care Act.

"First of all, this is a really bad bill. The more we learn about it, the worse it is. If you say to the average American do you really want to have 16,000 more IRS agents as a brand-new health police? They're going to say, 'No.'"

Gingrich also appeared on "Fox & Friends" this morning, and made a nearly identical claim.

Two quick thoughts here. First, Gingrich is lying about the IRS agents. It's not even close to being true. FactCheck.org scrutinized the charge last week and concluded that's a "wildly inaccurate claim," predicated on "outright misrepresentation." Every objective analysis of the claim has found it unsupportable. Newt's casual disregard for reality continues to be tiresome.

Second, why is Newt Gingrich on "Today" in the first place? The pseudo-intellectual clown hasn't held public office since the '90s. He was driven from his leadership post in disgrace -- by members of his own party -- nearly 12 years ago.

Will "Today" also call on former House Speakers Jim Wright (D-Texas) and Tom Foley (D-Wash.) for their thoughts on current events? (For the record, I can't find any record of either of them appearing on "Today" at any point in the last 15 years.)

I'm not especially surprised -- "Meet the Press" had Gingrich on as a guest five times in 2009, more than any other any other political figure in the United States -- but it's frustrating, especially when his bogus claims go unchecked on the air.

Steve Benen 2:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

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Comments

Newt is on TV because he doesn't foam at the mouth, scream for someone's head and presents himself as a reasonable human being. He can spout the talking points and is looking to get back into power. I think he's trying for Mr. Steele's position.

Plus he has a lotta free time to fill.

Posted by: JC1089 on April 6, 2010 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

speaking of nutty GOP tricks, did anything come of that tea party fandango that Sarah Palin helped host in Harry Reid's home town? or did it all just fizzle out?

Posted by: bdbd on April 6, 2010 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Did the "journalist" interviewing Newt call him on his claim about IRS health police? No? Why not? Isn't that failure the real issue?

If NBC invites a known liar to talk they shouldn't let him lie.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 6, 2010 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

The funny thing is, my answer to his question of whether I would like to see 16,500 new IRS agents is "Yes."

Posted by: Virginia on April 6, 2010 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

The only reason they got Newt is because John McCain was out trying to hock his old Maverick.

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on April 6, 2010 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

A carnival barker? At the side-show? How inappropriate!

Posted by: SW on April 6, 2010 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't that be "disgraced Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich"?

The difference between Newt and John Edwards is that Newt's wife died. John Edwards is ashamed to show his face in public, but Newt's on my TeeVee.

Posted by: Ralph Kramden on April 6, 2010 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

GE should be ashamed!

Posted by: SW on April 6, 2010 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, Newt is the deepest thinker in the Republican party. That's why they keep putting him on TV despite his ethical and moral handicaps and total irrelevance to today's Republican Party.

Posted by: atlliberal on April 6, 2010 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Why is Newt on the TeeVee?

To keep the commercials separated- otherwise it's just one, day long infomercial. . .

Posted by: DAY on April 6, 2010 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Hec, if they want to talk to a disgraced former republican congressman about healthcare, they should call up Dave Durenberger. At least he knows something about it. A lot, as a matter of fact. And he's bi-partisan!

Posted by: gbear on April 6, 2010 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

NEWT GINGRICH -- THE FUTURE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

Yahoo!

Posted by: neill on April 6, 2010 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Someone had a good post on another site- Barack should push back hard- hold a press conference say newt is lying and then invite to the White House the next day with the press in attendance and ask newtie to prove it.

Posted by: Cal on April 6, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Newt's all they got.

Posted by: nenabeans on April 6, 2010 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

For comedic effect Steve Benen pretended to wonder: "... why is Newt Gingrich on 'Today' in the first place?"

Because the whole and entire purpose of the corporate-owned mass media is to propagandize the American people in furtherance of the ruthless, relentless, rapacious, reactionary class warfare of America's Ultra-Rich Ruling Class, Inc. against everyone else -- and that's what Newt Gingrich does for a living.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 6, 2010 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Disgraced and discarded Republicans never lose their lustre.

Disgraced Democrats, like Eliot Sptizer, no matter how illustrious,or intellectual, often fade into oblivion. He doesn't get much air time.

Isn't having an adulturous affair with someone in your office, as Gingrich did, while whopping up Clinton's impeachment over Monica rather disgraceful too? But that doesn't keep him off the air.

I guess there's Rethug disgrace and then there's Democratic disgrace. I guess we have to try and see the difference.

Posted by: rrk1 on April 6, 2010 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

A major difference here, Steve. Tom Foley was not driven from his post out of disgrace. He lost because of a concerted effort by Gottlieb's Second Amendment group of NRA gun nuts who were infuriated by Foley's courageous vote for the Brady Bill. He went on to serve his country as the Ambassador to Japan.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 6, 2010 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Why is Newt on the TeeVee?

The rest of them are all back home lying except the respectable Dr Coburn who apparently self medicated himself with valium to control the excess foam from his mouth.

Posted by: flyonthewall on April 6, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

People who are afraid of the IRS probably have something to hide. If Gingrich hates the IRS, then 16,000 IRS agents is not a bad idea, perhaps the corporations and idle rich would then be inducec to pay their taxes.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on April 6, 2010 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Did the "journalist" interviewing Newt call him on his claim about IRS health police? No? Why not? Isn't that failure the real issue?

It wasn't a journalist, it was Matt Lauer. And no, he didn't call Newt on his lie. Newt's big lie, being the first thing out of his mouth today, actually made me sit up and spew coffee. It was so blatant.

Of course, with no functioning political press to call him on it, there's no consequence at all for lying. Just a couple of mentions in left wing blogs.

Posted by: Jack Lindahl on April 6, 2010 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

I just googled 16,000 new irs agents. The top 4 sites affirmed thats the plan.
The dems are not getting the truth out. The repubs are winning the propaganda war.

Posted by: edr on April 6, 2010 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

The real question then is why was Matt Lauer allowed to interview Newt. The producer had to know that Newt was likely to lie.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 6, 2010 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

I just grab 'em by the tail and toss 'em back out in the yard. Don't make sense to kill 'em; zombie newts is much worser.

Posted by: cr on April 6, 2010 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

It's like they have a Wheel of Commentators, Newt is right next to Bankrupt(Karl Rove) and O'Reilly is on the Free Spin slot. Lauer is such a hack. Someone should buy him a softball team.

Posted by: johnnymags on April 6, 2010 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

These shows need to start disclosing who these pundits lobby for.

Posted by: John Henry on April 6, 2010 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

"If you say to the average American do you really want to have 16,000 more IRS agents as a brand-new health police? They're going to say, 'No.'" - Newt the serial adulterer.

Steve, that's not false. Only the implication that it's in the bill is false. Newt would just say he'd didn't claim 16,000 IRS agents was in the bill, only that Americans would oppose it.

Posted by: Lance on April 6, 2010 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

He should get his own show called "Eye of Newt"!

Each week he can "burn a witch", etc..

What a fat and limp little dildo Newt has turn out to be.

Posted by: Trollopoly on April 6, 2010 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Agree with atliberal that Gingrich is taken very seriously within GOP as a kind of house intellectual - a rarity bordering on extinction - and is therefore also taken seriously by mainstream media. And I'd wager a quarter that he will run for the White House in 2012, betting that Palin won't, taking her support and activist constituency, and thus having inside track to nomination over Romney.

Posted by: Bill on April 6, 2010 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

If you say to the average American "do you really want to have fleshy-headed mutants erupting out of suppurating sores in your flesh as a result of this health reform legislation?" they're going to say, 'No.'

Hey, that's kind of fun. I see why Newt does it. Can I go on the "Today" show, too?

Posted by: josef on April 6, 2010 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Newt is the kind of corporatist neocon the owners of those media shows want the public to listen to. It's almost that simple.
(Steve, friendly advice: I figure it's a style and purpose thing to present such developments in a hands-off, Socratic style in which you show disdain but let us realize and comment on the whys of it. But why not burnish your look of savvy, to go ahead and say things like this? tx.)

Posted by: neil b. on April 6, 2010 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Disgraced former Speaker of the House Newt apparently never even learned that once a "bill" in Congress is passed and signed into law, it is no longer a bill, it is a law.

Posted by: Vile Whig on April 6, 2010 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

16,000 new IRS agents"?!?

I say, bring 'em on. Every time I have called the IRS, they have been unfailingly helpful and polite. The only complaint is that the "lines" are so long. More people to answer the phones, help fix problems? Great!

Sadly, it's all just a figment of Newtie's fevered imagination.

Posted by: Zandru on April 6, 2010 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

I just posted on Matt's Facebook page asking how on earth he could let Newt get away with that remark.

Posted by: lisaintexas on April 6, 2010 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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