Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 3, 2010

GINGRICH AND HIS BIG-GOVERNMENT SOLUTIONS.... The uproar over converting a closed Manhattan clothing store into a community center has been a little quiet this week, but disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) is still full of ideas.

For example, ol' Newt now believes Congress can designate Ground Zero as "a national battlefield memorial because I think we should think of the World Trade Center as a battlefield site." Putting aside whether this is a good idea or not, even if Congress did as Gingrich suggests, it wouldn't make any difference -- because no one is talking about building the community center at Ground Zero.

But wait, there's more. Gingrich believes there are all kinds of options for government intervention.

"The Attorney General of New York, Andrew Cuomo, could intervene because frankly he has the ability to slow it down for decades if he wants to."

And, if the federal government doesn't intervene, and the state government declines to use its regulatory and enforcement powers to delay a private development project, Gingrich says the mayor should step in.... In fact, on whatever level, Gingrich thinks government intervention is the answer.

"There are a number of different steps that could be taken. There's no reason this has to occur and whether it's city, state, or federal there are plenty of ways for America to stop it," Gingrich said.

I see. So, to summarize, one of the Republicans' leading far-right voices wants big government to intervene to prevent development of private property, as part of a larger effort to deny Americans their religious liberty.

At the same time, Gingrich has no qualms about attacking the president as some kind of communist. Isn't cognitive dissonance amusing?

Steve Benen 1:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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Republicans: Govn't only role is to protect the perks of business and limit peoples rights.

Posted by: mikefromArlington on September 3, 2010 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

The government already has stepped in: It approved the zoning.

Posted by: martin on September 3, 2010 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

You say "disinenuous hypocrital media whore hack" like it's a bad thing.

Posted by: ManOutOfTime on September 3, 2010 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

"it wouldn't make any difference -- because no one is talking about building the community center at Ground Zero."

Given that they are unlikely to make an entire 2-4 square block area (including strip clubs) into a "battlefield monument", any designated area wouldn't include this community center.

Newt knows this. He's playing to the cheap seats. "Let's get the ignoramuses all het up, turn out the reactionary vote in November."

Posted by: flubber on September 3, 2010 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

It's actually worse than you think. Gingrich is seeking to have Ground Zero designated as a "national battlefield memorial" because he thinks this will allow the government to control all the land use near it, including the Burlington Coat Factory building.

Imagine Newt Gingrich advocating the federal government be put in charge of controlling and authorizing all development in lower Manhattan - all so that he can give al-Qaeda the battle they've been itching for all along.

Posted by: JohnC on September 3, 2010 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, make it a national monument for a four-block radius.

Then evacuate all residents and business, and disallow traffic flow.

Maybe leave the strip club, though.

Posted by: Z. Mulls on September 3, 2010 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Unless we want more of this, GOTV people! Endless subpoenas heralding calls for a showboat impeachment trial, completely shutting down the government (except, of course, for checks to the politicians' who actually do the shutting down), abolishing social security and medicare/caid. These are just a few of the fun items that the Republicans have planned for us. GET INVOLVED NOW. Call, knock on doors, give money, help out if/where you can. go to http://my.barackobama.com and start something. They can't stop democracy in action. "ACTION" being the key word. I don't know about you, but I am not ready for world where John Boner is the speaker of the House and the main agenda items are scrapping Affordable Health Care and Wall Street Reform.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on September 3, 2010 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's just a semantics problem. When conservatives say 'small' they mean 'white' and when they say 'big' they mean 'minority.'

If government intervention aids the downtrodden and oppressed white man, Newt's all for it. If it helps anyone with melanin, it's socialism.

Posted by: doubtful on September 3, 2010 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think they should turn the entirety of Manhattan into an enormous prison. Just make sure Kurt Russell is on hand in case Air Force One goes down in Hall's Kitchen.

Posted by: chrenson on September 3, 2010 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Why would making it a national battlefield have any effect? We have a statue of the traitor general Robert E Lee at Gettysburg. No general in history has ever killed more American soldiers than Lee, yet we have a statue of him at the very site he killed tens of thousands of American soldiers. How is that not offensive? Quite frankly, we should have a statue of bin Laden at Ground Zero if we have a statue of Lee at Gettysburg. At least bin Laden has killed a lot less Americans than Lee did.

Posted by: fostert on September 3, 2010 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Reply to mikefromArlington: That is the exact definition of FASCISM, which is also known as NAZIISM -- the merger of state and corporate power. Remember: the ONLY real difference between fascism and Naziism is that Nazis are notoriously ANTI-SEMITIC. Furthermore, in all fascist regimes, unions are either nonexistent or SEVERELY SUPPRESSED, and the common working class individual has NO RIGHTS, FREEDOMS OR LIBERTIES outside of those that the state and its corporate benefactors choose to give him (or her).

Posted by: Rich S. on September 3, 2010 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Well yes that's amusing but I love Bloomberg on Jon Stewart last week that said 'nobody believes that the GOP actually CARES if the mosque (or community center is built near Ground Zero'...what they believe is that it is a political rallying care and after the election they will move on to something ELSE to blame Obama for...so they are just finishing the plans, permits and funding while the crazies rant and then in November they'll start again...gotta love someone who knows and says what everyone is thinking...

Posted by: SYSPROG on September 3, 2010 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Gringrich's comments are too stupid to merit a retort.

Posted by: Winkandanod on September 3, 2010 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, New York is a battlefield. During the Revolution Washington was almost captured when the British landed at Kips Bay, behind the American lines on Manhattan. The American troops panicked and ran, to Washington's disgust. He lost his temper and for a moment was about to fight the British by himself (and be either killed or captured) until cooler heads prevailed and he was persuaded to retreat with the Army.

They moved uptown (OK, it wasn't uptown then) onto Harlem Heights. A skirmish line at the base of the heights was attack by a British forced and retreated up the hill. To express his contempt for the Yanks, the British officer had the hunting horn sounded. Washington answered the taunt with a counterattack with everything he had. The Americans charged down the slope and routed the small British force. The hunting horns were not heard again.

There is a plaque taking note of the battle at Columbia University.

One of the largest surrenders in American history occurred when Fort Washington was besieged and could not be evacuated from northern Manhattan.

Prior to all this Manhattan action, the Battle of Long Island was fought in Brooklyn.

Gingrich doesn't seem to know how battlefield memorials are created. Following battles in the Civil War, the dead had to buried quickly. At Gettysburg, there was actually a cemetery where the thousands of slain could be buried, but on most battlefields, the bodies were collected and interred with little ceremony on whatever open ground was available. The impromptu cemeteries were subsequently claimed by the federal government and made official. It is the cemeteries that were actually the battlefield memorials at first, not the ground surrounding them, much of which was developed for commercial or residential purposes, no doubt including some places of worship (other than those on the field at the time, like the Dunker Church at Antietam).

Take the hallowed ground at Fredericksburg,Virginia, where the Irish Brigade was bled white in a series of charges up Marye's Heights by Confederate troops entrenched along the sunken road. In an hour the Union forces lost 3,000 men, but the attacks and killing went on until dusk, producing thousands more casualties.

The ground the troops died on is now covered by a typical suburban neighborhood, where children play in back yards that once soaked up (mostly) U.S. Army blood.

The following note appears on the National Park Service's website for Fredericksburg: "30 acres of Civil War battlefield land is destroyed every day." Real hallowed ground, not old warehouses nearby.

Posted by: Edward Furey on September 3, 2010 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

And... and... and if the president and the governor and the attorney general and the mayor won't do it, there's the Manhattan borough president. And after that, there's that guy who sells hot dogs at the corner of... Oh, and then there's...

Posted by: tamiasmin on September 3, 2010 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Consider what they're actually building at Ground Zero, the site Krauthamer described as "sacred, hallowed, a tomb, a grave."

A shopping center.

A parking garage.

And four highrise office buildings.

'Cause nothing says 'sacred' or 'hallowed' like high-density real estate development.

Posted by: bwana on September 3, 2010 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Good post. Reminds me of the Terry Shiavo fiasco, where big government got off our backs, and MANY other republican 'not what I do, do what I say' theatrics.

Posted by: losamigos on September 3, 2010 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

It is sad that so many of the GOP don't have the brains god gave a goose(as my grand ma used to say). They just don't seem to listen to the crap coming out of their own mouths, which bypassed their brain completly.

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Posted by: jian on September 3, 2010 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Amusing" isn't the correct term. "Typical" is the term you are looking for. Gingrich believes in government of the people, for the people, and by the people, he really does. He just needs to remind everyone who "people" refer to. 'Cause everyone knows blacks, American Indians, Muslims, Jews, and women aren't really people. We've just let them believe that they are and Newt(ered) is taking the opportunity to remind us of this fact once again.

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