Blaming Newt Gingrich for DC dysfunctionalism?

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The Christian Science Monitor does its bit for the MSM narrative that Republicans are the cause of everything evil in Washington, D.C., both in the past and today. In an article on why Congress is so dysfunctional, partisan, and petty, Brad Knickerbocker lays the blame on Newt Gingrich, of course, quoting a former GOP House aide who says

[Things] began to change, political analysts note, when former Rep. Newt Gingrich assumed House leadership in 1995.

"Newt was a ‘take no prisoners' kind of Speaker," former GOP congressional staff member John Lawing told Capitol Hill Blue, a non-partisan political web site. "For him everything was personal and partisan."

That's funny, I would have thought one could just as easily have traced a poisionous political partisanship to the saintly Democrats' character assassination of Robert Bork during his 1987 Supreme Court hearings. As reporters without an ideological axe to grind may remember, liberal groups trolled through Bork's video-store rental records, looking for dirt with which to smear him; television ads portraying him as an extremist ran in major markets; and the Democratic-majority Judiciary Committee staff thoroughly and with complete professional negligence misrepresented his record.

But all that paled in comparison to one of the most dishonest and scurrilous speeches ever delivered on the floor of the U.S. Senate, when Ted Kennedy showed the the moral vaccum of his character by declaiming that 

Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids . .

Republicans were quite rightly stunned. The finest legal mind in America had been viciously attacked and his personal and professional reputation destroyed by those who saw politics as just another battlefield for power, whatever the cost. To impressionable young Democrats and Republicans alike, the message was clear, all the more so in that the tactic was successful. Back then no one may have heard of Saul Alinsky, but the tactics were the same and have now become the favored weapon of Barack Obama and today's Democratic party, and used, as well, by Republicans when it suits them. You sow what you reap, and the country has paid a price ever since.

 

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Michael
Auslin
  • Michael Auslin is a resident scholar and the director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies Asian regional security and political issues.


    Before joining AEI, he was an associate professor of history at Yale University. A prolific writer, Auslin is a biweekly columnist for The Wall Street Journal Asia, which is distributed globally on wsj.com. His longer writings include the book “Pacific Cosmopolitans: A Cultural History of U.S.-Japan Relations” (Harvard University Press, 2011) and the study “Security in the Indo-Pacific Commons: Toward a Regional Strategy” (AEI Press, 2010). He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, a Marshall Memorial Fellow by the German Marshall Fund, and a Fulbright and Japan Foundation Scholar.


    Auslin has a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an M.A. from Indiana University at Bloomington, and a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University.


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