Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Newt Tells the Truth

Newt Gingrich likes to compare himself to Winston Churchill,
shown here in 1939, London, England, UK, when 

he was First Lord of the Admiralty.  
Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS  
By Mary Claire Kendall

It’s been quite a month.

After Newt’s distant fourth-place finish in Iowa, the former House Speaker vowed to “tell the truth” about former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.  

“We are not going to go out and run nasty ads, but I do reserve the right to tell the truth,” he told less than 100 supporters just before jetting out of Des Moines.  “If the truth seems negative, that may be more a comment on his [Romney’s] record than the nature of politics.”

Oh, but it’s been nasty. 

To win South Carolina, Newt’s “independent”—wink, wink, nod, nod—super PAC carpet-bombed the state with a 27-minute video accusing Mitt of “predatory” business practices. So says former Newt confidant, now independent Newt super PAC head, Rick Tyler. 

After Newt won South Carolina, he couldn’t be bothered with that insignificant former Governor sharing the debate stage with him.

Whatever happened to Reagan’s 11th commandment?  In the heat of battle, you lob attacks, based on a candidate’s record, and defend yourself when you think you’ve been unfairly attacked. But, once the battle’s been waged, you observe all the niceties.

Not Newt.   He routinely calls Mitt a “liar,” brandishing his political knife aimed squarely at the Gov, acting just like a Shark in a scene straight out of West Side Story.

But, cross over into Brooklyn to a far different 50s reality—the set of “I Love Lucy”—and you’ll find imaginatively fertile higher ground to help Republicans live the 11th commandment. 

Take a glimpse of “Lucy Tells the Truth,” first airing on November 9, 1953. Ricky and the Mertzes are fed up with Lucy’s constant fibbing.  She had just finished embellishing the truth, saying she played a starring role in Oklahoma.

You know—like when Newt compares himself to historic leaders such as Winston Churchill.

Inspired by this episode, Mitt, being the solutions-oriented businessman he is, decided to accept Newt’s Lincoln-Douglas debate challenge. The only catch is, just like Ricky and the Mertzes, who bet Lucy she couldn’t tell just the truth for 24 hours, Newt had to tell the truth no matter what.  Here are a few snippets from that debate.



The Romney-Gingrich Lincoln-Douglas-style debate is just starting.  All eyes are on the former Speaker as Mitt Romney addresses a question to him.
Mr. Speaker, you said Freddie Mac paid you
$1.6 million to provide historical commentary. 
Wasn’t that a bit of a stretch?  Some could
even say, well, you were lying—something
you often accuse me of?

Gingrich nervously fidgets and looks at Mitt Romney, who is trying to suppress a smile.

CLOSE-UP: Beads of sweat popping out on Newt’s brow as, for once, he’s speechless.

                                      MITT ROMNEY
                             Mr. Speaker, was it a lie?

                                      NEWT GINGRICH
                            OK, it was a bit of a stretch. But, this is Washington. 
                            Stretches are our stock in trade.

                                      MITT ROMNEY
                   You mean you didn't tell the the whole truth? 

                                      NEWT GINGRICH
                             Well, if you seem shocked by it… yes... I could 
                             have provided a more precise definition.  But,
                             historical commentary is what I do best.  It fit.

CLOSE-SHOT: Ron Paul’s eyes bugging out.


The debate continues.  Newt is sweating profusely.
Mr. Speaker, you said you were a Goldwater
Republican at the first Florida debate, but in
1988 when that wasn’t too cool, you bragged
you were actually a Rockefeller Republican.  
Which one is it?

Gingrich nervously fidgets and looks at Rick Santorum, who is all eyes.

                                      NEWT GINGRICH
                             Neither.  But, it seemed right in the moment.

That’s what you accuse me of! Isn’t that
a little hypocritical?
Newt sheepishly nods his head.

CLOSE-SHOT: Rick Santorum’s eyes bugging out.
          FADE OUT.

Now back to reality where Reagan’s 11th commandment is being ripped to shreds.  (Newt didn’t even congratulate the Gov” for his landslide win in the Sunshine State.)

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

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