Newt Gingrich: It Depends on What the Meaning of "Lobbyist" Is:
Here's a September 19, 2007 UPI headline: "Gingrich lobbies for health insurance plan." The first line of the article: "Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich Wednesday lobbied Congress to support a health insurance measure he said would aid children." UPI was never asked to retract the story.
The only moment worth a damn in last night's endless, dull, repetitive, pathetic, bullshit debate in Tampa, Florida, was when Mitt Romney finally put down the juice box, grabbed a bottle of caffeine-free root beer, and went at Newt Gingrich like he wanted to start a bar fight. Gingrich kept insisting that he was not a lobbyist. That may be true in the technical sense that he was never given that title. But if you get paid for fixing people's pipes, you sure as shit are a plumber, even if you're not licensed.
Romney changed it up with the phrase "influence-peddler," attacking Gingrich for his work with the Center for Health Transformation, a "think tank" that Gingrich founded. Gingrich tried to play his tired "I'm just a citizen" routine to respond, but Romney pounced, saying, in essence, "No, you lying shitball, you're not just an ordinary citizen. You're the former Speaker of the House. If Johnny Underwater Homeowner calls up Congressman Dickbag's office, he'll be told to come to a townhall meeting. You dial Dickbag's cell phone directly."
CHT, for instance, has corporate members paying specifically for access to Gingrich. Is that because he's such a fucking genius? Is that worth $200,000 a year in dues? Or is it because he's got access? (By the way, the awesomest membership "benefit" you can have as a CHT member? "Discounts on Gingrich Group workshops and products." That's like saying, "Not only do you have to talk to Newt Gingrich, but he'll punch you in the tit, too.")
It's like they don't even understand what lobbying is, according to this October 22, 2007, Atlanta Journal-Constitution article: "[Wayne] Oliver, the project director in Atlanta, said the center's officials appear before lawmakers or other decision-makers but do not advocate specific legislation. Rather, he said, they expound on 'big ideas' to solve complicated problems. Likewise, he said, meetings that bring together members and public officials are 'solution-driven.'
"'We're really not lobbying,' Oliver said. 'We do play in the political sandbox, if you will, because that's where you can have an impact.'"
That's fucking called "lobbying." Companies that hired Gingrich or his "groups" did because his influence carried weight: "Gingrich's consulting firm, a precursor to the center, had a client, Millennium Plastics, that expected the firm would help it break into the lucrative government contracting business, according to a 2001 news release by the company."
How much more evidence do you want? Howzabout this from 2004, when CHT was started: "'Gingrich's center is a 'brilliantly packaged way of offering his services as former speaker and a man who can open doors to push along what he calls health transformation,' said Joseph Antos, a health policy expert at the American Enterprise Institute. 'In other words, lobbying.'"
But, you know, in a way that avoids scrutiny because of pesky ethics laws. "'He's making more money than he ever thought possible and doesn't have to tell everybody where it's coming from,' marveled former adviser Rich Galen. 'He has the amount of influence he chooses to have. I suspect there is virtually no one in this town of either party who will not take a call from Newt Gingrich, if only to hear what he has to say.'"
Everyone knows it's lobbying. And why does that matter? Because that means that Gingrich is a bought and paid for corporate whore. He's just one of those chatty whores who wants to talk about his kids before he sucks your cock. You listen only because he sucks it so good.
It was essentially a money fight on the stage in Tampa last night. The really rich fuck versus the really, really rich fuck. But, and the Rude Pundit's not proud about this, Romney landing a blow that actually rattled Gingrich gave him a momentary thrill, a bit of wood, even. It was fleeting, yes, but goddamn, it's sweet to see someone punch that white-domed phlegm globule right in his cash sack.
Oh, one last thing: Here's how the crazy conservative Weekly Standard mocked Gingrich's launching of the Committee for New American Leadership back on January 31, 2000: "Yet another anti-Beltway K Street lobby group run by people who've lived in Washington for 25 years." Everyone knows what Gingrich has been doing for the last dozen years. He doesn't even bother to wipe the semen off his upper lip.