Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is out spreading the GOP gospel with the most outlandish, false and incendiary accusations about President Obama. At the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans Thursday, Gingrich gravely, and with quite the dramatic flair of Sir Laurence Olivier, warned the staunchly conservative crowd:
"This is the most radical administration in American history. The most radical president in American history has now thrown down the gauntlet to the American people. He has said, 'I run a machine. I own Washington, and there's nothing you can do about it.'"
To be sure, Republicans are lock-stepping all over the "radical" talking points right now as if Karl "Turd Blossom" Rove is still emailing missives from the West Wing. But exactly where does this unconscionable, unpatriotic, unfounded claim come from? Just what exactly has Obama done that merits such an outrageously inflammatory label?
Is Obama "radical" because he's still fighting George W. Bush's Iraq war? Is he "radical" because he's authorized a 30,000 troop surge in Afghanistan, just like the John McCain-prompted Bush did in Iraq? Is he "radical" because his terrorist-targeted Drone attacks into Pakistan total more than Bush during his entire eight years? Is he "radical" for increasing the debt, as did Bush and Ronald Reagan? Is he "radical" because he wants to appoint liberal justices to the Supreme Court the way Bush placed hardline right wingers Samuel Alito and John Roberts on the bench? Is he "radical" for lowering taxes on the poor and middle class, unlike Bush, who gave the rich the biggest tax cut in history? Is he "radical" for cutting a deal with Russia and hoping to end nuclear proliferation, as Reagan championed? Is he "radical" for ushering in the same model for health care reform that Richard Nixon advocated?
The truth is, the right has been on a racism-fueled campaign since January 2009 to deligitimize Obama's presidency. They've employed every dirty, shameful trick in the book in an attempt to undermine his reputation, his patriotism and his ability to lead. The latest vitriolic salvo, over health care reform, is simply another ruse manifested from this intense racial hatred. And they will not stop as long as they believe they can succeed.
Gingrich's "radical" histrionics are to be expected, no matter how offensive or patently false his claims. As we get closer to November's midterms, we're sure to witness a ratcheting up of this sort of dangerous rhetoric. Strap your seatbelts on, because the political landscape is going to get even much uglier.
But as long as we're on the subject of "radical" behavior, perhaps we should remind Gingrich, and the good old fashioned Tea Baggin' American patriots he preaches to, that it was he, not Obama, who is a thrice-married serial philanderer who cheated on his cancer-stricken wife; was investigated and reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee; and was shamed out of office by his Republican brethren. Sounds like pretty "radical" behavior to me. I'll take Obama any day...