Monday, January 23

The Ethics Charges Against Newt Gingrich

When I created this blog, I intended it to be a record mainly of my readings, but I have occasionally posted ramblings on other matters, mainly religious, as they strike my fancy.  I particularly do not intend this to become a political blog.  I figure it's pretty clear to anyone who surveys my writings and my blogroll at right where I stand politically.

But here I do want to repost something I just found on one of the blogs that I follow, science-fiction author Jerry Pournelle's Choas Manor.  I have been a fan of Pournelle's science fiction since high school at least, and in the past few years discovered his blog (which may rightfully be considered the very first of this explosive phenomenon in that he was keeping an online "daybook" long before there ever was such a term as "blog") and have since followed it fairly religiously.  I put a lot of stock in his opinions and consider him to be a very trustworthy individual.

... Whom I now discover has unique insight into one of the charges that were brought against Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich back in the 1990s and about which we have been hearing a lot lately and will doubtless continue to do.  It turns out Pournelle was directly involved:

As to the “ethics” charges against Gingrich, the one I am most familiar with was the charge that the fiction book we were to collaborate on was a sham and a means for a publisher to bribe Gingrich with an advance to be paid to both of us. As I pointed out at the time, I am the author of several best selling books, and the advance we were offered was not particularly large compared to what I was then getting for novels. I decided not to do the book – a contemporary high-tech political thriller – when Newt became Speaker; I could handle the political implications of the plot when the co-author was Minority Whip, but the Speaker is third in line for the Presidency, and the need to be careful in the plot lest it have diplomatic effects seemed too great. The book was never written, but the “ethics” charge that it was anything other than a book to make money was simply fabricated; which told me all I needed to know about the kind of people who would bring such a charge. If they could say that was unethical they would say anything.

This was one of the 83 charges brought against Gingrich that were dropped after due investigation.  He was ultimately convicted and fined on the 84th (see "Ethics Charges, Reprimand, and Fine" here).  Wow.  No wonder he "resigned in disgrace" (so says Mitt Romney).

Now, I'm not particularly a partisan of Newt Gingrich's, but watching him I think it is pretty apparent that, as Pournelle often says (including in the post linked above), in a room full of people including Newt Gingrich, there's a good chance he's the smartest man present.  For what that's worth.   There's more to being POTUS than a high IQ.  And yes, he has some character flaws, but who doesn't?  It just irritates me quite a bit how much he is demonized for political "ethics charges" that ultimately turned out to be a whole lot of to-do about not very much.  And the personal failings? -- frankly, most of his detractors subscribe to a moral philosophy that leaves them little room to talk.

Without a doubt, he would be superior as POTUS to what we have now.  So would Mitt Romney or any other contender, Republican or (should one unexpectedly emerge) Democrat.  Heck, so would Hilary Clinton (to one-up Pournelle's statement)!

Just my opinion.  Cheers!

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