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Newt Gingrich is back and as rabid as ever, lobbing verbal bombs at anyone who disagrees with his narrow, right-wing view of the world.
Appearing on Meet the Press Sunday, Gingrich was his usual bombastic self, offering doomsday scenarios, predicting "one or more" American cities would be destroyed by a nuclear bomb or biological attack by terrorists, comparing the Iraq conflict with the American revolutionary war and claiming, in true war-mongering Republican fashion, that the only answer is victory in the Iraq war.
When moderator Tim Russert asked Gingrich how he would win the war in Iraq, he answered:
First of all, you, you would empower General Petraeus. You'd pass the supplemental immediately. You'd give him the money. Second, you would encourage the Iraqis to triple the size of their regular army. Third, you would, you would encourage the development of a, of a military tribunal system to lock people up the way Abraham Lincoln would've done it. Fourth, you would establish a nationwide ID card with biometrics so you can actually track everybody in the country. Fifth, you would make sure that the State Department actually staffed the embassy with people in favor of winning the war and you actually had your fully, fully equipped intelligence and economic development teams. Six, you would say to the Iranians, "If you don't cut off everything you're doing, we'll begin to bring enormous pressure to bear with you," if necessary, blockading the flow of gasoline into Iran, which has to import 40 percent of its gasoline because it only has one refinery in the entire country.
So I would take-I would lean forward and say to the world, "We are, by George, going to make sure that the allies of America and the forces of freedom win, and we are the most powerful nation in history, and we have more than enough assets to do this." And we ought to do what it takes to win, not tolerate legislating defeat.
In other words, let's be even more of an international bully than we are now, set up a KGB "your papers please" national ID system in Iraq that is no doubt a prelude to putting one into place in this country and institute the same military tribunal system that courts in this country have found un-Constitutional.
This is what the Bush administration calls "exporting Democracy." It also is a chilling look at the kind of totalitarian, personal-freedoms-be-damned government that Bush, Gingrich and the Republicans would like to see not only in Iraq but also here in America.
In the interest of full disclosure, I worked inside Republican politics on Capitol Hill from 1981-84, serving as press secretary to two GOP Congressman and chief of staff to a third. I also worked for Gingrich in 1992, raising money for GOPAC, his political action committee.
During that stint, I came to know Gingrich and saw first hand how he operated. Once I did I quit and walked away from politics for good and returned to journalism. His demagoguery, immorality and radical, dangerous ideas both disgusted and scared me. He was, and still is, a deranged, dangerous man.
When Republicans took over control of Congress in 1994 and elected Gingrich Speaker of the House I wrote that it would be just a matter of time before his hypocrisy and right-wing extremism brought him down. It didn't take long. After leading the GOP charge against Bill Clinton's infidelity, Gingrich resigned in disgrace when his own affair with a House staff member emerged and he got caught scamming funds from a book deal.
But Washington has a short memory and Gingrich is back, belligerent as ever and considered a prospect for the GOP Presidential nomination because the right-wingers need a conservative nutcase in their midst.
I hope he runs. It will be fun to take Newt Gingrich down one more time. Easy targets like him are a journalist's dream.