Newt Gingrich’s To Save America 3

In my latest reading of To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine, Newt Gingrich essentially portrays President Barack Obama as someone who heavy-handedly shoves his liberal agenda down the country’s throat, as Obama employs signing statements to circumvent laws passed by Congress, punishes Fox News by calling on news organizations to “shun Fox” and refusing “to provide guests to FOX News Sunday” (Newt’s words on page 80), has the EPA consider carbon emissions to be a pollutant right when the Congress is considering a climate change treaty, excludes Republicans when crafting a health care policy, etc.  This picture conflicts with how some on the Left see Obama—-as a wimp who caves in to the Republicans.  Bruce Bartlett is not a leftist, but he talks here about how Obama agreed with the Republicans to extend all of the tax cuts (including the ones for the rich).  Does Obama roll over and allow Republicans to walk all over him, or does he use strong-arm tactics to ramrod his agenda down the country’s throat?  Maybe it depends on the situation!

I think of Huey Long, who used strong-arm tactics to effect his agenda when he was the governor of Louisiana.  The thing is, so did his political opponents!  At least Huey was using his tactics to serve the people.  But I can understand Newt’s concern that Obama has overstepped bounds.  If a President does this—-and people on the Left and Right, as well as libertarians, made the case that George W. Bush and Richard Cheney did so as well—-does this set a bad precedent?  I may like Obama getting things done, but what would prevent authorities from using their power for evil rather than for good?  Perhaps elections can serve as a check on this, but there are limits to that, for bureaucrats who abuse power are not subject to election.

I’d like to turn to another issue that Newt raises in this book.  On page 70, Newt says:

“One of the lawyers now working in the Department of Justice’s security division is Jennifer Daskal, formerly of Human Rights Watch, who in 2006 campaigned for the UN Human Rights Committee to condemn the United States for its actions in ‘the so-called ‘war on terrorism.”  Daskal has also argued for closing Guantanamo and releasing those terrorists we cannot try in civilian courts, despite acknowledging ‘these men may…join the battlefield to fight U.S. soldiers and our allies another day.”

Newt here reminds me of Joe McCarthy and right-wingers in the 1940’s-1960’s, and I’m not necessarily saying this in a pejorative sense.  In the 1940’s-1960’s, there was concern that Communists or people who were not sufficiently committed to the security of America were in sensitive government positions and were influencing American policy.  That was a legitimate concern then, and I’d say that Newt does well to raise a similar concern now when it comes to people in the Obama Administration.  At the same time, I question any notion that people on the Left are rooting for our enemies and lack commitment to American security.  If you read Jennifer Daskal’s remarks on releasing people from Guantanamo (see here), you’ll see that she argues that holding people indefinitely does not keep the U.S. secure but rather costs the U.S. support and moral authority as well as further inflames her enemies.  Is she right on this?  That’s a debate.  I certainly hope that there are also people with another point-of-view in Obama’s Administration.  I don’t think it’s wrong, though, to question Guantanamo, especially since there’s question that some of the people detained there are even terrorists (see here, but see also this article, which discusses why some are against trying Guantanamo detainees in civilian courts).

Incidentally, many who criticize Guantanamo and favor trying detainees in civilian courts have a similar concern to that of right-wing critics of Obama: that powerful interests overstepping bounds can set a bad precedent and lead to abuses of power.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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3 Responses to Newt Gingrich’s To Save America 3

  1. Great piece! I think the issue is that polarized politics has worked, and though i I respect Gingrich, most of his assertions in his book are specious.

    I think the greater issue here is that we are at the cusp of electing a president whose only calling card is that he was a Venture Capitalist and so can create jobs– even though that connection cannot be substantiated , and the candidate has failed to provide details on how those skills transfer to the job of president and “economic savior”.

    It reminds me of the connection Cheney provided as rationale for the war in Iraq. There were no WMD’s or Al Queda, yet the public in fear supported war that nearly bankrupted us. A war that in large part has contributed to the battered economy Obama is seeking to salvage.

    Again, despite the dearth of evidence that Romney’s ability to make investors wealthy is a skill that can be used to get us on a quicker road to recovery, once again, the populace is being driven by fear in this election cycle.

    The extreme polarization and demonizing of all Obama’s policies and the fanning of extreme and unwarranted hatred. is the only way an uncharismatic and entitled man like Romney can win. Including of course, the billions he has collected, to further his bare bones plans for the future of America!

    Maybe some people will vote because they hate the president, and that would be very stupid. However, as I have always said, every election should be a comparison of the present, past and future of BOTH presidential aspirants.

    Would Romney select a Veep who provided him with only 2 years of tax returns for vetting?? I think not. Yet, he wants America to accept two returns and take him on his word as a stellar financial steward.

    When his time at Bain is scrutinized he cries wolf, and if his religious beliefs, which are very strong, are questioned with regard to how it might impact his presidency, he declines to elaborate. Yet, despite this lacuna created by an unknown shadowy candidate, many of the party faithful do not care. They will be voting against Obama despite the fact that many of them believe that if elected, Romney would be an awful president beholden to his billionaire cabal.

    Newt, in my opinion would have been a much better choice. You might not agree with his ideas but he had a record and stated his plans for the future of this country. That would have provided a clear choice in this elections. Instead, we are at the verge of electing a man whose wealth and success is considered as incontrovertible proof of his economic prowess???? This connection between wealth and work as a venture capitalist linked to this imaginary ability to create a faster moving and richer economy, is an absurd and outrageous falsehood.

    http://blackrepublicanandmyworldview.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/running-on-fear-the-tale-of-the-2012-elections/

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  2. jamesbradfordpate says:

    Thanks for commenting. Good points! I myself fear that the right’s hatred for Obama may make Romney President. Hope not!

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  3. Pingback: Take It Back 8: The Media « James’ Ramblings

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