O joy – the generous gods of political commentary love me!
They have delivered a magnificent gift for me: Newt, yes, Newt Gingrich is back! Just three months ago, the presidential campaign of this corrupt, superbloated ego on legs had imploded, and commentators like me lost a surefire source of goofy material. Lo and behold, though, as Rick Perry stumbled over his own brain and as Herman Cain fumbled with Libya and several women, the Newt has been ascendant, now topping some polls in the GOP contest.
Explaining this exalted status, the former House Speaker was typically modest. "I don't think there's anybody else in the race with [my] background," he bloated. "I have a Ph.D. in European history, I've written 24 books, made seven documentary films." Yes, and he's also been fined $300,000 by his own House Ethics Committee for official corruption.
Speaking of which, after an inglorious exit from Congress, Gingrich parlayed his legislative connections into the lucrative life of a Washington influence peddler, carrying water for such corporate favor-seekers as IBM and Microsoft. Now we learn that he also quietly did chores for mortgage giant Freddie Mac – a firm he had blasted publicly. He even condemned Barack Obama in 2008 for taking campaign donations from the corporation's executives.
He recently tried to dismiss his own involvement with Freddie Mac, saying his role there was short and minor. Really? No. It turns out he worked with the company for six years and was paid at least $1.6 million. Nonetheless, filled with his own wondrousness, Newt insists that voters will actually appreciate his work as a hired huckster for corporate interests. "It reminds people that I know a great deal about Washington," he said cluelessly.
Thank you, political gods – this is going to be fun!
For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown" – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.
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