Irony and the Rule of Law, Part 1 »« Border Patrol officer punished for questioning war on drugs

Newt’s Worst Positions

Reason’s Hit and Run blog has a long list of the most appalling things Newt Gingrich has said over the years on some of the most important issues facing the country. Here’s one of the very worst:

Freedom of religion: During the 2010 debate over plans to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center, Gingrich’s jingoistic demagoguery made Sarah Palin seem calm and nuanced. In contrast with Palin, who urged supporters of the Park 51 project not to build the mosque but conceded they had a constitutional right to do so, Gingrich demanded government action to stop them, saying“we should not tolerate” what the First Amendment requires us to tolerate. He insisted “there should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.” In response to those who noted that interfering with the project because of its Muslim character would violate the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom, he said “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington.” To understand what drove Gingrich’s vehement opposition to Park 51, it might help to know he worries that in half a century the United States will be “a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists.”

The worst thing about that last statement is that there are people stupid enough to not only hear it without pointing and laughing at Newt, but to actually think it’s true. A secular atheist country dominated by radical Islamists? If you can’t spot the contradiction in that, you really shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

Comments

  1. says

    Actually, News, Nazis do have the right to hold up signs next to the Holocaust museum.
    You know how to radicalize the small percentage of Muslims who are here? Treat them like second-class citizens and marginalize them. In which case I would actually support them, although I think their religion as just as much bullshit as yours.

  2. Aquaria says

    Newt’s Worst Positions

    What this conjured for me doesn’t bear repeating. I don’t think enough brain bleach could be possible.

  3. Gregory says

    Toad (Toad, Newt, they’re both amphibians) is a very scary person. His vision for America makes the Soviet Union seem like a bastion of libertarian excesses. Keep in mind, Toad was the one who threw Barry Goldwater out of the Republican party in the late 1980s because the bugbear of liberals everywhere was not “conservative enough.”

  4. Aquaria says

    : During the 2010 debate over plans to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center, Gingrich’s jingoistic demagoguery made Sarah Palin seem calm and nuanced. In contrast with Palin, who urged supporters of the Park 51 project not to build the mosque but conceded they had a constitutional right to do so, Gingrich demanded government action to stop them, saying“we should not tolerate” what the First Amendment requires us to tolerate.

    You have to look for the dirt under the barrel to hit the bottom of being dumber than Palin.

    And this is the “intellectual” of the GOP?

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  6. Gregory says

    I do have to wonder: Would Toad be happy if President Obama and a Democratically controlled Congress had all the power and arbitrary discretion that he insists is “necessary”? Would he stand by if a Democrat Congress decided to ignore a Supreme Court ruling that Christian beliefs are protected under the First Amendment? What if President Obama were to decide that the Republican Party needed to be disbanded for “national security” reasons? If he found out that Obama appointees with the National Security Administration had been wiretapping calls to his mistress(es) out of concern that he might be engaging in seditious activity, would he applaud the surveillance as “clearly justifiable” in the War against Terror(c)?

    These idiots never seem to consider that concentrating power in the hands of the very few would be a BAD THING, especially when the hands wielding that power are not theirs.

  7. Akira MacKenzie says

    Every since he uttered the “secular atheist…radical Islamist” line I’ve been wracking my brains decypherng it because I can’t bring myself to think that even Newt could be stupid enough not to notice what sounds at first to be a glaring contradiction. Besides being an obvious appeal to anti-Muslim and anti-athiest sentiments among conservatives, the best I’ve been able to come up with is that a “secular atheist” America would somehow be more susceptible to Islamic domination than the Christian America the Family Values Fascists have in store for us. Therefore, it is a compelling interest of U.S. government to shove the proper religion down the American people’s throat lest those godless liberals–with their church/state separation, multiculturalism, and tolerance of other cultures–leave use wide open to be taken over by scimitar-warving Wahhabists, ready to force Sharia law, burqas, and falafel upon us all!

  8. MikeMa says

    Newt has, throughout his career, struggled to raise the asshole flag ever higher. His candidacy in 2012 will add considerably to that record but will be overshadowed by his competitors thinking that activity is a good thing.

  9. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    scimitar-warving Wahhabists, ready to force Sharia law, burqas, and falafel upon us all!

    Falafel? You sure you don’t mean “loofahs”?

  10. Randomfactor says

    Every since he uttered the “secular atheist…radical Islamist” line I’ve been wracking my brains decypherng it

    You’re playing right into his hands, then. Remember when Kirk would disable the alien computer by feeding it a line of incompossible bullshit? Same thing.

  11. MikeMa says

    @randomfactor,
    The computer Kirk killed was a damaged earth based computer IIRC. A good use for Newt’s brain if ever I heard one. Launch that puppy as far from us as possible.

  12. rjohnston says

    Newton Leroy works from lists of words “appropriate” for use in certain situations. His list of words appropriate for criticizing Democrats includes “secular,” “atheist,” “radical,” and “islamist.” Whether words on the list make any sense, alone on in conjunction with each other, is not something Newton Leroy is intellectually capable of caring about. He just believes that the words on this list have negative connotations to the vast majority of people who might consider voting Republican, so he tosses them together in a word salad when criticizing his opponents. Actual substantive content and meaning of the words is irrelevant; the words are all about their presumed individual connotation and dog whistling.

    Newton Leroy is a very stupid person who thinks that other people are even more stupid than he is.

  13. Aquaria says

    Besides being an obvious appeal to anti-Muslim and anti-athiest sentiments among conservatives, the best I’ve been able to come up with is that a “secular atheist” America would somehow be more susceptible to Islamic domination than the Christian America the Family Values Fascists have in store for us.

    There are a couple of things at play here.

    1) Republicans are so determined to purge their party of anyone who isn’t a “true” republican that anyone they hate is the same to them as anyone else they hate. They’ve managed to make everyone they hate one big group to hate. This is always what happens when any doctrinaire group goes down the ideological purity road.

    2) Republicans really really really hate anything that hints at religious diversity and tolerance. a) Anything that doesn’t force everyone in America to be a christer is anathema to their base. b) They need hate, and lots of it, to stay relevant. Hating people who aren’t part of the tribe, the non-christers, gives them easy targets.

  14. addiepray says

    For what its worth, Newt’s folks said he meant “secular atheist country OR radical islamist country”, which at least eliminates the obvious internal contradiction. Still a mind numbingly idiotic statement (really? those are the two likely outcomes? equally likely? and both equally bad, huh?)

    Not suggesting I buy that it was what he meant. And not that it matters, as the target audience does not hear a contradiction within the original statement as spoken.

  15. says

    In response to those who noted that interfering with the project because of its Muslim character would violate the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom, he said “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington.”

    Uh, this is America. We have very broad freedom of speech. Nazis do have the right to put up such signs if they want to. (The proper way to counteract such speech is with vocal criticism from the private sector, not by bloated government intervention.) However, there are “secular” “liberal” “atheistic” “socialist” parts of Europe that wouldn’t allow such an act. Are you sure you want to take that side of the free speech issue, Newt?

  16. naturalcynic says

    @ random & MikeMa:
    I don’t remember the episode, but I do remember when Number 6 fries The General by asking “Why?”.

  17. stace says

    Newt’s Worst Positions

    What this conjured for me doesn’t bear repeating. I don’t think enough brain bleach could be possible.

    Umm, downward facing salamander?

  18. Modusoperandi says

    rjohnston “Newton Leroy is a very stupid person who thinks that other people are even more stupid than he is.”
    Oh, I don’t know. It’s worked pretty well so far.

  19. abb3w says

    Newt’s half right; current demographic trends indicate that ceteris paribus, the unaffiliated will be a majority of the US population circa 2050.

    Radical Islamists, not so much; Muslim of all types (from radical to wishy-washy) is hovering in the 1% neighborhood. And that half-wrong is incredibly doltish pandering.

  20. Vall says

    Gotta nerd out for a sec… it was the episode with Harry Mudd and his androids. The android fried when given whatever they said to it.

    I feel that way too trying to figure out guys like News.

  21. MikeMa says

    Another nerd alert: Vger was the Kirk-confused entity I was thinking of. Voyager with some letters missing.

  22. d cwilson says

    Kirk: Everything Harry Mudd says is a lie.

    Mudd: Now listen to me carefully. I am lying.

    You can pretty guarantee that if Newt said, “I am lying” heads all over the country would explode.

  23. dcsohl says

    I never knew until today his real name was Newton.

    Why on earth would you choose to be known as “Newt” over “Newton”??

  24. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    MikeMa @ 22:

    V-ger was from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, a much-expanded rewrite of the episode from the old show* you’re thinking about. Since that was 10 years before the Voyagers were launched, the spacecraft’s name was actually “Nomad”.

    –Even nerdier alert

    *I always call it the “old show”, because it gives Trekkies conniptions if you don’t call it “Classic™”.

  25. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    You can pretty guarantee that if Newt said, “I am lying” heads all over the country would explode.

    Does it count when he claims that if you quote him accurately, you’re lying?

  26. MikeMa says

    Thanks Very Reverend Battleaxe for correcting my aging grey matter. Nomad indeed was the Kirk worshiping sterilizer. I am going to have to re-watch all the original series. I do hate mis-remembering.

  27. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    De nada, MikeMa. I honestly expect the next fact that enters my brain to knock out one of these pieces of inane trivia that currently infest it—as happened to Kelly Bundy—but just as likely it could be how to breathe instead.

  28. jesse says

    Holy. Screaming. Crap.

    Look, I’ve asked this before.

    Can anyone please tell me that the GOP hasn’t gone all the way over from proto-fascism to real fascism?

    Worship of an imagined past: check
    Fascination (and near-worship of) hierarchical organizations (military. police): check
    Obsession with purity, be it religious or racial: check
    Hatred of the “other” (and some of the same others the 1930s fascists picked): check
    Impatience with democratic checks on executive power: check
    Eliminationist rhetoric: check
    Organized violence against the other: check
    Pseudo-populism: check

    Did I miss anything? And can anyone, in light of that, explain to me how a sane person can vote for any of these people? Why does anyone (who isn’t a sociopath) want to be a Republican these days, with these guys running the show? What’s the appeal? Is hating others that important to them? I can’t even hate the GOP, I don’t have the energy anymore.

  29. organon says

    “Why on earth would you choose to be known as “Newt” over “Newton”??”

    Perhaps because Newton was one of those stupid, liberal, intellectual, communist, muslim, secularist, socialist, radical islam extremeist, scientists out to take guns away from god fearing country loving patriots. Whereas a newt is one of god’s creatures. See. Not at all confusing. The choice is a no brainer. Or at least by…

  30. dingojack says

    The Amphibian’s worst position?
    Missionary surely! *
    Dingo
    —-
    * Would you want to look that asshole in the face while he screws you (or at all really)?

  31. kermit. says

    You forgot a few criteria, Jesse:

    Ultra-nationalism.
    Propaganda is the preferred means of communication.
    Close relationship between politicans and big business – welfare for the rich.

    So naturally check, check, and check.

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