Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Reporter

Tim Murphy is a senior reporter in MoJo's DC bureau. His writing has been featured in Slate and the Washington Monthly. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy [at] motherjones [dot] com.

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Newt's New Endorser: OWS is a Muslim Brotherhood Plot!

| Wed Dec. 14, 2011 7:06 PM EST
Newt Gingrich (left) and Fred Grandy.

On Wednesday, former Congressman Fred Grandy (R-Iowa), best known for his role as "Gopher" on Love Boat, officially endorsed Newt Gingrich for the GOP presidential nomination. As Grandy told the Sioux City Journal, "[Gingrich] is the only guy that I see who is offering real leadership positions on these critical issues, whether you're talking about foreign policy, or economic policy or cultural policy." Newt, for one, was thrilled, tweeting that he was "honored" to have Grandy's endorsement.

As a former conservative congressman, Grandy's support could be an asset for Gingrich. But it should also give him pause. Since leaving the House, Grandy has reinvented himself as an anti-Islam activist, delivering dire warnings of the threat of what he calls "galloping Shariah" law. At a tea party event in Maryland in October, Grandy warned that Occupy Wall Street was being propped up by the Council American Islamic Relations—which, according to Grandy, is in turn a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. Is #OWS part of an Islamist plot to take over the United States? In the eyes of Gingrich's newest endorser it is.

Grandy's pet issue is the perceived creep of Islamic law into American courts—in October, he wrote that there had been "attempts in 23 states to use shariah law either in trial or appellate cases." After losing his job as a talk radio host in March (in part because his wife, who co-hosted the show, had warned that the government had been infiltrated by "Shariah-compliant" officials), Grandy embarked on a "Shariah Awareness Tour," culminating in a  appearance at the national Constitution or Sharia Conference in Nashville last month.

Of course, in linking Occupy Wall Street to Islamists, Grandy is only marginally more out-there than the man he's supporting for President. Gingrich, as we've reported previously, has gone from courting Muslim leaders in 2001 to filming documentaries about the threat of stealth jihad. In 2010, he called for a ban on Shariah law in the United States.

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Your Daily Newt: Bringing Back the Dinosaurs

| Wed Dec. 14, 2011 6:00 AM EST
Newt Gingrich

As a service to our readers, every day we are delivering a classic moment from the political life of Newt Gingrich—until he either clinches the nomination or bows out.

Gingrich signed a $4.5 million contract with HarperCollins to write his third book, To Renew America, in 1995. He ultimately gave the advance to charity—taking millions from News Corp., Harper's parent company, while shepherding major telecommunications legislation didn't sit well with the public.

The book was overflowing with big ideas and five-step plans, from how to win the War on Drugs, to how to fix Medicare, to where to take the family on your family vacation (Ocmulgee Indian Mounds Park in Macon, Georgia). Most of Gingrich's ideas wouldn't result in the full-scale destruction of the human race at the hands of a science experiment gone horribly wrong. But as the Los Angeles Times found out, there was one exception:

[E]ven as Gingrich knocks best-selling author Michael Crichton for works that he calls "just standard alarmist environmentalism in which humans are forever messing up nature," the one-time aspiring zookeeper wonders: "Why not aspire to build a real Jurassic Park? (It may not be at all impossible, you know.) Wouldn't that be one of the most spectacular accomplishments of human history? What if we can bring back extinct species?"

That's one way of looking at it. Here's a counter-point:

Your Daily Newt: "I Don't Do Foreign Policy"

| Tue Dec. 13, 2011 9:00 AM EST

As a service to our readers, every day we are delivering a classic moment from the political life of Newt Gingrich—until he either clinches the nomination or bows out.

Newt Gingrich created a minor international incident in July of 1995 when, in an appearance on CBS' Face the Nation, he declared that the United States should recognize Taiwanese independence and seek to "undermine" the stability of the Chinese government. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and GOP foreign policy yoda Henry Kissinger told him to step back. So did China.

What was Gingrich thinking? He told the New York Times shortly thereafter that he didn't actually believe the US should recognize Taiwan; he was simply acting out a scene from a novel he had read:

[There] he had been, enduring questions about China policy under the bright lights of "Face the Nation." He had to say something, and the fictional President in Allen Drury's classic novel about power in 1950's Washington flashed into his mind.

"It came out of a scene in 'Advise and Consent,' toward the end of the novel, where the Russians are bullying the new American President," Mr. Gingrich said in an interview. "And he says, 'Here are the three things I can do.' And he goes through three things, all of them so outside the Russian planning that they were aghast. They said, 'You can't do this.' And he said, 'Watch me.'

"On reflection, Mr. Gingrich said, "I don't particularly care about having said the thing about Taiwan either way."

When the Times asked Gingrich if he'd consider traveling to China to smooth things over, he was blunt: "I don't do foreign policy."

Your Daily Newt: The Speaker's Amazon Adventure

| Mon Dec. 12, 2011 9:34 AM EST

Editors' note: As a service to our readers, every day we are delivering a classic moment from the political life of Newt Gingrich—until he either clinches the nomination or bows out.

The Republican presidential field was stale and uninspiring when Gail Sheehy profiled the speaker of the House for Vanity Fair in 1995. Sheehy reported that Newt Gingrich first began eyeing the Oval Office 19 years earlier, when he was an assistant professor of history and geography at West Georgia College. "[I]gnoring the minor setback of having just lost his second campaign for Congress, he and his acolytes began to plot a presidential run scheduled for 2000 or 2004." But Gingrich, at least publicly, wanted nothing to do with the nomination:

Today, Newt asserts unconvincingly that the presidency is not "one of the three highest items" on the checklist for the rest of his life. "But," he says, "hanging around with Marianne is pretty high on the list…I really do want to experience a lot of marriage."

When I ask what else is on the list, Newt rolls out a wish list that sounds like the contents page from Men's Journal. "I've always wanted to cross the Owen Stanley Range in New Guinea…I would love to go and collect dinosaur fossils for a while. Probably in Montana or northern Arizona. I would really love to spend six months to a year in the Amazon basin, just being able to spend the day watching tree sloths."

Out of spite, surely. The tree sloth, content to eat and sleep away its existence, is the very embodiment of the corrupt welfare state. Here's a video of a sloth refusing to cross a road without assistance because it wasn't raised in a culture that valued hard work:

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