Newt Gingrich Erases Ronald Reagan

In his latest campaign web ad, Newt Gingrich peddles some odd history. The spot—which Gingrich doesn’t have the money to air widely—opens with a shot of water and then pans to show the former House speaker staring at the Statue of Liberty. (He’s not really a huddled-masses type of guy, though.) And Gingrich narrates: “2012 is the most important election in this country since 1860.” The issue at hand, he says, is whether to continue with “bureaucratic socialism” or “whether we will decisively repudiate an 80-year drift to the left: a drift in our news rooms, a drift in our collleges and universities, a drift with our judges, and a drift among elected politicians.”

Whoa. So what about Ronald Reagan? Wasn’t his election rather important—at least to Gingrich and his conervative comrades? (Didn’t Reagan single-handedly end the Cold War?) And how were Reagan’s eight years in office a part of that drift to the left? Or, say, the Republican revolution of 1994 led by Gingrich? It’s as if Gingrich has airburshed Reagan and himelf from the historical record. And where is that drift to left regarding the Supreme Court? And the rise of Fox News doesn’t really fit in with said drift. 

Gingrich likes to point out that he used to be a historian (such as when he was first accused of being a paid influence-peddler for Freddie Mac). But this rendering of faux history is just another demagogic exercise of pandering to the right. Perhaps he can blame his puny campaign bank account on this drift to the left.

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  • David Corn

    David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief and an on-air analyst for MSNBC. He is the co-author (with Michael Isikoff) of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, Showdown, Hubris (with Isikoff), and The Lies of George W. Bush, as well as the e-book, 47 Percent: Uncovering the Romney Video that Rocked the 2012 Election. For more of his stories, click here. He's also on Twitter and Facebook.