January 27th, 2012

If you were wondering about Dole’s motivation…

…in writing that anti-Gingrich letter that all the fuss was about yesterday, TNR’s Timothy Noah offers further background on some possible reasons behind Dole’s anger (in addition to what I’d already suggested here).

An excerpt summarizing the gist of it:

In 1990, when Dole signed on to the tax increase with which President George H.W. Bush broke his 1988 pledge, “Read my lips: No new taxes,” Gingrich had begun his sweaty climb up the House leadership. In that capacity, Gingrich participated in the deficit-summit meetings and gave every impression that he would loyally support the tax increase (which proved instrumental in gradually lowering the deficit, finally eliminated during Bill Clinton’s presidency, only to be resurrected almost immediately once George W. Bush became president). In the end, though, Gingrich double-crossed Dole, Bush père, and the other Republican leaders by marching out of the White House and declaring his opposition to the tax hike. In doing so, he helped throw the 1992 election to Democrat Bill Clinton.

Read the whole thing. If true, it certainly sheds more light on why Dole might be a tad perturbed by the prospect of Gingrich’s becoming the 2012 nominee. And if true, this sort of behavior would also go a ways towards explaining why almost no former colleagues of Gingrich’s are endorsing his candidacy (actually, I can’t think of any who are, but you might be able to offer some).

So, what’s your reaction? Do you think it’s all a lie or the truth (after all, it’s TNR, and in the article they get a chance to bash both Dole and Gingrich, a twofer)? Either way, does it just describe business as usual in DC? Is it the kind of clever maneuvering you want to see in a candidate? An example of Newt’s devotion to the principle of no new taxes? Or a case of Gingrich’s enormously self-aggrandizing duplicity? Or some combination of these?

Some further observations from the author of the piece:

These graybeards [the old guard "establishment Republicans"]…I suspect, hate Gingrich more than any Democrat does, because if you’re a Democrat you probably never had the opportunity to be double-crossed by Gingrich.

10 Responses to “If you were wondering about Dole’s motivation…”

  1. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    In doing so, he helped throw the 1992 election to Democrat Bill Clinton.

    And here I thought H. Ross Perot had something to do with it. Also that whole “no new taxes” flip-flop.

  2. uncleFred Says:

    So the internet has begun to produce a series of refutations for the various attacks, and videos that surfaced Wednesday and Thursday to attack Gingrich. People of good reputation have knowingly and intentionally misrepresented what Newt said and did in a fashion that constitutes lying.

    At this point I take nothing reported by anyone about Gingrich in the 1980s and 1990s as true, unless it has been corroborated by multiple sources.

  3. davisbr Says:

    Timothy Noah? TNR? Really?

    …strange bedfellows, as they say.

    And, true to his usual form, Timothy Noah was cherry picking and slanting the record:

    At the end of June, Bush released a statement stating that “it is clear to me that both the size of the deficit problem and the need for a package that can be enacted require all of the following: entitlement and mandatory program reform, tax revenue increases, growth incentives, discretionary spending reductions, orderly reductions in defense expenditures, and budget process reform.” The key element was the reference to “tax revenue increases” now being up for negotiation. An immediate furor followed the release. The headline of the New York Post the next day read “Read my Lips: I Lied.” Initially some Republicans argued that “tax revenue increases” did not necessarily mean tax increases. For example, he could mean that the government could work to increase taxable income. However, Bush soon confirmed that tax increases were on the table.

    Some of the most enraged over the change in policy were other Republicans, including House Whip Newt Gingrich, the Senate leadership, and Vice President Dan Quayle. They felt Bush had destroyed the Republicans’ most potent election plank for years to come. That the Republican leadership was not consulted before Bush made the deal also angered them. This perceived betrayal quickly led to a bitter feud within the Republican Party. When Sununu called Gingrich with the news, Gingrich hung up on him in anger. When Senator Trent Lott questioned the reversal, Sununu told the press that “Trent Lott has become an insignificant figure in this process.” RNC co-chair Ed Rollins, who issued a memo instructing Republican congress members to distance themselves from the president if they wished to be re-elected, was fired from his position. Many also felt that, while perhaps necessary, the reneging was badly handled. Bush’s statement on the issue was simply posted on the notice board in the press room. There was no attempt to sell or defend the reversal. It was also very sudden; there was no attempt to slowly convince the American people of the perceived necessity of raising taxes. No figures with influence on the conservative base were recruited to endorse and try and sell the about-face.

    Eventually taxes were raised in the new budget. In September, Bush released a new budget proposal, backed by the congressional leadership, which notably included an immediate five-cent per gallon increase on the federal gasoline tax, and a phased increase of even higher fuel taxes in subsequent years. To the surprise of the Bush administration, this plan was rejected in the House of Representatives. Over a hundred conservative Republicans, led by Gingrich, voted against it because of its tax increases, while liberal Democrats opposed it because the focus on excise taxes fell too heavily on the poor.

    And +1 I R A Darth Aggie.

    Bush 1 certainly would have won the election (regardless of the “read my lips” fiasco) by probably close to 15 points …except for Perot’s third party drawing an extremely significant percentage of GOP voters (and the strength of the Perot challenge was Bush 1′s ineptitude in handling the tax deal with the Democrats) …and history would have been changed.

    And though a reprise of a comment in an earlier thread: Erik Erikson at Redstate provides insight to what is rather more likely the Dole precursor event:

    Bob Dole, you will remember from George Stephanoupolos’s memoir of his time in Clinton’s White House, totally cut the legs out from under Newt Gingrich and House Republicans during the government shut down. According to the Democrats, they were within twenty-four hours of caving to the House Republicans’ demands, but Bob Dole surprised them all by caving first.

    Dole went on to lose to Bill Clinton and still hates Newt Gingrich for it because Gingrich was the face used to attack Dole — a man who would have been the hero in the fight had Dole not caved.

    And we’re supposed to hate Newt Gingrich because Bob Dole caved to the Democrats twenty-four hours before they were going to cave to Gingrich?

    That there’s no love lost between these people should not exactly be a surprise. That it is, comes as a surprise to me.

    Is this internecine intra-party war history really that unknown? It’s been going on for as long as I recall (to the primary fight between Goldwater and Rockefeller wings).

    The Republican Party (GOP) was badly divided in 1964 between its conservative and moderate-liberal factions …The conservatives had historically been based in the American Midwest, but beginning in the 1950s the conservatives had been gaining in power in the South and West. The conservatives favored a low-tax, small federal government which supported individual rights and business interests and opposed social welfare programs. The conservatives also resented the dominance of the GOP’s moderate wing, which was based in the Northeastern United States. Since 1940, the Eastern moderates had successfully defeated conservative presidential candidates at the GOP’s national conventions. The conservatives believed the Eastern moderates were little different from liberal Democrats in their philosophy and approach to government.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same?

    I’ve long anticipated that, someday, the damage will become so irreparable it’s going to result in a true party split. If this primary is any indication, rather sooner than later.

    Aargh. I dunno if I can stand this much longer.

  4. uncleFred Says:

    The following links are examples of what I referred to above:

    Elliot Abrams:
    http://spectator.org/blog/2012/01/27/elliott-abrams-caught-misleadi

    Mark Levin with Newt’s comments on Reagan in context.
    http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/01/if-this-is-what-the-conservative-movement-has-become-then-count-me-out

    We must not allow the party to split – but we must also hold Romney and his backers accountable.

  5. davisbr Says:

    @uncleFred

    Here’s another refutations research page at Legal Insurrection, dealing with the recent Drudge barrage.

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    uncle Fred: I read that refutation of the Elliot Abrams piece earlier today. As I had understood Abrams’ piece, he never said Gingrich didn’t support Reagan in general, but said he undermined him in this particular way. As far as the context of the quote goes, I agree that it was somewhat truncated to make it sound as though Gingrich wasn’t referencing other people such as Kristol and Krauthammer. Nevertheless, he was quoting them approvingly and agreeing with them, so I fail to see how this “refutes” what Abrams was saying.

    I am of the opinion, by the way, that Gingrich was basically in tune with Reagan. I think he overemphasizes his role in the 80s, before he was as prominent a figure in the party as he is now, but I think that his basic assertion that he was a Reaganite is definitely correct. I think attacking him on that score is silly. But I also understand that Abrams felt that Gingrich had undercut some of Reagan’s foreign policies in the 80s, and gave ammunition to the Reagan-haters into the bargain, whether that was his intent or not, and I think Abrams genuinely resents it.

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    davisbr: I suspected that Noah’s story was unlikely to be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

    I agree that this sort of fight has been going on in the GOP for much of the latter half of the 20th century to the present. So it is no surprise at all. Each side probably undercut the other in various ways.

    However, it’s no mystery why Dole would want to undermine Gingrich. His motivation is overdetermined. Personal animosity, payback—and probably also the sincere idea that Gingrich would lose and Obama would win.

    I agree about Perot’s role, as well. I never quite understood the Perot appeal (some of my best friends…), but it was real and it was significant.

  8. Andrew_M_Garland Says:

    Taxing the Rich: The Experience of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton by Gregory Hilton
    08/22/089 – Diplomat DC
    === ===
    [edited[  GHW Bush regretted the strong language four years later when the phrase “Read my lips, no new taxes” was endlessly repeated by opponents Bill Clinton, Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan. A tax increase, which included a new top bracket of 31%, was necessary for Bush to obtain the 1990 Budget Agreement. Among those telling Bush to go along with the tax increase were OMB Director Richard Darman, White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu, Gerald Ford, Paul O’Neill, and Lamar Alexander. The headline of the New York Post the next day read “Read my Lips: I Lied.”

    Bush was raised tax rates on the upper brackets mostly by ending their deductions and exemptions. It didn’t work: Individual income taxes brought in 8.3 percent of GDP in 1989 and just 7.6 percent of GDP by 1992.

    . . .
    According to Dr. Alan Reynolds of the Cato Institute, “Clinton piled on another layer of high tax rates, 36 percent and 39.6 percent, while also greatly hiking taxes on Social Security benefits of working seniors. That failed, too: Individual income taxes brought in only 7.8 percent of GDP in 1993 and ’94, 8.1 percent in 1995. Federal revenues did not get much above the 1989 level until 1997 – when they rose because the capital-gains tax was cut.”

    Clinton later admitted that taxes were increased too much.
    === ===

    The Myth of the Clinton Surplus
    The Clinton surplus is repeated endlessly as a talking point.

    Clinton, Bush, and all administrations point to only the Public Debt, the US debt held as treasury bonds by the private sector and the Federal Reserve Bank. This hides the borrowing from the Social Security accounts, and understates the true borrowing that the government is doing. It is misleading to claim Social Security savings in a tust fund, then point to the public debt surplus that is achieved by borrowing away all of the Social Security savings.

  9. bro Says:

    Which planet was Noah talking about? His history is more his story than fact.

  10. davisbr Says:

    @bro – Timothy Noah is a dissembling amateurish boor, who should be ignored at the best of times (and ridiculed and scorned the rest of the time). The very definition of a reprobate prevaricator …and finally, a mere hack.

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