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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Reich: No Newt is Good Newt

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has a wake-up call for Dems who hope for Gingrich’s nomination by the GOP. Says Reich:

…No responsible Democrat should be pleased at the prospect that Gingrich could get the GOP nomination. The future of America is too important to accept even a small risk of a Gingrich presidency…I warn you. It’s not worth the risk.
Even if the odds that Gingrich as GOP presidential candidate would win the general election are 10 percent, that’s too much of a risk to the nation. No responsible American should accept a 10 percent risk of a President Gingrich.

The why of Reich’s warning should already be clear to most politics-watchers. But just in case, Reich explains:

It’s not just Newt’s weirdness. It’s also the stunning hypocrisy. His personal life makes a mockery of his moralistic bromides. He condemns Washington insiders but had a forty-year Washington career that ended with ethic violations. He fulminates against finance yet drew fat checks from Freddie Mac. He poses as a populist but has had a $500,000 revolving charge at Tiffany’s.
And it’s the flagrant irresponsibility of many of his propositions – for example, that presidents are not bound by Supreme Court rulings, that the liberal Ninth Circuit court of appeals should be abolished, that capital gains should not be taxed, that the First Amendment guarantees freedom “of” religion but not “from” religion.
It’s also Gingrich’s eagerness to channel the public’s frustrations into resentments against immigrants, blacks, the poor, Muslims, “liberal elites,” the mainstream media, and any other group that’s an easy target of white middle-class and working-class anger.
These are all the hallmarks of a demagogue.

Reich understand the pro-Newt argument of many Dems, including, reportedly, at least some Obama campaign strategists:

Yet Democratic pundits, political advisers, officials and former officials are salivating over the possibility of a Gingrich candidacy. They agree with key Republicans that Newt would dramatically increase the odds of Obama’s reelection and would also improve the chances of Democrats taking control over the House and retaining control over the Senate.

Reich doesn’t dispute the odds that Obama and Dems would win big against Newt. It’s just the disastrous potential of him winning the long shot that is too gruesome to test:

…I’d take a 49 percent odds of a Mitt Romney win – who in my view would make a terrible president – over a 10 percent possibility that Newt Gingrich would become the next president – who would be an unmitigated disaster for America and the world.

It’s not hard to imagine the confusion, chaos and uncertainty that would likely come with a Gingrich Administration. Democrats rooting for Newt should give Reich’s point due consideration.

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