L. Neil Smith's

Number 21, February 2, 1997.

A Trapdoor For Newt

By L. Neil Smith

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         In our last thrilling episode (well, in somebody's last thrilling episode, anyway), as a result of years of whining nitpickery on the part of the likes of Pattie Schroeder, David Bonior, and Richard Gephart, Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was about to be publicly crucified for infractions -- not of any law, mind you, but of House procedures -- so microscopic they could hardly be rendered comprehensible, even to a well-informed, sophisticated voter.
         Some presumably friendly political pundits, like America's self-appointed Dogwhistle-in-Chief, Michael Medved -- opine that the Speaker should resign for his own good and that of the Republican Party. Some presumably friendly political pundits, like Rush Limbaugh's twelfth banana, Tony Snow, say it may be sufficient merely for the Speaker to grovel before his antagonists and to humbly apologize for his "arrogance" -- for which read, his visible sense of certainty.
         For my part (here I go again, damn it, giving advice to the enemy -- and for free!) I'd remind the Speaker of three things. First, from one author to another, that Medved's the lowest form of literary protoplasm on the planet, a critic.
         Second, that Tony Snow is best known as the guy that everybody's always disappointed to hear replacing Rush Limbaugh on the radio instead of Doctor Walter Williams (and that you should ask Walter what he'd do in your place, Newt).
         Third, that there isn't one, single failure of the late, great Republican "revolution" that can't be attributed to a consistent lapse of character I'll discuss further below. For now, chalk it up as one of those experiences we all have in which the embarrassment we feel for someone else (at the risk of sounding like Bill Clinton) is so squirmingly acute it's almost physically painful.
         Republicans -- mostly self-described conservatives -- complain bitterly (and they're entirely right to do so) that the Speaker is being persecuted by a gaggle of fowl in the opposition party who are crooks themselves, plain and simple. What was that again about Gephart's seaside mansion? Or Bozo and Evita's countless pecadillos? Remind me one more time why Vince Foster killed himself -- if that's what really happened. Not to mention all those lower organisms -- Tom Dashiell, Joseph Biden, Chris Dodd, and America's Mad Cow, Janet Reno -- the mere sight of whom stimulates the gag reflex in any decent individual.
         Apparently, however, that line of argument doesn't cut the mustard outside of GOP circles. In the case of the mass media, this shouldn't be surprising; they've demonstrated amply over the past 30 years or so that they're simply another part of the Democratic Party machine, no less corrupt than any other part.
         What's more dismaying is that it doesn't cut the mustard with the American public, either, although there may be a redeeming explanation for that. There is, indeed, a double standard under which Democrats can get away with sleazier behavior than Republicans can. Republicans set themselves up for this a long time ago by claiming (truthfully, for the most part) to be morally superior to Democrats. The inconvenient fact that Democrats can get away with sleazier behavior than Republicans should be regarded as highly-welcome proof that the public believes Republicans and holds them to the higher moral standard they claim.
         But, lest anyone believe the Speaker's situation is hopeless, there's an easy way out of this seeming paradox: simply grab the knob and turn up the contrast.
         It's true John Kennedy was able to cheat on his wife thousands of times while the media looked the other way, whereas Ike Eisenhower's unconsummated flirtation with a WAC driver raised eyebrows across the free world. But there's got to be a limit. Democrats can get away with being twice as sleazy as Republicans, perhaps, even 10 times as sleazy. But can they get away with being 100 times as sleazy, or 1000? Kennedy is supposed to have bragged that by the time he'd been elected to the Senate, he'd had sex with 12,000 women. That's right, twelve thousand. But suppose that he'd raped 12,000 women, instead?
         Could he get away with that? To paraphrase Al Borland, I don't think so, Newt.
         Sure, Bill Clinton is a crook, who, among other things, apparently looked the other way for money when drugs were being flown into his state by a rogue federal agency. Sure, he's sold out American foreign policy to Asian business interests. And if a Republican governor or president did that, he'd be hanged from the nearest lightpole. But Americans expect that kind of thing from Democrats.
         More important and to the point, Bill Clinton is a mass murderer, morally, legally, and politically responsible for the wrongful deaths of more than 80 innocent individuals, many of them little children. There's your hundredfold or your thousandfold increase in contrast, and the only thing that can keep Republicans from giving that knob a twist is the same thing that wrecked their revolution.
         Abysmal cowardice.
         Call Clinton what he is, Newt, an incinerator of babies. I've heard it's what you're doing privately; now's the time to do it publicly. Keep it up no matter what. A bubbling, seething nation is ready to join you, all too well aware that America can never be the same again until justice in this context has been wrought. Countless writers, TV and film producers, and popular radio personalities are eager to help you. Force the mass media to compare the Waco Massacre to whatever failure to dot Is and cross Ts you're supposed to have committed.
         In short, restore the republic to the rule of law. At the same time, in aid of that objective, redefine your goals, or at least sharpen their edges: forget the "Contract with America", enforce the Bill of Rights. Put an end to socialism once and for all. You're being hanged for it, you might as well do it.
         Lennon and McCartney were wrong, and so is John Travolta: all you need is guts.

L. Neil Smith's Prometheus Award-winning The Probability Broach offers a window onto a Libertarian civilization --- and enough sex and violence to keep even the most apolitical reader turning pages. Buy it at bookstores anywhere, or call Laissez Faire Books at 1-800-326-0996. Also, see "The Webley Page" at www.lneilsmith.org// House Speaker Newt Gingrich can be annoyed at: georgia6@hr.house.gov

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