Rightardia primarily blames the political divisions in the US on Newt Gingrich. Gingrich advised Republicans as speaker not to associate with Democrats and he tried to forge a conservative brand in which the GOP was more important than the country.
These are some the of things Newt did as speaker that hurt the nation:
- Gingrich took the debt ceiling hostage fifteen years before John Boehner did and demanded huge, partisan cuts. The GOP backed down after President Clinton vetoed their spending bills. Moody’s also warned of a credit downgrade.
- Gingrich was the first to refuse to approve disaster relief funds unless they weren’t offset with spending cuts.
- Gingrich’s biggest act of brinkmanship was the 1995 and 1996 government shutdowns. The government closed for five days in 1995 and for a whopping twenty-one days a year later. According to the Congressional Research Service. health and welfare services for veterans were curtailed, Social Security checks were delayed, tens of thousands of visa applications went unprocessed and “numerous sectors of the economy” we negatively impacted,
- Gingrich ramped up congressional earmarking. Spending on earmarks doubled during Gingrich’s reign as Speaker, rising from $7.8 billion in 1994 to $14.5 billion in 1997. This was the largest explosion of earmarks in the history of Congress."
- In May of 1988, against the wishes of the more moderate GOP leadership, Gingrich brought ethics charges against Democratic Speaker Jim Wright about a book deal.
- Gingrich centralized his power in party leadership. Gingrich consolidated power by bypassing the seniority system and appointing cronies to key committee chairmanships.
- Gingrich also shortened the Congressional workweek to three days in order to increase fundraising opportunities and provide more contact with constituents. This reduced the amount of time lawmakers spent together in Washington where they could make personal connections across the aisle.
- Gingrich made winning more important than good governance.
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