Newt Gingrich Simply Doesn’t Understand Ethics

by jhwygirl

I’m getting a little sick of hearing Newt Gingrich whine about the negative campaigning of “Massachusetts liberal Mitt Romney.”

Isn’t that negative campaigning? Newt calling Mitt Romney a “Massachusetts liberal”? Isn’t the word “liberal” an insult in the GOP world?

And sometime we’re going to have to have a discussion about negative campaigning. When it’s factually true, and relevant to the campaign, is it negative campaigning? Or just facts that the candidate who is the objet d’affection of said campaign feels are negative?

Because there’s a difference between the two, don’t you think?

All of that being said, one of Newt’s complaints is that he doesn’t deserve to be “attacked” over his ethic charges when he was Speaker of the House. Nor his large fine. And nor his subsequent resignation. That’s because while the House had concluded that he violated Federal tax code, they left those charges up to the IRS, which eventually dropped the charges.

Based on that, Newt claims the ad is unfair. Clearly, Newt doesn’t understand ethics.

See – the way I understand it, an ethics violation occurs when there is even the implication of impropriety. That’s the thing about ethics – the law doesn’t actually have to have been broken – a reasonable suggestion or implication of impropriety that has people question….your ethics….is enough.

Lawyers, judges…government officials: These are the people you typically hear charges of ethics violations. Why is that? Well – who polices these people? Who knows the laws? Who is the law? Those charged with that task should be held higher.

Clearly Newt’s failed that test.

Is it proper to push the law to the outermost reaches of ethical boundary? By the very people who write and interpret and administer said law?

Gingrich needs to get himself a dictionary. For someone who treats everyone as if they are stupider than him, it’d be a start.

As for Newt Gingrich getting himself some ethics? The realm of that possibility departed back in the 90’s.


  1. I kind of hope that the Newt wins in Florida. Having Newt selected as the Republican Candidate makes things very clear. If Romney wins and goes on to become the candidate, things are not so clear. With the current discontent even from the independant and moderate right communities with Obama, Romney may seem a “viable” choice come November. There is NO WAY that the Newt will ever be a viable choice to these people.

  2. ladybug

    Isn’t ethics in American politics a non sequitur generally? Expectations are so low a majority now have no interest in politics. What reasonable hope of legitimate, democratically-elected outcomes is left?

  3. Please see my post on Lizard’s Ethics.

    Yes, Newt acts in an inconsistent and unethical way, but I think many Americans are looking for a warrior who is able to do this in order to counter others acting unethically.

    Isn’t politics a little like cold war, where the rules get bent, but violence and disorder are prevented because ideas are expressed freely and openly?

  4. Ingemar Johansson

    Ok, let me review. You have a political enemy. In order to inflict harm and disfavor you compile false charges against said enemy.

    When he is successful in defending himself your fall back is the “implication of impropriety”.

    Sweet.

    • Yup, a little cold war. Punch and jab! How else will we be able to vet the hypocrites from the field? Sweet democracy! I think that after Washington, it has always been this way. Embrace it! Take it all with a grain of salt, and learn what you can from the messy process.

      • I refuse to embrace it. If a candidate wants my vote (the only real tool I have to effect my will on politics), they have to be someone I want representing me. Since I consider myself to be an ethical and moral person, I expect to see an ethical and moral candidate. I refuse to just “give up” on wanting decent behavior from my representatives.

        • Right on! I totally agree Moorcat!. I just don’t expect saints in office, and know that I must choose one from the bunch, and don’t get too upset about the fray that always accompanies the frackus. Just as long as we kiss and make up in the end!

        • Ingemar Johansson

          Moral and ethical candidate? Did you vote for Obama?

          I see nothing morally or ethically about this decision.

          http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamas-radical-power-grab-on-health-care/2012/01/30/gIQANB7XdQ_story.html?wprss=rss_opinions

          Good thing the good Rev’s not a fool Catholic.

          • No, didn’t fall for Obama. Sorry, but I am a tried and true Republican who prefers Santorum. Unfortunately there are too many people so angry with our President that they are looking for an angry voice to speak for them. I don’t think that he will win the nomination. Too bad.

            I will vote for the alternative to Obama… again. It would be impossible for me to vote for any member of a party that mandates religious organization to pay for those those things that they consider immoral. (i.e. abortion and the health care bill) I am sorry but I must draw the line when the government requires me to sin, I know I who I will be disobeying.

            • jackruby

              My God has spoken personally to me through cloud writing and told me that invading other countries and bombing their inhabitants is sinful behavior. Yet the federal government requires me to pay taxes that go to support these war efforts. What do you suggest I do?

    • Steve W

      When Newt’s wives are his political enemies over and over one has to question his sense and his sensibilities. His ethics with his wives, repeatedly, says it all.

      I say chin up! Even if he loses Florida I bet he will still let you go to the moon with him, Inge. He’s just that kind of guy. Your kind of guy. It’s just too bad that so many Republicans are just too stupid to see it your way, Inge. You might be one of the few last smart Republican left, right?

      The funny thing is, I’m going to miss him even more than you, Inge.

      As Leonard Cohen sang, “Even damnation is poisoned with rainbows.”

  5. You don’t think that The Great Leader and his Super-Pacs of rich Dem money aren’t going to launch attacks much more personal and viscous than what we’ve seen so far ?

    Might as well get some of it out of the way.

  6. Mark Miwertz

    This requires a more serious answer than I can muster tonight. I will start with MCA and point out that you do have to have an actual financial or personal interest, it can’t just be an implication by somebody that has it in for you. If that actual interest could give an appearance of impropriety, the cure is to disclose the interest.

    (4) When a public employee who is a member of a quasi-judicial board or commission or of a board, commission, or committee with rulemaking authority is required to take official action on a matter as to which the public employee has a conflict created by a personal or private interest that would directly give rise to an appearance of impropriety as to the public employee’s influence, benefit, or detriment in regard to the matter, the public employee shall disclose the interest creating the conflict prior to participating in the official action.

    Newt has no case for whining. He got caught with his hand in the hidden cookie jar, got censured, etc. That he wasn’t prosecuted won’t be enough to hide behind.

    However, someone saying there is an appearance of impropriety isn’t enough for there to be an ethical violation. People say that all the time; it’s called politics, and there are proper cures that government employees or elected officials can rely upon.

    Montana Code is a pretty good guide. Unfortunately, elected judges have eviscerated the criminal penalties for misconduct.

    BTW, since there is one, here, I’d ask “what is a bloggers code of ethics?” but that would hijack the starship and I’m interested in the discussion just how ethical is ethical?

    For a judge, or a Commissioner of Political practices, who judge and enforce the rules, the bar is “like Caesar’s wife” requiring a strict adherence to the law and “the rules”. For the legislative and executive, I’m thinking I’m tired of silly sex scandals, and outraged “outings” and would prefer to keep to the issues.

  7. I’m not sure why anybody cares – since Newt will not be the nominee.

    In the debates, he’s obviously the smartest guy in the room, but he doesn’t have the organization, the resources, and mainly he doesn’t look as ‘Presidential’ as Romney.

    • lizard19

      it will be fun to see those on the right compromise their principals under the guise of “anyone but Obama”. get ready to spend the rest of the year making excuses for the biggest flip-flopper in American politics, Eric.

  8. Mark Miwertz

    “Councilman Bob Jaffe, who is recommending the loan forgiveness…”

    “Bob Jaffe sat on the board of the development corporation when it built the Burns Street Commons.”

    “Councilman Jaffe…said he fails to see how he has a conflict”

    Let’s go back to MCA yet again, “…a conflict created by a personal or private interest that would directly give rise to an appearance of impropriety as to the public employee’s influence…”

    I’m not accusing anyone, just presenting a case study for our ethics discussion.

    On the other hand, many times you hear complaints about who gave campaign donations or has yard signs up or some other campaign related connection that is mentioned as an ethical violation or conflict of interest later when there is a vote by the successful candidate they supported. They aren’t.

    Here’s MCA, yet again, “Campaign contributions reported as required by statute are not gifts or economic benefits tantamount to gifts.” It might be political grist for bloggers who are partisan hacks, but campaign contributions, unless unreported or exceeding legal limits, don’t give rise to a conflict.

    I woke up feeling this issue this morning. And in other Missoulian news, good bye to Mae Nan, who kicked ass for local governments for many years.




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