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Monday, December 9, 2013

Newt Gingrich Accidentally Runs Smack into the Republican Party's Racism

Posted by on Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Ted Cruz and Newt Gingrich both dared to say nice things about Nelson Mandela on social media this weekend. Then they learned how out-of-touch their conservative followers really are. Gingrich's realization happened on television:

CNN "State of the Union" host Candy Crowley read some of the Facebook responses criticizing Gingrich's statement.

"Such an amazing rewrite of history since 1962 and 1990. Newt, I thought you, of all people, a historian, would be true to who this guy really was," one said. And another wrote: "This clenched-fist, murdering guerilla warrior does not deserve respect from informed Americans."

Gingrich said he was "very surprised" by reactions. And in response to the uproar, he wrote his Friday newsletter asking his followers what they would have done about Mandela's views and apartheid in South Africa.

And now Crooks & Liars notes that Gingrich is in the iffy position of defending Ronald Reagan's South Africa stance:

On Monday, the former House Speaker told CNN's Chris Cuomo that he had "analyzed" why conservatives were angry about his praise of Mandela and determined that some of those people had "confused" Mandela with other members of his party — the African National Congress (ANC) — who committed violence while he was in jail for 27 years.

But Gingrich also came to the conclusion that some people had become angry at liberals who recalled Reagan's record on apartheid after Mandela's death.

"Some elements of the left, particularly on one news channel, went overboard in trying to use this as an excuse to attack Ronald Reagan," Gingrich opined. "And I think people who are Reagan loyalists, who know that Reagan had condemned apartheid, Reagan had called for Mandela to be released, Reagan actually appointed the first black ambassador to South Africa whose job was to pressure the Afrikaans government."

Reagan also branded Mandela as a terrorist and "embrace[d]" apartheid as a president. But, you know, Gingrich is fond of calling himself a historian, so he obviously knows what he's talking about.


Comments (13) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Not that I want to defend Gingrich, but the guy does have a PhD in History from Tulane which means he's more justified in calling himself a historian than most people.
Posted by decidedlyodd on December 9, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 2
@ 1, slightly. I believe his actual work in the field of history, which none of his bestsellers from the past 30 or so years counts as, is thin if not simply nonexistent.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 9, 2013 at 1:49 PM · Report this
Being a member of the Republican party makes Newt a rewriter of history. Like Newt's buddy Karl Rove once said, "That's not the way the world really works anymore." He continued "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
Posted by elbowman on December 9, 2013 at 1:55 PM · Report this
seatackled 4
So mean of Mr. Mandela to die just to spite Reagan.
Posted by seatackled on December 9, 2013 at 1:57 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 5
Posted by Max Solomon on December 9, 2013 at 1:58 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 6

Back then there were a good many conservatives who were anti-apartheid, but also anti-sanctions. The reasoning was that economic entanglement with the global businesses would eventually melt away South Africa's peculiar institution.

Thus, while Mandela was one part of the struggle, he and his nationalists, were not the only part. IBM putting branch offices there, and giving jobs with good wages to the Coloured and Bantus was just as.

And in the long run, Mandela became every bit a part of global capitalist symbolism (hands raised high with a Pepsi as Olympic runners go past...etc..etc).

So yes, praise Mandela. But also, praise IBM.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on December 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM · Report this
venomlash 7
Posted by venomlash on December 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM · Report this
NotSean 8
@6 I am no expert on the subject, but what I have observed is that global enterprises generally protect human-right violations, so long as the abusers generally leave their employees alone and continue to let them make a nickel or two in the background. If BigWidgetsCo is making a mint in Timbuc-Hell, they are more likely to lobby Washington DC on behalf of the villains, than they are to challenge the abuse.

I know it's not that black and white, but don't try to sell me that any wallstreet-traded corporation is opening (or once opened) offices because it's so humanitarian.

Posted by NotSean on December 9, 2013 at 3:20 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 9
Reagan liked racists. They elected him.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on December 9, 2013 at 3:54 PM · Report this
@6 "the Bantus"? Seriously. Come now. This makes you look like a huge idiot. But otherwise your point about some conservatives making the argument that sanctions were not the best way to end apartheid is solid. The Pepsi in his hand was no likely no coincidence: Pepsi respected the sanctions while coke didn't.
Posted by Amandla on December 9, 2013 at 4:39 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 11
@7 +1

@9 - Well said.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on December 9, 2013 at 5:51 PM · Report this
lark 12
Not sure who said it first but "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Nary a doubt at one time Nelson Mandela was dubbed a "terrorist" along with the ANC, PLO, IRA, Irgun, the Stern Gang, FALN among many others. Only when an abhorrent system like apartheid becomes politically untenable does a change occur and a "terrorist" become a politician. Non-violent negotiation happens and political prisoners released.

I was living on the continent when Mandela was released from Robben Island. It was an extraordinary event in human history. His election to the Presidency was just as important.
On the other hand, I admire him but don't lionize him. I think it not constructive otherwise:…

May he rest in peace.
Posted by lark on December 9, 2013 at 6:42 PM · Report this
Sandiai 13
Quotes from Newt's dissertation, in comic book form,…
Posted by Sandiai on December 10, 2013 at 1:19 AM · Report this

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