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Gingrich Turns to Swift-boating

Maybe Obama reelect can finally get a day off, if for no other reason than to watch the coming onslaught. They’ve certainly done the job on Romney Republicans seemed too squeamish to do themselves, but which is now about to land hard on Mitt’s presidential campaign. Whatever vestige of Reagan’s 11th commandment was alive is now D.O.A. once “King of Bain” was born.

The debates grabbed the attention all weekend, but Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast broke the story on Friday, which the New York Times has now picked up:

Thanks to a $5 million donation from a wealthy casino owner, a group supporting Newt Gingrich plans to place advertisements in South Carolina this week attacking Mitt Romney as a predatory capitalist who destroyed jobs and communities, a full-scale Republican assault on Mr. Romney’s business background.

The advertisements, a counterpunch to a campaign waged against Mr. Gingrich by a group backing Mr. Romney, will be built on excerpts from a scathing movie about Bain Capital, the private equity firm Mr. Romney once ran. The movie, financed by a Republican operative opposed to Mr. Romney, includes emotional interviews with people who lost jobs at companies that Bain bought and later sold.

Nobody’s a better target for a swift-boating type of campaign than Mitt Romney, especially in the age of Occupy.

I know a lot about swift-boating strategy and the right’s utilization of the tactics, but they’ve never been turned back on one of their own. So, you’ll forgive me if I find something delicious in the devilishness of Newt Gingrich’s diabolical plan. Swift-boating takes scorched earth to a whole new level.

As a little history, John Kerry formed the Patriot Project after he lost the presidency to push back on swift-boating, and I was a member of the small team who worked to aid Democratic politicians, many of them veterans, being targeted by the right. One such person I helped was Rep. Joe Sestak, who called me personally and sent me a note for my work against Kurt Weldon, with Howie Klein calling my writing for Patriot Project “bareknuckle, steely-eyed analysis.” Another was the late Rep. John Murtha, also back in 2006, when I did an article of almost 4,000 words, “John Murtha: Anatomy of a Smear,” delineating the right’s smears against him and how they developed and expanded. Swift-boating is usually taking something laudable, like a veteran’s exemplary military service, then twisting it into something negative, even using it as a character assault.

Newt’s Super PAC Winning Our Future is about to give the “King of Bain” Mitt Romney a little of his own medicine. That Gingrich has David Bossie on his team, the king of “Hillary, the Movie” that launched Citizens United, is just perfect. Wayne Barrett runs down Gingrich’s swift-boat alliances today for the Daily Beast.

Citizens United, which also bought $250,000 in pro Gingrich ads in Iowa, shared the same fundraising website producer with the swift boat group. David Bossie, who runs the organization that won the Supreme Court case that opened the floodgates for the “independent” super PACs that buried Gingrich, placed a 30-second spot right before the Iowa caucus ostensibly promoting a 2009 movie that he and the Gingriches produced about Ronald Reagan. “It’s for movie sales,” a Bossie spokesman explained. – Wayne Barrett

However, what Newt Gingrich and his billionaire casino backer Sheldon Adelson, though Gingrich can’t be directly involved with the Super PAC, are doing is taking Mitt Romney’s vulture capitalism, painting it as evil and making Romney the face of it. What’s stunning is that Gingrich is calling out a fellow Republican for using capitalism, the foundation of Republicanism, and bending it to his will.

It’s the reason George Will blasted Gingrich earlier and why I wrote Newt had committed the worst offense of all: demonizing the tools of the trade of modern capitalism, which Republicans trumpet.

The tactics of Newt’s friends is something David Axelrod and the Obama team know all too well and is a strategy they’re going to unleash against Mitt Romney if he wins the nomination. Politico covered their plans in brief earlier.

Both Republicans and Democrats have no guiding vision and lifting dream to offer in 2012. It’s a race to the bottom between Mr. Cool and Mr. Ice, unless Gingrich can reverse Romney’s current trajectory. If the tactic wasn’t being utilized by Newt Gingrich it might work, but since it is and the target is the tools of capitalism the outcome is less sure.

In swift-boating, it’s more effective if the person utilizing this strategy and the tactics comes off cleaner than the person being hit.

Is this any way to pick a president?

Newt Gingrich is about to Occupy Mitt Romney’s presidential dreams.

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26 Responses to Gingrich Turns to Swift-boating

  1. Cujo359 January 9, 2012 at 4:08 am #

    What have we learned in the last few days? Mitt Romney thinks that it’s essential for presidential candidates to be rich. One has to assume is that at least part of the reason is how expensive the campaigns have become. Now we learn that both he and an opponent plan on spending lots of that campaign money to talk nonsense about each other. Well, not so much nonsense as pot calling the kettle black kind of stuff.

    Good thing the poor and middle class didn’t end up with that money. They’d have just wasted it on food, clothes, and gasoline.

  2. Art Pronin January 9, 2012 at 4:11 am #

    PPP shows a late huntsman surge in NH while Silver at NYT says if only Huntsman had a few more days. At least Huntsman fought for civil unions in UT against bigots. this is pathetic. And can this swiftboating by Newt do anything to alter Mitt as the GOP nom? I doubt it. But I get why he is doing it- revenge. Im betting Perry has a deal with Mitt to stay in the race- which keeps enough conservatives split which helps Mitt onward esp in SC.

    • Art Pronin January 9, 2012 at 4:17 am #

      Oh and it is hilarious about Mitt prattling on about he didnt know about a Mitt-pac attack ad and then he goes into details about the attack etc! Good grief save us

  3. secularhumanizinevoluter January 9, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    More POPCORN please!!!!!!

  4. guyski January 9, 2012 at 5:45 am #

    When people talk about presidential candidates and their wealth; or for that matter any politician, it should be followed by a disclaimer along the lines of: * Candidates wealth subject to criticism based on the political position and views of said candidate.

    When people talk about an Independent candidate, Bloomberg always comes up, exactly because of his wealth, Huntsman is probably more of a product of the elite, than Romney. Afterall his father is a billionare.

    • Joyce Arnold January 9, 2012 at 8:42 am #

      Very good point, guyski, the idea for that “disclaimer.” The problems are of the System.

    • Cujo359 January 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

      Candidates wealth subject to criticism based on the political position and views of said candidate.

      Life is very different when you don’t have to worry about money. When you don’t have to have a job to live, all of a sudden the world looks very different. You can come to believe all manner of nonsense about all those folks who don’t have that luxury. You can start to believe that they can be just like you, if only they were willing to work as hard as you did. You can believe that taxing them a little bit more won’t be such a burden – just give up a few lattes a week and you’ll have a better society, isn’t that worth it?

      My criticism of the idea that you have to be rich to be President comes down to a couple of things, really. One is that if you are rich you have no personal idea of how much of the world lives unless you’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of time around the rest of the world. The other is that you forget what money really means to people who don’t have it.

      So, in one sense, it doesn’t matter what the ideology is. That’s the point I was trying to get across in this article about health care. People who didn’t have money worries assumed that it was just a bunch of lazy troublemakers who were against the individual mandate. That idea was nonsense, and it was nonsense largely caused by the isolation from the point of view of the people they thought they were helping.

      Romney’s right in a way – to be able to run for the office, you have to be able to spend a couple of years doing little but running for President, and you may have to live with not having a job for a while afterward (unlikely, but still). However, you also need, if you are to do your job effectively on behalf of the economic needs of most Americans, to understand thoroughly what it means to not have that kind of freedom.

      Rich people who can manage that I have no problem voting for. They’re extremely rare, though.

  5. Jane Austen January 9, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    It must be me but aren’t the Republicans shooting themselves in the foot with this kind of “swift-boating?”  I know that they were able to do it with John Kerry and other Democrats but Republicans eating Republicans.  Me thinks this kind of “swift boating” is going to come back to haunt them and ultimately  bite them is the butt.  But then maybe not.  Americans don’t seem to have a preference for truth, only for the candidate that fits into their world view.  I wouldn’t give you a plug nickel for any of them.  But for Gingrich to do this is rather ironic.  This necrotic piece of garbage has an awful lot of baggage and I wonder if he will pay in the long run.  His opposition can get very ugly too if they are forced into defending Romney.  My thought for the day.  Have a good day all.

    • Taylor Marsh January 9, 2012 at 9:52 am #

      Always great to see you in the comments, JA.

      What Gingrich is doing is unprecedented.

      Mitt Romney’s Super PAC was more careful, using Gingrich’s words & deeds against him, instead of utilizing a narrative that casts such a wide pattern as to deliver a mortal blow on unfettered capitalism.

      This is a first for conservatives and the right, which may make Gingrich a hero to the Tea Party class and wingnuts, especially right-wing radio, but will infuriate the GOP establishment on every level.

      However, the Republican elite have conveniently forgotten what base-level conservatives and their carnival barkers like Rush Limbaugh felt about John McCain, but also how deeply they blame the loss of 2008 on so-called moderate Republicans.

      These people want payback at any cost. In fact, on radio & beyond, see Eric Erickson over at Red State who has become the must read on the right for the primary season, who has said that it may be better to lose with a conservative than win with a moderate.

      Unfortunately, the assault on Romney may have happened too late.  But IF he prevails, what it leaves in its wake could be powerful IF he’s forced to choose a Tea Party-esque veep.


    • Cujo359 January 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

      This necrotic piece of garbage has an awful lot of baggage and I wonder if he will pay in the long run.

      My guess is that he won’t pay much of a price. He’ll do just fine selling his not-very-informative books and selling his services to various folks like Fannie Mae. Some won’t like him anymore, but some will probably like him more for saying the things they believe in.

      It’s only if he’s actually running for President that most of the potential blowback matters. I think that the folks who accuse Gingrich of being in this race simply for its value as a promotional tour have a point may have a point.

      • newdealdem1 January 9, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

        What Gingrich is doing is unprecedented.

        I’ll say.  Wow.  It’s almost a shock to my system to see this basic critique of capitalism by any Republican and (whether Gasbag Gingrich realizes it or not) that’s exactly what it is.  It truly is unprecedented.  And, as we all know, this is also a radical departure from the Reagan mantra re/Republican on Republican behavior (at least in public) but Gov Christie and some others have already gone there so that’s less of a shock except for the fact that it’s coming from Gasbag “don’t ever criticize a Republican” Gingrich.  And Gasbag has called himself the only true inheritor of the label “Reagan Republican now running for POTUS?”   HAHA!  But, he has no shame or guilt (and he calls himself a Catholic? :) I’m a lapsed one so….. I know :) ) for his two-faced twisted behavior.  And,  there are so many examples like his being against the Paul Ryan budget plan and then when he found himself under the heat of the Republican microscope he outright lied about what he had said in the same week and flipped his political pancake (once again).

        Another fascinating thing about that campaign ad is that (with a bit of editing for content), it could have been produced by any one of us who call ourselves liberal or a Dem for that matter.  The only thing missing from the entire scathing but truthful presentation of course is a comment about what to do to remedy what they criticize “capitalism in the hands of the wrong people” (or words to that effect which is what is basically said in this ad) such as financial regulations.

        And, the Republican hysterical anathema to any sensible regulation so corporate raiders and fat cats like Romney and institutions like Goldman Sacs will be prevented from such egregious moves as depicted in this ad on the unwitting masses (the 99.5%) and our democratic Republic stands out like a turd in a punchbowl for it’s absence in this ad.   Especially since Gasbag benefited from the lack of regulations.

        But, of course, that’s the last thing any of them will admit to advocating for in their blind and greedy love of Laissez-faire (hands off or leave us be) capitalism and that in their self-deluding minds does no harm whatsoever to actual people like those in this political ad.  Until in the heat of revenge and hatred, the unwitting truth reveals itself from  someone as egocentric and greedy and narcissistic as Gasbag when he punctures the unfettered capitalist jugular of Romney but truly doesn’t care a wit about the grave hardship caused to us folk by Romney’s et al behaviors.

        Although I admit to loving this Republican on Republican revenge match, the high and low hypocrisy and self-serving chutzpah shown in this factual ad by those who produced (Gasbag’s PAC) and support it’s contents (Gasbag) is sickening because they truly don’t give a tinker’s dam about the people hurt in that ad.  Revenge trumped Gasbag’s “granite” LOL political beliefs which forced his hand in telling the truth about Romney in particular (and his kind in general which Gasbag is surely part of if not in the exact same way).

        If his beloved party was weary of Gasbag before this explosive ad, I’m almost certain he will now be the Frankenstein monster to the Republican Powers-That-Be Villagers and they will be coming after him with pitchforks and fire to take him down.   And, that is something I can’t wait to see.   Pass the POPCORN! ;)

    • Uh-oh January 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

      The fix is in. The winner in 2012 has already been chosen and this is all just BS. Then we get to pretend that our vote means something and that we actually have a voice in this country. Ha!

      And what does it say about Americans that thousands of people (if not millions) actually cast a vote for the likes of Newt, or W, or Reagan?  Or Obama?


  6. RAJensen January 9, 2012 at 6:20 am #

    As a veteran who was drafted and served during the Vietnam War  I would point out that both Romney and Gingrich are classic ‘chicken hawks’, waving the largest American flag at the front of the parade, but flee to the rear when the bullets start flying. Romney took every draft  deferment available to him during the Vietnam War, including declaring himself to be a lay Mormon  minister  who safely hid in France to convert French people to Mormonism. Both took one draft dodging  deferment after another. When confronted by Ron Paul, Romney’s response was ‘I had a wife and children’ and Paul responded ‘When I was drafted, I served, and I had a wife and two kids’. Another noted anti military industrial complex politician who felt honor bound to serve his country when called upon was Ralph Nader. Compare that to Dick Cheney who when asked why he dodged the draft during the Vietnam War taking one draft deferrement after another replied ‘I had other priorities’,( thanks for the reminder Jane Austen).

    In 2008 when Romney was campaiging for President against a genuine war hero, John McCain, an Iowa reporter asked him why none of his five strapping sons had volunteered for the military with two ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan  Romney responded ‘My sons are serving their country by campaigning for me in Iowa’.


    As far as the swift boating of John Kerry is concerned the error he made was that he thought no one in his right mind would believe any of the crap the ‘Swiift Boaters’ were promulgating and was unwilling to dignify the the Swift Boat ads with a response. When he did respond, it was too late, the damage had already been done.

    • Jane Austen January 9, 2012 at 6:26 am #

      RA – isn’t this the MO of the Republicans, i.e., Dick Cheney who had “other priorities” rather than serving in the military?  George, “the shrub,” Bush also comes to mind.

      • RAJensen January 9, 2012 at 6:59 am #

        So true, there is a group of Republicans who feel themselves to be an ‘entitlement’ class, advocating for wars of choice and building up the mlilitary industrial complex, but they and their children are entitled to let other peoples children do their fighting for them. You know who they are.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter January 9, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      “When confronted by Ron Paul, Romney’s response was ‘I had a wife and children’ and Paul responded ‘When I was drafted, I served, and I had a wife and two kids’.”


      Ahhhhhhh, wasn’t that GINGRICH who had that exchange with Paul?

  7. January 9, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    I guess there weren’t any liberals or democrats who were so called draft dodgers.

    • Ga6thDem January 9, 2012 at 9:36 am #

      No dearie. It’s the hypocrisy. These idiots are chomping at the bit to send thousands of Americans off to their deaths to promote their own delusional neocon fantasy but yet when they were called to do the same thing they ran and hid, used student deferrals and yet still said they supported the war in Vietnam even though they weren’t willing to fight it themselves.

      • January 9, 2012 at 9:49 am #

        GA, they are not chomping at the bit to send thousands off to their deaths.  Quit exaggerating.


        • secularhumanizinevoluter January 9, 2012 at 11:47 am #

          cjoblak……what would you call screaming that we should have STAYED in Iraq and one clowns promise to REinvade?!!!!

        • Ga6thDem January 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

          What do you call wanting to go into Iran then?  Thousands more American lives would be sacrificed for that.

    • RAJensen January 9, 2012 at 9:44 am #

      Sure, Billl Clinton for one. The difference is that he was against the Vietnam War and unlike the Republican’s   who dodged the draft he didn’t try to smear his opponents by claiming that his opponents, Newt Gingrich foe example, were ‘unpatriotic’ for their cowardice in supporting the Vietnam War while running for their lives to do anything to avoid military service..

      • Taylor Marsh January 9, 2012 at 9:53 am #

        This is exactly correct.

  8. ladywalker68 January 9, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    Gee..It didn’t take long for the hypocrite, waa…waa..cry-baby to get the hang of this modern campaign stuff. Which means the tears were only about not using the method earlier in his campaign.

    I hate negative ads so I usually stop watching TV and listening to radio when the campaigns roll around. Like I am going to trust what one side has to say about the other?

    No, I would never vote for Newt because I’ve been around a while, and Newt is Newt.

    • Taylor Marsh January 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

      I did a detailed study quite a few years ago on women, investigating all the data, etc. (some compiled by Women’s Voices Women’s Votes & many other groups).  What it revealed is that negative ads turn off women more than any other demographic. They don’t believe the ads, which also can lead them not to vote at all.

  9. casualobserver January 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    I certainly agree that Romney better learn to articulate his Bain PE time to primary opposition rather than learn it in the general when Axplofama raises it. Since a solid majority of voters favor deficit reduction, explaining cutting costs to stay within revenues in the private sector shouldn’t be an impossible analogy to use.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong