In 1995, Gingrich and the GOP house majority decided to slow the rate of spending by slowing down the budget process. “Gingrich allowed previously approved appropriations to expire on schedule, thus allowing parts of the Federal government to shut down for lack of funds.” The impact of the message he was trying to send got lost in his ego. He suggested that the stance Republicans and he had taken on the budget was partially due to his being snubbed by former President Clinton. Tom DeLay writes about the incident in his book, No Retreat, No Surrender, noting that Gingrich made the mistake of his life:
“He told a room full of reporters that he forced the shutdown because Clinton had rudely made him and Bob Dole sit at the back of Air Force One…Newt had been careless to say such a thing, and now the whole moral tone of the shutdown had been lost. What had been a noble battle for fiscal sanity began to look like the tirade of a spoiled child. The revolution, I can tell you, was never the same.”[….]
In January 1997, the House voted overwhelmingly (395 to 28) to reprimand Gingrich for ethics violations that went back as far as September 1994. Gingrich was also fined an unprecedented $300,000. In the summer of 1997, Gingrich’s leadership was challenged by his own party who tried to get him to resign or be voted out. An attempt to do just that failed. By 1998, the Republican Party losses (5 seats) in the House were blamed on Gingrich and on November 6, he stepped down as speaker and left the House.[….]
Fast forward to December 30, 2009 and Gingrich demands that US Attorney Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano be fired. He also insists that the US return to the torture tactics of the previous administration, and that terror suspects – even if they are American citizens – be tried in military tribunals and not in our judicial system. [Think Progress]
Gingrich gained a rather unfortunate reputation 10 years ago for being a polarizing figure in the House. Apparently, he has not changed much and the best thing he can do is to go back into the woodwork. It is sad to watch one GOP politician after another ignore facts and publicly support complete misrepresentations. Unfortunately, they obviously are unaware of how they embarrass themselves, their office and former office, as well as our nation.