Newton’s Fourth Law

The veracity of a statement remains obscure unless the statement is fact-checked by a journalist.”

—Found in the apocryphal works of Newton Leroy Gingrich


Barney Frank said today that Mitt Romney is a “very, very lucky man” because he will essentially become the Republican nominee by default. Yep, that’s what I’ve been saying, too.

Frank, you may remember, was essentially sentenced to the hoosegow via Newtonian logic in the October GOP debate in New Hampshire. Speaking of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Newton Gingrich said:

If they want to really change things, the first person to fire is Bernanke, who is a disastrous chairman of the Federal Reserve.  The second person to fire is Geithner.  The fact is, in both the Bush and the Obama administrations, the fix has been in, and I think it’s perfectly reasonable for people to be angry.  But let’s be clear who put the fix in.  The fix was put in by the federal government.  And if you want to put people in jail, I want to second what Michele said: You ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.  And let’s look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment, and the politicians who put this country in trouble.

CHARLIE ROSE: Clearly, you’re not saying they should go to jail.

GINGRICH:  Well, in Chris Dodd’s case, go back and look at the Countryside deals.  In Barney Frank’s case, go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at — at the — at Freddie Mac.  All I’m saying is, everybody…in the media who wants to go after the business community ought to start by going after the politicians who have been at the heart of the sickness which is weakening this country…

Unfortunately for Newt, he has been revealed as one of those politicians who has been “at the heart of the sickness.”  In fact, you might say he profited handsomely from the disease. From Bloomberg:

Newt Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac, according to two people familiar with the arrangement.

Uh-oh. I wonder if Newt will place himself under citizens arrest and send himself to jail with Barney Frank?

It turns out that Newt explained his relationship with Freddie Mac as recently as last week, during the CNBC Republican debate:

HARWOOD: …Speaker Gingrich…your firm was paid $300,000 by Freddie Mac in 2006. What did you do for that money?

GINGRICH: Were you asking me?


GINGRICH: I offer them advice on precisely what they didn’t do. (LAUGHTER) Look — look, this is not — this is not…

HARWOOD: Were you not trying to help Freddie Mac fend off the effort by the Bush administration…

GINGRICH: No. No, I do — I have never…

HARWOOD: … and the — to curb Freddie Mac.

GINGRICH: I have — I assume I get a second question. I have never done any lobbying. Every contract was written during the period when I was out of the office, specifically said I would do no lobbying, and I offered advice.

And my advice as a historian, when they walked in and said to me, “We are now making loans to people who have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything, but that’s what the government wants us to do,” as I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible. It turned out, unfortunately, I was right and the people who were doing exactly what Congresswoman Bachmann talked about were wrong…

Jennifer Rubin, a conservative “Opinion Blogger” for The Washington Post, wrote today:

Newt Gingrich’s relationship with Freddie Mac is becoming a problem, or more specifically, his failure to level with voters about what he did for the lender, is becoming a problem. He claims he got $300,000 to be an “historian.” Freddie Mac says something different… 

What Freddie Mac says, according to Bloomberg, is that,

the former House speaker was asked to build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the company’s public-private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to dismantle it.

If that ain’t lobbying then there ain’t no such a thing as lobbying.

Back to the conservative Ms. Rubin:

…Gingrich denies he was a “lobbyist.” But that’s a red herring. What Gingrich has been is a high-flying Washington influence peddler who took big money to hawk for interests that surely didn’t have a free-market bent.

If he’s not serious about running for president he can stonewall all he likes. But if he wants to do more than raise his speaking fees and book sales he needs to come clean and reveal all his “consulting” arrangements. His refusal to do so only underscores the problems with his candidacy and the inherent contradiction at the heart of his message: The man who personifies Washington influence buying is selling himself as the cure to Washington corruption and self-dealing.

Man, that Mitt Romney sure is a lucky guy.

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