Perrspectives - Bringing light to Darkness

Newt Gingrich Repeats History with Shirley Sherrod

July 25, 2010

This week, National Review editor and Sarah Palin bath water drinker Rich Lowry branded the imbroglio that swept up Shirley Sherrod, "progress." What once involved "elemental matters of justice," Lowry amazingly declared, now merely features "offensive statements, shadowy questions of motive, and frankly cynical allegations made for political reasons." Like those, for example, of Newt Gingrich. And as it turns out, he's made no progress at all. Sixteen years before he called Shirley Sherrod "viciously racist," Newt Gingrich blamed Democrats for the murders of two children in the racially-fraught Susan Smith case.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, the former House Speaker and future White House hopeful tried to blame the Obama administration for his own inflammatory comments from earlier in the week. And to be sure, his remarks to Sean Hannity last Monday were incendiary:

"Well, let me say, first of all, Secretary Vilsack did exactly the right thing. I mean I often disagree with this administration. But firing her after that kind of viciously racist attitude was exactly the right thing to do...
And I just think it'd be good for those of us who are often critical of the administration to recognize that here's a case where Secretary Vilsack did exactly the right thing, moved very promptly, and fired somebody who frankly shouldn't be serving the American people because they clearly had a set of attitudes inappropriate for a federal official."

As the nation soon learned, of course, Sherrod's attitude and life story were instead laudable and inspiring. And as he showed in the fall of '94, it was Speaker Gingrich who had a set of attitudes inappropriate for a federal official.

And if this Gingrich gambit sounds familiar, it should. Back in 1994, after dumping his cancer-stricken first wife but before marrying his mistress following the adulterous affair that ended his second marriage, Newt pointed the finger at Democrats for the Susan Smith killings.
It was Smith who drew Americans' initial sympathy - and subsequent scorn - for her invention of a black bogeyman to conceal her heinous crime.
On October 24th, 1994, as the New York Times recalled, Smith killed her young sons, killings for which she was eventually sentenced to life in prison:

That night, investigators say, Mrs. Smith pulled her car to the edge of a deep lake, stepped out, put the gearshift in drive and let it roll down the boat ramp into the black water. Her two little boys, buckled snugly in their safety seats, died under the lake...
..."I believed her, right up to the end," said Juliaette Kerhulas, of Mrs. Smith's story that a young black man had ordered her out of her burgundy 1990 Mazda on the night of Oct. 25, then driven away with 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alexander in the back seat.

Ms. Kerhulas wasn't the only one who believed in her. None other than future House Speaker Newt Gingrich rushed to the defense of Smith, whose step-father ironically happened to be a prominent Republican fundraiser and member of the Christian Coalition. Even after her confession, Gingrich insisted the Smith murders showed the decay of American society under Democratic Party rule:

Enter Newt Gingrich, who rushed into action on election eve with another reliable generic culprit: society. He said the double murder "vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we need to change things," expediently adding that "the only way you get change is to vote Republican."

As Frank Rich recounted in August 1995:

Asked later by Tom Brokaw to elaborate, the Speaker-to-be cited "a direct nexus between the general acceptance of violence" and "the pattern that the counterculture and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society began in the late 60's."

Of course, Newt Gingrich's disgusting political opportunism hardly ends there. He laid blame for the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre at the feet of "the liberal political elite." As frothing-at-the-mouth Tea Partiers turned to violence and intimidation in 2009. Gingrich insisted "it'd be nice for President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Reid to take some responsibility over what their actions have done to this country."
Now as in 1994, it's Newt Gingrich who needs to take some responsibility.

One comment on “Newt Gingrich Repeats History with Shirley Sherrod”

  1. This is a good article, written in more detail. Government should be the main work is the development of the economy and improving people's lives and protecting the security of the state and people. This is the most important.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

Follow Us

© 2004 - 
 Perrspectives. All Rights Reserved.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram