Newt Gingrich is taking a pounding over his personal life — ABC’s Nightline broadcast a lengthy interview with one of his ex-wives yesterday. Before that, Newt was pilloried for his work for Freddie Mac, the government-created mortgage malefactor, and pummeled with ethics charges from his days as Speaker.
Yet, nary a word has been uttered about what I consider his biggest scandal — and one that involves Democrats coming to Newt’s aid to ensure his triumph over their own party’s challenger to retain his Washington perch.
Back in 1989, as the new House GOP Whip, Gingrich helped push through a massive pay raise, hiking congressional salaries by 40 percent. Gingrich and GOP leaders assured Democrats that Republicans would not attack them for voting to grab the extra dough. Democratic leaders returned the favor.
In a bipartisan love-fest, Democratic National Committee Chairman Ron Brown and Republican National Committee Chairman Lee Atwater went so far as to sign a written agreement foreswearing criticism of the hike “in the coming campaigns.”
“The gag rule,” as Utah’s Deseret News dubbed it, “was accompanied by notice from the party officials that any breach could result in censure from a candidate’s own party and a cutoff of party campaign aid for non-incumbents.”
When Democrat challenger David Worley began to hit Gingrich “morning, noon and night” over the pay raise, the Democratic Party committees — in what the Orlando Sentinel called “a breathtaking move that would make you wonder if this is a free country” — cut Worley’s campaign off.
Gingrich prevailed by a mere 974 votes . . . and went on to collect his pay increase.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.