Why Do Newt and Cheney Get the Attention They Do?

One of my old neighbors recentoly sent me a email she got from being part of a conservative email list.  It was about “Queen” Nancy Pelosi and how she insists on flying in a military jet to and from her San Francisco district every week.  It was accompanied by a photo with Newt Gingrich (with his third wife, the one he cheated on his second wife with; the second wife being the reason he served divorce papers to his first wife as she was undergoing treatment for cancer) and copy that proclaimed Newt Gingrich never used military jets during his time as speaker.

Newt Gingrich wasn’t speaker on 9/11; after the attacks, national security policy dictated that the speaker of the house be transported in military aircraft for security.  The military requested a plan big enough to fly across country without refueling.  But never let facts get in the way of right wing talking points.

The disgraced former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and the torture apologist former vice president Dick Cheney seem to be getting all sorts of media coverage these days.  And I have to ask why?

Gingrich is calling current Speaker Nancy Pelosi unfit for office due to her current flap with the CIA (in which Karl Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal that she was an “accomplace to torture”..even though the Bushies insist they didn’t torture and we can argue the semantics of “enhanced interrogation techniques”).  Gingrich also had a lot of say about President Obama’s commencement address at Notre Dame, commenting as a new Catholic, Newt felt it was inappropriate for Obama to address the ND grads (never mind that pesky ninth commandment he’s violated several times).

Eric Alterman has a great column about Gingrich on Media Matters.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Gingrich no longer represents a constituency. He has no governmental power. He doesn’t lead a large organization. (Gingrich belatedly tried to gin up support for the modestly attended “tea parties,” but was in no way an organizer.) You can’t find his fingerprints on any of the major initiatives that the previous Republican administration embraced and advanced.

Oh, but wait: Gingrich might run for president in 2012. At least according to the AP, which recently identified him in an article as “the former House speaker and potential 2012 presidential candidate.” And so that’s why he receives so much media attention?

The problem is, I’m pretty sure that if you did a secret GOP ballot these days, you could find 10 to 20 Republicans who might run for president three years from now. So what makes the Georgian so special? Is there some kind of conventional wisdom that he’d be an automatic front-runner, and that’s why the press hangs on his every word?

If that’s the assumption, it’s completely false. Because back in 2007, when there were faint rumors that Gingrich was considering a White House run, a September poll by ABC News that year found that his support for the GOP nomination stood at a minute 5 percent. Other polling in 2007 found that Gingrich was “universally unpopular even among core Republican constituents,” which means his actual chances of being the party’s nominee in 2012 would appear to be slim and none, and slim’s out of town. So there’s no justification for the press to treat him as the nominee in waiting.”

Cheney, in a speech broadcast live on Fox and CNN (why?), continues to link 9/11 to Iraq and defend torture.

From Cheney’s speech:

“We had the training camps of Afghanistan, and dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists.  Foremost on our minds was the prospect of the very worst coming to pass – a 9/11 with weapons of mass destruction.   We turned special attention to regimes that had the capacity to build weapons of mass destruction, and might transfer such weapons to terrorists.

In the years after 9/11, our government also understood that the safety of the country required collecting information known only to the worst of the terrorists.   I was and remain a strong proponent of our enhanced interrogation program.   They were legal, essential, justified, successful, and the right thing to do.

To call this a program of torture is to libel the dedicated professionals who have saved American lives, and to cast terrorists and murderers as innocent victims.”

It was torture.  American POWs were waterboarded by the Japanese in WWII and the Japanese were charged with War Crimes.

So the new face of the the GOP are the old faces of Gingrich and Cheney (throw in Limbaugh while you’re at it); hypocrites one and all.