|December 22, 1995, House Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton meet at the White House to reach a compromise that will reopen the U.S. Government. Photo courtesy of CNN.|
Down in Florida today, the latest poll by Real Clear Politics shows Mitt Romney leading Newt Gingrich by 13 percentage points. If the story in the Nation today, “How Newt Gingrich crippled Congress,” is accurate, we should all be relieved if Romney soundly defeats Gingrich.
The Nation’s Alex Seitz-Wald tells us:
How much Americans hate Congress has become cliché. Congress’s approval rating is at an all-time low, and it’s not hard to see why: the institution is broken. Plenty of structural forces have contributed to Congress’s dysfunction: the increasing flow of money in politics, the emergence of the 24/7 cable news cycle, the increasing polarization of the electorate. But perhaps no single person bears as much responsibility as Newt Gingrich.
“I spent 16 years building a majority in the House for the first time since 1954,” Gingrich said during NBC’s Florida GOP debate Monday night, referring to the Republican takeover of the House in 1994. Over those sixteen years of personal and partisan striving, Gingrich invented or perfected many of the things that Americans dislike most about Congress. “I think I am a transformational figure,” Gingrich said before the 1994 election. “I am trying to effect a change so large that the people who would be hurt by the change, the liberal Democratic machine” will fight it, Gingrich explained.