Right from the Middle: Newt Gingrich helped fuel America’s political polarization
By William O. Lipinski
Our country must come together, we have far too many challenges domestically and internationally to continue to be so divided.
Some people say the great divide starred back in the Golden days of radio, the 1930s and the 1940s.
In those days we had three radio networks CBS, and NBC’s Red and the Blue network which later became ABC. All three networks leaned Left, echoing the voices of the Eastern liberal establishment, educated at elite east coast universities such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
Radio played an important part, too. Liberal radio voices like Gabriel Heatter, Edward R Murrow, and Edward P Morgan usually drowned out the less prevalent radio voices of people like H.V. Kalterborn.
These Liberal media outlets represented the opinions and views of more and more of the educated elitist centers on the left and right Coast often belittling the values of middle America. This trend became even stronger when the mainstream news media move into television.
There were four networks, at the time, the short-lived Dumont being the fourth. As the years rolled on the mainstream news media became more and more a voice for liberal views, opinions, thoughts, policies and programs and middle America’s values were ridiculed and portrayed as relics of a bygone age.
The divide grew as we moved from the 1930’s to the 1970’s.
Then came the great voice of middle America Ronald Wilson Reagan. He spoke for the voters who had been ignored, disrespected, ridiculed, and made fun of, by the liberal mainstream media, and parts of the national Democratic Party.
It was not just journalist who represented the liberal elites it was the bureaucrats, judges, and professors.
President Reagan not only spoke for these people, but because of his very friendly personality, uplifting positive demeanor, won a sizable number of other Americans outside of middle America.
President Reagan was the great communicator and the great uniter, not a divider. He began to bring all Americans back together. Unfortunately, when he left office, the divide once again started to widen. I had a front row seat in viewing the dividing of America, having been elected to Congress in 1982.
The greatest bomb-thrower and rabble-rouser I ever encountered in Congress was Newt Gingrich. Gingrich deliberately widened the divide in America, principally by giving inflamed inaccurate speeches to an empty house of Congress, usually when Congress had ended its workday.
The only other member present was his good friend from Pennsylvania, Bob Walker, who was there to agree with everything Newt said.
Gingrich blamed Democrats for every problem, and at the end of every one of his radical statements, he argued there’s not a Democrat here that will speak up and defend the Democratic Party.
Of course, there was no one else present but Bob Walker and Newt.
These attacks on the Democratic Party by Gingrich and Walker went out across the country on C-SPAN.
A Great benefit to Gingrich was that the house TV cameras had to stay on the member who was speaking and could not pan the house floor, so viewers never knew there were no democrats on the floor.
The Speaker finally changed the no pan policy, when it became obvious to all that Gingrich’s special orders were having a significant impact on the American people.
But by that time it was too late for the Democrats, for the first time in 40 years the Republicans captured the house of representatives.
Gingrich became speaker, and most Republican Representatives followed in his footprints, dividing Americans more and more.
At this point I want to say that off the floor Newt Gingrich was one of the nicest, friendliest, down to earth. cooperative, considerate, helpful members I knew.
To this day I still cannot believe that the Newt Gingrich I knew off the floor could have done so much damage to the American republic.
When the Democrats regained control of the House, they employed the same tactics as Gingrich. Then came Fox news, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow, and a number of other channels and individuals all having opinions that divided American more and more.
Then we elected the greatest divider of them all, President Donald Trump, thank God we survived his presidency.
If we do not end this division I believe this division will end us, that’s spelled United States.
At the beginning of this column, I gave a number of suggestions on how we Americans could come together.
One more way to bring unity to America, would be by electing a President who is not a Democrat, a Republican, a liberal, or a conservative, but an American who’s first priority would be to bring all Americans together, for the good of our nation and the good of all mankind.