Bloomberg Businessweek just reported that Newt Gingrich received between $1.6 and $1.8 MILLION dollars in “advisory” payments from the mortgage lender Freddie Mac over a several-year period in the past decade. Now first of all, it would be interesting to see just what kind of “advice” is worth that kind of money. Unfortunately we can’t see, because no one at Freddie Mac seems to have any white papers or even a brief Powerpoint presentation of Newt’s pearls of wisdom. Or at these prices, perhaps we should say diamonds of wisdom. Nor has Newt produced any such documents. He doesn’t even say that he wrote something but he lost it, or forgot to turn it in, or the dog ate it. I guess for only $1.6 mil you can’t be bothered to write stuff down. Or it was secret (like Nixon’s nonexistent “secret plan to end the war” that was key to his ’68 election campaign). Or it was simply a little bit of payola to a prominent politician to provide some favorable spin to his colleagues.
Republicans taking payoffs from corporations! Yikes! Yawn. Why even mention it? Well, it’s a little more interesting because, in the apparently now mandatory display of hypocrisy by Republican candidates, Newt subsequently turned on his benefactors, joining the chorus that blamed Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae (and a Democratic Congress) for the financial meltdown. A pretty big chomp of the hand there, Newt. Good thing your “think tank” has been collecting $10s of millions for other “services” (see Washington Post article) so you don’t need to put your snout back in Freddie’s trough.
Now most of us would say that people should be a bit leery of electing someone who turns on his benefactors (read voters) so quickly. However, Newt’s not worried. Biting the hand that feeds you is actually a key part of the Republican and Tea Party message. They want us all to think that the government that has ensured that people can retire before they die and still have access to health care without having to live on dog food is an evil intrusion on our right to die in squalor. They clearly want us to bite the hand—and rip it off, spit it in the gutter and dance around our decaying infrastructure in glee. The corollary message is even more important. The real key to Republican domination is getting everyone to “feed the hand that bites you.” Cutting taxes on corporations that move jobs overseas and on individuals who make millions in the Wall Street Casino is practically the only reason the Republican party exists. Oh, and sending your children to die in foreign countries in the name of “defense.” Feed that hand baby, it’s still got a lot of biting it wants to do.