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Who really is a bigger “threat to our basic way of life” — President Obama, as Gingrich claims, or Newt himself, backed by Big Oil and special interest polluters?

By Joe Romm  

"Who really is a bigger “threat to our basic way of life” — President Obama, as Gingrich claims, or Newt himself, backed by Big Oil and special interest polluters?"

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President Obama issued a call to arms to progressives yesterday ahead of the midterm elections. Obama told a cheering crowd of 26,000 at the University of Wisconsin, “We cannot sit this one out. We cannot let this country fall back because the rest of us didn’t stand up and fight.” “[P]rogress is going to come, but you’ve got to stick with me. You cannot lose heart,” he implored.

Whatever else you can say about Obama, he is no extremist, nor has he lacked for achievements.  He has governed from a center-left position and has enacted a set of policies that have eluded progressives for decades.

Yes, despite pushing through a variety of clean energy and CO2-reducing strategies that make him the greenest president to date, he has utterly failed on his crucial campaign commitment of passing comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation.  In part this is for lack of serious trying by his White House, but mostly because of the disinformation campaign pushed by Big Oil and corporate polluters and because the Republican Party has been captured by Big Oil, Big Polluters, and the Tea Party extremists, who themselves are backed by Big Oil , as discussed here.

The radicalization of the Republican Party is exemplified by the disgraced former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who back in 2007 was actually described as the “move to the pragmatic center on climate and energy,” by one NYT reporter.  Now, he has become just another Tea Party extremist backed by dirty energy, as explained in this Think Progress crosspost, “TenMillionVoters.Com: Newt Launches Tea Party Campaign To Stop ‘Radical, Secular Socialist Machine’ “:

With the incendiary claim that the Obama presidency is the greatest threat the American people have ever faced, Newt Gingrich has launched a massively funded effort to mobilize ten million conservative voters this November. In an online video promoting the “Power of 10” campaign by his American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF) 527 group, Gingrich rails against the “genuinely radical, secular socialist machine” of the “Obama-Pelosi-Reid team” who “simply run over the beliefs and values of the American people.” Images of Tea Party rallies and the right-wing enemies list “” Michael Moore, Sean Penn, and Katie Couric “” scroll by as Gingrich pleads for “we the American people” to “go all out”:

You know, I don’t remember any time in American history where we had such a threat to our basic way of life: A genuinely radical, secular socialist machine ramming things through with no regard for American values or the beliefs of the American people.

American Solutions for Winning the Future is bankrolled by a cadre of the right-wing billionaires and oil and coal companies who put George W. Bush into office and destroyed the national economy.

Here is a Rogue’s gallery of ASWF’s dirty bankrollers, from Salon:

  • American Electric Power: Michael Morris, the CEO of this Ohio-based power giant, gave $100,000 last year. Along with generating lots of electricity, the company operates the nation’s largest power transmission network, operating over much of the East Coast and Midwest.
  • Plains Exploration and Production Co.: This Houston-based oil and gas company that operates in the Gulf gave $100,000.
  • Devon Energy: A huge Oklahoma-based oil and gas production company, it has given American Solutions $250,000.
  • Arch Coal: Based in St. Louis, Arch boasts it provides 16 percent of America’s coal supply from 11 mining complexes around the country. That makes it the second largest coal producer in the country. It gave Gingrich $100,000.

Read more about Newt Gingrich’s ASWF at the Wonk Room.

The stakes in this battle between mainstream, clean energy progressives and dirty energy extremists could not be higher.

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Here is a transcript of the video above:

You know, I don’t remember any time in American history where we had such a threat to our basic way of life: A genuinely radical, secular socialist machine ramming things through with no regard for American values or the beliefs of the American people.

When you look at case after case, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid team are determined that they’re going to drive home change in America no matter what you and I think, no matter what every American thinks. Polls say people oppose them. They oppose issue after issue: They don’t want big tax increases, they don’t want the labor unions to eliminate the secret ballot in organizing, they don’t want to see government control of health care, they don’t want to see the Arizona law challenged on immigration.

And yet, again and again this administration and its allies simply run over the beliefs and values of the American people.

And that’s why these 45 days are so important. Now, I look at what’s going on, and I’m frankly worried. Oh yeah, the polls look pretty good. There’s a lot of happy talk, but I’ve been here before. We haven’t yet seen the full power of the presidency. All of the elite news media biased against us, the labor unions pouring out every penny. Trial lawyers writing their big checks. The left-wing celebrities out there raising money.

October’s gonna be tough, and for us to win after their counterattack, we have to have laid out careful plans, we have to have trained our candidates, and we have to have mobilized our voters. Because we’re up against a machine that’s gonna be desperate. They know the country’s angry. They look at every poll that tells them that on issue on issue we the American people are rejecting them. They know we’re determined to defeat them. So they’re going to go all out. The question is: Are we willing to go all out too?

So I’m asking you one more time, in this 45-day period, help us before the end of September to get the resources to stop the Left and get America back on the right track. I’m confident we will win, and our children and grandchildren will have a dramatically better future.

‹ Obama Is ‘Committed’ To Using ‘Whole Weight Of The Presidency’ To Address Climate Change

Energy and Global Warming News for September 29th: Waves power US grid for first time; New York tornado Part Two — Extreme weather on the rise ›

16 Responses to Who really is a bigger “threat to our basic way of life” — President Obama, as Gingrich claims, or Newt himself, backed by Big Oil and special interest polluters?

  1. Lore says:

    Why anyone still gives this guy any consideration and media play is the real wonder.

  2. I don’t know how these people sleep at night. I feel dirty just reading about it.

  3. catman306 says:

    Why is Gingrich still around? He’s paid by the billionaires to talk, while others, paid by the billionaires, are paid to listen, and report his musings. He knows how to stay on message. The billionaires’, that is.

    If Gingrich slipped off message and lost his fat job, he’d represent a greater threat to some American city, resorting to burglary and robbery to make a thug’s living.

  4. Doug Bostrom says:

    Joe, it might help illustrate what the President is up against by including this chart:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/lobbyists.jpg

    From Center for Public Integrity’s “The Climate Change Lobby Explosion”, tracking the amazing growth of climate-related lobbying as the threat of legislation with teeth became more real.

    What are the chances of useful legislation making it through that gauntlet? Can a few hundred people working for the President offset such a frenzy of activity?

    Another way of putting this struggle in the perspective of resources: the annual budget of the United States is smaller than annual revenue of fossil fuel extraction/refining/marketing firms and those firms have plenty of profit to dip into in order to fund their own interest. Nothing inherently wrong with that, just to say that fossil fuel interests have ample resources available for messing with policy.

  5. Bill W says:

    In Gingrich’s speech, we need to replace “American people” with “minority of American people”.

  6. David Smith says:

    The Preamble to the constitution, (the why)

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    I have not observed anything in the Obama policies which contradicts any of these stated intentions. (I am progressive, not conservative)

    The conservative take on this document would seem to be;

    “We the wealthy elite of the United States and their corporations, in Order to form a more profitable Union, establish acceptance, insure domestic fear and powerlessness of the people, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare of its capitalist institutions, and secure the blessings of Liberty to the wealthy property-owners and their Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    I just don’t think that this is what the founders had in mind. My appologies for the hasty rewrite.

  7. mike roddy says:

    Newt Gingrich is one of the creepiest politicians in history, the kind of man who would steal a hot stove. I agree with Scotty in feeling soiled just from reading his remarks.

    He won’t get nominated, because even the Right sees through him. Newt is just trying to collect a few crumbs from the oil companies, and designs his speeches to please them.

  8. Peter M says:

    The only threat to Americans freedoms is the continued domination of our culture by the corporations and special interests, who continue to buy more power with their unlimited oil and coal money.

    Newt has it all wrong, there have been many villains in History- and Newt will certainly become one.

  9. Dave E says:

    “You know, I don’t remember any time in American history where we had such a threat to our basic way of life..”–hard to disagree with that. The coming midterm elections are probably among the most important in our history and if Gingrinch gets his way, we really will see an assault on our basic way of life.

  10. hapa says:

    screw the tea party. tea parties are a bunch of preening doubletalking selfish a-holes TRYING TO KEEP ALL THE GOVERNMENT SPENDING FOR THEMSELVES.
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/210904

    i talked with dozens of them earlier this year myself, via twitter, and one after the other they showed themselves to be dependent on government spending for their income. taibbi leaves out military veterans. vets get their federal health care. then they join the tea party to keep other people from getting any.

    it’s disgusting. i’m ashamed to call myself american with them as company.

    but it’s nothing strange. in fact, economists have a name for it:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rent_seeking

    In economics, rent seeking occurs when an individual, organization or firm seeks to earn income by capturing economic rent through manipulation or exploitation of the economic or political environment, rather than by earning profits through economic transactions and the production of added wealth.

    another big tea party funder is wall street. the tea partiers take rent-seeking to the same level of mean as the polluters & the banksters. how’s that for shocking? they want to punish the rest of us for even THINKING the word ‘share.’ they want to frighten us away.

    but the tea party supporters DO know a new trick. they don’t just want to bully competitors away from the trough: they want to LYNCH us. they tell themselves there were golden days long ago, in the 18th century, when blacks were slaves and medicare & social security & farm subsidies & all that money was given only to THEM.

    they love the new deal! THEY LOVE FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. they love him so much they want more & more. they want it all.

    because THEY ARE LYING SELFISH WEASELS.

  11. Albert says:

    “Preemptive projection” is the favorite rhetorical device of Republicans. They ask, “what can I most reasonably be accused of?” Then they turn that accusation against someone else, preferably their direct opponent. The idea is to make anyone turning the charge on them sound like a child saying, “no I’m not, but you are!”

  12. keviN says:

    Does no one remember after the “Contract With America” Newt was driven from his seat due to substantiated ethics violations? He is a talking head for special interest groups, always has been and always will be

  13. with the doves says:

    “Newt Gingrich” – sounds and acts like a Dickens character.

  14. FedUpWithDenial says:

    The radiative properties of Earth’s atmosphere are critically dependent upon the heat-trapping ability of certain trace gases, CO2 in particular, and must be maintained within narrow limits for the earth to remain habitable to our form of life. CO2 is already dangerously high at more than 390 ppm. Yet the completely unregulated, untaxed, and unrestrained dumping of CO2 and other heat-trapping pollutant gases into the global atmosphere goes on as before and is actually accelerating, as if it were both safe and perfectly natural to use the perilously thin envelope of gases and aerosols that separate the earth from space as an open sewer.

    Why are we allowing this to happen—not only behaving as if ours were the only generation that mattered, but acting as if the prime purpose and raison d’être of our economy and social order were to continue to run the corrupt Ponzi scheme that lines the pockets of a few obsessively greedy and obscenely oil-rich billionaires, CEOs, and fat cats who now control much of the economy, including powerful business interests like Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, and American Electric Power? The concentration of power and wealth in the hands of these entities has allowed them to collectively buy out both the mainstream media and our political process—especially the Republican caucus in Congress—and also (behind the scenes) to bankroll the crowd of incurable idiots, buffoons, and troublemakers known as the “Tea Party,” mostly fit only for hanging. These, while obviously mostly dupes, are little more than a front for polluting fossil-fuel interests, as shown by their inane “drill, baby, drill” cheerleading and angry demands that “the regulation of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere should be left to God and not government”—an idea so fundamentally brainless and idiotic as to be “not even stupid.”

    Meanwhile, the polluting fossil-fuel interests behind all this secretly choreograph and fund massive Tobacco-Industry-style campaigns of disinformation and denial intended to mislead and confuse the public about global warming, activities clearly unethical and which arguably (like false advertising and other kinds of profit-oriented scams) should carry severe criminal penalties. Laws should be enacted to establish such penalties and even make them retroactive, allowing authorities to go after these corporations and their paid disinformers after the fact. Meanwhile, underhanded or self-deceived opportunists like Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli who try to make political hay by launching (or threatening to launch) witch-hunts against distinguished climate scientists like Michael Mann—against whom there is not the slightest shred of evidence to support any charge of wrongdoing—should be publicly stripped of their positions and thrown in jail. Then the key to their jail cells should be straightway thrown into the deep blue sea—oops, I meant to say, the polluted Gulf of Mexico.

    For the rest, it is plainly obvious that these short-sighted business interests and their corrupt political allies—disinformers all—don’t give a green damn about the environment of the earth or future generations. Seems like the best thing for everybody (before the eventual but inevitable mobs start tearing known disinformers limb from limb) would be for all of them to get the hell off the face of the earth and take their misguided fossil-fuel interests (together with all the associated polluting infrastructure) elsewhere in the Galaxy.

  15. Windsong says:

    This is from Jim Hansen (email):

    Freedom Plaza: Equal Protection of the Laws

    We hold this truth to be self evident – all people are created equal.
    That truth is the basis for equal protection of the laws – a right guaranteed by our Constitution.

    “All people” includes young people, mountain people, poor people.
    Our government was instituted to protect the rights of all people.

    We are gathered here today to draw attention to the failure of our government to protect the rights of the people, and failure to provide equal protection of the laws.

    People have suffered a long train of abuses, invariably with the same objective – to enrich the few at the expense of the many.

    First, the government is failing to protect the future of young people, knowingly allowing and even subsidizing actions that benefit the few at the expense of the public and at the expense of all life sharing this Earth.

    Second, the legislative and executive branches of government knowingly propose actions that demonstrably and utterly fail to preserve our climate, and the environment for life.

    Third, our government allows and contributes to a great hoax, perpetrated on the public by moneyed interests, aimed at confusing the public about the reality of climate change.

    We are in danger of becoming the land for the rich and the home of the bribe.

    More than 200 years after the founding of our nation, we face a great moral crisis. Human-made climate change pits the rich and powerful against the young and unborn, against the defenseless, and against nature. The moral issue is comparable to slavery and civil rights.

    Solution for civil rights was provided by the combination of people in the streets and the courts, which provided equal protection of the laws and ordered desegregation.

    Brave people have been standing up in West Virginia, in Kentucky, in Tennessee, in Utah, in Australia, in the United Kingdom, around the world.

    But now is the time to go on the offensive. We should not be begging courts to forgive the brave people who protest. We must ask the courts to order the government to present plans to phase down fossil fuel emissions at a pace dictated by science, a pace stabilizing climate, preserving nature and a future for young people, providing young people equal protection of the laws.

    We can bring that case. But we can win only if the public understands the situation, sees through the lies of the moneyed interests, sees what is needed to solve the problem.

    As long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy, we will not solve the addiction. There will be more mountaintop removal, longwall mining, tar sands, deep ocean drilling, shale gas, seeking the last drop in the most pristine places.

    We must put a fee on carbon, collected from fossil fuel companies, with all proceeds distributed to the public. One hundred percent or fight!
    Most people will get more in the monthly green check than they pay in increased energy prices. Our economy and innovations will be stimulated. We will move to clean energies.

    A coalition is building for a carbon fee with 100 percent distributed to the public in a monthly check. In October this coalition will launch a campaign, Million Letter March, gathering letters showing that the people insist on an honest equitable solution. Please join the March.

    Let us resolve to have a rebirth – a rebirth of our nation, a rebirth of equality of opportunity, true equality — with a government of the people, by the people and for the people – all of the people

  16. Windsong says:

    Gingrich: “It’s an act of egotism for humans to think they’re a primary source of climate change.”

    Wrong!

    It’s an act of egotism for humans to put money before Truth. God is Truth. Anything you put before God is worshipping the golden idol. Therefore, Gingrich, like other deniers, is worshipping the golden idol.

    Furthermore, no one said we are the primary source of climate change. Humans’ use of fossil fuels is causing climate change. (Funny how they twist words around and hope no one will notice).