Newt Gingrich Wins Rare Upside Down Pinocchio for Fibbing on his Cap-and-Trade Flip-Flop

The Washington Post gives former House speaker Newt Gingrich a rare upside down Pinocchio for this whopper on Saturday:

“I’ve said publicly, sitting on the couch with Nancy Pelosi is the dumbest single thing I’ve done in the last few years. But if you notice, I’ve never favored cap and trade, and in fact, I actively testified against it. I was at the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee the same day Al Gore was there to testify for it, I testified against it and through American Solutions we fought it in the Senate and played a major role in defeating it.”

In fact, as the WashPost points out, in a February 2007  Interview on PBS’s “Frontline” Gingrich said:

“I think if you have mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system, much like we did with sulfur, and if you have a tax-incentive program for investing in the solutions, that there’s a package there that’s very, very good. And frankly, it’s something I would strongly support.”

That is a pretty unequivocal endorsement of cap-and-trade.

Gingrich is a major-league flip-flopper, like Mitt Romney, but somehow he gets more of a pass by the GOP base since they know he is very conservative in his core.  The Post summed up Gingrich’s flip-flop this way:

As Slate columnist David Weigel has noted, cap and trade was once a very respectable conservative position and several of the GOP contenders have a history of expressing interest in it, to varying degrees.

Gingrich’s comment to “Frontline” certainly seems to be in support of a cap-and-trade system, given that he speaks in favor of “mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system.” He refers to a similar program for “sulfur,” which appears to be a nod to a successful program designed to reduce acid rain.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond told ABC News last month that the candidate was speaking in support of “a very limited program” when he made those remarks in 2007, unlike cap-and-trade proposals the Obama administration has pushed unsuccessfully. Hammond did not respond to requests to expand on that statement.

The Pinocchio Test

By all available evidence, Gingrich has changed his position on cap and trade. That’s fine, but it is disingenuous of him to claim that he has “never favored cap and trade.”

An Upside-Down Pinocchio

“Disingenuous” is a kind way of saying “false.”

It’s truly amazing that Gingrich has a serious chance at the GOP nomination.  I’ll have to dig up my old posts on his long-standing anti-environmental, anti-clean-energy record (see, from 2007, “Anti-environment, anti-technology Gingrich tries to rewrite history. Don’t buy it or his new book“).

12 Responses to Newt Gingrich Wins Rare Upside Down Pinocchio for Fibbing on his Cap-and-Trade Flip-Flop

  1. Hmm, they don’t seem to define what an upside down Pinocchio is. Does that mean it’s a lie but only if you’re standing on your head? Inquiring minds want to know!

  2. John Tucker says:

    Please, a little more respect for such a historic figure:

    Wednesday, January 22 1997

    “The House voted overwhelmingly yesterday to reprimand House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and order him to pay an unprecedented $300,000 penalty, the first time in the House’s 208-year history it has disciplined a speaker for ethical wrongdoing.”

    ( )

    I dont even want to know what they did to get him to make the video in the first place. I dont think it was a momentary lapse into honesty and goodwill.

  3. John Tucker says:

    In the not so ironic category someone chose to speak up for Gingrich on that fateful day in 1997 (you couldn’t make this up) :

    “House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) gave a spirited speech calling the penalty unwarranted.”

    Of course he would ensure Gingrich transgressions would be forgotten by becoming the first congressional leader ever to be indicted.

    Both of them interestingly have emerged strongly in the tea party.

  4. Jeff Huggins says:

    Let’s Play ‘BOP-a-MOLE’


    Time today is limited, so I’ll just shoot from the hip and list some of the factual ammo that should help people — here, in the Rupub party, in the media, the Dems, and etc. — play BOP-a-MOLE with Gingrich.

    First of all, there’s the great quote in this post — thanks for it, Washington Post and CP.

    Second, there’s this distinction that seems to be overlooked by many Repubs, and by much of the media: In his recent comments, during the Fox thing with Huckabee and the attorneys general, Gingrich seemed to say, or strongly imply, that he agrees with (or at least isn’t contesting) the reality of climate change, but just doesn’t support doing much of anything about it. There’s a huge difference there: one that needs to get clarified and pinned down. The questions “Is climate change real?”, “Is it caused primarily by humans?”, and “What should be done about it?” are all very different, of course, and the media shouldn’t be allowing politicians to jump back and forth with respect to different answers to these questions or with respect to muddling of the different questions themselves. Again, it’s time to pin things down and play BOP-a-MOLE.

    Also, for example, if a Repub agrees that climate change is real, and caused substantially by humans, he or she may think that he/she’s gotten out of the problem by saying that nothing should be done about it now anyhow. But if climate change is real (as it is, of course), then even folks like Rex Tillerson, of ExxonMobil, have held in the past that we should take action. For example, Tillerson has actually said that he and ExxonMobil favor a carbon tax over cap-and-trade. He said this quite clearly in a speech at Stanford, for example.

    Of course, being boxed in, Gingrich might want to come up with other objections to taking action. But on what basis? The late iconic conservative economist Milton Friedman wrote clearly about ‘neighborhood effects’ and the fact that free markets can’t, on their own, without public (government) involvement, address such “failures” of free markets. So much for the argument that a free market can address the problem by itself, with no cap or tax or any other action on the part of government.

    And what about Gingrich’s religious conversion, the one he uses in order to seek forgiveness for past mistakes and sins, to claim that he’s now mature and ethical, to appeal to the religious right, and to claim humane values? Gingrich is now a Catholic. Wasn’t it the Pope who, just a week or so ago, appealed to the leaders of humankind to face and cooperatively address climate change, for the sake of the poor, for all humankind, and for future generations?

    So, who does Gingrich disagree with, precisely? Does he disagree with the entire scientific community? (On what basis?) Does he disagree with the Pope? (On what basis?) Does he disagree with Milton Friedman? (On what basis?) Does he disagree with himself, and on what matter? Or does he disagree with all of these folks, and none of them? On what basis?

    It’s time to play BOP-a-MOLE and start pinning some of these folks like Gingrich down. After all, for goodness sake, they’re running for President! How embarrassing to the media is it, or should it be, that the situation has gotten this far with leading Presidential candidates and yet they are still able to muddle questions, bounce around, change their views, and dodge clarity with little or no consequence? If I were in the news media, I’d be deeply embarrassed by now.

    Be Well,


  5. M Tucker says:

    Oh, come on…

    “Disingenuous” is a kind way of saying LIAR!

    Joe Scarborough is becoming a big Newt supporter and he will not tolerate any mention of Newt flops. He is a big Romney flop advocate but the Scarborough windbag is now defending Newt and the conservative media is lining up behind him.

  6. Tim says:

    I want to say right here that I think this character assasination is despicable. Pinocchio never lied – not once. Comparing him to a sleazeball like Newt is just another liberal smear.

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Perhaps it should be an inverse, or ‘in-grown’ Pinocchio, where the offending member (not Newt’s only one!) penetrates his massive frontal lobes.

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Newt (apparently not an abbreviation, but a prescient acknowledgement of his amphibian tendencies)is a living monument to chutzpah. Perhaps he could make a useful President, if he is as smart as he thinks he is, and realises that climate scientists are not a cabal of lying Carmnists. If he’s not suicidal, and does not wish Hell to be visited on his descendants, he might actually do something. I have more faith in that peculiar miracle than I have in Obama changing his spots.

  9. Emily says:

    “Disingenuous” is exactly the word for Newt Gingrich. I remember during ’92 Clinton campaign that he was running around saying Hillary Clinton “compared family to slavery”. She had written a paper in the seventies in which she noted that the lack of legal rights of children was comparable to that of slaves. He knew the context but was enjoying his manipulative little sound-bite. He’s an absolute snake with no integrity.

  10. Jim Eaton says:

    from the Austin Lounge Lizards:

    Gingrich The Newt
    (Hank Card)

    We’d like to set the record straight by singing of the newt
    For newts are open-minded; they are flexible and cute
    A newt can breathe in water and a newt can breathe on land
    And if you are a different critter newts will understand

    Newts are not mean-spirited; they never are unfair
    Newts are not underhanded and are not afraid to share
    Newts do not have bad haircuts because newts are lacking hair
    But the newt called Gingrich drives all true newts to despair

    Gingrich the Newt’s a disgrace to the name
    When true newts see him they feel so ashamed
    He’s the black sheep of the newt family
    The one rotten fruit on the newt family tree

    Newts don’t prey on other newts; in that they don’t believe
    And you will never catch a newt with something up his sleeve
    They’re tolerant to different environments and so
    They don’t send little newties to the orphanage to grow

    What kind of newt wears a suit and a tie
    And frightens small children as he rushes by?
    But we admit that his suit suits him good
    Much more discreet than a sheet and a hood

    A newt may be cold-blooded but he won’t go to extremes
    And you can trust a newt to be exactly what he seems
    Newts are sorry if you’re sad; they’re happy if you’re gay
    But Gingrich is perverse, and worse
    He’s proud to be that way

    Gingrich the Newt is puffed up like a toad
    So full of himself that he’s bound to explode
    And then we’ll raise up our tails in salute
    A fitting tribute
    To that horse’s patoot
    Gingrich the Newt

  11. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Thanks for the laughs fellas and it is possible to laugh and cry at the same time, ME

  12. This good piece by Krugman at the NYT, “Send in the Clueless”…

    which happily has pegged the top of the NYT most-emailed list for days now…

    Explains how the Reeper candidates are all either hopelessly cynical, or hopelessly clueless.

    Completing the thought, Gingrich appears to be their perfect combination, pegging the scale on both counts.