In the wake of the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich laid the blame for the tragedy at the feet of liberals. Here’s what he said:
“I want to say to the elite of this country – the elite news media, the liberal academic elite, the liberal political elite: I accuse you in Littleton…of being afraid to talk about the mess you have made, and being afraid to take responsibility for things you have done, and instead foisting upon the rest of us pathetic banalities because you don’t have the courage to look at the world you have created.”
On ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos asked Gingrich if he would apply those same words to the Virginia Tech tragedy. “Yes,” Gingrich said, offering a rambling, nonsensical response that segued into Don Imus and McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform. Watch it:
Gingrich has a history of spinning tragedy for ideological and partisan gain.
- In 1994, after Susan Smith confessed to drowning her two children in South Carolina, Gingrich quickly blamed liberals, saying the only way to avoid similar future incidents was “to vote Republican.”
- After former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) was forced to resign over his sexually inappropriate behavior towards House pages, Gingrich declared that conservatives didn’t act to stop Foley because they “would have been accused of gay bashing” by liberals.
- At the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year, Gingrich blamed the residents of New Orleans’ 9th ward for “a failure of citizenship,” by being “so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn’t get out of the way of a hurricane.”
In Gingrich’s mind, anything bad that happens can always be traced back to the culture created by liberals.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about the broader context? After Columbine, you gave a speech where you blamed 35 — blamed the shootings on 35 years of liberalism. You went — you said, “I want to say to the elite of this country, the elite news media, the liberal academic elite, the liberal political elite — I accuse you in Littleton of being afraid to talk about the mess you’ve made and being afraid to take responsibility for the things you have done, and instead foisting on the rest of us pathetic banalities because you don’t have the courage to look at the world you have created.” Do you stand by that prescription today?
GINGRICH: Yes, I think the fact is, if you look at the amount of violence we have in games that young people play at 7, 8, 10, 12, 15 years of age, if you look at the dehumanization, if you look at the fact that we refuse to say that we are, in fact, endowed by our creator, that our rights come from God, that if you kill somebody, you’re committing an act of evil.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what does that have to do with liberalism?
GINGRICH: Well, who has created a situation ethics, essentially, zone of not being willing to talk about any of these things. Let me carry another example. I strongly supported Imus being dismissed, but I also think the very thing he was dismissed for, which is the use of language which is stunningly degrading of women — the fact, for example, that one of the Halloween costumes this last year was being able to be either a prostitute or a pimp at 10, 11, 12 years of age, buying a costume, and we don’t have any discussion about what’s happened to our culture because while we’re restricting political free speech under McCain-Feingold, we say it’s impossible to restrict vulgar and vicious and anti-human speech. And I would argue that that’s a major component of what’s happened to our culture in the last 40 years.