In 1994, Newt Gingrich led a conservative revolution by purporting to make a “Contract with America.” Over time, the public learned that the real “contract” conservatives were making was with K Street lobbyists who lined the pockets of the right-wing with hefty contributions, helped them maintain power, and were in turn rewarded with undue (and corrupting) influence over policy-making.
Gingrich is back, armed once again with a flashy slogan that purports to help America while actually serving the interests of lobbyists. As chairman of a 527 organization called American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF), Gingrich has invested his resources in a campaign to “Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less.” He claims to have 1.4 million Americans who have signed onto his petition.
Today, Gingrich appeared as a “guest star” in the political theater that House Republicans have been engaging in since Congress adjourned last week. Applauding the political stunts of the past few days, Gingrich said, “I’m very proud of the House Republicans.” Watch it:
Gingrich has effectively corralled the right into supporting his propaganda campaign. Sen. John McCain has now incorporated Gingrich’s line into his stump speech: “We need to drill here and we need to drill now.”
Just like the “Contract with America,” Gingrich’s new conservative takeover has its roots in a bargain with deep pockets – in this case, the deep pockets of the energy industry. Over at the Wonk Room, Brad Johnson reports that American Solutions is a front group for coal:
Peabody, World’s Largest Coal Company, #4 Backer Of American Solutions For Winning The Future. Newt Gingrich’s 527 organization, American Solutions for Winning the Future, has received $275,000 in contributions from Peabody Energy, Inc. As of July 1, 2008, the world’s largest private-sector coal company is ASWF’s fourth highest contributor. [IRS, $250,000 6/16/08, $25,000 4/30/08]
The key funder is right-wing casino kingpin Sheldon Adelson, who has pumped over $3 million into the organization since its beginning in 2006. A total of fourteen Bush pioneers have contributed over $4 million to Newt’s ASWF. Eight of those same right-wing money men are top McCain fundraisers, channeling $2 million into his coffers.
Newt’s takeover of the right is forcing conservatives to outsource their energy policy to Big Oil. McCain has flip-flopped on offshore oil drilling, and as a result, has been rewarded with almost $1 million in oil money. For more information on McCain’s sell-out, see here.