A threat by Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to release damaging information on Newt Gingrich from an ethics probe is being viewed as hollow by a number of conservative Christian politicos. They argue the 1990s investigation turned up little to condemn Newt with and that the release of the information would be itself an ethics violation.
“One of these days we’ll have a conversation about Newt Gingrich,” Pelosi told Talking Points Memo this week. “I know a lot about him. I served on the investigative committee that investigated him, four of us locked in a room in an undisclosed location for a year. A thousand pages of his stuff.”
Few believe Pelosi is going to reveal such confidential information because she knows she would face a severe backlash from her colleagues.
“I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for what I regard as an early Christmas gift,” Gingrich responded. “If she’s suggesting she’s going to use material she developed while she was on the ethics committee, that is a fundamental violation of the rules of the House and I would hope members would immediately file charges against her the second she does it.”
Republican strategist Ralph Reed agrees that Pelosi threat is unfounded and baseless.
“I tend to agree with Newt that Speaker Pelosi could hand him a gift with a big bow on top,” Reid said. “However, Pelosi’s problems are two-fold. First, Newt was found innocent on 83 of 84 charges and they one he was guilty of involved teaching a course on western civilization at a Georgia college. I hardly think that rises to the level of political treason.”
Political pundits are wondering if Pelosi’s strategy is to damage Gingrich in the eyes of conservative or value voters. They assert that Pelosi is trying to remind today’s voters that Newt has a controversial history that few people – even if they were of voting age in the mid 1990’s – remember.
“There’s no doubt about it; Newt is brilliant but had a controversial tenure as Speaker of the House,” said Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. “Pelosi is just trying to resurrect Gingrich’s past and hoping to sway independent voters.”
Reed believes Pelosi’s strategy will fall flat.
“Elections are about the future, not the past,” Reed said. “In politics you don’t get to pick your opponent so Pelosi is just trying to drag up some dirt on her former colleague. Believe, me, Democrats don’t want to run on their own record of the last three years so they’re trying to bring up the past and it won’t work to their advantage.”