The Self Made Pundit
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
HAS RETIREMENT MADE NEWT GINGRICH LAZY?: It turns out that the Republican strategy of going negative on Walter Mondale (the Democrats’ likely replacement on the ballot for the late Senator Paul Wellstone) in the midst of memorial services for Wellstone is even stupider than I discussed in yesterday’s post.
You might think that Newt Gingrich has enough experience dealing in half-truths and distortions not to launch the Republican campaign against Mondale with an easily disproved lie. Perhaps Gingrich has gotten lazy since his resignation from the House, but that is just what he did on NBC’s Meet The Press Sunday.
Gingrich claimed that Mondale favors privatization and raising the retirement age for Social Security, citing Mondale’s participation on a commission that recommended such changes for social security systems in countries around the globe. What makes Gingrich’s charge a clumsy lie, however, is that Mondale co-wrote a dissent from the commission’s report, opposing such changes for Social Security in the United States. (Link via Talking Points Memo.)
It’s always risky to launch a negative campaign against a well-known and admired candidate. It’s even riskier if a state is in mourning and the candidate has not even begun campaigning. But it’s practically off the charts of rational behavior to launch such an offensive campaign with an easily disproved lie.
Engaging in such risky behavior smacks of desperation. I doubt the Republicans believe their own propaganda that they stand a chance of beating Mondale.