Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
—Matthew 7: 17-20
Meet the Gingrich Twins: Good Newt and Bad Newt.
Here’s how Good Newt responded to GOP strategist Karl Rove’s insinuation that Hillary Clinton might have brain damage.
Clinton was hospitalized in late December 2012, where doctors discovered a blood clot related to a concussion she had suffered earlier in the month. She was released from the hospital several days later.
On May 12, Rove told the New York Post:
“Thirty days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what’s up with that.”
The next day, Good Newt held a Facebook Q and A session, where he wrote:
“i am totally opposed and deeply offended by Karl Rove’s comments about Secretary Clinton. I have many policy disagreements with Hillary but this kind of personal charge is exactly whats wrong with american politics. he should apologize and stop discussing her health. i was angry when people did this to Reagan in 1980 and I am angry when they do it to her today.”
Good Newt is “appalled” that anyone could stoop so low. He’s concerned not only for himself and his party, but the country.
Unfortunately, for Good Newt, he has an identical evil twin: Bad Newt.
And sometimes people–especially Democrats–mistake one for the other.
It was Bad Newt who, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, wrote a 1996 memo that encouraged Republicans to “speak like Newt.”
Entitled “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control,” it urged Republicans to attack Democrats with such words as “corrupt,” “selfish,” “destructive,” “hypocrisy,” “liberal,” “sick,” and “traitors.”
Even worse, Bad Newt encouraged the news media to disseminate such accusations. Among his suggestions:
“Fights make news.”
Create a “shield issue” to deflect criticism: “A shield issue is just, you know, your opponent is going to attack you as lacking compassion. “You better…show up in the local paper holding a baby in the neonatal center….”
In the memo, Bad Newt advised:
“….In the video “We are a Majority,” Language is listed as a key mechanism of control used by a majority party, along with Agenda, Rules, Attitude and Learning.
“As the tapes have been used in training sessions across the country and mailed to candidates we have heard a plaintive plea: ‘I wish I could speak like Newt.’
“That takes years of practice. But, we believe that you could have a significant impact on your campaign and the way you communicate if we help a little. That is why we have created this list of words and phrases….
“This list is prepared so that you might have a directory of words to use in writing literature and mail, in preparing speeches, and in producing electronic media.
“The words and phrases are powerful. Read them. Memorize as many as possible. And remember that like any tool, these words will not help if they are not used.”
Here is the list of words Bad Newt urged his followers to use in describing “the opponent, their record, proposals and their party”:
Yes, speaking like Newt–or Adolf Hitler or Joseph McCarthy–”takes years of practice.”
And Karl Rove has clearly had that.
In 2000, he gleefully smeared Arizona Senator John McCain as brain-damaged from his years as a Vietnam POW–thus removing him from the Presidential race as a competitor for George W. Bush.
So you can understand why Good Newt hates being mistaken for his evil twin, Bad Newt.
Unfortunately, they look–and sound–so alike it’s impossible to tell them apart.
But since they’re both 70, perhaps one day soon we’ll find out which one we’re left with–Good Newt or Bad Newt.
Unless, of course, they both drop off at the same time. Then we will never know which was which.
It’s definitely a mystery worth living with.