The Bombthrower is Back

By Keith Kloor | February 10, 2011 5:28 pm

In his rise to power as a Republican congressman, Newt Gingrich developed a reputation as a rhetorical “bombthrower.” And that was before Bill Clinton stepped foot in the White House. By the mid-2000s, the former Speaker of the House (he left Congress in 1999), seemed to grow mellower, and even recast himself as a treehugger.  Those were pre-Tea Party days.

Last year, Gingrich made headlines for his strange remarks about President Obama possessing “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior.” Last month, he called for the EPA to be abolished. Today, in addition to renewing that call, Gingrich proclaimed:

What you have from Obama Administration is a war against American energy.

That’s vintage Gingrich, circa mid-1980s to mid-1990s. It looks like the old firebrand, a perennial presidential aspirant, is gambling that this persona is more in tune with the times.

MORE ABOUT: Newt Gingrich, poliitcs
  • Steven Sullivan

    Journalists ooh and aah over Newt,  but last I read, he trailed behind Huckabee, Romney, and Palin when Republicans were polled about their choice of 2012 nominee.
    Newt’s narcissism is exceeded only by his hypocrisy.  In a way, he’s the mirror-Bill Clinton, without the charm. A lot of us haven’t forgotten that he was lambasting Clinton for adultery while cheating on and then divorcing his own terminally ill wife, and will be happy to remind people of it.  And he certainly can’t run as ‘outsider’ — he’s as inside the Beltway as it gets.


  • harrywr2

    Newt and Palin are both good at fund raising.
    If you want to help yourself to the money of the party faithful then you need to get a bomb thrower out on the $500/plate speaking circuit.

  • Tom Fuller

    The John Belushi of U.S. politics. He doesn’t throw bombs, he sprays food.

  • Paul Kelly

    Gingrich as president isn’t very appealing, but it is wrong to call him newly green. Gingrich was elected and served as a conservative environmentalist congressman before he started lobbing molotov cocktails at Speaker Jim Wright. He has written and spoken about free market approaches to environmental issues throughout his career.

  • bigcitylib

    Keith writes:

    “It looks like the old firebrand, a perennial presidential aspirant, is gambling that this persona is more in tune with the times.”

    He may gamble that, but for most of us today watching Newt is like watching a Rolling Stones concert: you don’t expect the music to be good, you’re just happy seeing they can still do it without their dentures popping out.

  • bob

    Keith, sorry for being abrupt, but are you serious. Can you honestly say that Obama and Lisa Jackson are not out to destroy the fossil fuel industry. The wealth of a nation is directly proportional to their use of nature’s true gift of energy, namely oil, gas and coal – at least for the foreseeable future. Rich nations develop neat things Keith, like life-safing medicines and the computer you are using, just to name a few.  Nobody is against cleaning up aerosols, sulfides, etc.  The war against life-giving CO2 has got to end.

  • thingsbreak

    This sure sounds like a post-partisan environment for massive clean energy funding to me! Now that cap and trade is off the table, see how wide-open the discussion for our energy future has grown?


  • kdk33

    “massive clean energy funding”

    Egads, I hope not.

    On the cheap energy front, looks like horizontal drilling and fracturing technologies are expanding US oil reserves, in addition to natural gas. 

    Not sure how that affects peak oil…

  • Steven Sullivan

    bob, nature’s ‘gift’ of a relatively stable climate during human civilization’s tenure is being disrupted by our C02 emissions. That has got to be dealt with.   Anything ‘life giving’ can also be death-dealing, in the wrong amounts and contexts.  Your cartoon version of Obama as an fossil-fuel-industry-killing radical lefty green is also patently ludicrous.   It’s just an indication of how far the Right has pushed the Overton window.

    And, kdk, *clean* energy is something to be worked towards too. We’ve seen where concern only for energy *cheapness* has got us.


  • harrywr2

    bob Says:
    February 10th, 2011 at 8:21 pm ‘Can you honestly say that Obama and Lisa Jackson are not out to destroy the fossil fuel industry.’
    US Eastern Coal mine productivity has dropped from over 4 tons/man hour to less then 3 tons/man hour in the last 10 years. The trendline is clear. As much as I would like to blame Lisa Jackson for a 10 year trend I think we need to face up to the reality that ‘peak coal’ has occurred in the Eastern US.


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About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


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