When The Politics Of Personal Destruction Became Acceptable

Many Americans look around at the political scene and wonder how we got to the point where anyone who disagrees with those in the media (and any liberal) is a horrible person probably guilty of hate speech. The concept of personal destruction has been with us for a while, but there are a few moments in American history that we can point to as watershed moments. One is the confirmation hearing of Robert Bork in 1987.

Robert Bork was recognized as a qualified conservative judge. In 1962, he became a law professor at Yale. In 1982, Ronald Reagan appointed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. In 1987, he was nominated for the Supreme Court. His nomination hearing was one of the low points of American history. The unfounded attacks on him were a shadow of things to come.

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about Joe Biden’s role in the confirmation hearings of Robert Bork.

The article notes:

During the fourth Democratic debate on Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden — the ostensible moderate in the race — bragged about his role in the acrimonious political attack that first made Supreme Court confirmation battles as vicious as they are today. While Democrats often blame House Speaker Newt Gingrich for coarsening America’s political rhetoric, the character assassination of Robert Bork first ignited the partisan political warfare that hit a fever pitch with Trump.

Biden is campaigning on a platform of “restoring the soul” of America, aiming to reverse the influence of Trump, whom he blames for the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Va. Yet the former VP played a key role in the political declaration of war that turned Bork’s last name into a verb. On Tuesday, he bragged about that.

Asked about abortion, the former senator — and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman — bragged, “When I defeated Robert Bork, I made sure we guaranteed a woman’s right to choose for the better part of a generation.”

So the smearing of Robert Bork (also the smearing of Brett Kavanaugh) was actually about abortion. It worked the first time; it didn’t work the second time–Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed–Judge Bork was not.

The article continues:

Yet bragging about Bork is a bad strategy, especially for a candidate who aims to present himself as a return to political civility.

As Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) wrote in his excellent book Them: Why We Hate Each Other—and How to Heal, the “Borking” of Robert Bork helped create the “angry constituency” that spurred on (Newt) Gingrich’s success.

…Biden played a large role in the character assassination.

Stage management was a key part of this made-for-tv political drama, and one of the central cast members was the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Delaware Senator Joe Biden. His former staffers later admitted that chairman Biden hatched a plan to work with outside advocacy groups to heighten the visibility of the Bork hearings. Biden thought a Supreme Court fight could be a key lever to boosting his name recognition in advance of the 1988 Democratic primary.

Because character assassination worked in that instance, the Democrat party has tried it on other occasions. It wasn’t until they tried it on President Trump that they met someone who was willing and able to fight back. That is one of many reasons that the Democrats are trying to remove him from office–their normal bag of tricks is not working on him.

Another Inconvenient Truth

English: Nancy Pelosi photo portrait as Speake...

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Yesterday Real Clear Politics posted an article containing a quote from Nancy Pelosi regarding Newt Gingrich:

“There is something I know. The Republicans, if they choose to nominate him that’s their prerogative. I don’t even think that’s going to happen.”

Aside from the blackmail and veiled threat aspect of this statement, there are a few other aspects that need to be examined.

Newt has responded to Ms. Pelosi before:

“First of all, I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for what I regard as an early Christmas gift,” he said at a press conference in New York.

“Well, if she suggested that she’s going to use material that she developed when she was on the ethics committee, that is a fundamental violation of the rules of the House and I would hope that members would immediately file charges against her the second she does it,” he continued. “I think it shows you how capriciously political that committee was when she was on it.”

Byron York posted an article at the Washington Examiner yesterday detailing what happened in the House investigation of Newt Gingrich in the 1990’s. Please follow the link to the article and read the details. The bottom line is that this was a political witch hunt driven by a man who had lost an election to Newt Gingrich (Ben Jones) and had a bone to pick. I also think that part of the problem was that Newt was a threat to both the Republican and Democrat establishment and neither one liked the changes he was making. I have not yet made up my mind who I am supporting in the Republican Primaries, but the fact that Newt is a threat to the Washington establishment works for him rather than against him in my book.

This is a quote from the Byron York article that describes the events that led to the end of Newt’s term as Speaker of the House:

Two days before Election Day 1994, with defeat in sight, Jones hand-delivered a complaint to the House ethics committee (the complaint was printed on “Ben Jones for Congress” stationery). Jones asked the committee to investigate the college course, alleging that Gingrich “fabricated a ‘college course’ intended, in fact, to meet certain political, not educational, objectives.” Three weeks later, Jones sent the committee 450 pages of supporting documents obtained through the Georgia Open Records Act.

That was the beginning of the investigation. Stunned by their loss of control of the House — a loss engineered by Gingrich — House Democrats began pushing a variety of ethics complaints against the new Speaker. Jones’ complaint was just what they were looking for.

At some point Americans have to grow up and do their own research. To accept blindly the charges being leveled at Newt Gingrich is naive at best and dangerous to the electoral process at worst. In recent years, the media has been working in concert with the Democrat Party on the politics of personal destruction. They have been very successful. If we the public continue to allow that to happen, a lot of good candidates will decide not to run for office. We need to remember that when President Obama won his election for the Senator from Illinois he did it by exposing highly personal irrelevant information on his major opponents in order to drive them out of the race. That has been his strategy in the past, we need to prevent him from using that strategy in the future. It is our job as voters to be careful what we believe and to refuse to accept blindly what we are told is the truth.,

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