That’s a Lot of History!

November 16th, 2011 at 8:18 am David Frum | 71 Comments |

| Print

It wasn’t $300,000 that Freddie Mac paid Gingrich for his work supposedly as a non-lobbyist “historian.” It was between $1.6 million and $1.8 million.

Gingrich says that all he did for that money was tell Freddie that their business model was “insane.” Anybody find that believeable?

Recent Posts by David Frum



71 Comments so far ↓

  • TerryF98

    Um nope, but then I find most things conservatives say unbelievable.

    • icarusr

      As the wise lady said, “everything in that book is a lie, including the ‘a’ and the ‘the’.”

  • PracticalGirl

    $1.6 million wasted to Newt…$100 million in executive bonuses from ’09-11…during an economic “crisis”. I’m involved with the wrong business, apparently.

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/15/news/companies/fannie_freddie_executive_pay/

  • Sinan

    I had no clue he was a historian with a focus on housing, economics and banking policy. The man is truly remarkable. Maybe the next book he writes will be a treatise on his million dollar opinions regarding the matter.

    • Probabilistic

      Belgian education policy in colonial Congo more or less equates to housing, economics, and banking policy history, especially, when viewed through the distorted perspective of $1.8 m lens.

      (Actually, I am being unfair, but it’s still fun to poke fun at rotund Mr. Gingrich)

  • dante

    Wasn’t it Shakespeare who said (paraphrasing):

    A lobbyist by any other name would smell as disgusting…

    $1.8m to “advise”, and then asked to promote their business to other conservatives. How is that not a lobbyist?

  • ottovbvs

    “Newt Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac, according to two people familiar with the arrangement.”

    I wonder who leaked this? The Republican establishment? Looks like they are getting nervous again at a threat to the upcoming coronation of Mitt.

  • Oldskool

    Our political system is as corrupt as any in the world.

    That’ll be one-million dollars, please.

  • Newt Gingrich Pocketed $1.6 Million as ‘Non-Lobbyist’ for Freddie Mac | TaylorMarsh.com

    [...] Newt Gingrich is nothing if not a scalawag, who will take the money out of your wallet and leave you with a hangover if you believe one single word this man says. Gingrich says that all he did for that money was tell Freddie that their business model was “insane.” Anybody find that believeable? – David Frum [...]

  • Watusie

    New Gingrich is an old, corpulent, corrupt, ego-maniacal, dishonest gasbag whose political career ended in spectacular failure 12 years ago.

    And yet Republicans prefer him to Mitt Romney.

    • Demosthenes

      Not all of them. RedState is still pining for the Second Coming of Rick Perry.

    • Dex

      You forgot sexually incontinent.

    • Probabilistic

      You also forgot self-appointed serious thinker. (There must be plentiful of money in the hubris gig.)

      Anyone who speaks with such ominous tone and grave demeanor has to be a serious thinker. Especially, when he says ‘these are serious times and requires serious thinking’ as an answer to what he would do to address … [pick a problem of sufficient gravity]

  • armstp

    It must have been a hell of a history lesson.

    Gingrich is also lying through his teeth as he is now saying that he told Freddie at the time that they were stupid for lending money to people who could not pay their mortgages. However, Freddie employees are saying that Gingrich never said anything about Freddie’s business model or about lending policies, he only talked about policy and politics; ie. Freddie only hired Gingrich to advise them on government and policy and to lobby for them.

    Gingrich is only in politics for the money. That is as clear as day.

    Gingrich fail… who is next… maybe Huntsman has a shot, as he could be the last man standing, although it looks like Romney will win, not because anyone like him, it is because that is the only choice.

    • sparse

      agreed on the gingrich fail. but as for who is next, romney has two problems with his base; his flip-flopping and his religion. huntsman shares the negatives of the religion part, but has the additional negative of less time in the national spotlight. perhaps santorum has a better shot? less time in the national spotlight, but a huge positive with the religious base and he projects a more serious demeanor in the debates (from the bits i have caught), where huntsman seems to want to be affable.

    • Probabilistic

      Look on the bright side. In the last several years liberal arts and history majors have been roundly admonished for their choice of study. That these degrees do not lead to employable skills. At least, they can now look forward to the prospect of $25 k monthly retainers.

  • Probabilistic

    “Anybody find that believable?” 22% of the Republican primary electorate does, according to recent opinion polls. To be fair, history lessons take a while to sink in, especially, such weighty ones. [The weight is counterbalanced by the buoyancy of a gasbag.]

    How many history departments would vie for 1.8 million dollars of research funding?

    When did advice on business model and lending practices become part of history curriculum? I suppose ‘pay-to-play’ falls under recent economic history and Gingrich is an expert in that field of study.

    • Watusie

      I think the sort of voter who still insists that poor, poor Marco Rubio is an exile/son of exiles/whatever the story is today will have no problem with the leap of imagination and torturing of language required to classify Gingrich as a housing historian.

  • hisgirlfriday

    How long before Gingrich points out that Rahm Emanuel was on the board of directors of Freddie Mac that approved these payments and blames these stories on the Obama campaign?

  • Houndentenor

    Anybody find that believable?

    No. No one could find that believable.

  • Graychin

    “Anybody find that believeable?”

    I think you mean “believable.”

    And since when have Republican presidential candidates been held to a “believable” standard? Point out ONE – ANY one – who hasn’t been telling whoppers during this election cycle.

  • jjv

    Hey, it was transformative advice!

    • Watusie

      Vecchione the FrumForum Twofer – fails as an author, fails as a commenter.

      Why does David tolerate your continued presence?

      • TerryF98

        Cant really imagine why you would want anyone as loose with the truth as Vecchione writing for you. Not if you wish to build any sort of reputation for trustworthiness.

  • Probabilistic

    Whatever transformation you’ve in mind, Gingrich cannot claim any credit because he has already disavowed his own advice, just like in the case of the Ryan budget.

    Oh, what did you say? His girth prevents flip-flopping? It’s amazing what he can do when sufficiently incentivized.

  • TerryF98

    “Newt Gingrich was so upset over Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s political influence in 2008 that he urged Congress to launch an investigation into lawmakers who had taken donations. Gingrich did not mention at the time that he had received a reported $1.6 million from Freddie Mac over eight years to provide “strategic advice.””

    Hey he is a 100% hypocrite, who knew.

    • icarusr

      No, no, no. You don’t get it. The strategic advice was to get Freddie and Fannie to corrupt Washington so that four years later Newt could gather the pitchforked proles and march down K-Y-Street to end the madness. This was the mother of all strategic advice. That’s why he was so expensive.

  • TerryF98

    “C’mon, Newt and Freddie Mac were just showering and horsing around together, that’s all.”

  • Nanotek

    and never once, while being questioned about the $300,000, did Gingrich reveal the $1.6 million

    his silence says it all

  • Fart Carbuncle

    I wish Mr. Frum would spend equal time attacking Democrats instead of bashing the GOP candidates all the time. I wonder why he does that.

    • Oldskool

      Inexpensive fun is the new black.

    • wileedog

      Probably has a lot to do with the fact that there is an epic trainwreck of a GOP primary going on with daily moments of stupid/dishonest/crazy stuff being said but not a Democratic one.

    • valkayec

      Maybe because the GOP candidates keep screwing up so badly so often while Dems are making few gaffes worthy of note.

    • ottovbvs

      “I wonder why he does that.”

      Probably because he’s carrying water for the GOP establishment who are wetting their pants at the idea of Newt coming within 100 miles of the nomination. It’s ok Fart understanding this is a bit above your pay grade.

    • jdd_stl1

      Because he is scared that one of the non-Mitt’s will get the nomination
      and he might have to really think hard about whether he will back
      the non-Mitt GOP candidate.

      He still bashes the President when he goes against Israel or Canada…

      • Graychin

        Mr. Frum won’t have to think very hard at all. He would prefer Huntsman or Romney, in that order, but he WILL back the eventual GOP winner against the Hated Kenyan no matter how ridiculous the Republican is. You heard it from me first.

        Support Obama? There are some lines that Mr. Frum just WILL NOT cross.

        By the way – why haven’t we heard anything from FrumForum about Perry, Romney and Gingrich promising to zero-base the budget for future aid to Israel? I would have thought that giving such scrutiny to Israel’s previously unquestioned aid would raise a lot more hackles here than Obama’s mere mention (mention!) earlier this year of pre-1967 Israeli borders.

        But the threat to aid to Israel came from Republicans, so – move on, nothing to see there.

  • valkayec

    I wish I could remember the exact words David Corn, of Mother Jones & MSNBC contributor, said early this morning about Newt’s “advising” statements. Corn said he contacted someone at Freddie and asked about Newt’s statement. The guy laughed and said Newt was hired to work them on getting GOP congressional support, including lobbying.

    Is this man capable of telling the truth?

  • armstp

    Gingrich is now saying that it was his consulting firm the Gingrich Company that received the money…

    Was this an actually a direct bribe (as he was speaker at the time?), nevermind the hypocracy of him now blaming Freddie for the housing crisis, which is not true either?

    It is funny to watch the spin here. Sad really. So many lies, but this is what we have come to expect from the philander.

  • ottovbvs

    The Republican establishment are trying to smear Newt in case he starts to take off. He’s the last man standing that the right are falling in love with so like Cain he’s got to be disposed of. In a contrarian way I’d love Newt to be the Republican nominee he’s completely amoral but not stupid. At least then the choice would be stark. Who knows he might pull it off. I saw a lovely quote from Larry Summers “In politics the inconceivable has a way of rapidly becoming the inevitable.” So who knows. What I do know is the bulk of Republicans are going to be not only holding their noses but wearing gas masks if the establishment force Romney on them.

    • wileedog

      “What I do know is the bulk of Republicans are going to be not only holding their noses but wearing gas masks if the establishment force Romney on them.”

      With every day that passes and every Not-Romney that comes and goes I am starting to think more and more they are just not going to be able to shove him down their throats.

      Its scary to think that after all the unbelievable gaffes, scandals, baggage and outright buffoonery that there is still a good chance that Cain, Perry or Newt could be nominated. That’s how badly the base just does not want to vote for Mitt Romney.

      • ottovbvs

        I don’t know about a good chance but Gingrich has a long shot I think (the other two are history). Otherwise you’re entirely right that despite the Jersey Shore atmosphere surrounding the other candidates, Romney basically can’t get more than a quarter of the GOP to support him when he should be walking away with this. Ultimately if he’s the nominee Republicans will vote for him but it’s a shotgun marriage if I ever saw one. Normally Erick Erickson is crazy but he summed it up best when he said the GOP is about to nominate a Wall Street asset stripper who when he was in office governed very much like a Democrat and has a history of flip flopping all over the place that’s all been captured on tape….and Obama has $1 billion to tell people about it!

        • Banty

          They’ve got nobody sitting on their bench. Nobody that comes close to the ideological tests, that is.

          There might be a connection between the ideology and the lack of quality here.

    • armstp

      I would not be surprised to see Newt’s numbers go up, as Republican voters will simply ignore the charges and just focus on how it is unfair that Newt is being vetted. Just like how Cain’s numbers have held up. No matter how valid and damaging the charge, Republican voters will support their guy or increase their support.

      • ottovbvs

        “Republican voters will simply ignore the charges ”

        They’re in denial about everything else so why should Newt be the exception?

      • anniemargret

        They’re already starting to do this on the propaganda channel, Fox. Would anyone be really surprised? The culture warriors will get stupid people to vote against their own interests and put liars, deceivers and con men to run for President of the U.S.

        This is a sign of how low the GOP has gone.

  • Mitch Evans

    Newt is not a lobbyist.

    Lobbyists must register.

    • armstp

      Is he registered as a lobbyist?

      Unless of course he is really a lobbyist disguised as someone who gets paid $1.8 mm to teach history lessons to corporate clients.

  • LFC

    I just saw a blurb under a story on CNN that said Gingrich wasn’t running as a Washington insider. Uuuuuuh, yeah.

  • scoovyzoo

    When it comes to Newt’s business dealings since he left the congress, I predict this will be the tip of the iceberg that will raise questions for people – both ethically and politically.

    • laingirl

      Didn’t Newt have a scam business that sent letters to doctors and businesses, telling them them had won an award but they needed to sent $5k to attend a function to meet other award winners. I seem to remember he gave one to the owner of a topless bar in Dallas and word of it go out.

  • rbottoms

    The GOP voter, still dumb as a box of rocks. Gingrich is a leach on the taxpayer’s back, but sure hates them liberuls so let him drive the clown car for a while.

  • Xunzi Washington

    In many of Gingrich’s pics, he looks like a muppet. This one especially.

  • anniemargret

    Newt: A slimy brightly colored amphibian that could live both on land and sea. We know what he can do on Land. Let’s put him back in that swamp where he previously lived.

  • think4yourself

    So Freddie got bailed out with taxpayer money. I think it’s only right that Newt as an upstanding representative of the people offer to return the 1.8MM of taxpayer money.

  • baw1064

    Those who do not remember history are condemned to pay Newt to repeat it.

  • anniemargret

    What is happening before our very eyes is that the GOP has become a corrupt machine, with not a shred of morality left. This is what happens what a national political party who used to be respected cheers liars (Gingrich) and phonies (Pain, Cain) and people with no core principles (Romney), and stupid time (Perry), and wackos (Bachmann).

    • redpetunia

      Exactly what core principles is Romney lacking? Just because it is said over and over doesn’t make it true.

      Romney’s core is solid, more solid than your I would bet. He is the most steadfast politican in either party right now.

      He has grown steadily more conservative over time… steady as she goes… this is a stupid Obama lie that needs shot down everytime it is mindlessly reapeated…

      In fact, in a Vanderbuilt University study it was found that most people who use this accusation use it as a cover for antiMormon feelings…

      • ottovbvs

        “Just because it is said over and over doesn’t make it true.”

        It’s not just said, there’s an archival record that can be easily accessed. The net is full of video compilations of Romney’s reversals and re-reversals on a wide range of economic and social issues.

  • roubaix

    Newt’s own history is yet another mother lode in the GOP comedy goldmine.

  • redpetunia

    This has the potential for a big scandal and to give Obama just what he needs… a Republican face on the banking scandal.

    Newt was really dumb to make his Presidential bid about attacking the press… as if he needed anymore enemies… and to say any politician that benefited from Freddie Mac should be in jail… boy is he going down.

    Calling people criminals, who have the records that can be spun to make you take the fall, is about the stupidest move I’ve seen yet. It is almost Freudian. As though Newt wants to get caught for the glory of a scandal.

    I hope he doesn’t take the credibility of the whole field of candidates with him… I predict if this is still a story a week from now Newt drops out before the voting. Or that at least everyone disavows him…

    Republican trustworthy numbers are going down.

    This lessens the likelihood that Obama can be beat.

  • ottovbvs

    “This has the potential for a big scandal and to give Obama just what he needs… a Republican face on the banking scandal.”

    I’m not sure it has the potential for a big scandal but it certainly is a neutralizer for the Republican fairy stories about the origins of the banking crisis (Acorn, Barney Frank etc etc). Not that they were ever accurate but the average schmuck is easily conned. As to its impact on Newt’s chances this is harder to predict given much of the Republican base’s desperate desire to avoid the embrace of Romney. It’s quite possible they could look past this indiscretion and this seems to be borne out by a new poll that has Newt narrowly ahead of Romney even though the historian story has been around for a week.

  • ottovbvs

    Iowa: Gingrich leads by double digits in a new poll of “likely caucus participants” from Rasmussen, toping the field with 32 percent, former Mass Gov. Mitt Romney second with 19, and Cain now at 13.

    • armstp

      It is a positive among Republicans to be a scumbag liar. The more bad things people find out about you the more Republican voters like you. The more they view you as being a victim of prosecution the more they like you.