Above, Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times on PBS' Washington Week in Review. January 20, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier
So, did you see "it" tonight, in my case, as I was doing some cleaning around the house?
The "it" I refer to was Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times putting his foot firmly into his mouth via a nonsensical comment on tonight's episode of PBS' Washington Week in Review, about, of all things, the size of Newt Gingrich's Georgia congressional district in the 1990's.
Zeleny stated, among other things, in a condescending tone, that it was a "small district."
Now I realize that when you're a guest on TV, even PBS, there's great pressure to sound both articulate and clever, and NOT be the anchor that drags the whole show down but...
Congrats to Zeleny, as his comment, three weeks into a new year, is already the leading candidate for the dopiest political comment of the year.
Not that there won't be lots of candidates here in Florida and coast-to-coast nationally who will battle him for the title, which went unrewarded last year due to an oversight of mine -a mistakenly deleted email.
Gingrich's suburban Atlanta CD of the 1990's was the same constituent size as everyone else's in the GA delegation, per the law and per the Georgia legislature redistricting.
But it was NOT the district he'd first been elected to, and he did NOT even benefit from being the House Speaker, since the district he'd formerly represented was carved-out by the Georgia legislature almost two years BEFORE the House Republicans retook the House after more than forty years in the political wilderness, when Gingrich was rewarded for his efforts by being voted Speaker after having previously been the House Minority Whip.
Or, to quote Wikipedia as it currently exists, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newt_Gingrich
As a result of the 1990 United States Census, Georgia picked up an additional seat for the 1992 U.S. House elections. However, the Democratic-controlled Georgia General Assembly eliminated the district that Gingrich represented, splitting its territory among three neighboring districts. Much of the southern portion of Gingrich's district, including his home in Carrollton, was drawn into the Columbus-based 3rd District, represented by five-term Democrat Richard Ray. At the same time, the Assembly created a new, heavily Republican 6th District in Fulton and Cobb counties in the wealthy northern suburbs of Atlanta—an area that Gingrich had never represented. However, Gingrich sold his home in Carrollton and moved to Marietta in the new 6th...(Of course, I already knew this before I double-checked my facts since I knew someone
very sharp from Richard Ray's staff, a Legislative Assistant named Lee Culpepper, who, like me, was very involved with Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) activities on the Hill when Oklahoma congressman Dave McCurdy was running things.
Last I heard, Lee was a lobbyist for the National Restaurant Association, and one of the top lobbyists in Washington. Congressman Ray's staff and office, friendly and whip-smart, was also one of those popular Capitol Hill offices that featured a variation of the usual state marketing device, one that never got old -free food.
Ray's office was never lacking for courtesy packs of peanuts, courtesy of Georgia peanut farmers and the Georgia Peanut Commission, and as a frequent peanut eater, I can tell you without exception, they were damn good peanuts, too!
Johnny Isakson, currently Georgia's junior U.S. Senator, was elected in a special election to succeed Newt as GA-6's rep after he'd resigned from Congress in 1999.)
That Zeleny would somehow imagine that the physical size of a congressional district is a measure of or has a direct correlation to... well, what exactly?
He didn't make any sense before or after his comment, so was that just a brain freeze on his
part, and his mouth kept going, or did he have some genius comment he'd been sitting on all week to drop on us?
If Zeleny is right about whatever this idea of his is that he never quite articulated, than by his own logic, the Congressional representatives of large urban cities that scrunch and compact Minorities together -for the sole purpose of making it next-to-impossible for anyone else to win an election, short of the incumbents's death or their imprisonment- is what exactly, suspect?
Manhattan, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Atlanta, Miami...
I do so much hope that Zeleny will enlighten us as to his great idea, once he can spit it out intelligently.
Yes, the Democrats running the House of Representatives did try to pour millions into the district in order to defeat Gingrich, after all, he more than any other single individual is directly responsible for ethically-challenged Jim Wright going from Speaker of the House of Representatives to a former member of the House to, ultimately, someone charged with a crime. http://todlindberg.net/?p=20
Gingrich did have a close election or two, but he never lost once he got elected.
In case you'd forgotten whom I was talking about...
Bernard Goldberg: NYT Reporter's 'Enchanted' Question of Obama 'Fits Our Metrosexual Times'
Meanwhile, it's great that as ethical misconduct and crony capitalism among Congress continues to be a troubling issue for voters of either party, Zeleny and his colleagues on the WWR panel completely ignored the spectacle of President Obama and wannabe-felon Charles Rangel together at a NYC fundraiser Thursday night.
Yes, the same powerful person who helped craft the tax laws of this country is the same person who forgot for years that he owned multiple homes, forgot to pay taxes, and who forgot...
But you know what Rangell never forgot to play?
The race card.