- Apparently, South Carolina is Newt Gingrich’s last stand. He’s out telling South Carolinians that this is the absolute last chance to stop Mitt Romney before, well, the next 46 primaries and caucuses.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand Gingrich’s urgency. He’s dropped into irrelevancy quicker than the your best friend’s New Year’s resolutions. By the time CNN mentioned his name on New Hampshire primary night, Romney not only had clearly won; people had gone to sleep.
And so here is Gingrich with calls for action to stop Romney and touting a new faux documentary to help prove his case. Called “King of Bain,” (after Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded) it details all the ruin created by a greedy, erstwhile capitalist who was only concerned about lining his own pockets while the government-sponsored mortgage company he worked for hurdled toward bankruptcy. Oh, wait a second. It wasn’t Romney who earned up to 1.8 million at Freddie Mac as their resident “historian.” It was Gingrich. He was the one on Freddie Mac’s payroll from 1999-2007 and tasked with helping to convince lawmakers Freddie Mac didn’t need additional oversight.
Just a little background: Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, a sister agency, are both government-sponsored enterprises that purchase mortgages, pool them into securities, and sells them to investors (the act of securitization). Buying into the Bush administration’s goal of increasing home ownership, both agencies increased the amount of home loan purchases and securitizations to the highest level they ever have. That alone wouldn’t have been such a bad thing had it not been for one of the largest housing crashes in history. But it wasn’t just “bad timing” on the part of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, either. Ex-CEOs of both enterprises have been charged with fraud, millions in fines have been levied, and a taxpayer bailout of at least $200 billion is expected.
So what are Gingrich’s thoughts on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae after he pocketed his nearly $2 million dollars? Let’s start with what he said in 2008 when then-candidate Barack Obama was debating John McCain. On Fox News, Gingrich says he would have counseled McCain to ask: ‘Senator Obama, are you prepared to give back all the money that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae gave you?#’”
If Mitt Romney is the “King of Bain,” Gingrich is the “King of Hypocrisy.” And it gets worse. In a debate moderator, Charlie Rose asked about Occupy Wall Street and the anger Americans have toward Wall Street shenanigans. Gingrich was happy to retort: “If you want to put people in jail…[s]tart with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and let’s look at the politicians who created the environment. In Barney Frank’s case, go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at Freddie Mac.”
If Gingrich’s assertions about Romney’s past are to be believed then maybe the critical difference is this: Romney screwed hardworking Americans while he was in the private sector, and Gingrich screwed hardworking Americans while working on behalf of those in the public sector. I don’t think that’s the bumper sticker Gingrich was going for, but for those who have a small reverence for facts, that’s what they see stuck to his forehead every time he opens his mouth. So, South Carolina, take your pick. Will it be the “King of Bain” or the King of Hypocrisy?