Former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough is wondering if somebody should tell former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to "shut up," in his newest Politico column. In referencing a 1996 best-seller by David Maraniss and Michael Weisskopf, "Tell Newt to Shut Up," the MSNBC host writes that "maybe it's time for someone to deliver that message again" in lieu of recent controversial soundbites from the former House Speaker.
Ironically, a cable news show host who has trouble thinking before speaking his mind is calling out his former colleague for making outlandish statements – as if Gingrich wasn't already infamous for those as House Speaker.
Scarborough's column is titled "Gingrich's Rhetoric Will Backfire," and the former Florida congressman spares nothing in attacking his former colleague for "political hate speech."
"These days, Newt Gingrich's modus operandi is to smear any public figure who fails to share his worldview," Scarborough writes. "His insults are so overblown and outrageous that after the rhetorical dust settles, the reputation most damaged is his own."
Gingrich, "the cartoonish cable news fixture" as Scarborough calls him, is hurting the chances of the Republican Party to make a lasting impact with this election, just like he did in 1994, Scarborough argues. "If he doesn't temper his remarks soon, Gingrich will permanently damage his political credibility and once again do his own party considerable damage."
Scarborough attacked Gingrich on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" for, among other things, comparing a mosque near Ground Zero with a Nazi sign outside of a Holocaust memorial. He also called him out in his column for saying that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebellius was acting in the "spirit of the Soviet tyranny."
Scarborough laments that Gingrich didn't give evidence "that the Kansas moderate dug mass graves or masterminded decades of bloody show trials to kill off her political enemies." He also warns that Gingrich's comparison between a mosque and a Nazi sign is like comparing the entire Islamic world with Nazi Germany – and endangering the lives of American soldiers.
While Gingrich's comments were obviously outlandish, he was comparing Sebellius' operation with the cold utilitarian bureaucracy of the USSR – not the mass graves or gulags that were shrouded from the rest of the world for decades. He also cast the mosque as a signifier of the 9/11 terror attacks by radical Islamists, in the spirit of Nazi terror – he did not compare the whole of Islam with the concentration camps and Jewish holocaust of Nazi Germany.
Thus Scarborough's response is rather outlandish in itself, as he takes outrageous comments from Newt Gingrich and then blows them out of context.