There You Go Again, Newt

Scott Lilly explains that Newt Gringrich has reached a new low by labeling President Barack Obama as "socialist."

It is always risky to attempt to give a history lesson to an old history professor, but Newt Gingrich’s column in this morning’s Washington Post requires that someone try. His attempt to attach the label of "secular socialist machine" to the Obama administration by placing it in a "historical" context has nothing to do with history and everything to do the kind of brass-knuckle politics that will be his living legacy to this city and the country.

The first question that should be posed is not why Gingrich and his collaborators are attacking President Barack Obama but why they have chosen the word "socialist" in attacking him as opposed to the labels they attempted to attach to the likes of John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Mike Dukakis, and Walter Mondale. Is Obama more of a socialist than any of them? As Norm Orenstein has pointed out, the answer is clearly no.

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Scott Lilly

Senior Fellow