- Dec 1, 2017
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
But for Gingrich personally, there was an additional payoff: it got rid of knowledgeable congressional staffers who readily saw through his grandiose BS. As I've noted before, this has been pointed out by Bruce Bartlett, a top economic adviser to presidents Reagan and Bush I, in a piece titled "Gingrich and the Destruction of Congressional Expertise," where he explained:
He [Gingrich] has always considered himself to be the smartest guy in the room and long chafed at being corrected by experts when he cooked up some new plan, over which he may have expended 30 seconds of thought, to completely upend and remake the health, tax or education systems.
Because Mr Gingrich does know more than most politicians, the main obstacles to his grandiose schemes have always been Congress’ professional staff members, many among the leading authorities anywhere in their areas of expertise.
To remove this obstacle, Mr Gingrich did everything in his power to dismantle Congressional institutions that employed people with the knowledge, training and experience to know a harebrained idea when they saw it.
When he became speaker in 1995, Mr Gingrich moved quickly to slash the budgets and staff of the House committees, which employed thousands of professionals with long and deep institutional memories....
Of course, the GOP had decades of no-nothing history before Newt Gingrich came along. But his evisceration of congressional expertise was something without parallel in American history.In addition to decimating committee budgets, he also abolished two really useful Congressional agencies, the Office of Technology Assessment and the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. The former brought high-level scientific expertise to bear on legislative issues and the latter gave state and local governments an important voice in Congressional deliberations."
The power grab that destroyed American politics: How Newt Gingrich created our modern dysfunction
In '94, the GOP used Contract with America to claim mandate for right-wing policies. It worked. Let's learn from it