The 1994 mid-term election was catastrophic for Democrats. They lost control of the House for the first time in 40 years. Then, Newt Gingrich mounted his elephant, became extremely unpopular, and the main target of negative ads in the 1996 election with Bob Dole along for the ride.
Gingrich was the mastermind behind what I call the Contract On America. He was also the guy behind the first deliberate government shut down. It made him toxic and Bill Clinton look better to voters.
Dole was slightly more moderate than Gingrich: his own unpopularity was based on his sour and sarcastic public persona. I’ve been known to be cranky myself, so I kinda liked Dole but his positions on the issues were as terrible as Newt’s even if his jokes were funny.
The DNC ran a series of negative ads starring Dole-Gingrich:
The ads worked. They drove Dole-Gingrich’s approval ratings down, but Bob was stuck with Newt as a political partner. I see them as Fagan and Bill Sikes from Dickens’ Oliver Twist. That makes Bill Clinton the Artful Dodger. Dole-Gingrich rescued Clinton from political oblivion.
This picture sums up the Gruesome Threesome’s relationship:
The 1996 election was a mixed bag for Democrats. Clinton defeated Dole easily in both the popular vote and electoral college. Dems made gains on Capitol Hill and won the Congressional popular vote. It was an augury of things to come in the next century.
That brings us to the anti-Johnson ads we can expect in 2024. People have been so busy freaking out about Speaker Johnson’s malakatude, that they haven’t noticed the political upside to his toxic views. MSNBC columnist Michael A Cohen nailed it:
But in selecting Johnson, Republicans made one small error — they failed to vet him.
If they had, they’d have discovered that he was Democrats’ dream speaker candidate. On practically every issue on which House Republicans will be vulnerable in 2024, Johnson takes an extreme, maximalist position. For any GOP candidates in a close race, and especially the 18 House Republicans running in congressional districts President Biden won in 2020, he will be a political albatross.
Mike Johnson makes Newt Gingrich look like AOC, figuratively, not literally. Extreme positions are Johnson’s jam. I cannot wait to see how Democrats make him eat them.
I focused on his homophobia and election denialism last week. Johnson’s views on abortion are equally disgusting. Back to Cohen who is no relation to the former fixer:
What if Democratic candidates instead want to emphasize the GOP’s support for abortion bans? Johnson has given them plenty of material.
He said of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, “Many of us have been working towards this day our entire adult lives, and it is a joyous occasion.” He declared, “There is no right to abortion in the Constitution; there never was,” and called abortion a “holocaust.” One can imagine that women in competitive House districts will disagree.
He’s just as bad on gun violence, which he blames on all sorts of weird shit:
Johnson has even blamed school shootings on abortion, as well as no-fault divorce and the teaching of evolution. Indeed, it seems Johnson has blamed everything for gun violence other than guns themselves. In the wake of last week’s deadly mass shooting in Maine that left 18 people dead, Johnson said the real problem “is the human heart. It’s not guns.” It begs the question: Do Americans, which have by far the most gun violence in the world, have defective hearts … or perhaps too easy access to guns?
The House GOPers who the MSM insist on calling moderate caved to the crazies after the Emmer nomination failed. They don’t have the excuse of ignorance. They should have known that Mike Johnson is Gym Jordan with an inside voice. The Crazy 8 who ousted KMac won this battle by losing on previous rounds.
I cannot wait to see Mike Johnson’s face on my teevee screen throughout campaign 2024. The new face of the GOP wears a smile but is a theocrat beneath the mask. I’m not sure if they’ll pair anyone with him but he’s the Dole-Gingrich of the 2024 campaign if he lasts that long. There’s a good chance that the Johnson Speakership is the ultimate stupid Republican trick.
Repeat after me: Speaker Mike Johnson is an amiable bigot.
The last word goes to The Austin Lounge Lizards with an ode to a toad named Newt: