The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Doug Hoffman Forgives Newt Gingrich?

Posted on | November 18, 2011 | 52 Comments

When Professor William Jacobson called this to my attention, I could scarcely believe it, yet Dave Weigel has the story:

So what does Hoffman think? Is Newt to be trusted?
“I support all the candidates running right at the moment,” said Hoffman. “Any one of them would be better than the current president, and that definitely includes Newt Gingrich. Newt apologized to me for not endorsing me, and that’s water over the dam, I think.”
Right before the election, Gingrich apologized publicly for endorsing Scozzafava. Sometime after the election, he called Hoffman to tell him personally.
“He was very sincere in his apology,” said Hoffman. “He was given misinformation as to what this race was all about, and what the other candidate was all about. The people in this district, the sort of local leaders who had endorsed Scozzafava, fed him the wrong information. I don’t think it was an error in his judgement. I would advise other conservative Republicans: Don’t hold this against him.”

Wow. Just . . . wow.

Dave e-mailed me his story and I told him I’d already seen it, but replied to the effect that perhaps, after 14 years in Washington, I’ve finally “gone native.” Anybody in Washington who got screwed over as badly as Hoffman got screwed over by Gingrich would insist on exacting their bloody retribution as a matter of principle, as a warning to anyone else who might be tempted to do the same.

If you let yourself be treated like a doormat, you can’t complain about the footprints on your back. Capische?

Imagine if the shoe had been on the other foot. How would Newt have reacted if Hoffman had done to him what he did to Hoffman?

Even if it was a sincere mistake — Gingrich being “given misinformation,” as Hoffman says — wasn’t Gingrich obligated to double-check his facts before going on Fox News the third or fourth times to praise Scozzafave and trash Hoffman? At the time, everybody who knew anything about the NY-23 race knew Newt was wrong, and yet he refused to walk-back his endorsement of Dede until after she quit and endorsed the Democrat.

“Water over the dam”? Doug, you’d be Congressman Hoffman today if Newt hadn’t spent two weeks in October 2009 going on TV — again and again and again — to badmouth you as a dangerous extremist.

This forgive-and-forget turn-the-other-cheek stuff is fine as a moral ideal, but moral idealism and three bucks will get you a cup of coffee in Washington, and in the time it takes to drink that cup of coffee, you’ll get backstabbed by a half-dozen of your “friends” who figure you for a weakling. It’s like being the slowest wildebeest in the herd when a hungry lion leaps out of the bushes down by the watering hole. Next thing you know, vultures are picking your bones.

So Doug Hoffman has forgiven Newt Gingrich, but that doesn’t mean I’m obligated to emulate Hoffman’s Christian example.

“You Still Have to Answer for Santino, Carlo.”


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