Criminal Justice

'Things Happened'

The year's highlights in shifting responsibility


In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network last March, shortly before he announced that he was running for the Republican presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich reflected on his sins, which include cheating on his first two wives with women he would later marry. "At times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country," he said, "I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate."

You might have thought that Gingrich's serial adultery reflected a different sort of passion and that his inability to control it reflected poorly on his self-discipline, not to mention his truthfulness, his loyalty, and the reliability of his promises. But how can you fault him for loving his country so much that he forgot he was married?

Gingrich's depiction of his infidelity as a testament to his patriotism was one of the year's most memorable exercises in responsibility deflection. Some more highlights:

Gotta Light? In February the Justice Department, as part of its lawsuit against the major tobacco companies, demanded a "corrective statement" saying, "We falsely marketed low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes." It did not mention that the federal government, which approved the machine-based method for determining "tar" yields and pressured cigarette manufacturers to advertise those numbers, was complicit from the beginning in marketing practices it now deems fraudulent.

Bird Shot. "Will Toucan Sam go the way of Joe Camel?" The New York Times wondered after the Federal Trade Commission proposed guidelines for marketing food to children in April. "By explicitly tying advertising to childhood obesity," the Times said, the FTC was indicting "cuddly figures like Cap'n Crunch, the Keebler elves, [and] Ronald McDonald." How can food-hawking characters introduced in the 1960s be blamed for weight trends that began in the 1980s?  

Poker Choker. In September federal prosecutors accused Full Tilt Poker of defrauding customers by failing to keep enough money on hand to cash them out at a time when "the company faced a growing shortfall….related to its inability to collect funds from U.S. players." The federal government deliberately created that shortfall by threatening to prosecute people for processing payments related to online poker.

Cannabis Capitulator. When she blocked implementation of Arizona's new medical marijuana law last May, Gov. Jan Brewer, a self-proclaimed champion of the 10th Amendment, blamed the Justice Department, claiming she was afraid, despite assurances from the state's U.S. attorney, that regulators overseeing dispensaries would face federal prosecution. Seven months later, Brewer, who opposed the ballot initiative that legalized the medical use of marijuana, finally admitted she was determined to thwart the will of Arizona's voters, asking a federal judge to overturn the policy they approved.

Super Zero. Last summer Congress, which had shown no signs of fiscal restraint even though it had several committees dedicated to spending, decided the solution was another committee: the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. The "super committee" was supposed to relieve Congress of responsibility for making hard budgetary decisions. And even if it failed, it would succeed, because then spending cuts would kick in "automatically" (assuming Congress let them), insulating legislators from blame. Washington's best minds are still trying to figure out how it all fell apart.

Gun Play. This one is technically from the very end of 2010, but it happened after my last review: A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit in which Lee Paige, a former employee of the Drug Enforcement Administration, claimed officials at the agency made him a "target of jokes, derision, ridicule, and disparaging comments," ruining his career as an undercover agent and motivational speaker, by releasing an embarrassing video of him that was widely viewed online. In the video, which shows Paige discussing firearm safety with a group of Florida schoolchildren, he proclaims, "I'm the only one in this room professional enough…to carry this Glock 40″—right before shooting himself in the foot.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and a nationally syndicated columnist. Follow him on Twitter.

© Copyright 2011 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

NEXT: Public Indecency

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  1. So I should not vote for Gingrich for President since he will get too involved in the job and ruin his marriage?

    1. Exactly DJF. This would make a great billboard. “Save Gingrich’s most recent marriage. Vote for someone else!”

      1. …in this room professional enough to carry this Presidency.

        1. You know that is what your KOCK masters wanted you to put together, and you’ve already accepted it subliminally.

          Only me thinkum inside KOCHsucker’s OODA loop.

          1. Is everybody ok?

          2. I know you are a primitivist (or claim to be). So is it an abacus or a slide-rule you using to post here?

            1. Think about an animal in a zoo…an animal deprived of the very things that keep them going…

              Richard Manning on the Psychosis of Civilization

              1. Run outside Mr. Manning. I am not forcing you to sit in front of a computer and post comments in a political blog.

                1. Our officers just arrested two men for hunting without a license and trespassing. We understand you are part of this conspiracy and would like to ask you some questions, PIRS.

                  1. Gee, aren’t you government employees? Hmmm, let me think about this …

                    1. …made capitalism possible.

                      Yeah, we’re paid well to be the “cut-out” man for your market fundamentalism, so you can advertise a “free” market, then blame the gov’t for all the aggression and enforcement required to maintain one.

                      And somebody had to commit genocide so you had a place to hold your market, right?

                      “[The Native Americans] didn’t have any rights to the land … Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent.” ~US Military Academy at West Point, March 6, 1974

                      The RIGHT. To TAKE.

                      That’s one honest capitalist.

                    2. Coyotes made chickens possible …. right …

          3. Let me be clear…..Soros likes to gambol on your face.

            There are some that say you might need a kleenex for that.

        2. If political “professionalism” is what got us to where we are today it is time we tried something else.

          1. …would screw up just as royally as anybody else, if anybody were stupid enough to elect them.

            Libertarians and an-caps understand people the least of any political group. The “free market” of ideas has rejected your ideas.

            Now, with everybody else screwing up royally, you finally get Ron Paul a little limelight — and then he melts in the light in a royal screw-up extraordinaire.

            Mr. Every-Contract-Is-Sacred, Every-Contract is Great…

            …disavows what he signs.

            Talk about pissing on your own leg.

            1. A government with less political power impacts fewer people if it “screws up”.

              Compare Charles Manson and Adolf Hitler. Both were evil people. Both were racists. Hitler was able to kill far more people because he had political power. The more political power you have the more people you can screw over.

              1. You understand how people behave the least of any political group.

                Which is why the free market of ideas has rejected your theories as a whole.

                And even when a few of the better ones hit the limelight, they’re not fully integrated into reality, and melt.

                Ron “Icarus” Paul

                1. Uh, huh.

                2. I notice you did not try to dispute my facts.

                  1. Don’t feed it, PIRS. It doesn’t debate in good faith. The constant identity shifting is fundamentally dishonest, as well.

  2. “‘At times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country,’ he said, ‘I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.'”

    This makes no sense whatsoever. If he did not have enough time for his actual wife, why how could he have enough time for his wife-to-be?

    1. She was his staffer, not? So he didn’t need to leave the Capitol Complex…

      1. Hey, I have a solution! Just like there is now a “Bring your child to work day.” perhaps there should be a national “Bring your Spouse to work day [ or 2 days so each spouse could bring the other to work if need be]”

        1. Bring your love child to work at the Capitol Day.

          1. -5 if its chelsea clinton

    2. Duh, he was working so hard he forgot he was still married.

    3. ….I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”

      Nauseating. Who could fall for that crap?

      1. “Nauseating. Who could fall for that crap?”

        Establishment GOP RINOs who are grasping at straws to prevent Ron Paul from getting the nomination?

        1. “Establishment GOP RINOs who are grasping at straws to prevent Ron Paul from getting the nomination?”
          Exactly, watch Faux News (not too long) and you will see incredible shit for brains accusing Ron Paul of racism. The very thing those little chicken shits decry when the Democrats call the Republicans racist.
          Faux News is a mouth piece for warmonger/fundies.

          1. I have the misfortune of living with some people who are Fox News junkies. I sometimes like the program called “The Five” and there is a late night show called “Red Eye” that I like and anything with The Judge is good but the rest of that shit has become intolerable.

  3. “Things Happen” is tripping over the cat trying to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Not screwing around behind the back of your wife or husband Mr. Gingrich.

    1. “Tripping over the cat.”

      Is that what you kids are calling it these days?

      1. No, I have a cat and dog in the house. Plus I’m 38.

        1. Are you also new to H&R?

    2. Why are you stumbling about in a litter box in the middle of the night.

  4. “The “super committee” was supposed to relieve Congress of responsibility for making hard budgetary decisions.”

    And now, because of that agreement, Congress has to take an active vote in order for the debt ceiling NOT to be increased. Thanks RINOS!!!!

  5. cuddly figures like Cap’n Crunch

    If he’s at all like his cereal, “cuddly” is not a word I would choose. “Shrapnel” might be closer to the mark.

    1. But it hurts soooooo good!

  6. Gingrich sucks and all, but I kinda have to support him when dingbats like Meghan McCain get all high and mighty about him when her own dad did the same stuff Newt did. She even insults his current wife with the same stuff they threw at her mom.

    1. Let us see, in recent years the GOP has nominated GHW Bush, Dole, GW Bush, McCain and now they want to stick us with yet another RINO? No thanks establishment. I will support Ron Paul this year, someone who actually supports liberty and free markets.

      1. RINOs are chosen because they are more electable.…..hoice.html

        1. Which must explain why GHW Bush did not get a second term (in his first election people may have assumed he would be more like Reagan). It also must explain why Dole and McCain who are both the very definition of RINOS lost. As for GWB? Well, he did not get a majority of the popular votes his first election.

          1. I didn’t say that they will always get elected, just that they are more electable than a “fringe” candidate.

            1. Define “fringe”.

              1. Read the link.

                1. Sarcasmic, I am asking YOU, what YOU consider fringe.

                  1. I agree with what the link says, so save me some typing and read it.

                    1. I read it. I did not see the term “fringe candidate” anywhere in there.

                    2. Your powers of inference leave much to be desired.

                    3. Sarcasmic, I am well aware of what the term means. And I read the drivel in the link. The reason I am baiting you into actually defining it is so that you can see the actual implications in the term. So, what is it that YOU mean by the term.

                    4. You are not a master baiter.

                      You failed.

                    5. Sarcasmic,

                      I can only assume then that you have not the slightest notion of what you are even talking about.

                    6. I can only assume that you did not read the link that I provided, which makes you a liar.
                      I despise liars.
                      So, pretty please… with sugar on top. Go fuck yourself.

                    7. Sarcasmic,

                      I did read the link and you are not a psychic.

                    8. I’m only playing your own game where you accuse someone of something and hold them guilty until they prove their innocence by telling you what you want to hear.
                      Except that I’m not falling for it.
                      If you couldn’t infer from that link of what I meant by “fringe” then you didn’t read it or you’re a fucking moron.
                      I don’t believe you are a moron, so I settled for liar.

                      Now please. Since you are no master baiter, go get some practice by fucking yourself.

                    9. I could infer what you mean. I want you to name it. I explained why. Insults really help to divert attention most of the time don’t they? I don’t fall for it. I simply wanted you to name it.

        2. Libertarian in Name Only are rejected in the free market of ideas because they are less electable.

          1. People like Bob Barr?

        3. RINOS are chosen because they are already bought.


    1. Fuck you Iowa, you’re dead to us.

      1. Every Contract is Sacred.

        But I disavow my signature.

        Didn’t even read what was above it.

        “Things Happen” like this from time to time.

        ~Newt Paul

  8. Newt Gingrich : Asshole.

    wives 2 and 3 : gold digging sluts.

  9. I’m the only one in this room professional enough…to carry this Glock 40″?right before shooting himself in the foot.

    Should make the all time greatest list.

    1. That video is a true classic. If you’ve never seen it, now is the time.

    2. That’s what I’m talking about!

  10. Too bad the pig didn’t shoot himself in the head.

    1. At least pigs are good for eating.

      1. Not that kind.

      2. Vincent: Want some bacon?
        Jules: No man, I don’t eat pork.
        Vincent: Are you Jewish?
        Jules: Nah, I ain’t Jewish, I just don’t dig on swine, that’s all.
        Vincent: Why not?
        Jules: Pigs are filthy animals. I don’t eat filthy animals.
        Vincent: Bacon tastes gooood. Pork chops taste gooood.
        Jules: Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I’d never know ’cause I wouldn’t eat the filthy motherfucker. Pigs sleep and root in shit. That’s a filthy animal. I ain’t eat nothin’ that ain’t got sense enough to disregard its own feces.
        Vincent: How about a dog? Dogs eats its own feces.
        Jules: I don’t eat dog either.
        Vincent: Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal?
        Jules: I wouldn’t go so far as to call a dog filthy but they’re definitely dirty. But, a dog’s got personality. Personality goes a long way.
        Vincent: Ah, so by that rationale, if a pig had a better personality, he would cease to be a filthy animal. Is that true?
        Jules: Well we’d have to be talkin’ about one charming motherfuckin’ pig. I mean he’d have to be ten times more charmin’ than that Arnold on Green Acres, you know what I’m sayin’?

        1. My favorite movie of all time.

          1. Winston Wolfe for President.

            1. “So, pretty please… with sugar on top. Clean the fucking car.”

            2. Best character ever.

            3. “I’m Winston Wolfe. I solve problems.”

              My favorite line.

  11. I sympathize. Sometimes, working so passionately to earn a buck, after eating a takeout sandwich for dinner and looking forward to long evening in the office – I think: Hey, a blowjob would be nice. I could drive all the way home and talk to my wife for an hour and then hit her up for some slap and tickle … or I could just go out to that buxommy staffer outside my office and hit on her. Choose wisely.

  12. Callista frightens me

    1. The Dude: You thought that Bunny had been kidnapped and you were fuckin’ glad, man. You could use it as an excuse to make some money disappear. All you needed was a sap to pin it on! You’d just met me! You human… paraquat! You figured ‘Oh, here’s a loser’, you know? A deadbeat, someone the square community won’t give a shit about.
      Newt Gingrich: Well, aren’t you?
      The Dude: Well, yeah!

  13. Paraphrase: My sin is that I care too much. Right Newt. I’m sure that works on the ladies, but I’m not buying it.

    1. Newt has adopted the royal WE. Have you noticed?

      1. Better than adopting the royal wee-wee, eh?

      2. Humans are social animals. Nothing royal about “we.”

  14. Mr. “Every-Contract-Is-Sacred, Every-Contract is Great…”

    …disavows what he signs.

    Talk about pissing on your own leg.

    1. Why attack him on the newsletters when you can just debate him on the issues? Oh wait…

      1. “Integrity is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake your consciousness, just as honesty is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake existence-that man is an indivisible entity, an integrated unit of two attributes: of matter and consciousness, and that he may permit no breach between body and mind, between action and thought, between his life and his convictions-that, like a judge impervious to public opinion, he may not sacrifice his convictions to the wishes of others, be it the whole of mankind shouting pleas or threats against him-that courage and confidence are practical necessities, that courage is the practical form of being true to existence, of being true to one’s own consciousness.

        ~John Galt

        1. You do realize that John Galt is made up, like Scooby Doo?

          1. Just like Libertarianism.

            1. Just like Scooby Doo.

          2. I think I would’ve become a libertarian a lot sooner had I not met some really annoying randroids in college. As it is, I have no plans to ever read Rand, but I’m not a big fan of didactic dystopias in general. Vonnegut manages to get away with it in Cat’s Cradle, although I don’t agree with the underlying anti-science message.

            1. I think I would’ve become an Objectivist a lot sooner had I not met some really annoying Libertarians in college.

              As it is, I have no plans to ever read Newt Paul’s racist newsletters that he claims “Just Happened.”

              1. What does Leonard Peakoff have to do with libertarianism other than the fact that he is not one?

                1. Don’t feed it, PIRS.

    2. Every Sperm is Sacred {Monty Python’s Meaning of Life}

  15. You made me promises, promises
    Knowing I’d believe
    Promises, promises
    You knew you’d never keep.

    ~Naked Eyes

  16. See yesterday and the day before.

  17. I love the passive voice: “things happened in my life”.

    They just happened, all by themselves! Screwing those women, why, I don’t even remember being in the room for that! There I am, slaving away in my office, and bam! I banged some gold-digger.

    Could happen to anybody.

    1. …it just happened in my life.

      I disavow.

      Say wow.

      ~Newt Paul

    2. I wish it happened to me more often. But I guess one has to have some gold to attract a gold digger.

  18. Please Understand.

    I want to rule over you.

    Like Jesus Christ, I have a personal plan of salvation for your life.

    ~Newt Paul

  19. Alfred E. Neumann is on a Ron Paul attack.
    Newt is a stupid fuck and is always the dumbest one in the room.

    1. Two Republican Politicians.

      One cup.

  20. Ricky Sanitarium will probably be the warmonger/fundie choice.

  21. He put flags over their faces and f*cked them for ol’ glory.

  22. Dude is clearly corrupt as the day is long.

  23. “At times of my
    life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this
    country,” he said, “I worked far too hard and things happened in my
    life that were not appropriate.”

    This is a phenomenon I first ran into when I entered the corporate world. When apologizing for his failings, some suit would always turn it in to a self-aggrandizing statement.

    Good to know politics attracts exactly the same personalities.

    1. Sounds like one of those bogus job interview responses…

      Boss: What’s your biggest weakness professionally?

      Applicant: Sometimes I just care about my work too much. I work and work and work, and I forget to go home. Oh, and I’m just too darned efficient. Pardon my language, but I’m passionate about this.

  24. A lot true, clear to the bone jackasses in here. I don’t mind that people hate liberty, both in principle and in practice. I just wish they had enough character to be honest about it. Sort of like Mussolini was honest about it.

  25. Evi is a practical, hands-on kind of girl. She works in a metal shop in a small German town and leads a simple and happy life. Evi is an animal lover and enjoys horse riding and training dogs in her free time.

    She is studying horse and dog psychology part-time and her ultimate hero is Monty Roberts author of the famous book The Horse Whisperer, she also loves listening to The Eagles. She tells us that her current boyfriend is 16; youthful and fun-loving, just like herself. Carefree and straightforward, Evi is plain speaking and will always speak her mind.

    She has dreamt of being a model since she was little and is a natural with her toned, tanned body, firm breasts and winning smile, although her own favourite body part is her pert ass. Evi believes that happiness is the key to a good life!

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