Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich Misses the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Calls for 'Similar Steps' Today

Beware of Newt's nostalgia.


Thomas Nash

Newt Gingrich has now called for a new House Committee on Un-American Activities. That isn't a little hyperbole that I'm tossing around to get your attention. The former speaker literally invoked the committee—remembered today as a bastion of witch-hunters—as the sort of thing he thinks we need to combat terrorism.

"In the late 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt was faced with Nazi penetration of the United States," Gingrich said on Fox and Friends yesterday. "We originally created the House Un-American Activities Committee to go after Nazis. We passed several laws in 1938 and 1939 to go after Nazis. And we made it illegal to help the Nazis. We're going to presently have to go take the similar steps here."

Whenever someone mentions the committee's efforts in the Nazi era, as opposed to its better-known role in the Red Scare, I remember a sequence of events that Leo Ribuffo described in his book The Old Christian Right. "Many congressional liberals voted to recharter the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1938," Ribuffo wrote, "because they wanted to investigate Silver Shirts and Bundists"—two fascist groups of the day. In 1940, he adds, many of them "acquiesced in the passage of the Smith Act," which made it illegal to advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government, because they hoped it "would be used to indict far right agitators."

It wasn't long before those tools embraced by liberals were used against the left. If you find yourself tempted to support Gingrich's plan, you should first ponder the possibility that his committee will eventually cast its eyes in your direction.

Bonus reading: HUAC and Joe McCarthy were separate phenomena—McCarthy being in the Senate rather than the House—but I'm still going to throw in a link to "Four Great Myths of the McCarthy Era."

NEXT: Can a Person Demand the Government Not Acknowledge Traditional Gender at All?

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  1. Newt once said we should prosecute all speculators on the petroleum markets for betting on oil going up.

    He is the scariest neocon of all time. Besides the rest of them.

    1. Well, yeah. But on the bright side, he wanted the death penalty for drug smugglers. Whenever someone says that we need people with new ideas in Washington………well, as they say, be careful what you hope for because you must might get it.

      “Introduced on September 25, 1996 — late in the second year of Gingrich’s term as Speaker of the House — H.R. 4170 (104th): Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996 (Read the full text here) directed courts to sentence anyone who brought more than two ounces of weed into the United States to life in prison …unless of course they had prior convictions in which case they should be sentenced to death.”…..gling-weed

      1. *just

        (Freudian slip that I can’t put the word “just” in a paragraph about Gingrich?)

      2. Nothing harsh about that sentence. He meant well.

        I think he also introduced the bill to dismember anyone who burns the flag in the town square.

        1. He was in favor of a Constitutional Amendment outlawing flag desecration. So let’s see……..that’s a House committee on Un-American activities, death penalty for drug dealing, and an amendment on flag desecration. There should be something for politicians like him. Call it the “3 strikes and you’re out” bill. OH MY GOD WHAT AM I SAYING???

  2. Mr. Lizard needs to answer for his slimy cousin.

    1. But they’re cousins,
      Identical cousins all the way.
      One pair of matching bookends,
      Different as night and day.

  3. I don’t see how this could possibly go wrong.

  4. When Newt Gingrich briefly campaigned for the Republican ’12 nom, his campaign marketed a Contract With America.

    We may have to consider the possibility that he’s just really fucking uncreative.

    1. Or wisely hoping that Americans have a short memory and don’t remember what a piece of shit he is.

    2. Newticle is just jockeying around for his announcement as Trump’s VP.

  5. Just what makes an activity “American”?

    1. Pie?

      1. So the operation of a motor vehicle constructed by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors near a river’s embankment is an American activity?

        1. Only if said tributary is denuded of moisture.

          1. Ah! An excellent place for the consumption of distilled spirits made from fermented grain mash.

            1. Especially in the company of one’s boisterous comrades of days gone by, who may or may not be expressing suicidal ideations.

      2. In all fairness to Gingrich, newts and witch hunts go together. Like America and apple pie!

    2. “Whatever we say it is” -Your Overlords

    3. watching whores on TV and wondering what they have to say?
      Getting mad that someone hates our freedom?

    4. Baseball. Eagles. A firm handshake. Tearing up when you properly fold a flag but not letting anyone see your moist eyes. You know, America.

    5. Air Force fly-overs at sporting events.

    6. Motorboating Kim Kardasian’s azz.

        1. …and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…

          (There’s a lot of ass to motorboat.)

    7. Wearing Levis and drinking a Bud Light.

    8. Is it different than the way everyone else in the world does it (football and baseball)? Does it use radically different units that are really hard for a creature with a base 10 wired brain to convert between?

    9. Purple mounted majesties, fruiting all o’er the plains.

    10. To me, the original “American Activity” is still the best: Overthrowing the current tyrannical government.

    11. Red necks, white socks, and shitty hipster beer?

  6. Well, at least they aren’t bothering to hide their intentions this time around.

    1. That could be good (because they’re easier to deal with that way), or it could be bad because it’s a sign that they think they can get away with half-baked ideas in a public forum and they don’t need to hide their intentions.

      1. Yea, likely its due to the populace at large being jaded, tuned out, uninterested, or woefully ignorant of history.

        Also all of the above.

  7. Yes. Please name the committee that. Don’t change a thing.

    1. My first thought as well. Like, Newt, are you sure you wanna take this tack on the issue? Really? Well, uh, okay then, happy hunting.

      1. It was my first thought too, but after some thought, I think that with ideas like this he’s just trying to get more face time on TV. It’s attention-seeking behavior. He wants controversy, not answers.

  8. I detest having to say it, but count on any number of “conservative” libertarians to come around defending it in 3…2…1…

    This shit is depressing.

    1. There are a lot of people who want to maintain the Stasi Quo.

    2. I don’t recall anyone here defending House Committee on Un-American Activities.

      1. Last night a regular poster was comparing Muslims to communists, with the obvious implication that they should be treated in the same manner.

        1. Well off the top of my head they’re both the only two prominent political ideologies that advocate for global domination and conquest of the entire human race. So there’s that.

        2. “comparing Muslims to communists”

          Both oppose usury??


          OH!! Both fast!! Though Muslims fast by choice and communists fast because all the food is fucking gone.

          1. The answer is that both groups have millions who have never bothered to read their respective movements founding documents.

            1. I tend towards the theory that millions of adherents looked rather too closely at their founding documents and wrongly consider the information contained within to be infallible ironclad truths.

              1. There’s that too. And the latter string the former along.

        3. No one was comparing Muslims to communists you comical retard. The debate was about your absurd contention that the adherents of an ideology can never be associated with the evil committed in the name of that ideology and that an ideology can’t be responsible for the crimes committed in its name.

          So in the communism is associated with the death of millions of people and anyone who claims to be a communist needs to explain how they don’t support that or be fairly considered to support it, terrorism can be associated with Islam and Muslims need to make some effort to disassociate themselves and their religion from it.

          How can you think that is saying Muslims are communists? Are you so stupid you can’t understand a simple metaphor? How can any person be that stupid? It is just appalling.

    3. We already got one who thinks McCarthy was a swell guy

      1. Swell guy, no, but he was 100% correct that there were Soviet agents working in the government. The guy who invented the atomic bomb was a communist sympathizer and Soviet double agent, which should have been a clue.

        But like most typical dopey-ass Americans, you don’t know VENONA from vanilla.

        1. Excluding hard leftists, few people take issue with McCarthy thinking there were communists in the government. To act as if that’s the only reason people opposed McCarthyism and that he was right on that charge and thus vindicated is idiotic, shallow thinking. Don’t lecture me about history.

      2. Tell us how the Rosenbergs were innocent Cali.

        1. Did I say they were?

    4. If they defend this, then they can’t be libertarians, so you’re actually referring to conservative authoritarians.

  9. Did Newt forget the part where that committee issued a report supporting Japanese American internment? Or the part where they refused the investigate the KKK because it was “an American institution?” I’m sure it will end better this time, of course.

  10. Did Newt forget the part where that committee issued a report supporting Japanese American internment? Or the part where they refused the investigate the KKK because it was “an American institution?” I’m sure it will end better this time, of course.

    1. Damn squirrels

      1. What? Are squirrels un-American?

        1. Given the chance, the squirrels will kill you and everyone you care about. They love death and live only to fight for the Global Nutiphate ruled by squirrelia law. It is known.

          1. I’m sorry, but was that a “yes” or a “no”?

            1. Eh, eye of the beholder and all.

    2. Did Newt forget the part where that committee issued a report supporting Japanese American internment?

      Once the “ban all Muslim immigrants!” shock wears off, isn’t this the next step?

  11. “In the late 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt was faced with Nazi penetration of the United States,”

    It was fucking up his plans to allow a full frontal penetration of the United States by the Soviet Union.

    1. He wasn’t worried about that. After the Nazi Soviet non aggression pact, they were one big happy leftist family.

      1. Well he was repeatedly advised that the Soviets had infiltrators all over the US federal government and he basically laughed it off as a red scare. Then he needlessly gave Eastern Europe over to a couple generations of Soviet slavery. It’s pretty evident that he viewed socialism as a noble experiment.

        1. Even his advisers were appalled at how he refused to see that Stalin was a monster and thought the US could work with him.

          1. He must have admired the temerity of murdering 14,000 people per day so that your idiotic economic policies would really sink in.

          2. Well, not his top advisor harry Hopkins, who was so pro-Soviet that he was a total fellow traveler, if not a conscious agent, as some sources (including Russian ones) have claimed. E.g.: Hopkins went out of his way to send Lend Lease war materials to the USSR, even over the needs of American troops. The guy sent uranium and other nuclear material to the USSR during the war, going around General Groves, who was in charge of the Manhattan Project. It’s hard to explain that.

        2. One theme in Flynn’s “A Country Squire in the White House”, which was a devastating critique of the FDR administration written in the 30’s, was the Roosevelt clan’s hatred of the upstart businessmen muscling their way into upper class society. According to him, the Roosevelt’s were of the class of landed gentry that dominated NY social, political and economic life at the end of the 18th century. And as the indurstrial revolution progressed, they found their economic, social and political dominance overturned by the noveau riche, the businessmen who were amassing fortunes in trade, speculation and manufacturing.

          He argues, very passionately and convincingly (to me) that FDR wanted to utterly dismast these people, to bring them to heel and reassert upper class control over them, and that his policies were designed to ensure that the right sort of people were placed in charge of these upstarts.

          I don’t know if the commies that FDR collected around him were ones he consciously collected because the felt he could use them to break the back of free enterprise and keep them under control, or because the commies easily duped FDR – a man whom despite the schools he attended was a notoriously ill educated man.

          1. The Roosevelts didn’t have any money. It was his mother’s family, the Delanos who had the money. And they made that off of selling Opium in China.

          2. I don’t know if the commies that FDR collected around him were ones he consciously collected because the felt he could use them to break the back of free enterprise and keep them under control, or because the commies easily duped FDR – a man whom despite the schools he attended was a notoriously ill educated man.

            That’s all pretty interesting. But as Hitler himself confessed to friends before and after his rise, he took many cues from Marxism and admired it’s ability to stir up public support with symbolism and class resentment. In Hitler’s case specifically he would have been a proud communist if it’s intellectual origins weren’t rooted in “Jewry” and if it’s most successful standard bearers weren’t Bolsheviks. The fact that FDR, a stunted aristocrat with a superiority complex, surrounded himself with socialists that turned out to be communist sympathizers isn’t far fetched. I’d put my money on him having communist sympathies himself that would have directed more policy were it not for the political realities of the day.

            If the USA had the political culture of the USSR that would have allowed FDR to rule somewhat more like Stalin, he would have done so.

        3. He made a useful idiot his second Vice President.

  12. It wasn’t long before those tools embraced by liberals were used against the left.

    This is the sentence where we discover that congressional liberals were on the left.

    1. Some liberals could red-hunt with the best of them, but others were targeted by the red-hunters.

  13. remembered today as a bastion of witch-hunters

    Only by people who unthinkingly believe all the bullcrap they’ve learned from Hollywood and the JournoList and haven’t bothered to read the VENONA papers.

    Those of us who have gone to the trouble of educating ourselves know that McCarthy to a large extent was right.

    1. McCarthy had, to my knowledge, basically nothing to do with this committee, since it was a creature of the House and he of the Senate.

      1. McCarthy IIRC was Chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Committee on Government Operations. In other words, an indisputable valid subject of Congressional inquiry – government operations being what Congress is supposed to be concerned about.

        HUAC was chartered to investigate “un-American” propaganda, and though they used this authority mainly to look into Communism, sometimes they would look up some fascist outfit or, in one memorable instance of “look at us we’re still relevant!”, the Klan.

  14. I wonder if Newt ever nostalgically pines for the days of monogamy?

  15. Oh God please let Trump pick this freak for VP!

  16. This would be worse. The USUAAC at least was effective at combating communists. That was back when the government actually worked. Today? Such a committee would be immediately infiltrated by Progressives and turned into a weapon for the jihadist cause.

    Here is how this would turn out; once or twice a year they would kick around some Imam caught on tape saying something horrible for a couple of hours and the rest of the time they would spend ruining the lives of people who did things like object to gay marriage or their daughter being forced to shower next to a boy who thinks he is a girl or of course anyone who said anything even the slightest bit critical of Muslims.

    Go ahead and create your committee Newt. Its first victim, right after some baker in Idaho, will be Mark Steyn.

    1. Conquest’s Laws run much faster in this computer age, just like everything else except my aging body.

    2. Its first victim, right after some baker in Idaho, will be Mark Steyn.

      I think Mark Steyn would destroy any kangaroo court that tries to try him for thought-crime.

      That’s why the DC courts just keep Mann’s lawsuit against him in limbo while hoping for more of his witnesses die of old age.

      1. He probably would. But don’t think they wouldn’t try.

  17. HUAC had a brief shining moment when Nixon was on it, and with him prodding, they exposed Alger Hiss as a former Soviet agent.

    After that, HUAC generally got the sloppy seconds of FBI and local anticommunist investigations, publicizing the findings and summoning hostile witnesses who took the Fifth (if they were smart).

    It ended up with just a veneer of legislative relevance.

    It finally got abolished when people stopped worrying about domestic communism, which interestingly was also a time when in some circles communism was becoming semi-respectable again.

    1. ^^THAT^^

      McCarthy was an opportunist who stepped in after the problem had already been solved. And there was a problem. Leftist never mention that. No, the whole thing was about a few people who went to some meetings in the 1930s and the big, racist Republicans wanting to destroy people’s lives.

      1. Again, McCarthy /= HUAC

        1. I know that. He was an opportunist who stepped into solve a problem that had largely been solved.

          1. I would give McCarthy some credit, because the Democratic “solution” involved a lot of sweeping under the rug and denial.

            How many of McCarthy’s “martyrs” turned out actually to have had links to the Soviets? Several.

            McCarthy’s problem was reckless attacks on the likes of Acheson, his attacks on people lower in the chain were often on target.

            1. Oh, and he bashed General Marshall as if Marshall was some kind of com-symp.

            2. Acheson probably was a communist. His mistake was going after George Marshal of all people. Once he did that, Eisenhower set him up and hammered him.

  18. Is this Newt’s way of becoming Trump’s VP?

    1. I doubt it. Newt just likes to talk and to get attention.

      1. Is this Newt’s way of becoming Trump’s VP?

        1. Which part of “I doubt that” do you find hard to understand?

          1. Newt just likes to talk and to get attention.

            Sounds like a perfect match.

            1. Maybe you should call Trump and tell him that. What do you want me to say?

  19. What a beautiful painting that is of Newt. I wonder what that cost the tax payers. I wonder if the un-dead can be seen in the reflecting pool. I wonder if Newt would float in the reflecting pool.

  20. If his name had appeared in the Harry Potter books belonging to one of the villains it would have fit in perfectly.

    1. Doonesbury in the mid-’80s was a shadow of its former self, but one strip had a pretty good line where a character said Newt Gingrich’s name “sounds like something from Dune.”

  21. That painting is hideous. It’s like Bob Ross was abducted and gang raped by a lobby of tele-evangelists and told to paint the portrait of a used-car salesman as the price of his freedom.

    1. There are a significant number of happy, little trees.


        91% of his paintings contained at least one tree.

      2. Yes, focus on the happy little trees, and not Bob Ross’ bleeding asshole.

    2. And did you notice how he is elevated above all the little people in the painting?

  22. the Smith Act,” which made it illegal to advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government

    So…freedom of speech for the win.

  23. Walker, I’m disappointed you didn’t go with “Newt-stalgia.” It was right there!

    1. More like Newt-stalagia! Amirite?

  24. Hollywood was so infested with commies that it propelled Reagan into politics.

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