Friday, December 17, 2010


Rachel Maddow revisited an old (and rather silly) story last night:

Tonight, we have brand-new developments in the dramatic, often fraught relationship between Newt Gingrich and the topless club in Dallas known as The Lodge.

Mr. Gingrich, you may remember, offered The Lodge a 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year Award, which was to include a certificate, a novelty gavel and a special dinner in Washington with Newt himself, all for the low, low price of a $5,000 donation to Newt Gingrich's political group, American Solutions.

Of course, the folks at The Lodge understood that this award was a very, very, very thinly disguised fundraising scam, but they were excited to meet Gingrich and happy to fork over the $5,000....

Gingrich found out the Lodge was a strip joint, rescinded the award, and returned the check. But now:

Turns out this week, Dawn Rizos, the owner of The Lodge, got another fundraising scam letter from Newt Gingrich with another super-tempting offer and, of course, another solicitation for money.

... Quote, "Will you enclose a special year-end contribution of $1,000 or even as much as $2,000 to American Solutions, Ms. Rizos?" ...

It's a minor story (full clip below) -- but to me it says something bout Gingrich ... as contrasted with Sarah Palin.

A lot of people have said over the past couple of years that Palin won't run for president in 2012 because what really interests her is taking advantage of her newfound fame to hoover up money. But to me it seems as if Newt Gingrich is the guy who won't run because he can't give up running scams. And he can't seem to give them up even though his scams are so small-time.

Let's see: He's got an organization called American Solutions. He's got another one called Renewing American Leadership. There's the Gingrich Foundation. There's, a site that sells Newt-oriented books, DVDs, and audio, and which offers a premium subscription for $59.99 a year. There's Newt's newsletter, available via Human Events.

He's a lot like Glenn Beck in this way, except presumably at a much lower income level. (Gingrich is on Fox, too, of course, and he also cranks out a lot of books.) But I just get the feeling Palin isn't like this -- she doesn't seem to have made herself an expert in the process of creating grift opportunities; she just seems to take full advantage of the ones offered to her. My sense is that she'd give it all up to be even more famous and important -- which, by the way, is how I believe she thinks about the presidency (which is why I think she wants it). I'm not sure Gingrich can give the small-time scams up; they're his life, and they've been his life for too long.

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