This fall, CNN will exhume the rotting corpse of its Crossfire program originally killed by Jon Stewart. Three weeks ago, the network offered Piers Morgan's viewers a sneak peak of Crossfire's new four-person panel with Newt Gingrich--a man who believes marriage is an institution between one man and three women in rapid, overlapping succession--blasting the Supreme Court for its rulings on Prop 8 and DOMA. On Monday, CNN brought Gingrich and Crossfire co-host Van Jones together to discuss the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. This time, the same Newt Gingrich who blamed Susan Smith's 1994 murders of her two young sons on Democrats and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society called those marching in memory of Zimmerman's victim Trayvon Martin a "lynch mob."
Gingrich had this to say about this weekend's acquittal of Zimmerman, a verdict which spawned peaceful marches and rallies in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
"The fact is, six women sat on a jury for five solid weeks. I watched these protesters, none of whom read the transcript, none of whom sat through five weeks of the trial, all of whom were prepared basically to be a lynch mob."Gingrich, of course, has long trafficked in racially inflammatory language. Long before today's monstrosity or his 2007 assertion that Spanish is "the language of living in a ghetto" or his 2010 slander of Shirley Sherrod's "viciously racist attitude," soon-to-be House Speaker Gingrich took center stage in the Susan Smith case.
Back in 1994, after dumping his cancer-stricken first wife but before marrying his mistress following the adulterous affair that ended his second marriage, Newt pointed the finger at Democrats for the Susan Smith affair. It was Smith who drew Americans' initial sympathy - and subsequent scorn - for her invention of a black bogeyman to conceal her heinous crime.
On October 24th, 1994, as the New York Times recalled, Smith killed her young sons, killings for which she was eventually sentenced to life in prison:
That night, investigators say, Mrs. Smith pulled her car to the edge of a deep lake, stepped out, put the gearshift in drive and let it roll down the boat ramp into the black water. Her two little boys, buckled snugly in their safety seats, died under the lake...Ms. Kerhulas wasn't the only one who believed in her. None other than future House Speaker Newt Gingrich rushed to the defense of Smith, whose step-father ironically happened to be a prominent Republican fundraiser and member of the Christian Coalition. Even after her confession, Gingrich insisted the Smith murders showed the decay of American society under Democratic Party rule:
..."I believed her, right up to the end," said Juliaette Kerhulas, of Mrs. Smith's story that a young black man had ordered her out of her burgundy 1990 Mazda on the night of Oct. 25, then driven away with 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alexander in the back seat.
Enter Newt Gingrich, who rushed into action on election eve with another reliable generic culprit: society. He said the double murder "vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we need to change things," expediently adding that "the only way you get change is to vote Republican."As Frank Rich recounted in August 1995:
Asked later by Tom Brokaw to elaborate, the Speaker-to-be cited "a direct nexus between the general acceptance of violence" and "the pattern that the counterculture and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society began in the late 60's."As it turned out, it was Gingrich's serial philandering which made him a one-man counterculture, a human wrecking ball demolishing the institution of marriage the Lutheran-turned-Baptist-turned-Catholic now claims to defend. But during his presidential campaign in 2011, Gingrich attributed his rapid-fire infidelities to his ardent patriotism:
"There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate. And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn't trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them."Jon Stewart was right. Once again, Crossfire is "hurting America."