I missed this Monday morning but his proposal’s provocative enough to make it blogworthy days later, especially since Newt’s the favorite to be Trump’s VP. The key bit comes at around 3:00 below.
There was no way we were getting through this campaign without someone wanting to revive HUAC, was there?
“We originally created the House Un-American Activities Committee to go after Nazis,” he said during an appearance on “Fox and Friends” this week. “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.”…
“We’re going to ultimately declare a war on Islamic supremacists and we’re going to say, if you pledge allegiance to ISIS, you are a traitor and you have lost your citizenship,” he said. “We’re going to take much tougher positions.”
How has Trump not already swiped this idea and adopted it as one of his core proposals? It’s right in line with his message about America needing to get tough with its many enemies within. It’s also a key fault line potentially between pro- and anti-Trump righties. If you’re anti-Trump, you’ll worry along with Jesse Walker that HUAC, once revived, would be as unpredictable in its targets as its original incarnation was:
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.
Now, now. Our government would never come after right-wingers as traitors to America, would it? If you’re pro-Trump, though, the possibility of bringing back HUAC is pretty much why you’re pro-Trump, no? Those weaklings in the Republican establishment would be too cowed by cries of “McCarthyism!” from the left to endorse what Gingrich is suggesting. It would take a strongman like Trump as president to muscle them into agreeing. And even if it is McCarthyistic, defenders will say, so what? The point of Trumpism, from protectionism to embracing entitlements to stealing Iraq’s oil, is to look out for number one and not to worry much when the milquetoasts in both parties start fretting that there’ll be unintended consequences that can and should be foreseen. Get what’s yours and stop playing by the left’s rules. If Trump can create a precedent in which citizenship can be stripped from enemy agitators, do it. Whether courts would go along with it is a separate question, but then that’s why we need a president who’ll appoint judges that look the other way at things like HUAC.