Gingrich and his big-government solutions

GINGRICH AND HIS BIG-GOVERNMENT SOLUTIONS…. The uproar over converting a closed Manhattan clothing store into a community center has been a little quiet this week, but disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) is still full of ideas.

For example, ol’ Newt now believes Congress can designate Ground Zero as “a national battlefield memorial because I think we should think of the World Trade Center as a battlefield site.” Putting aside whether this is a good idea or not, even if Congress did as Gingrich suggests, it wouldn’t make any difference — because no one is talking about building the community center at Ground Zero.

But wait, there’s more. Gingrich believes there are all kinds of options for government intervention.

“The Attorney General of New York, Andrew Cuomo, could intervene because frankly he has the ability to slow it down for decades if he wants to.”

And, if the federal government doesn’t intervene, and the state government declines to use its regulatory and enforcement powers to delay a private development project, Gingrich says the mayor should step in…. In fact, on whatever level, Gingrich thinks government intervention is the answer.

“There are a number of different steps that could be taken. There’s no reason this has to occur and whether it’s city, state, or federal there are plenty of ways for America to stop it,” Gingrich said.

I see. So, to summarize, one of the Republicans’ leading far-right voices wants big government to intervene to prevent development of private property, as part of a larger effort to deny Americans their religious liberty.

At the same time, Gingrich has no qualms about attacking the president as some kind of communist. Isn’t cognitive dissonance amusing?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.