A VOICE OF EXPERIENCE ON SHUTDOWNS AND IMPEACHMENT…. Disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) feels comfortable giving the new House GOP majority advice, and for some reason, thinks he still has some credibility.

With this in mind, Gingrich is telling Republicans not to worry about the political fallout from shutting down the government. That whole mess from 1995 and 1996 that made Gingrich a national pariah was just misunderstood — “distorted,” he said, by the “liberal media.” (Would that be the same liberal media that hangs on Gingrich’s every word for no apparent reason?)

In other words, Newt is effectively telling the current GOP leadership, “Take it from me, shutting the government works out fine.” Why anyone would take his advice seriously, especially on this, is a mystery.

And in case this wasn’t quite ridiculous enough, there’s additional evidence that Gingrich is trapped in some kind of odd ’90s flashback.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who plans within two weeks to announce if he will run for president, said today that if President Obama doesn’t change his mind and order his Justice Department to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, Republicans in Congress should strike back and even consider impeachment proceedings.

“I believe the House Republicans next week should pass a resolution instructing the president to enforce the law and to obey his own constitutional oath, and they should say if he fails to do so that they will zero out [defund] the office of attorney general and take other steps as necessary until the president agrees to do his job,” said Gingrich. “His job is to enforce the rule of law and for us to start replacing the rule of law with the rule of Obama is a very dangerous precedent.”

He didn’t call for immediate impeachment hearings, but didn’t rule them out if Obama balks at any congressional demands to enforce the law.

Ah, yes, shutdowns and pointless impeachment crusades — two subjects Gingrich knows quite a bit about, even if he remains painfully confused about both. Why wouldn’t contemporary Republicans want to listen to the advice of the former Speaker, who was driven from Congress 13 years ago by his own party after having listened to his guidance on shutdowns and impeachment?

Now, in fairness, Gingrich’s office quickly walked this back, saying “impeachment is clearly not an appropriate action” under these circumstances. How tolerant of him.

But it’s worth noting that the rest of Gingrich’s take is hardly any better. The Obama administration didn’t say it would stop enforcing DOMA, it said it would stop defending DOMA against pending lawsuits. The former Speaker is easily confused, but he should at least be sharp enough to appreciate the difference.

For that matter, it’s not that unusual for administrations to take steps like these — and Gingrich never got hysterical when Republican presidents did the same thing. Obama isn’t setting “a very dangerous precedent”; the precedent has already been set, and it’s not dangerous at all.

And finally, before Gingrich lectures us on the importance of the “Defense of Marriage Act,” perhaps he could help offer a “defense” of his own “marriage” background. After a series of wives and mistresses, does Newt really want to be out front and center on this?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.