Calling him “the most peripatetic mind in Washington” and “the most visionary speaker in congressional history,” former Rep. James Rogan, in his new book on the impeachment of President Clinton, offers some insightful peeks into the methods and passions of now-officially announced GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
In his role as point man in the Republican House of Representative’s impeachment proceedings, Rogan kept copious diaries of events and conversations he had during the process – all recorded in his brand-new book, “Catching Our Flag: Behind the Scenes of a Presidential Impeachment,” published by WND Books.
Rogan writes of Gingrich, then riding high as the first Republican speaker in decades:
House Republicans used to joke that Speaker Gingrich suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder (truthfully, when they said it, not everyone was joking.) The synapses of his brain fired at too high a rate, making it hard for him to focus on any single topic for too long, and harder for his troops to follow him into multi-front battles. By the time we absorbed his newest powerful idea, Newt was off on 10 new topics, all brilliant and all worthy of immediate focus.
Rogan’s diary entry for Aug. 6, 1998, included a quote from Gingrich during an informal meeting with Republican congressmen on the House floor. Not mincing words, Gingrich addressed the media’s impact on the Clinton impeachment:
This shows you why Washington is such a horse-s–t town. In Virginia, they sentenced someone to six months in jail for lying under oath about an affair. Here, the media and the left excuse it when it is one of their own who does it. This sends the message to every criminal in America that if you are caught and you just go on television with a quivering lip and say, ‘I’m sorry,’ everything will be OK. But that’s all right. We’ll keep our cool; let the facts come out on their own, and then let Clinton get his brains beat out over all this.
Besides his role in the impeachment of Clinton, Gingrich, like all speakers traditionally, was the political leader of his Republican members, charged with assuring the House would stay in GOP hands after the 1998 election.
Rogan relays a comment Gingrich made to Republican lawmakers after urging them to compromise with Clinton on a federal budget in October of that year. “Conservative budget hawks,” Rogan notes, were criticizing Gingrich for compromising.
Exhorted the speaker: “Compromise is a reality – it is the cost of divided government. Clinton is a liar. If anyone in the country hasn’t figured that out yet, they never will. We need to get this budget passed, go home, and come back with a bigger Republican majority.”
Rogan also took notes about the post-election struggle within the GOP for the speakership and the resignation of Gingrich from the House.
The Friday after the 1998 General Election, in which Republicans held onto the House, but just barely, Rogan was driving back to D.C. from Pennsylvania when he heard the news of Gingrich’s resignation on the radio.
Writes Rogan: “I am saddened beyond words. [Newt] has been a friend during my tenure in Congress. To see the architect of the GOP House majority dumped like this is hard to watch. He should be in the GOP pantheon; his troops have instead relegated him to the dustbin.”
That same day, Gingrich told his colleagues on a conference call: “The House Republicans are my extended family. You have given me tremendous honors. I love you all.” With that, Rogan writes, “the phone clicked dead.”
Rogan’s praise for Gingrich is mutual. The GOP presidential candidate, who wrote the foreword for “Catching our Flag,” offers this analysis of Rogan’s new book:
“This first-hand narrative provides a fascinating inside tale of politics, power, expediency and intimidation. Other books in this subject invariably rely on fading recollections (or wholesale fantasies). Congressman James Rogan was more than a witness; he was a leading figure in the most important trial in our country’s political and legal history. It is a story only he can tell.”
“Catching Our Flag” is an uncensored, behind-the-scenes look at what went on during America’s last presidential impeachment. Personally autographed copies of “Catching Our Flag” are available exclusively at the WND Superstore.