Matt Lewis

Why the story about Newt Gingrich’s payday from Freddie Mac is overblown

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

The big story today, it seems, is that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was paid between $1.6 and $1.8 million by Freddie Mac (over the course of eight years). This seems to be a big deal, and I’m trying to figure out why.

Some people, of course, might simply resent the big bucks. But Republican primary voters aren’t likely to hold that against him — and General Election voters who resent the rich might note that President Obama made $5 million off of his book in 2009 (in 2008, he made a mere $2.5 million off book sales). By those standards, Obama is far richer (read more evil) than Gingrich.

So maybe the problem isn’t simply that Gingrich made millions — but that we simply hate Freddie?

There is little doubt there is much to dislike about Freddie. But if Freddie’s the issue, let’s not forget that then-Senator Obama was the number two recipient of Fannie and Freddie money donated between 1989-2008. (I don’t remember entire news cycles dedicated solely to investigating Obama’s involvement with Freddie.)

Well, maybe it’s the hypocrisy that matters, then?

Perhaps it’s okay for Obama to take money from Fannie and Freddie, because he’s a Democrat. But maybe it’s not okay for Gingrich to do so, because Republicans have been most critical of governmental involvement in the mortgage business?

In this regard, Gingrich may well be guilty of rank hypocrisy. But if hypocrisy is the issue, what about the fact that Obama took nearly a million dollars in campaign contributions from the “fat cats” at Goldman Sachs? (My point is that while this may be an interesting story, it is hardly deserving of the level of outrage it has spawned.)