Was Elliot Abrams Deceived on Newt?

I mentioned his name yesterday — Jeffrey Lord was in the political office of the White House during the first term of Reagan, maybe both terms. Jeffrey Lord now writes at the American Spectator. Jeffrey Lord, like me, didn’t understand all this stuff at Newt yesterday.

AP has a story referring to me now as “conservative radio titan.” And they describe me as trying to defend Newt on this yesterday, and in the process, nevertheless, recounting all of the things that Newt had said. I wasn’t trying to defend Newt, as AP said. All I was saying was I pay close attention to this stuff. Even when I wasn’t doing a talk show, this stuff was my life. The last two to three years I was working with the Kansas City Royals (that would have been ’81, ’82, ’83, I got back into radio in 1984) I was immersed in this stuff. And Newt, the only thing I knew about him was that he was the premiere — there were a lot of people trying — but he was the premiere Reagan defender in
those special orders. And I just had never heard any of this stuff.

Jeffrey Lord, who worked in the White House at the time, had not heard any of this stuff. So he did some research and has written a piece that is now in the American Spectator, The Spectacle blog. I just got it. It prints out six pages, and I have not had a chance to read the whole thing, but it seems like Elliott Abrams has been had. It seems like Elliott Abrams had a piece at National Review really ripping into Newt, was spoon-fed some out-of-context stuff. “Abrams quotes Newt for saying in this speech that Reagan’s policies towards the Soviets are ‘inadequate and will ultimately fail.'” He quotes Newt as saying that. So Jeffrey Lord went to the special order, Newt’s speech on the floor of the House when the House had shut down business for the day and listened to the whole thing. It was an hour.

And Jeffrey Lord writes, “Abrams quotes Newt for saying in this speech that Reagan’s policies towards the Soviets are ‘inadequate and will ultimately fail.’ This is shameful. Why? Here’s what Newt said — in full and in context: ‘”The fact is that George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Irving Kristol, and Jeane Kirkpatrick are right in pointing out the enormous gap between President Reagan’s strong rhetoric, which is adequate, and his administration’s weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail.”‘ In other words, Newt was picking up on a concern, prominent in the day and voiced by no less than Reagan’s then ex-UN Ambassador Kirkpatrick.” It was a concern that had also been voiced by Reagan supporters, George Will and Irving Kristol, Bill Kristol’s dad, and the late-Mondale aide turned conservative, as Mr. Lord writes here, Charles Krauthammer.



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