high on it before he was against it

Gingrich Formerly a Fan of Executing People for Drug Possession

i am in graduate school look at meeee

Newt Gingrich claims to think big thoughts that no one else thinks, when really all he’s done in his career is speak or rather be Speakery or historiany, which does not require thought. Case in point: back when his hair was big enough to better shield his ears from hearing the inanity/insanity of what he was saying, Gingrich actually supported a bill that would imprison, and in certain cases put to death, anyone who brought more than two ounces of a controlled substance into the country. The Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996 was only ever introduced, but it’s an interesting choice of pet project for someone who used to smoke pot … because it was, as he put it, “a sign that we were alive and in graduate school” (PICTURED).

From the Congressional Research Service, here’s the text of the theoretical legislation, H.R. 4170, in question:

Amends the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act to direct the court to sentence a person convicted of bringing into the United States a proscribed quantity of a mixture or substance containing a controlled substance in an amount the Attorney General has determined is equal to 100 usual dosage amounts to life imprisonment without possibility of release (or, if the defendant has violated such provision on more than one occasion and if certain requirements under the Federal criminal code are met, to death). Makes conforming amendments to the code.

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As per usual with any of these fools, Gingrich actually advocated for medical marijuana before he turned vehemently against the stuff. But in 1995, he showed his support of H.R. 4170, and “suggested that mass executions of people convicted under such a law might prove an effective deterrent,” wrote the New York Times at the time. During a 1995 fundraising event for Representative Charlie Norwood, Gingrich said:

If you import a commercial quantity of illegal drugs, it is because you have made the personal decision that you are prepared to get rich by destroying our children. I have made the decision that I love our children enough that we will kill you if you do this.

FIN. [Washington Post/New York Times]

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About the author

Liz is a writer. She has written for this site, evidently, and also The Awl, The San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, The Economist and others. She is the author of a short story collection, Cover Story.

View all articles by Liz Colville

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181 comments

    1. anniegetyerfun

      Please – he'd be dead in a day. Whale fetus soup is a delicacy in Southeast Asian cuisine.

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      Uhh… like, wow man! I'm so stoned I can't see how hypocritical I'm being.

      Also, have you ever, like, looked at your hand? I mean really looked at your hand?

      1. GOPCrusher

        Yeah, Ol El Rushbo was all about executing drug users before his Hillbilly Heroin habit became part of public record.

    1. LettucePrey

      Family values: Using your kids from your first wife to convince everyone that your second wife is lying about your third wife.

  1. actor212

    Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, actually, Newt…wouldn't that apply to other illegal imports? Like, say, Cuban cigars?

    You can have my Cubans when you can pry my cold dead lips off him!

    Them, I mean, THEM!

  2. BaldarTFlagass

    If you import a commercial quantity of illegal drugs, it is because you have made the personal decision that you are prepared to get rich by destroying our children. I have made the decision that I love our children enough that we will kill you if you do this.

    What if you introduce legislation to reduce funding to provide medical care for underprivileged children and that reduction in funding essentially kills those children? Huh?

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      Two ounces? A "commercial quantity"? Meaning what, you could smoke about that much in an average network teevee commercial break?

      OK, send me back to the late seventies with the guys I hung out with back then, and we'll give it the old college try!

  3. Captain_Quark

    In the search for an "effective deterrent" I think we could do better than mass execution. Force the perpetrator to watch an endless loop of Newt Gingrich in a thong. A glittery thong. A glittery thong that gyrates to the disco beat to which Newt is dancing.

    Just say NO!

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      In a contemporary remake of "A Clockwork Orange," this would be the video accompaniment to Alex's Ludovico Technique aversion therapy.

    1. NorthStarSpanx

      He is a right to lifer, his life. As he wants it. Free from the bounds of ethics and social restraints. . .

      The chicken hawk says smoking pot was a sign that "we were alive and in graduate school”" whereas his lessers (whose generational offspring he will employ in the custodial field) smoked pot as a sign that they were in a godforsaken jungle with Charlie shooting at them.

  4. PuckStopsHere

    I have made the decision that I love our children enough that we will kill you if you do this.
    I don't want Newt practicing his love with our children all over this country.

  5. OkieDokieDog

    I suggest if this gets crowned GOP POTUS thing doesn't pan out for him, he could go to Mexico and run for Presidente.

    What an asshole.

  6. BaldarTFlagass

    You know who else suggested that mass executions of people convicted under law might prove an effective deterrent?

        1. jodyleek

          That is the $64,000 question, isn't it? It cracks me up whenever I see a billboard stating "God is Pro Life." Really? Those dingbats must not have read the whole Old Testament thingy because God does a whole lot of smiting , drowning, turning into pillars of salt, etc. in those chapters.

          1. Biel_ze_Bubba

            God is pro-life, except when he's not, and the Xtards know which rules apply when, and who to apply them to.
            Why do you people think it's so complicated?

  7. Pragmatist2

    He didn't change his position. He was smoking so much dope he just got confused.
    Happens all the time.

  8. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    I'm wondering if Newt is willing to make the same argument now days about Bain Capital.

  9. SudsMcKenzie

    You know who Else wanted mass, …. oh for fucks sake, I'm getting a bottle for this evening.

  10. SayItWithWookies

    Snoop Dog and Willie Nelson will be impressed to find out they're in graduate school. Which reminds me, I have to run do some work on my thesis.

  11. ph7

    Flying into KL in 1992, the pilot succinctly informed us of this same policy by announcing that "In Malaysia, "Dada is death."

    Newt steals ideas from Muslim theocrats. The only hole in adopting this worldview is that Newt should have stoned himself to death for adultery by now.

  12. BaldarTFlagass

    someone who used to smoke pot … because it was, as he put it, “a sign that we were alive and in graduate school”

    All those Nacho Cheese Flavored Doritos and Ho-Hos and Ding-Dongs and Little Debbies sure did take their toll.

  13. edgydrifter

    Everybody relax. He just wants to kill importers of foreign drugs. He's protecting our vital domestic meth-cooking industry.

    1. iburl

      …And our blackmailing the maid to meet you behind the Denny's with a gallon ziploc bag full of Hyrocodone for Rush Limbaugh industry.

    2. HistoriCat

      Marijuana can be grown in the US. Meth is no problem. It's those very very urban drugs he wanted to stop.

  14. MaxNeanderthal

    WTF is that over his shoulder? A small nuclear explosion in the corner of the room, or Big Bird having a really enormous toke from a joint the size of a roll of carpet?

  15. Harry_S_Truman

    Newt:

    I have made the decision that I love our children enough that we will kill you if you do this.

    Let's apply this to those who would convince our children to vote for Republicans.

  16. Mumbletypeg

    No Newt, "DRACONIAN" is not a winged, fanged creature in one of your alterna-universe warcraftian ficciones.
    ETA: Although if it were, I'd ask it to shove one of its hooves into your malodorous mouth since your own foot doesn't seem to find its way there quickly enough.

  17. Generation[redacted]

    Since when is 100 doses a "commercial amount?" When I was in college that was just a good weekend house party that broke up early because the drugs ran out.

  18. LettucePrey

    "And the man that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." Leviticus 20:10 (KJV)

    1. Spurning Beer

      "if the defendant has violated such provision on more than one occasion and if certain requirements under the Federal criminal code are met." Leviticus 20:11

    2. SorosBot

      The Bible sure is a great source for morality! Let's read the part about killing disobedient children, too.

    3. GlowneyHouse

      There should be simple, homemade "Leviticus 20:10" signs at every Newt rally from here on. They'd blend in perfectly and it would probably be a while the campaign staff/media advisers got in on the joke and started banning them. Of course, we couldn't expect the media to point them out either…

    4. tealsheart

      He gets a past on this one, the bible did not mention him by name… Did 'Callista in the sky with diamonds', live in his neighborhood?

  19. fartknocker

    I don't know Newt. The Los Zetas down on the Texas/Mexico border have been executing a few hundred Mexican citizens every month for not trafficing drugs or people and that hasn't really stemmed the flow of narcotics or illegal immigrants.

  20. Rosie_Scenario

    Young Newt actually looks worse than Old/ current Newt. Not as fat, but worse. Quite a feat, Newton.

    1. Baconzgood

      Are you SHITTING ME? If I had hair like that I'd have to beat the ladies off with a big yellow sitck.

  21. UnholyMoses

    is equal to 100 usual dosage amounts

    So if you have three pounds of bunk, you're all good, but if you have three grams of kind, you're all dead.

    Interesting that it's based on quality, rather than quantity.

    Oh, and since most meth is not imported, but home-cooked, Newt made sure to leave that out, lest he lose the NASCAR demo.

    No wonder he won in S.C. …

  22. MissTaken

    Between fucking random women due to his love of America and killing people for his love of children, Newt really should learn some better ways to express his emotions. I hear Hallmark makes some lovely greeting cards.

    1. SorosBot

      I'm afraid he might draw his greeting cards from the racist photoshopped image of Obama email forwards beloved by some Republican officials.

    2. Spurning Beer

      [front of card] Darling, there are times that, partially driven by how passionately I feel about this country, and how hard I work…

      [inside of card] …that things may happen in my life that are not appropriate. Like that time at the Sheraton in Alexandria, remember? When you kept scraping your molars on Little Elvis, and I had to smack you kinda hard? Remember that? Well, it was inappropriate.

      Happy Valentine's Day,
      Newton Gingrich, Ph.D.

  23. BaldarTFlagass

    To be fair, this quote is from around the time he started banging Callista, and we all know that she's so hot that you would lose your mind.

  24. slithytoves

    a person convicted of bringing into the United States a proscribed quantity of a mixture or substance containing a controlled substance in an amount the Attorney General has determined is equal to 100 usual dosage amounts to life imprisonment without possibility of release

    Here's to the biggest, bestest incarceration system in the world. USA!! USA!! We aspire.

    1. paris biltong

      So, in reality, the standard applied depends on the size of the Attorney General's habit. Seems a bit arbitrary to me.

  25. PsycWench

    Is the cloud of smoke in the picture supposed to show that he's smoking or that he's farting? And is there really a difference in Newt's case?

  26. Baconzgood

    At this point the GOP should advocate people getting all wacked out on goof-balls. It seems that is the only way they will get more than 26% of the vote.

  27. upthruster

    He really just cared that the drugs weren't "American" drugs– they were "foreign" drugs that came across the borders and that's what made them a threat. He still in favor of importing crap made in China strangely, that's not destroying our children or families now, is it?

  28. elviouslyqueer

    Tsk. Sounds like somebody's a mite testy because his weekly shipment of Mexican Phen-Fen keeps getting waylaid.

  29. BarackMyWorld

    I didn't think this was unknown to anyone…or do I just have an exceptionally clear recollecton of everything he was up to from 1994-1999 because I despise him so very, very much?

    Anyhow, civil liberties issues aside, the practical counter argument to this being a deterent (or as he put it, that we were "serious about the war on drugs") was that drug dealing and trafficing was already an extremely dangerous profession and chances of being killed by rivals made they idea that a death penalty could be considered an effective deterent pretty ridiculous.

    1. SorosBot

      Oh there you go again, bringing logic to refute the conservative id; it's all about the gut for them.

    2. Pithaughn

      Or, maybe if the drug cartel raped and murdered one of your daughters you would then decide to do whatever the fuck they said to because you LOVE YOUR REMAINING CHILDREN SO MUCH.
      Maybe that is one of the million reasons why a death penalty IS NOT A DETERRENT.

  30. Harry_S_Truman

    During a 1995 fundraising event for Representative Charlie Norwood, Gingrich said:

    If you import a commercial quantity of illegal drugs, it is because you have made the personal decision that you are prepared to get rich by destroying our children.

    Our children? Who was at this fundraiser? A roomful of his ex-wives?

  31. ifthethunderdontgetya

    I would like to introduce "The Bankster Bagman Death Penalty Act of 2012".

    My bill would imprison, and in certain cases put to death, any elected official who puts the needs of banksters ahead of his or her constituents in return for any kind of favor, campaign contribution, or promise of future employment.
    ~

  32. hagajim

    Kind of looks like young Newt just blew out a big ol' lungful of smoke from that giant Spliff he has in his hand.

  33. Mahousu

    I have made the decision that I love our children enough …

    In particular, the thin ones with the blonde helmet hair and the expensive tastes in jewelry. I will double-kill for those. So just watch it, Marianne.

  34. BaldarTFlagass

    Give those children jobs delivering nickel bags so they know what it's like to work for a living!!!

  35. chascates

    Newtonian Ethics: Using the daughters from your first wife to convince everyone that your second wife is lying about your third wife.

  36. jus_wonderin

    Youse guys up there quoting the bible. Yes! But, what good is it if they (Newt) read it, quote it when it fits their needs, and then totally fucking ignore putting what is good about it into process.

    Newt is hypocrite ONE in my book.

    1. reliefsinn

      Let me get this straight:
      Though Newt is fit for the Presidency, and must be forgiven for his marital indescrepencies, because Xtians believe in "redemption" and "forgiveness" – as Perry and other pious blowhards like to point out – someone caught with 2 ounces of weed deserves the death penalty.
      Do I have this right?

  37. Wadisay

    I AM OUTRAGED, AND IT IS DESPICABLE, THAT WONKETTE IS RAISING THIS ISSUE AT THIS TIME, IN THIS CONTEXT!!! IT IS A DISGRACE, IT IS TREASONOUS, AND IT IS UNWORTHY OF THE NATIONAL DEBATE WE NEED NOW!!!

    I mean this in the nicest possible way.

  38. MiniMencken

    He was just trying to eliminate the competition for the pot farmers and meth lab operators in his district. Sound politics.

  39. Chet Kincaid

    Mass executions might also be an effective deterrent for parking violations. Mass executions could make an example of those who file their tax returns late. Mass executions would make urban kids think twice about truancy and curfew violations. Prophylactic mass executions against groups with a tendency toward antisocial behavior could save society much blood and treasure, as well.

  40. Antispandex

    Well, the Bible (the Word of the Lord, God's Law, &c) says you should be put to death for adultery…so there's that, Newt. Newt? You still there?

      1. Limeylizzie

        I love my cats with an insane passion, they are such an important part of our family, I would be beyond angry if anyone did this to any of mine.

    1. Baconzgood

      Every one knows that cats are a danger to this country.

      (I'm snarking because it's the only way I know to keep from puking and punching a random stranger at the same time)

    2. flamingpdog

      I guess if you can't get any pussy, the next best thing is to slaughter one. Someone needs to ask Newt tonight if this deserves execution.

    3. ThundercatHo

      "don't know if it's a threat" Well, what would you call it then genius fucking law enforcement fuck? Time for the candidate to hire some protection.

  41. Neoyorquino

    He cheated on his wives because he loves this country so much, and he loves the children so much he's just gotta kill you for that joint. Stop loving us so much!

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      That's an insult to dumb people. He's what re†arded people think a smart person is supposed to sound like.

  42. glamourdammerung

    Seriously, admitting to smoking pot, then advocating death penalty for possession? That is ridiculous. It would be like impeaching someone for screwing an intern in an affair while you screwing yours in an affair. Uhm, nevermind.

  43. rickmaci

    I had a TA that looked exactly like that picture when I was in college. He was a bully and arrogant but in reality was a total fail as a teacher. We were all certain he was going to show up on a sex offender list someday.

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