**Breaking News – Hermain Cain endorses Newt Gingrich
All political eyes are on the Republican (G.O.P. – Grand Old Party) Florida primary. On Tuesday, January 31st, voters will decide the fate of Willard “Mitt” Romney, Newton “Leroy” Gingrich, Rick Santorum or the unflappable Ron Paul, on who will receive the most votes.
A Great Debater or Master of Spin
Heading into the primary with a decisive victory in South Carolina, Gingrich was on fire and pundits declared him the favorite. That was until the Florida Achilles-heel, otherwise known as foreclosures became the hot topic. As a wordsmith master or linguistic manipulator, commonly known as creating “spin,” Gingrich would have you believe a consultant is vastly different than a lobbyist. Or that you are not reading this article, but your mind is playing tricks on you.
First he claimed his role at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) was that of a historian. Following his tumultuous role as Speaker of the House of Representatives, he entered into the private sector and started his relationship with the quasi-government agency charged with creating a funding source for the thousands of originators of home mortgages. His six year retention agreement compensated him or his firm approximately 1.6 million dollars. Most would agree that is a handsome amount of money to be paid a historian. He has lately adjusted his role with the agency as a consultant who performed strategic advice.
Consultant, Lobbyist or Influence-Peddling
Perhaps he was a consultant and feels the definition as a lobbyist is inaccurate. Admittedly, he never officially registered as a lobbyist. The facts are he rose to great influence in the 1990’s and his mere presence provided tremendous influence to whomever he was representing. Just ask those he was in charge of gaining political support or those he discussed various business proposals. Was their support based on the noble ideal being presented or was it based on who was asking for support? During last Thursday’s CNN debate, Mitt “Willard” Romney attempted to have Gingrich accept the fact that his role was good old-fashioned “influence peddling.”
Here is what Florida voters will have to decide; which candidate best speaks to their interest? Gingrich’s dilemma will the reality of accepting 1.6 million dollars, while the same Floridian voters he is courting have knowledge their state is a leader of homes in foreclosure. Many of those homes were Freddie Mac properties. Last year the States 1.7 million homes in distress make it a tough explanation, for the best politician. On a positive note, the current glut of foreclosure stock is finally eroding based on recent sales data, although the total numbers remain staggering.
Whatever role Gingrich played at Freddie Mac is not as important, as why he and other politicians have attempted to curry favor from the public in explaining why the agency should be dismantled, while they have been feeding at the trough.
Whether serving as a consultant, lobbyist or even a historian sounds acceptable, few professional political types have offered what is the alternative if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are dismantled. Where will the public go for affordable mortgage money? Recently it was Gingrich who has been pandering to those at political rallies in solely blaming the housing crisis on investors such as Freddie Mac. He has proclaimed they should be broken into many components. Yet, he decries bureaucracy!
Dismantling of Freddie Mac
Gingrich and many political leaders probably have Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages. Their influence earned them lower fees, better interest rates and other benefits that most homeowners dream about. Or in Gingrich’s case, a consultant gig. Sadly, most homeowners have no clue who is the investor of their mortgage. They are only interested in who receives their payments, and that typically is the company who originated the mortgage.
Florida voters may ask all the candidates, but Gingrich specifically since he has admitted being paid by Freddie Mac, why he didn’t use his influence to get more loans modified? Why didn’t he use his influence to help the agency recognize it is better to have a person in a home, than to create a vacancy which negatively impacts the entire neighborhood? Why he didn’t use his influence to get lawmakers to adopt The Mortgage Holiday? Perhaps he did. On Tuesday, the voters will get their chance to weigh in. In the meantime, Florida is poised to continue to be a leader in home foreclosures as the housing crisis continues.