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Newt Gingrich: the man who saved porn

Published time: December 02, 2011 20:02
Edited time: March 16, 2012 23:57
Newt Gingrich: the man who saved porn

Newt Gingrich: the man who saved porn

Newt Gingrich doesn’t like a lot of things.

He’s not too keen on abortion and thinks the Department of Education could use some cutbacks. He doesn’t like how the government gives out health care to the poor (whom he says on Thursday have no work habits) and thinks gay marriage is a joke.

But don’t freak out. Wanna know what Newt loves? Newt Gingrich loves porno. LOVES it.

Alright, we can’t say for certain that Newt Gingrich dishes hundreds of dollars on XXX-rated DVDs after-hours on the Hill or that he sent congressional aides out to DC smut shops during his tenure as speaker of the House. Thanks to a great article in Mother Jones posted this week, however, we can say with complete sincerity that if it wasn’t for ol’ Newty, our hard drives would be a lot more boring.

Back in 1995 when the Internet was still a spooky, seedy underworld of newsgroups and bulletin boards (both Hamster Dance and that annoying, godforsaken baby getting its groove on in Flash glory were years away), Congress tried to pass legislation that would have imposed colossal fines and prison time on people that SAID BAD WORDS and, God help them, shared pornography on the Web. Senator Jim Exon, a Democrat from Nebraska, tried to tag an amendment to the Communications Decency Act up for vote back then that would have criminalized the transmission of dirty documents (including both imagery and text) and served up fines of $100,000 to guilty parties.

Could you imagine? An Internet without pornography today would be practically a library without books (and then what are you left with? Periodicals?!). Newt knew that someday his 56k dial-up connection would go the way of the dinosaur and he’d be able to download some downright dirty films with breakwrist — er, breakneck speeds — as the World Wide Web (and the powers within it) advanced with every waking day. So Newt helped sink Exon’s amendment and allowed the Internet to grow into the fantastic playground that we all know and love today.

"Barbarian pornographers are at the gate and they are using the Internet to gain access to the youth of America," Exon said at the time. To Newt, however, he saw censorship on the Web as a blow to Constitutional rights.

Gingrich would go on to tell fellow lawmakers that Exon’s amendment was “clearly a violation of free speech” as well as “a violation of the right of adults to communicate with each other." He added to journalist David Frost that he didn’t agree with the legislation and said he’d back something that went after child predators prowling the Web, but that that would be “very different than trying to censor willing adults."

You could probably figure out what happened. Though the amendment and the rest of the Act went through some tinkering, Newt worked out some changes with a few other lawmakers that nixed Exon’s plan to make the Internet a boring hellhole.

Can we say that Newt’s not-so-secret-now passion for porno ruined one of his marriages? Or two of his marriages? We can’t. Would it make sense? It could. As America continues to focus on the sex scandals plaguing pizzaman Herman Cain’s attempt at the GOP nod, America needs to take a step back this election cycle and realize that, sometimes, Republicans do dirty things that the whole country can benefit from.

What did Mitt Romney ever do for America? Help bring the Winter Olympics to the US? Big whoop. Newt gave us porn. Top that, Bachmann.

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