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GOP’s collapse dates at least to the days of hyperpartisan Newt Gingrich

The former speaker of the U.S. House ushered in the current era of extremism.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich
Getty

I just finished reading Neil Steinberg’s excellent column on the GOP turning their party into a “newt.” The column’s headline refers specifically to a scene in the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ in which a supposed witch is accused of turning a citizen into a newt — who then “got better.”

In reality, the Republican Party has been a newt since the time of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, from 1995 t0 1999, who ushered in the current era of hyper-partisanship by repeatedly calling Democrats “corrupt” and “fascists.” Gingrich also accused the Democratic Party of wanting to “destroy the United States.”

Unlike the medieval citizen in the movie who “got better,” the GOP has gotten only worse. It now calls Democrats “socialists” and “baby killers.” Gingrich tried to shut down the federal government. Republicans on Jan. 6 tried to shut down and destroy the Democratic process itself.

George Tafelski, West Elsdon

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Getting rid of Lake Shore Drive

Thank you to the Sun-Times editorial board for highlighting in an editorial about Lake Shore Drive the paradox of designing a highway with “charm.” Yes, the stretch of lakefront through which Lake Shore Drive travels is the most spectacular urban waterfront in the Midwest, but it is spectacular despite the highway, not because of it.

Before the city, state and federal government sink several billion dollars into rebuilding a noise-generating and pollution-generating highway, shouldn’t we be asking Chicagoans, not Illinois Department of Transportation, what the highest and best use of our city’s lakefront is?

Is it possible that the lakefront could generate more joy and jobs without a highway?

Now is the time to ask.

Nate Hutcheson
Lakefront for All Chicago
Chicago