A LETTER FROM BARRY D. FRIEDMAN TO THEN-SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH
February 3, 1995
Honorable Newt Gingrich,
House of Representatives
United States Congress
Washington, D. C.
Dear Mr. Speaker:
In 1960, at the age of seven, I worked for Vice President Richard M. Nixon's campaign for the presidency. Twelve years later, I became quite unpopular by writing articles for his re-election in the student newspaper at a university radicalized, as most were, by the Vietnam conflict. Two years after that, President Nixon scandalized the Republican party, caused my Republican friends to suffer enormous losses in the 1974 election, and broke the hearts of those who supported him and had commingled his reputation with our own.
In 1968, I wore a campaign button advocating the election of Governor Ronald Reagan to the presidency. It took 12 years for Reagan to get elected. Over an eight‑year period, President Reagan mangled his and our conservative Republican principles by participating in the accumulation of a staggering federal deficit, which now hangs as a dark shadow over the work of the House of Representatives.
Like the Brooklyn Dodgers, Republicans have a unique talent for breaking your heart.
Besides our common Republican backgrounds, you and I have something else in common: You were a faculty member in the University System of Georgia, and I am now a faculty member in that system. Similarly, Dr. Christina F. Jeffrey is a faculty member in the same system. She is also my good friend.
The life of the Jeffrey family has been turned on its head by your hasty termination of her appointment as historian of the House. That she would be lured from your congressional district in Georgia to Washington, D. C., for the privilege of earning five days of pay would be horrible enough in and of itself. But for you and your agents to deliver the crushing blow of impugning her integrity and character, so that she can return to Georgia to defend her reputation for the rest of her life, is an act of treachery that leaves me virtually breathless.
Christina called me on Monday evening, January 9, at 6 p.m. to ask if she could identify me to your press secretary's office as a character reference on her behalf. I agreed, and at about 8 p.m. I sent messages to you that could be used in her defense. In a sequence of events that resembles one's worst nightmare, your press secretary quickly defected to the side of Christina's detractors, and Christina, her husband Rob, and her friends were fending off not only Democratic members of the House, but you and Tony Blankley as well. I recognized at 6 p.m. that day that we were confronting a difficult situation. But the mean-spirited statements that began to emanate from Mr. Blankley's office posed an insurmountable barrier.
Now, Christina and her defenders are making a valiant effort to clear her name. But I am well aware that every word of your and Mr. Blankley's statements neutralizes any fifty statements that I may generate. Nevertheless, let me promise you and Mr. Blankley, as our Heavenly Father is my witness, that despite these odds I will continue to issue these statements in Christina's behalf as long as is necessary to assist in the effort to clear her name.
I have written to you in this letter thus far as a Republican, as a Georgia college teacher, and as a friend of Christina. Let me conclude by writing as a Jew and the son of a Holocaust survivor. There is nothing so horrible as a Nazi or a Nazi sympathizer. I know what these people did to my relatives, some of whom survived and some of whom did not. But, as we rank nefarious people, high on the list must be those who cheapen the effort to expose Nazi sympathizers by confusing the issue and blaming innocent individuals. By making it apparent that Christina is a villain, you and Mr. Blankley have manufactured a smokescreen that will confound decent people trying to understand the world around them. That you have let this happen, and it now appears to have been fully deliberate, is an unforgivable offense. Accordingly, I will never forgive or forget what you have done to Christina, to those of us who care about her, and to those who might have liked to know the truth about her.
Please convey my enduring disgust to Mr. Blankley as well.
Very truly yours,
Barry D. Friedman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science
The opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author and not those of North Georgia College.
Return to Barry D. Friedman's statement about Christina F. Jeffrey . . .
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Last updated on February 2, 2009, by Barry D. Friedman.