Newt Gingrich Once Proposed Mandatory Death for Drug Traffickers, Mass Executions

Newt Gingrich, via the New York Times, said in 1995, while he was weighing whether to run for the Presidency:

Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Friday that he would ask Congress to enact legislation imposing the death penalty on drug smugglers, and he suggested that mass executions of people convicted under such a law might prove an effective deterrent.

..."The first time we execute 27 or 30 or 35 people at one time, and they go around Colombia and France and Thailand and Mexico, and they say, 'Hi, would you like to carry some drugs into the U.S.?' the price of carrying drugs will have gone up dramatically."


Mr. Gingrich said his proposal, which he said he would make in a bill to be filed next month, would impose a mandatory death penalty on people convicted of bringing illegal drugs into the United States.

Why? because he loves children.

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

And, he followed through:

He went on to introduce H.R. 4170 (Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996) to the House of Representatives, which sought to “provide a sentence of death for certain importations of significant quantities of controlled substances”.
Section 2: Increased Penalties For International Drug Trafficking

What a stupid idea. No country in Central or South America, with the possible exception of Guatemala or Belize, including Mexico, would honor our request for extradition if we didn't take the death penalty off the table. The U.S. was the only country in either North or South America to carry out an execution in 2010. He was really offering the biggest importers, who never personally set foot in the U.S. unless they get extradited, a free pass.

At one time, Newt was for medical marijuana, acknowledging he smoked it and it was normal to do so.

“That was a sign we were alive and in graduate school in that era" May 1, 1995, New York Magazine, page 42

As a congressman in 1982, he wrote the AMA praising its support for medical pot and criticizing federal laws that prohibited it.

We believe licensed physicians are competent to employ marijuana, and patients have a right to obtain marijuana legally, under medical supervision, from a regulated source. The medical prohibition does not prevent seriously ill patients from employing marijuana; it simply deprives them of medical supervision and denies them access to a regulated medical substance…

....This outdated federal prohibition is corrupting the intent of the state laws and depriving thousands of glaucoma and cancer patients of the medical care promised them by their state legislatures…

In 1981, he introduced a bill removing penalties from medical marijuana in some circumstances. September 16, 1981, H.R.4498, 97th Congress, 2D Session

By 1996, he did a complete about-face. Why?

See, when I smoked pot it was illegal, but not immoral. Now, it is illegal AND immoral. The law didn't change, only the morality… That's why you get to go to jail and I don't.” August 8, 1996, Wall Street Journal

Memo to Newt: If you've been offering to run for President for 16 years, and your party has never taken you up on it, can't you get the hint they don't want you?

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    He's actualy right. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by redwolf on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 05:57:21 AM EST
    There's only two known methods to deal with society wide drug usage: Execute the users and dealers or allow people to use without restriction and burn themselves out.

    China's proven the first method repeatedly and various European nations have proven the second.

    Doing things halfway has been a huge mistake and we've made the problem massively worse than it should be.  Given that this is the land of the free we should legalize all drugs and let the heavy users burn themselves out.  Anything less is simply playing god with peoples personal choices.

    he's not talking about (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 01:03:01 PM EST
    executing users, but importers/traffickers.

    China has hardly been a success. The UN World Drug report for 2011 says:

    A systematic review conducted for the Reference Group to the UN on HIV and Injecting Drug Use estimated that there are approximately 15.9 million (range 11.0-21.2 million) injecting drug users worldwide, with the largest numbers in China, the United States and the  Russian Federation.

    Crystal meth use has been increasing in China. Iran executes drug dealers and has in recent years emerged as a major place for meth laboratories. Indonesia executes drug dealers and it still has a problem.


    Has prohibition of anything ever (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 01:14:03 PM EST
    been successful? whether liquor or drugs or guns or chemical/biological/nuclear weapons? if so, please let me know.

    Gingrich has long been a sociopath, in my opinion, but in addition he doesn't have nearly the intellectualism or even smarts that he thinks he has.


    And now polls (none / 0) (#5)
    by Zorba on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 01:57:48 PM EST
    have Newt running neck and neck with Romney, and both are just behind Cain.  Oy vey!

    Typical (5.00 / 0) (#11)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Nov 14, 2011 at 12:09:30 PM EST
    See, when I smoked pot it was illegal, but not immoral. Now, it is illegal AND immoral. The law didn't change, only the morality...

    But what changed, a new edition of the Bible, because we all know that it's the go to book in regards to morals ? Nope

    Did the medical uses for it decrease from 1983- to 1996 ? Nope

    The only thing that changes is Newt's use, and like a good republican once he has decided no more, then we all have to get on that schedule.  With a nice little reason why he is exempt from the morality clause in MM the conservative handbook, the 60's.

    Never heard a conservative blame societies lose morals on his own immoral behavior.

    Newt's a perfect example (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Zorba on Mon Nov 14, 2011 at 12:27:21 PM EST
    of the "do as I say, not as I do (or did)" theory of behavior.  It affects far too many people in power (or who think they have, or should have, power).  (One wonders, as well, if he has decided that adultery is also immoral, and has stopped committing it?)

    Maybe it's the... (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 14, 2011 at 02:14:14 PM EST
    Rush Limbaugh Syndrome at play, and Newt switched to something stronger like Oxy.

    It's mass murder, not stupid (none / 0) (#1)
    by koshembos on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 11:30:41 PM EST
    Gingrich is clearly an dangerous person who should be kept as far away from power as possible.

    I realized that Gingrich is not a lawyer, (none / 0) (#6)
    by Peter G on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 02:27:37 PM EST
    but he has a Ph.D. in European history from Tulane, so I guess he must have graduated from high school and college.  He says he wants be President of the United States.  He has been a Congressman and even Speaker of the House.  He has many times taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.  Is it really possible that he does not know that executing a drug smuggler who does not intentionally cause the death of another person would be unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment, as interpreted by the Supreme Court for at least the last 35 years?

    tulane called gringrich's office, (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by cpinva on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 04:04:16 PM EST
    it wants its phd back, and for mr. gingrich to cease and desist telling people he went to school there.

    mr. gingrich (as do most of the republican candidates) displays a consistently high level of intellectual vacuity, masquerading as "deep thoughts". while this works well as part of an SNL bit, rational people try to avoid it in their elected representatives. mr. gingrich is simply rick perry, with better grades.


    Interesting. (none / 0) (#10)
    by observed on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 09:49:48 PM EST
    There's also the issue that many of the actual drug runners may be quite young and uneducated.

    Gingrich: one of the chief protaganists in today's (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:01:27 PM EST
    democracy destroying political partisanship.  He is evil.

    "protagonist" (none / 0) (#9)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:02:00 PM EST