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Jim GallowayGreg BluesteinTamar Hallerman

Newt Gingrich inserts himself into the Donald Trump campaign

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Former House speaker Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista leave a closed-door meeting with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Washington on Monday. AP/Jose Luis Magana

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista leave a closed-door meeting with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Washington on Monday. AP/Jose Luis Magana

We’ve seen the Tweets that former House speaker Newt Gingrich sends out about Donald Trump. On Monday, we saw Gingrich exit that Washington meeting of the party establishment with the Republican presidential nominee. Now the Daily Beast has put two and two together:

For Trump, Gingrich has become an unpaid adviser—most importantly, Gingrich is playing the role of trying to get Washington’s Republican political class to come to terms with the billionaire’s candidacy—all while swooning over the man’s dubious business successes.logo-all

For some time now Gingrich has been stumping for Trump behind the scenes, on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. Last week in a closed-door meeting before more than 100 Republican chiefs of staff from the House and Senate in Baltimore, Gingrich raved about the Republican frontrunner, calling him a “blue-collar bar room brawler.”

But surely WSB Radio’s Erick Erickson, part of the effort to stop Donald Trump, couldn’t have had Gingrich in mind this morning when he confessed second thoughts about backing a third-party candidate who would challenge the Republican frontrunner:

….And that may be why we should not have a third party. There are a lot of media whores, has-been politicians, washed-up personalities, and bought-off pundits backing Trump. They’ve convinced a segment of the American people that Trump is both inevitable and unstoppable.

If a third party rises up to take on Trump, they’ll be able to point out that this third party is to blame for Trump’s loss, not that Trump was always going to lose.

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In a column on the campus carry bill as a threat to academic freedom on university campuses, Sonja West, an associate professor at the University of Georgia’s School of Law, points to a clause in the state constitution that might become grounds for a future lawsuit. From Slate:

Here in Georgia, we have an additional reason to be wary about political interference with university autonomy: our own troubling history. In 1941, Georgia’s then–Gov. Eugene Talmadge spearheaded a direct assault on the state’s institutes of higher education by declaring that he would fire any university employees who stood for “communism or racial equality.” Talmadge’s first target was a man named Walter Cocking, who was the dean of the University of Georgia’s College of Education. Claiming that Cocking supported racially integrated classrooms, Talmadge demanded he be fired. The Board of Regents refused, and so Talmadge removed and replaced several regents until he eventually had a board that would do his bidding.

Within a year, Talmadge’s tactics had led to the firing of 10 more esteemed educators (including the vice chancellor of the university system). The Board of Regents had lost all political independence. And the schools’ libraries were purged of “subversive” books that were deemed to encourage concepts like racial equality or communism. Talmadge’s political power grab only ended after several Georgia colleges and universities lost their accreditation, and Talmadge was defeated in his run for re-election.

So damaging was the “Cocking Affair,” as it became known, to the independence of Georgia’s colleges and universities that two years later the state amended its constitution. The new provision explicitly gives the Board of Regents constitutional power over “the government, control, and management” of the state’s colleges and universities. Whether that constitutional provision provides a legal defense against Georgia’s campus-carry law has not yet been tested in the courts. But the underlying threat of political intrusion into university administration remains the same now as it was in 1941.

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On that same topic: Several campus presidents have urged Gov. Nathan Deal to reject the “campus carry” legislation that lifts the ban on firearms at universities. But few carry as much weight as the admonition from Cecil Staton, a former Republican state senator who is now the interim president of Valdosta State University.

In the final minutes of the 2013 legislative session, Staton yanked his support for a measure that would have cleared the way for the carrying of concealed weapons on campuses. And he made clear on Wednesday his concerns still linger. From his letter:

Our Faculty Senate passed a resolution in January opposing any bill which included “campus carry” provisions saying, in part, “that universities are unique environments”…”with a clearly stated purpose to promote and facilitate the discovery, application and dissemination of knowledge” [where] “allowing concealed carry permit holders to bring firearms on university grounds or into classrooms threatens the progress of education and the expression of ideas by imposing lethal weaponry within a place that harbors vigorous and often heated academic discussion…”

Our police officers are concerned with maintaining the security of the campus and with so many unpredictable consequences possible from accidental or negligent discharges or the addition of well-intentioned but untrained bystanders to any potentially volatile situation on the campus, “campus carry” complicates their mission exponentially.

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Add another celebrity to the list of big names criticizing Georgia’s “religious liberty” legislation.

On the other side of the coin is the Rev. Franklin Graham, son of Billy, who held a rally for religious conservatives in February at the state Capitol has sent many, many Tweets on the issue. This is only one of them: