Peter Gemma

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Peter Benedict Gemma, Jr.
Peter Gemma.jpg
Political party Republican-turned-Reform Party-turned Constitution Party

Born September 13, 1950
Providence, Rhode Island
Spouse (1) Missing

(2) Jodi Moody Evans (divorced)
(3) Catherine M. "Cathy" Goulding Douglas Gemma (married 2010)

Religion Christian

Peter Benedict Gemma, Jr. (born September 13, 1950), is a free-lance writer and conservative political activist originally from Providence, Rhode Island, currently based in Sarasota, Florida. He has written for such publications as USA Today, Human Events (a national weekly newspaper, since a website), The Washington Examiner, Military History, Quarterly Review of Great Britain, and The Daily Caller.

His 2006 book, Shots Fired: Sam Francis on America’s Culture War, published by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation of Vienna, Virginia, is an edited study of the late paleoconservative columnist, Samuel T. Francis, with foreword by Pat Buchanan and afterword by Joseph Sobran, two of Gemma's mentors.[1] He has also worked for The Political Cesspool, a weekly  radio talk show.[2]

Background

Gemma's father, Peter, Sr. (1924-2007) was born in Providence; his mother, the former Jane M. St. Amand (1924-2015), was originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, but a long-term resident with her family of Warwick in Kent County in central Rhode Island. Peter, Sr., and Jane are interred at Saint Ann Cemetery in Cranston in Providence County. He has an older brother, John Patrick Gemma, Sr., of Dover, Delaware.[3]

Gemma graduated in 1968 from the Roman Catholic all-male Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, Rhode Island.[4] He is no longer a Catholic, however. In 2016, while touring Seville, Spain, Gemma said on Facebook that he is "so thankful for my personal relationship with Jesus Christ - no cathedrals needed."[5]

Since 2010, Gemma has been married to the former Catherine M. "Cathy" Goulding Douglas (born  1952), an attorney. He has a son and two daughters from two previous marriages. Son Peter Gemma, III (born c. 1983), in 2015 wed the former Victoria Gravina in Las Vegas, Nevada.[5]

Career

Writings

Gemma has authored political articles for decades, including more than a hundred for USA Today. Some of his recent columns have been penned for the Social Contract Press, including:

  • "Free Trade: Exporting Jobs, Importing Aliens" (2012)
  • "Korean Agreement Latest Fiasco in 'Free Trade' Deals - An Interview with Economnist Ian Fletcher" (2012)
  • "Illegal Aliens: Taking America on a Deadly and Expensive Ride" (2012)
  • "The Obama Nation: We're All Racists Now" (2013)
  • "Pro-Amnesty Movement Blessed by Church Bosses - Is the disconnect between the hierarchy and those in the pews expanding?" (2013)
  • "Illegal Alien Crime and Violence - We're All Victims" (2013)
  • " President Barack Obama, Meet President Dwight Eisenhower - How a 60-year-old slippery slope led into an ocean of illegal aliens" (2014)
  • "Sheldon Adelson's Spider Web - Where special interests intersect with immigration" (2014)
  • "Big Bad Sheriff Is in Town" (2015).
  • "No Eunuch Ever Wrote a Book" (2016).[6] Some of the essays have been incorporated into three college textbooks.[7]

In 1988, as Ronald W. Reagan was vacating the presidency, Gemma penned for  USA Today an article about the "iron triangle"  of power and monied interests that perpetuate big government with deficit spending and higher taxes. The arrangement refers to a coalition of liberal  U.S. representative and senators, interest groups, and popular media, which usurp democratic institutions and are often called subgovernments.[8] Despite Reagan's warnings, the triangle was never seriously challenged in subsequent administrations. The triangle was later called "the deep state."

In 1993, Gemma wrote for USA Today a biographical sketch of Dan Smoot, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and conservative scholar who had, among other aberrant positions, challenged Barry Goldwater  during the 1964 presidential campaign for the nominee's embrace of NATO, which Smoot called a globalist organization of questionable value.[9] Smoot later opposed the nomination of George Herbert Walker Bush to the United States Senate from Texas in 1970, the year that Bush lost to Democrat Lloyd Bentsen. Smoot also warned against the "invisible government" he viewed as the likely outcome of the domination of the Council on Foreign Relations on national policy.[9] 

Gemma has written for The New American, the magazine of the anti-communist John Birch Society. In this capacity, he urged the return of the Panama Canal to the supervision of the United States, something never considered since the canal was transferred to the Republic of Panama, effective in 1999. Though Gemma has supported some individual Republican politicians, he has attacked the GOP as "the party of big oil and big government."[10] He has also contributed to the paleoconservative publication, Chronicles: A Magaine of American Culure, a publication of the Rockford Institute,[7] and is a columnist for Middle American News. He wrote for the defunct Conservative Digest as well.[11] He is a contributor as well to the Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection: A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media, founded by the conservative Californian Ron Unz.[12]

Gemma is included in Marquis's Who's Who in American Politics and Who's Who in Washington D. C.. He is a member of the late Ed McAteer's Religious Roundtable council of 56.[7]

In 1981, Life magazine listed Gemma among the seven influential “Young Turks” of the Reagan era conservative movement.[13] Because of his "ability to communicate patriotic ideas," Gemma won a George Washington Honors Medal from the patriotic organization, Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.[7] 

Television appearances

Gemma has appeared on such television series as 60 Minutes, on CBS, Nightline with Ted Koppel on ABC, All Things Considered on PBS, Crossfire on CNN, of which  Pat Buchanan was one of the original co-hosts, and The Charlie Rose Show on PBS.[7]

Political activities

For more than three decades, Gemma has worked in the political arena, managing campaigns, raising money for candidates and causes, and training candidates and campaign staffs.[14] He has also worked with non-profit organizations, such as the American Institute for Cancer Research, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the National Association of Arab-Americans, the Center for Homeless Veterans, the Wildfowl Trust of North America, and Jazz Magazine.[7]

Anti-abortion Republican

In  1976, Gemma worked in Ronald Reagan's competitive but unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nominationgainst sitting President Gerald Ford, who was unseated in November by the Democrat Jimmy Carter.  A champion of the pro-life cause, Gemma was in the early 1980s the executive director of the National Pro-Life Political Action Committee. Soon after Reagan unseated Carter in 1980 and was inaugurated in 1981, Gemma and other conservatives, including the Reverend Jerry Falwell, announced their opposition to the nomination of Moderate Republican Sandra Day O'Connor of Arizona to the United States Supreme Court. O'Connor supported abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment. The nomination nevertheless was confirmed in 1981 by the first Republican-majority Senate since 1954. To Gemma, O'Connor's nomination  was "a direct contradiction of the Republican platform to everything that candidate Reagan said and even President Reagan has said in regard to social issues."[15] Gemma had sought to delay O'Connor's confirmation by challenging multiple aspects of her voting record as an Arizona state senator.[16] 

In retrospect, he could point out that O'Connor's Supreme Court record, along with two other Republican appointees, Anthony Kennedy and David Souter, supplied the majority in a key 1991 decision to maintain legal abortion.[17]

In 1981, Gemma issued a "hit list" calling for the defeat such pro-abortion members of Congress as U.S. Senators George J. Mitchell of Maine, Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, and John Chafee of Rhode Island, and former presidential candidate, Democratic Representative Morris K. Udall of Arizona. Citing their opposition on principle to a "hit list", two leading members of the Pro-Life PAC resigned from the organization. U.S. Senator Jake Garn of Utah and Representative Henry Hyde of Illinois, the author of the Hyde Amendment which forbade the use of Medicaid fund to underwrite the costs of abortion, said "hit lists" are counterproductive because they create irrevocable discord among legislators, any of whom can be subject to a "single issue" attack of this kind. Gemma said he was surprised by the withdrawal of Garn and Hyde from the PAC committee but continued with plans to spend $650,000 for the 1982 elections on behalf of anti-abortion candidates.[18] Gemma said the PAC was trying to "influence those representatives, senators and candidates from both parties who are ambivalent or undecided on this matter of life versus death. If we can knock off some highly visible officeholders, it sends a signal to the mushy middle, as I call them."[19] A year later, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, in his bid for a second term, disowned advertising from the Pro-Life PAC against Hatch's Democratic opponent, Mayor Ted Wilson of Salt Lake City. He asked for support only through organized channels. Mike Leavitt, Hatch's campaign manager that year and later the governor of Utah, said that Hatch had a "strong disagreement with [Gemma's] tactics. We wish they would take their distasteful act back to Virginia. Negative political advertising is rare in Utah."[20] 

In 1982, Gemma defended as highly successful his targeting of opponents with use of a "single-issue". In the 1984 congressional races, Gemma said that 65 percent of the candidates his political action committee had supported for nomination or election had been successful. "Quite obviously we turned out more of our constituency than the pro-abortion lobby, even though they outspent us as they have every year since the political battle over abortion began," Gemma said.[21]

In 1994, Gemma raised money for United States Marine Corps Colonel Oliver North's unsuccessful challenge to Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Robb of Virginia, a son-in-law of the late President Lyndon B. Johnson. He also helped the Arizona congressional candidate Tom Liddy, another Marine veteran and the son of former radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy, who lost his race to current U.S. Senator Jeff Flake.[10]

In 2009, on the website VDARE, Gemma defended the nationally known Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, who has worked to stem the flow of illegal immigrants in the Southwest and is known for his tough control on inmates. Clint Bolick, now a justice of the Arizona Supreme Court and then with the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, however, claimed that Arpaio had caused his "effectiveness has been compromised for the past several years by misplaced priorities."[22] Defeated for reelection in 2016, Arpaio received a pardon in 2017 from U.S. President Donald Trump for a federal court misdemeanor conviction regarding his enforcement of immigration policy.

Reform Party

Over the following decade, Gemma lost faith in the national Republican Party for its failure to challenge effectively its Democratic opposition. In 1999, he left the GOP to follow Pat Buchanan into the Reform Party, then recently organized by former Independent presidential candidate Ross Perot of Texas from the remnants of his United We Stand America organization.[7] He became a Reform Party national committee member for Virginia, where he was then residing and supporting Buchanan's third-party bid for the presidency, which followed two unsuccessful attempts for the Republican nomination in 1992 against incumbent George Herbert Walker Bush and in 1996 against U.S. Senator Robert Dole of Kansas. Gemma had supported Buchanan in those two campaigns as well. He called himself a "moderate extremist". He was a member of the Council for National Policy, a group established in 1981 which meets without the media present three times annually to promote without fanfare a conservative national agenda. Its members have included  U.S. Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, former United States Attorney General Ed Meese, long-term activist Phyllis Schlafly, financiers Nelson Bunker Hunt and J. Peter Grace, and Jerry Falwell.[10]

In Buchanan's 2000 Reform Party challenge to George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore, Gemma collaborated with the Virginia branch of the American Friends of the British National Party, considered a white nationalist organization. However, Gemma denied being part of the group and told an interviewer that he had merely "dropped off some Buchanan petitions" at an AFBNP function in Arlington, Virginia, another of Gemma's former cities of residence.[10]

Constitution Party

In 2016, Gemma confirmed on Facebook that he will not support Donald Trump for the presidency against Hillary Rodham Clinton though Trump has secured tacit backing of Pat Buchanan,[23] whom Trump had opposed in 2000, when Buchanan was the Reform Party nominee. In 2014, Gemma was listed as a member of the national executive committee of the Constitution Party, founded in 1992 as the U.S. Taxpayers Party by the late Howard Phillips following Buchanan's failure to dislodge the senior Bush from the presidential nomination. In this capacity, Gemma published an essay critical of the neocons who have largely set foreign policy for recent Republican administrations seen as unwise and provocative by paleoconservatives.[24] Morris Dee's liberal interest group, the Southern Poverty Law Center of Montgomery, Alabama, placed Gemma on its "hatewatch" and called him a "racist", a "white nationalist", an "anti-Semite",[25] and a "veteran agitator."[26] 

Current interest

Gemma is writing a book on southern politics from 1956 to 1976, the period when racial segregation was ended through federal laws and judicial edicts. The project began as a biography of the late U.S. Representative John Rarick of Louisiana'd 6th congressional district, who ran for governor in 1967 and was in 1980 the nominee in eight states of the American Independent Party.[26] Gemma will instead focus on various state politicians then in office, some of whom were defeated for their stands supporting segregation (Albert Watson of South Carolina's 2nd congressional district), others of whom switched sides to embrace civil rights (George Wallace of Alabama and J. Bennett Johnston, Jr. of Louisiana), and still others who retired from the failed fight to preserve segregation (Orval Faubus of Arkansas).[14]

References

  1. About Peter Gemma. Independent Political Report. Retrieved on May 20, 2016.
  2. Peter B. Gemma. intelius.com. Retrieved on May 20, 2016.
  3. Jane M. St. Amand Gemma. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on May 20, 2016.
  4. Peter Gemma: Class of 1968. classmates.com. Retrieved on May 20, 2016.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Peter Gemma. Facebook. Retrieved on May 23, 2016.
  6. The Social Contract Press. thesocialcontract.com. Retrieved on May 20, 2016.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 The Council for National Policy: Selected Member Biographies, Peter B. Gemma, Jr.. seekgod.ca. Retrieved on May 20, 2016.
  8. Op/Ed: "Iron Triangle" Rules Washington. USA Today (December 1988). Retrieved on May 21, 2016.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Peter B. Gemma (January 1993). Dan Smoot: The Man and His Message. USA Today. Retrieved on May 21, 2016.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Martin A. Lee (September 20, 2002). Patrick Buchanan’s Reform Party Begins to Unravel. spicenter.org. Retrieved on May 20, 2016.
  11. Peter B. Gemma. zoominfo.com. Retrieved on May 20, 2016.
  12. The Unz Review. unz.com. Retrieved on May 21, 2016.
  13. About Peter B. Gemma. peterbgemma.com. Retrieved on May 20, 2016.
  14. 14.0 14.1 What We're Reading: Peter Gemma. Quarterly Review (June 13, 2012). Retrieved on May 20, 2016.
  15. Julia Malone (July 8, 1981). A closer look at nation's first woman high court nominee. Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved on May 20, 2016.
  16. Julia Malone (September 3, 1981). New Right strategy: let's drag out O'Connor's confirmation hearing; Focus: abortion, women's rights, school prayer. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved on May 23, 2016.
  17. Liberty to define one's own concept of mystery of human life. On The Issues. Retrieved on May 23, 2016.
  18. THE NATION; Congressmen; Draw the Line at; New 'Hit List'. The New York Times (June 7, 1981). Retrieved on May 23, 2016.
  19. Three Quit Anti-abortion Group over Political 'Hit List'. The New York Times (June 4, 1981). Retrieved on May 23, 2016.
  20. Hatch Disowns Group's Ads Attacking Mayor of Salt Lake. The New York Times (June 13, 1982). Retrieved on May 23, 2016.
  21. Donald L. Ritter of Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district Listed as Winner by Anti-abortion Group. The Morning Call (November 10, 1984). Retrieved on May 23, 2016.
  22. Peter Gemma (September 8, 2009). Barry Goldwater, Jr. vs. Don Goldwater vs. Sheriff Joe Arpaio. VDARE. Retrieved on May 21, 2016.
  23. Pat Buchanan On Why He Shares Trump's Ideas On Foreign Policy. National Public Radio (May 5, 2016). Retrieved on May 20, 2016.
  24. Neocon Policies Rejected by Public: Poll Shows Big Discontent. Constitution Party (June 12, 2014). Retrieved on May 20, 2016.
  25. Longtime Racist Joins Constitution Party’s Executive Committee. Southern Poverty Law Center (September 13, 2013). Retrieved on May 21, 2016.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Peter B. Gemma, Shots Fired: Sam Francis on America's Culture War (Vienna, Virginia: Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, 2006), p. 330.