Monday, December 27, 2010

Newt's daughter: He's "very serious" about White House run

During an interview with Human Events, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, who has a new book out (for which Newt writes the foreword), says:
He’s very serious. He’s much more serious than he ever has been. And I can tell that because we actually sat down -- just the two of us -- for two hours recently. And I don’t think that’s happened since I had children.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza take on a Gingrich run

In ranking Newt number 3 among Republicans, Cillizza wrote:
One well-connected Iowa operative was recently detailing the massive amounts of time -- and money -- that the former House Speaker had spent in the Hawkeye State over the last two years. That got us to thinking about the possibility that we have been underestimating Gingrich in our 2012 calculations. What he has: name identification, the ability to raise money and more policy proposals than Antoine Dodson has You Tube hits. (And you said we couldn't get an Antoine Dodson reference into the Fix!) What he doesn't: a demonstrated ability to stay on message day after day in the cauldron of a presidential race. Still, if Gingrich runs, and he sounds like he is going to, he is a major force.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Heritage Foundation: Gingrich Calls for New Conservative Revolution (with video)

The Heritage Foundation sent out this e-mail today:
The keynote speaker at Heritage's annual President’s Club dinner in Washington, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, did not disappoint.

Gingrich outlined his plan for a new conservative revolution, suggesting 2021 as a date by which America will be re-oriented towards conservative principles. And, the former Georgia Congressman added, “there is no better place than The Heritage Foundation to create a new outline of the conservative movement.”

Speaking to the unique nature of power, Gingrich explored the differences between how liberals and conservatives view the source of power. In the conservative view -- the view of the Founders, the view that makes America exceptional -- ”power comes from G-d to each one of you personally. You loan power to the state. The state never loans power to you.”

Gingrich explained a plan to teach American exceptionalism to future generations. He demanded that “every student in a school: elementary, high school, and college, if funded by tax dollars, should encounter the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”

Addressing the controversy over TSA screenings, Gingrich said what should be obvious: “We have to tell the truth about who is trying to kill us and act on that truth...Checking out an 83-year-old nun from Des Moines is not national security. It’s stupidity.”

To watch Gingrich's full remarks, go to myHeritage.org.

Newt's e-mail on judge calling individual mandate unconstitutional

Today's ruling by a federal judge that a key provision in ObamaCare is unconstitutional is an enormous victory for all Americans.

Congress should finish the job by repealing this flawed legislation and replacing it with market-based, individually centered health reform that leads to affordable coverage for all Americans.

Full repeal is going to be a very long, difficult fight -- but today's ruling is a huge victory that should not be overlooked.

We wouldn't have reached this point if it weren't for your vigilance, and your willingness to speak out and spread the truth about this destructive legislation.

And the other person who deserves immense credit for today's victory is Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who had the courage to stand up and file this lawsuit against the federal government.

I've just signed my name to a letter thanking Attorney General Cuccinelli for helping make today's victory possible.

I hope you'll join me by signing your name and encouraging your friends to do so as well.

Additionally, we can send a copy of this letter to your state's Attorney General, urging him or her to join Ken Cuccinelli's lawsuit (if they haven't already) and support his request for President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to send this case directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cicada

Major Garrett quoting the President of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, in The Enduring Revolution:
Norquist explains, 'There are three major goverment programs -- education, health care, and Social Security. These are the three programs you cannot cut. These three have to be reformed, not cut. We started back in the late 1970s to push 401(k)s, IRAs, and mutual funds as useful alternatives to Social Security. Now we're in the process of debating the privatization of Social Security.'

The 'we' Norquist refers to is the conservative movement, comprising primarily free-market thinkers who have an appetite for ideas that can change political equations. Norquist, like Newt Gingrich, thinks and plans in cicada-like cycles. 'I was always more comfortable with Gingrich than any other politician, because I could say, 'Fifteen years from now I want to be here,' and he was the only politician to say, 'Of course, I see that. I understand.'

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Quick Hits

Gentleman from Georgia:
[Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher] encouraged Gingrich to run for president because she thought he was the only politician, in either party, who was capable of running a campaign of hope and opportunity much like the 1980 Reagan campaign.
Matt Lewis from 2007:
The former House speaker from Georgia might be the only Republican presidential candidate, declared or otherwise, who has the potential to be romantic. Other people give speeches; when Newt speaks, the words have music. He's poetic. He's quixotic. He's...dangerous.

He's also incredibly intelligent. He's proposing cutting-edge solutions to vexing policy issues like health care and the tax code. He's offering a compelling vision for a limited but efficiently run federal government.

Something tells me we are heading into a time when conservatives will be willing to jump in the proverbial convertible and head to Vegas on a whim. Hey, Newt's driving.
Opensecrets.org gives the two 527s with the most funds raised so far in 2010:
American Solutions Winning the Future, $24,416,928
Service Employees International Union, $11,612,001

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Newly Elected Women Who Will Make History"

In his weekly newsletter, Newt highlights five women who won victories on November 2nd in, as many have called it, "the year of the Republican woman."

Gingrich writes:
Nine new Republican women won seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. According to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), this surpasses the previous high mark of seven newly-elected Republican women in a single election.

New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte became the only newly-elected woman to join the U.S. Senate, and three Republican women were elected as new governors in their state -- Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma and Nikki Haley of South Carolina. Governor Jan Brewer won reelection in Arizona.

Republican women didn't just leave their mark in the U.S. House and Senate -- the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that Republican women gained more than 100 seats in state legislatures, from 529 in 2010 to 653 in 2011....

These women are defined by the values for which they stand -- job-creation, fiscal responsibility, excellence in education, health care reform, lower taxes, smaller government, and greater freedom.

They are role models, not only to women across the country, but to all Americans who are ready for real, transformative change. And just as they inspire us to become effective citizen leaders, these women, too, have mentors who inspired and guided them throughout their careers.

We are proud to highlight the newly-elected women who have made history in 2010 and the mentors who supported them through their journey.
He gives a short profile of the five.

Nikki Haley:
On November 2nd, Governor-elect Nikki Haley became the first female governor of South Carolina, the first minority governor in the state's history, and only the second Indian-American governor in United States history.

Haley was born in South Carolina as the daughter of Indian immigrants. A graduate of Clemson University, she worked as the Accounting Supervisor in a large corporation before helping her family's business grow into a multi-million dollar organization.

Governor-elect Haley first became a national sensation after her resounding primary victory in June of 2010, when she captured 65 percent of the vote in a run-off election. As the only female candidate running against three established Republicans in the race for Governor, Haley was helped by the support of the Tea Party movement and several endorsements, including Sarah Palin.

Her political debut began in 2004 when, as a relatively unknown candidate, she shocked the establishment by defeating the state's longest serving legislator in a Republican primary and was elected to represent the 87th District in the South Carolina House of Representatives....
Susana Martinez:
This year, Governor-elect Susana Martinez became the first female Governor in New Mexico's history, and the first-ever Latina Republican Governor. In 2010, New Mexico was the battleground for only the third female vs. female gubernatorial race in American history.

Replacing Democratic Governor Bill Richardson in New Mexico, Governor-elect Martinez ran on a platform to cut wasteful spending, reform education, lower taxes, and end 'pay-to-play' practices and other corruption in government to reform the state of New Mexico and continue her role as a dedicated public servant in her state.

Over the years, Susana Martinez has earned a reputation as a tough prosecutor, fighting relentlessly for the safety of children. In 2008, she was named Heart Magazine's 'Woman of the Year,' for her advocacy for children's safety, and in 2010 she was named New Mexico's 'Prosecutor of the Year.'

Dedicated to family values and private enterprise, Martinez is an ardent supporter of a balanced budget, lower government spending and Second Amendment rights....
Kelly Ayotte:
Before being elected to the U.S. Senate, Kelly Ayotte served for five years as New Hampshire's first female Attorney General. During her years as Attorney General, Ayotte won accolades as a prosecutor and presided over one of the safest states in the union.

Ayotte's work as the state's top law enforcement official earned her Manchester Union Leader's "Citizen of the Year" award in 2008, while New Hampshire Magazine named her one of the state's top-ten most powerful people and remarkable women.

Her husband, Joe, an Iraq war veteran, currently serves in the Air National Guard, and together they have created a successful landscape and snow removal company. Senator-elect Ayotte understands the impact of decisions made in Washington by government officials who have never been in any business -- large or small.

She is committed to fiscal responsibility, laying out clear plans to curb the size of government and cut taxes....
Nan Hayworth:
A doctor, mother, and businesswoman, Congresswoman-elect Nan Hayworth first decided to run in New York's 19th Congressional District to renew the promise of America.

As a retired ophthalmologist and former teacher at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Nan Hayworth has advocated for the repeal of Obamacare and the replacement of the big-government healthcare law with real solutions including tort reform, health-savings accounts, and the opportunity to purchase insurance across state lines.

With Hayworth's victory, it is clear that New Yorkers and Americans are eager to put our country back on track to prosperity, job-creation, and common sense. She is determined to defend and promote our Constitutional freedom by placing power back in the hands of the American people, not the government....
Linda Upmeyer:
The first woman to be chosen House Majority Leader in Iowa, Linda Upmeyer, will be serving her fifth term in the Iowa House of Representatives, after first being elected in 2002 to represent House District 12.

Born in Mason City, Iowa, her father, Del Stromer, was a farmer and former Majority Leader and Speaker of the House. Her mother, Harriet, was a homemaker and longtime aide to Del.

Upmeyer grew up in Garner, Iowa on the family farm, eventually receiving her Masters Degree in Nursing from Drake University. A certified Family Nurse Practitioner, she was elected as the Republican Whip in 2008 and has served on numerous committees such as Human Resources, Natural Resources and Administrative Rules....
Newt concludes with: "The 2010 midterm elections have gone down in history, not only because of the largest Republican gain since 1948, but because of the new class of women leaders who define the conservative movement and America's first principles of freedom, small government, and faith in the American people. They are an inspiration to all Americans."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gingrich discussing the free market, Reagan, and Thatcher

Two of the most important books on the benefits -- economically as well as for personal liberty -- of free enterprise were F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, and Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom, 1960. Both men had other very important works, but those were their most influential. Two centuries before, Adam Smith wrote The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations. The latter, published the same year as The Declaration of Independence, introduced the concept of the "invisible hand":
...by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was not part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. It is an affectation, indeed, not very common among merchants, and very few words need be employed in dissuading them from it.
In a 2001 interview with PBS, Gingrich was asked of the impact of the three on his views:
INTERVIEWER: Philosophically speaking, what was the wellspring of your ideas? Were you influenced by people like Friedman or Hayek?

NEWT GINGRICH: No, I think I was influenced more by Adam Smith and by the founding fathers -- Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Hamilton, Washington -- and to some extent by the Whig historians of the 19th century. I was very much influenced by Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative and by Reagan's speeches starting with "A Time for Choosing" in October of 1964. I actually came to Hayek backwards through Reagan, rather than the other way. In my mind, at least, what you had was a clear overdevelopment of the state in the 20th century as a vehicle for humans to organize their lives, so you needed a party of freedom that was committed, almost in the British 19th-century liberal tradition, to argue for personal choice for markets, for private property rights, and for taking Bismarck's insurance state and transferring it into a personal insurance system, as we're trying to do now on social security.
...
INTERVIEWER: Do you make a connection between free markets and personal freedom, personal liberty?

NEWT GINGRICH: Absolutely. In fact, so did all the founding fathers. That goes back to the English Civil War, which is really the wellspring from which the American model of freedom emerges. It is the English Civil War and the effort of people to protect themselves from judges who are instruments of the state, not instruments of justice, to protect themselves from troops in their houses, to protect themselves from the king's right to kill you. And it's out of that English Civil War that you begin to have the rise of what we now call freedom, [the] first truly mass democratic societies in history, even more than the Roman republic. I think it's inextricable if you read Locke, if you read Jefferson, if you read the founding fathers, it is inextricable that if you don't have the right to private property, if you don't have the right to trial by jury, if you don't have the right to vote and fire the people to whom you loan power, you don't have freedom. The idea of a socialist free society in the long run, as Hayek points out, is an impossibility.
...
NEWT GINGRICH: Start with a simple fact: If you earn resources, you should have the right to spend them. Now how are you going to know what to spend them on without a market? How are you going to know what the prices are without a market? Hayek's great insight, which, interestingly, mathematics only caught up with about 50 years after he wrote, is essentially the understanding of chaos theory. Hayek's intuitive understanding was that the sheer number of decisions made daily by humans is beyond the capacity of any bureaucracy or any computer to organize centrally. We now have in chaos theory, which is the most elegant current form of mathematics, a scientific explanation of Hayek having been intuitively right and of socialist bureaucracies scientifically incapable of exercising that kind of detailed control.
...
NEWT GINGRICH: I don't think Americans push freedom. I think Americans define what we believe to be a fact much like the Earth is round. We go around the sun. Humans are born with inalienable rights. It is every human's right to live in freedom.
...
INTERVIEWER: Had [Reagan] internalized people like Hayek?

NEWT GINGRICH: Absolutely. Reagan is the only president to have actually studied The Road to Serfdom and thought about [it]. He knew Hayek personally, [Peter] Diamond, he knew Milton Friedman personally. As governor of California he was deeply into these kinds of conversations. It's a little bit like learning how to cook eggs. Once you learn that there's a stove, there's a pan, there's water, you boil it, you put the egg in, that's a profound thing if you've never done it before. But once you've learned that you don't have to learn 700 permutations, you've learned it. Reagan's technique was for going for the basics -- learning why freedom worked, why military strength worked, why American civic culture worked, and then communicating that over and over from different angles. But he had thought profoundly about the basics of what worked.
INTERVIEWER: You yourself had a dinner with Hayek, didn't you, during the Reagan years?

NEWT GINGRICH: There were a group of us, younger members of Congress, activists around the city. Hayek had come to the city to visit Reagan at the White House and we had the very good fortune -- I think the Heritage Foundation sponsored it -- to have it that evening with us listening to him. And it was intriguing to me to realize that there were men who had by force of intellect, and I would certainly say Hayek and Friedman are two of them, [they] moved the entire debate and began to change what had been for almost 70 years the dominant intellectual assumptions about how the world worked. You could see it happening, and Reagan was in a sense their popularizer. So he was this person who could take these people who were very profound but not very easy to communicate. I don't think you'd ever get Hayek on the Today Show, but you could get Reagan explaining the core of Hayek with better examples and in a more understandable language. It was a great thrill for me as a history professor by background to really see right in front of my eyes that a person could dedicate their life to ideas and have a very deep, very profound impact on history through people of action who read them and studied them.

Here was a man who had intellectually changed the world without really ever leaving the university. It was the power of his books, the power of his ideas as then captured by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, that had changed things. And I really did feel like I was having dinner with a historic figure.... He was this very unprepossessing person who was very self-defined as an intellectual and had zero interest in politics, and he had helped change the world.

He came across as low key and pleasant but very self-defined. He knew what he believed. He wasn't particularly interested in worrying about people who were wrong. He was pretty cheerful about being pleasant and saying this is where the world's going. This was still at the peak of the Soviet empire, so it was a remarkable act of optimism on his part to be as confident as he was that freedom would win.
INTERVIEWER: What is your impression of the historical importance of Margaret Thatcher?

NEWT GINGRICH: Margaret Thatcher was the forerunner who made Reagan possible. The 1979 campaign was the direct model from which we took much of the 1980 Republican campaign. Reagan drew great strength from Thatcher, and her courage and toughness in living through that first recession and toughness in the Falklands Wars rallied Americans in a remarkable way.
...
INTERVIEWER: And her impact around the world?

NEWT GINGRICH: I think Thatcher and Reagan were the duo that defeated the Soviet empire, relaunched the legitimacy of freedom and free markets, and created the intellectual framework for the modern pro-freedom movement. In a lot of ways Tony Blair is Margaret Thatcher's adopted son. He has actually been running a fairly Thatcherite Labor government.
Newt's take on free trade:
Trade increases the likelihood that you and they will engage in win-win activities. The difference between politics and trade is that in politics I may take something from you to give to somebody else, even though you don't want to lose it, so I raise your taxes. I charge you a fee. I confiscate your farm. In a free market you only do the things that make you happy in order for me to get the things that make me happy, and if we're not both happy the trade doesn't occur. So free markets dramatically lower the friction of human relationships and increase the relative pleasure and the relative success of human relationships. The more the Chinese and Americans [sit] down together to create more wealth, the happier they'll be with each other, the less likely we'll have conflict. I've always said that was true in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, that if you could find a way to launch genuine joint ventures of Palestinian and Israeli entrepreneurs who could only succeed together, you would in a matter of 10 or 15 years have a significant shift in attitudes.

While all Republican candidates will espouse the virtues of the market, how many have the deep knowledge of why it works -- and not just is the popular thing to say in front of Republican primary voters -- that Gingrich possesses.

Craig Shirley, the author of of two books on Ronald Reagan and who will soon publish a biography of Gingrich, put it this way back in 2007: "Among the 2008 GOP aspirants, [Gingrich] is probably the only one who knows the difference between Friedrich Hayek and Salma Hayek."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gingrich on the flat tax vs. Fair Tax debate (with video)

Starting in 1960, when Milton Friedman called for a flat tax, through the publication of a book devoted just to it by two Hoover Institution scholars, to Steve Forbes basing his Presidential campaigns around it, the flat tax had been the desired reform among most conservatives who wished to get away from the convoluted, wasteful, job-killing tax code.

In recent years, however, an increasing number of conservatives have pushed for the Fair Tax, which would eliminate all taxation of income and savings and replace it with a 23% national sales tax.

Personally, I think -- from a pure policy perspective -- that the Fair Tax may be the better of the two; there are some potential pitfalls with that system, though. But from a realistic perspective, the flat tax, in my opinion, is where the energy of the conservative movement should be. The worst-case scenario is that it accomplishes 90 or 95% of what the Fair Tax would. The big advantage the flat tax has is two-fold:
  1. For the Fair Tax to be implemented, and to avoid both a national sales tax and income tax, the 16th amendment would have to be repealed. The effort, even if successful, would take years and untold amounts of political capital.
  2. It is very popular right now, with a 17% optional flat tax being supported by a margin of 61-32% where only 43% support the Fair Tax.
In 2008, Newt, along with Texas Representative Michael Burgess, penned an op-ed in support of the flat tax.

Here is a video of him talking about the fair tax:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Thank You For Helping Cut Taxes"

In a two-minute video sent out in an e-mail, titled "Thank You for Helping Cut Taxes," Newt talks about the role that American Solutions played in the mid-term elections and the debate over the Bush tax cuts.
Some notable points:

  • American Solutions hosted seven Real Jobs summits that involved "over 5,500 people."
  • Also hosted ten Jobs rallies, "where thousands of people came together all over the country."
  • "[W]ith your help at tenmillionvoters.com, we organized over 10,000 activists who went out and turned out the vote."
  • He highlights the temporary two-percent payroll tax cut, "so that every working American will have an increased take-home pay, which is a position that first appeared at American Solutions and was championed by Congressman Jordan in his Economic Freedom Act, which American Solutions worked for."
  • He closes the video with: "So you are making a difference. You have made a difference. And we'll continue to work with you in 2011 to continue making a difference."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Good News on Undecided Voters

Matthew Continetti:
Gingrich continues to enjoy a gut connection with Republican voters. Back in 2005, consultant Frank Luntz held focus groups in Iowa and New Hampshire on the Republican candidates. In a report published afterward, Luntz wrote, 'We were genuinely surprised by the strongly favorable reaction' to Gingrich's 'speeches and interviews.' According to Luntz, voters ignored, or in some cases forgot, the controversial nature of Gingrich's speakership. 'The words he spoke were like nothing they had heard from anyone else,' Luntz went on. 'While he didn't start either session with any measurable support, he ended both Iowa and New Hampshire sessions with the most new converts.' Out of office, Gingrich has remained largely insulated from the scandals and debacles of the Bush Republicans. In fact, the 2006 midterm election results could be viewed as confirmation of what Gingrich has been saying for some time: that the Republican party and broader conservative movement have lost their way, and the time has come for a rebirth of the reform impulse that in 1994 brought the GOP to congressional majority status for the first time in 40 years.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Newt's Inner Circle

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post has started a series of looking at some of the close advisers of possible Presidential candidates. Today he looked at some of Newt's.

Writes Cillizza:
With Gingrich teetering on the edge of a presidential candidacy, now seems like the right time to take a look at the people he is consulting with as he makes a final decision on a bid.

Gingrich, more so than any other politician -- with the possible exception of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels -- keeps his own counsel and is his own best political strategist.

But, he still has a (small) inner circle of advisers, all three of which have been with him for a decade or more.
Sam Dawson: Dawson, a native of South Carolina, is regarded as a disciple of the late Lee Atwater. In the 1996 election cycle, Dawson functioned as then Speaker Gingrich's liaison to the National Republican Congressional Committee and went on to briefly serve as executive director of the committee in the 1998 cycle. (He had previously been political director and field director at the committee.) Dawson also did a stint as chief of staff for Minnesota Sen. Rod Grams in the late 1990s. In 2001, he started a media consulting firm with fellow GOP strategists Terry Nelson and Pat McCarthy.
Joe Gaylord: Perhaps the first among equals in Gingrich's tight-knit inner circle, Gaylord has been at the Georgia Republican's side for a very long time. Gaylord, an Iowa native, managed several of the Gingrich's congressional races during the 1990s and was his political alter ego during his speakership. Like Dawson, Gaylord has deep roots in congressional politics -- having chaired the NRCC during the mid 1980s.
Rick Tyler: If Dawson and Gaylord are more prone to be found behind-the-scenes, Tyler is the public face of the Gingrich political operation. Tyler is Gingrich's official spokesman and also the leading defender of the former speaker on television and in print. Tyler is a former executive director of the Maine Republican party.
Here is another post of mine from a while ago that mentions what the foundation of a national campaign might look like.

Gingrich to keynote Reagan 100th birthday celebration

On February 4, two days before what would be President Reagan's 100 birthday, Newt will keynote an event in Tampico, Illinois, in celebration of the 40th President.

Writes Kurt Erickson:
Gingrich...is expected to highlight the influence of northwestern Illinois communities on the former president, who lived in Tampico and Dixon before attending Eureka College. He died in 2004.

Gingrich also will host a screening of his documentary about President Reagan's life, Rendezvous with Destiny, at Sterling High School's Centennial Auditorium. The screening will be open to the public.

The event is sponsored by the Illinois Reagan Centennial Commission and the Tampico Historical Society. More information on the event can be found at www.illinoisreagancentennial.com/gala.htm.

Gingrich and Pawlenty, with 7 visits apiece to Iowa, lead the field

The amount of times each prospective GOP Presidential candidate has visited the Hawkeye State in 2010, as counted by the Des Moines Register:

Gingrich: 7
Pawlenty: 7
Santorum: 4
Palin: 3
Paul: 3
Huckabee: 2
Romney: 2
Barbour: 2
Pence: 1
Daniels: 0
Thune: 0

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Newt on Fox News Sunday



Today with Chris Wallace, Newt discussed a variety of issues, including the extension of the Bush tax cuts and the WikiLeaks scandal.
I think [incoming House Speaker John Boehner] understands that jobs come first, controlling spending and the deficit comes second, and repealing "Obamacare" comes third. And I think you're going to see him stay in a -- he's a very disciplined team leader, and that's been his back ground. I think he'll be very effective as speaker.
On his Speakership and what Boehner should do:
Well, what I would say is that I was too aggressive in public relations. I was too willing to lead with my chin in debating with the president, which I thought was essential to fill a vacuum at the time.

But I think -- I don't think Boehner has to do that. I think what Boehner should do is decide what the voters who led to a landslide, the biggest shift in House power since 1948 -- what is it they really want? What is it he owes them as a legitimate part of a free society? And he ought to calmly and methodically get that done. I think he has so far. I mean, you know, his reaction has been to try to get the president to understand there was an election, which the president still seems to be confused about, and to try to communicate in a calm way that -- if they don't pass the tax bill before the end of this month, my guess is the Republicans in the House will pass no tax increase on anyone no later than the 15th of January.
On Obama possibly moving to the center on some issues:
Well, he does have to worry about blowback from the left. I mean, he's caught in a dilemma, which Bill Clinton was faced with. And I gave Clinton a certain amount of cover because he could always say to the left, "At least I'm not Newt."

And so -- you know, so Clinton could sign welfare reform, for example, which we thought he'd find very painful, and the left just said, "Fine, do whatever you have to, we just got to beat Gingrich," you know, and -- and Boehner's not going to give him that kind of cover.
On tax cuts:
Look, the number one challenge in America is jobs and paychecks. What Republicans ought to do is say to people who create jobs, 'How many years does the tax code have to be extended for you to make an investment decision?' mean, the goal is not to have an annual extension of the current tax code and have every business in the country trapped, saying, "Well, I don't know. You know, I want to make a 20-year investment in a factory," or a 10-year investment....

I would say let's go out and find out from American -- if you're a small business, how much do you have to have security about your future taxes, particularly a time when we haven't repealed "Obamacare" and "Obamacare" is freezing hiring by small businesses?...

Second, I am against any tax increase on capital gains or on dividends because it makes us less competitive with China, Germany and India.
On 2012:
No, I think we're much more inclined to run than not run. And I think we -- everything we've done over the last year, talking to friends, thinking things through, has made us more inclined to believe that it's doable.
WikiLeaks:
First of all, I'm very deeply shaped by the fact that my father spent 27 years in the Army. So I approach this taking warfare very seriously.

Information warfare is warfare, and Julian Assange is engaged in warfare. Information terrorism, which leads to people getting killed, is terrorism, and Julian Assange is engaged in terrorism. He should be treated as an enemy combatant. WikiLeaks should be closed down permanently and decisively.

But even more, how can we have gone through the last year and not figured out how did all these documents get released? Who's responsible for security?

How do you have a system so stupid? I mean, you and I have credit cards, and if the credit card is used here and in Belize the same day, they call you and say, 'Gosh, were you really there,' OK? You have a private first class who downloads a quarter million documents, and the system doesn't say, 'Oh, you may be over extended?' I mean, this is a system so stupid that it ought to be a scandal of the first order. This administration is so shallow and so amateurish about national security that it is painful and dangerous.

Minority outreach

At the The Americano's first forum, Newt Gingrich "nam[ed] incoming New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez as an example of a Republican candidate who is a 'law and order conservative' who 'also understood her ability to go out and campaign in the community and to be sympathetic.'"

While Martinez had an obvious advantage in speaking to the Hispanic community, plenty of other Republicans, such as Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, have done a great job at opening a dialogue with Hispanics and other minority groups. And if the Republican Party is going to be a majority party, they need to speak to those groups more. That doesn't mean offer better handouts than the Democrats; it means understanding what issues they care about and offer better opportunities.

As McDonnell put it himself in an interview with Gingrich months back:
First, I realized just looking at the demographics and long-term projections of increasing diversity in Virginia and America that if we conservatives and Republicans don’t do a better job with outreach to minorities and New Americans we are going to be a permanent minority party....We started a year out building coalitions and identifying key leaders in the Chinese, Filipino, Hispanic communities -- even the Cambodian and Pakistani communities -- and I just started being present. I really felt that the issue of job creation and economic development is one that transcends nationality and ethnic origin. No matter how they voted in the past, if I was there early and often talking about the issues, it would help. Particularly in the Asian community where you have so many small business people and entrepreneurs who are very much in sync with the Republican ideas of limited government and free enterprise.

The other thing we did that was very practical was that we translated bumper stickers into about 12 different languages, into Tagalog, Spanish and Chinese. We had big banners that had our message in those languages. We also got Congressman Cao to come campaign with me and that helped create a bond with the Vietnamese community and we did very well in that community....

I think again it was me not just assuming that they were going to be on the other side....Never assume that just because somebody has a long-term record of supporting the Democrats that there aren’t issues more important than political affiliation. Right now, people who are leaders in the business community are really concerned about overly intrusive federal policies. They’re concerned about the movement of the Democratic Party to more taxes, more regulation, more litigation and more unionization. I think even a conservative, pro-business Republican making a pitch to a long-term Democrat on these free enterprise issues has a shot in this environment.
McDonnell also made the same point about young voters -- whom he did very well with -- that simply showing up on campuses and not ceding any single vote went a long way.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gingrich's 12 steps to replace the Left.



On National Review Online, Robert Costa lists the 12 steps ("at least 12") that Newt has laid out in his goal of replacing the Left (above is the entire speech):

1. Turn the $132 billion spent on unemployment compensation last year into a human capital development fund by requiring every person who can’t find a job to take a training program in return for their compensation. Paying people to do nothing for 99 weeks is as wrong in unemployment compensation as it was in welfare. This is an opportunity to dramatically enhance the working skills of the American people at no new cost.

2. Replace litigation-focused workers compensation with a rehabilitation and capabilities focused program that maximizes the speed of helping people medically, and focuses on retraining and focusing on what they can do rather than on what they can’t do.

3. Review the IBM proposal to take $1 trillion out of the cost of running the federal government over the next decade, and ask IBM and other technology companies to make a similar proposal for state and local government.

4. As a first step toward a tenth amendment project, identify every federal regulation which costs money and minimizes state creativity. Work through the ALEC collectively to have Congress repeal the regulation, abolish the office or agency or defund the activity.

5. As a step toward replacing Obamacare, block grant Medicaid by number of people in poverty per state, and give the states freedom to invent a more effective system of prevention, wellness, and chronic disease management without Washington red tape and bureaucratic dictation.

6. As a step toward more affordable care, eliminate the $70 billion to $120 billion in theft in Medicare and Medicaid created by the administrative incompetence of the federal bureaucracy and the innovative determination of modern criminals.

7. Propose a fifty-state competition to block grant all federal Health Information Technology money and see which state can complete the first paperless health system.

8. As a leader in your state, bring together every innovative entrepreneur and CEO in the state to develop a benchmark for helping businesses and entrepreneurs create high paying jobs in competition with China, India, and Germany and to focus on growing your state’s export success to create local jobs through worldwide sales.

9. Emphasize the right of parents to know how their children are doing, know how their school is doing, and have the right to choose a better school if they believe their child is being inadequately prepared for success.

10. Insist on paying great teachers a lot more and releasing bad teachers before they can cripple the future of the children they serve.

11. Benchmark salaries and benefits in your state and insist that government employees be compensated fairly within the framework of the taxpayers’ capabilities. As Governor-elect Scott Walker has said, we are not going to have bureaucratic have’s and taxpayer have-not’s in America.

12. Insist on reasserting American Exceptionalism by having every student in taxpayer-financed schools, whether K through 12 or in the state college and university systems, have a brief course annually on the Declaration of Independence, its assertion of self-evident truths, and its declaration that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The time has come to reassert that we are Americans, and America is a learned civilization.

Newt's PAC raises second most among GOP, spends more in Iowa than anyone else.

According to FEC reports, American Solutions PAC raised $314,000 in the last quarter. Among Republicans, only Sarah Palin had more, with $469,000. Both her and Gingrich outpaced, as the Washington Post put it, "longtime fundraising leader" Mitt Romney. Of all the prospective Presidential candidates -- Palin, Romney, Mike Huckabee, Haley Barbour, Tim Pawlenty, etc. -- Newt was the last to start a PAC. Yet in less than a year, he is competitive with the two top fundraisers: Palin, whose committee has been up for a couple of years, and Romney, whose PAC is nearly three years old.

So where was Gingrich spending this money? He spent the third most -- behind Romney and Palin -- on contributions "to other candidates and state parties."

And interestingly, much of Gingrich's money went to the state that has held the nation's first Presidential contest since 1972: Iowa.

Danielle Kurtzleben writes:
American Solutions, a political action committee founded and chaired by Gingrich, contributed $107,500 to Iowa politicians and the state party. Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC donated $82,000 in the state, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gave $50,100. Other possible presidential hopefuls spending on 2010 Iowa elections included Huckabee, who dropped $15,500; Palin, with $15,000....

Cary Covington, professor of political science at the University of Iowa, says that contributing to state officials' campaigns can go a long way toward mobilizing Republican voters. 'You need the support of the party at the local level,' says Covington. 'Getting people to come out on a cold winter night isn't easy, and (state-level politicians) are the people who have the connections and the organization to do that.'
On top of that, Newt's 527, American Solutions for Winning the Future, raised over 9.9 million dollars the first nine months of 2010. (527s can raise money in unlimited amounts, unlike PACs.)

Alexander Burns of Politico
:
And even those figures won’t provide a full reckoning of Gingrich’s fundraising activities this cycle. According to data shared with Morning Score, Gingrich helped Republicans raise more than $7 million over the 2009-2010 cycle, through dozens of speeches and nearly $1.9 million raised for GOP campaign committees through direct mail. He also participated -- along with many others -- in a joint NRSC/NRCC fundraising dinner that brought in over $14 million for the two committees.

Gingrich spread his attention widely, but also put down deep financial markers in early primary states: In Iowa, Gingrich’s donations, speeches and other appeals guided some $256,000 to Republican candidates. In South Carolina, he generated $68,000 for the GOP. His New Hampshire presence was more limited, but he still brought in $5,000 at a speech to a state GOP breakfast and raised $18,000 for Sen.-elect Kelly Ayotte in combined small-dollar donations.
Given the earlier numbers, that means that through his "speeches and other appeals" in Iowa that Newt raised nearly $150,000.

Though it is not clear, it would appear that Newt's role in the larger campaign to remove three Iowa judges who called gay marriage a "constitutional right" does not count toward that above total as it was not a Republican Party effort.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Americano

Last year, Newt Gingrich launched The Americano, a news site for Hispanic Americans. "[I]t is the bilingual brainchild of Sylvia Garcia, a longtime employee of Gingrich Communications, the former speaker's consulting business," wrote Michael Scherer on Time.com. "The idea came during the election," Garcia says. "There really isn't any media that is covering conservative values for Hispanics. Everything you see is very one-sided."

Today, the first annual Americano Forum will kick off in Washington, D.C. Three of the presentations:
  • Why Hispanics are Natural Conservatives.
  • Melting Pot or Salad Bowl?
  • Hispanics and the American Experiment: The Greatness of Conservatism.

Some of the guests include Jeb Bush, Jr., former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, former Prime Minister of Spain José María Aznar, and Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan.

The Washington Post notes that Fox News launched a Latino website, latino.foxnews.com, in October and that the Heritage Foundation will soon have Libertad.org. But "Gingrich's efforts are drawing the most attention," writes David Montgomery.

Montgomery quotes Lionel Sosa, "who pioneered GOP outreach to Lationos on behalf of Ronald Reagan and both George Bushes": "This is the first time that planning for the Latino vote and getting together all the conservative Latinos in a major effort has been done outside of a campaign.

Juan Hernandez told Montgomery, "Newt is setting a table that had not been set before."

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos: "It's a matter of respect. Newt Gingrich understands that." Part of that respect is that Gingrich has been studying Spanish an hour a week lately.

Gingrich told the Post:

My firm defense of American exceptionalism gets its strongest endorsement from first-generation immigrants, who walk up with tears in their eyes and say, 'This is why we came to America.' On one hand, they want to know that I'm sensitive to, and care about, their historical background; on the other hand, they really want me to be aggressively for America. It's the integrating of that balance that's so important.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Newt's interview with Hannity

The first segment.

If the second becomes available online, I will post it.

The Essential (and Exceptional) American

In his weekly e-mail newsletter, this one entitled "The Essential (and Exceptional) American," Newt lays out why the concept of American Exceptionalism is so important and why the left gets it wrong.
Asserting American Exceptionalism is not a vain exercise in building our national self-esteem by boasting about our country's great wealth and military capability.

It is also not an argument that says America can 'go it alone' on the world stage.

Nor is it a belief that America's success is pre-ordained by the Almighty, no matter what we do (which is not to say that the hand of Providence cannot be seen during key points in American history.)

Instead, American Exceptional ism is an idea as old as our country itself. The Founding Fathers understood that the vast resources at our fledgling country's disposal coupled with our puritan roots and lack of a feudal past meant that the United States was uniquely positioned to thrive as an exception to the corruption and poverty of other countries.

More importantly, they understood that the new nation was the first to be founded on the self-evident truth that individual rights come directly from God, not the church or a King, and that citizens loan that power to the state. In America, the individual is sovereign, not the government, which was a revolutionary break with previous forms of government in the world.

This relationship was expressed in our founding political document, the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Having defined it, Newt goes after liberal critics of it:
The Left routinely mocks the idea of American Exceptionalism, with one liberal writer recently dismissing it as an exercise in 'toasting our fabulousness.'...But what the Left fails to understand is that the relationship between God, the citizen, and the state, understood by our founding fathers and expressed in the Declaration, shaped the Constitution (which identifies the source of the new government's power as "We the people..."), our subsequent national policies, and our enduring understanding of American Exceptionalism.
America developed a free market economic system not based on some academic analysis that it is more efficient at creating wealth, but because if the individual is sovereign, the idea of the state trying to organize human activity is abhorrent, a violation of the individual's right to pursue happiness.

Instead, our country believes the proper role of government in the economic sphere is to create a framework that maximizes the ability of citizens to engage in free exchange, such as putting the weight of law behind the enforcement of contracts and by prosecuting fraud. It is not the role of government to try and redistribute wealth, create new entitlements or bail out politically connected special interests.

Similarly, America's great freedom of religious practice did not evolve based on a simple desire to create social harmony. It is a direct consequence of this historic understanding of the relationship between God, the citizen and the state. If "our Creator" is the source of our unalienable rights – including the right to know and worship God – then it is illicit for government to get between the citizen and the worship of God.

The modern distortion of the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which has been used to justify the tearing down of crosses on public land and the harassment of civic organizations like the Boy Scouts of America, is an explicit violation of this natural order.

The Left hates the idea of American Exceptionalism because it sets boundaries on the power of the state. The Left's desire for ever bigger government clashes with the core principles of America's exceptional founding.

That's why the Left is engaged in an unending war in academia and Hollywood to reduce the exceptional nature of America's founding by trashing the integrity of our founding fathers and trying to paint our country's enormous and rapid rise in wealth and power as due to almost anything other than the freedoms we enjoy.
Newt's daughter, Jackie, has a book out, titled The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own.

You can sign up for Newt's weekly newsletter here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gingrich interviewed by Greta Van Susteren

First segment. Second segment.

Gingrich in 2nd place, says PPP.

Public Policy Polling (PPP) releasaed a poll Tuesday showing that Sarah Palin, at 21%, is first among Republicans, with Newt Gingrich's 19% support in second. Mitt Romney is narrowly behind at 18 and Mike Huckabee gets 16% of likely primary voter support.

The last such poll done by PPP had Romney at 22%, Huckabee at 21%, Gingrich at 18%, and Palin at 17%.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Newt up 43-39 against Obama, says Zogby.

In their most recent poll, Zogby International reports that Newt Gingrich is leading President Obama by four points, 43-39. Mitt Romney is up 44-38, while Sarah Palin is down 41-40.

If one of Romney's main selling points is electability, this poll would seem to do some damage to that as he barely outdoes Gingrich. This after Romney already ran for President.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Former Reagan official compared a Gingrich speech with Churchill's Iron Curtain

When quoting Peter Ferrara in my last post, it made me think of a quote that Frank Gaffney, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy, made in April 2003 after Gingrich lambasted the State Department:
The speech former House Speaker Newt Gingrich delivered Tuesday at the American Enterprise Institute may be one of the most important foreign-policy addresses by a former national leader since Winston Churchill warned in March 1946 that 'an iron curtain has descended across the (European) Continent.'

Peter Ferrara details A Newt Vision for America

In a laudatory article about Newt Gingrich, the normally calm and stoic Peter Ferrara sounds like...well, me. Ferrara, director of entitlement and budget policy at the Institute for Policy Innovation, was in the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations. He is typically a policy wonk, his signature proposal being to personalize Social Security.

However, in the first paragraph, Ferrara writes after watching the former Speaker at an event, "Gingrich is the only political leader in America today who, after you hear him speak, leaves you feeling like you learned something new, or, maybe even that a whole new perspective or vision has been opened for you. In fact, his speech at this dinner is this generation's modern equivalent of Reagan's famous CPAC speech of 1975."

Ferrara recounts a story Newt has told many times -- that of his childhood experience of visiting the battlefield of Verdun and deciding that instead of possibly becoming a zookeeper that he would enter public service. Ferrara quotes Gingrich:
I came out of it convinced that countries die. And that the quality of civilian leadership is central to their survival…. I concluded that my job was to try to understand three things: what is it we have to do to survive as a country, how would you explain it with such clarity that the American people would give you permission to do it, and how would you then implement it in such a way that it both worked and they would give you permission to continue. I've literally now, for 52 years, been trying to understand this.
The theme of Gingrich's speech at the event was replacing a "rejection model" of conservatism with a "replacement model." To illustrate what he meant, he used the analogy of the birth of the nation. The Declaration of Independence rejected the British, but "that didn't make us independent," said Gingrich. "We declared our opinion. In order to be successful and independent, there had to be two enormous acts of replacement."

The first was military: "But it was the replacement of British military power with American military power which made the difference." And the second was replacing the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution.

After citing the many electoral rejections the left has suffered -- from George McGovern to this year's mid-term elections -- Newt wrote:
The Left didn't notice it because the power of the Left isn't in popular elections. The power of the Left is in tenured academics. The power of the Left is the news media. The power of the Left is the bureaucracy. The power of the Left is union leadership. The power of the Left is inside the judgeships. The power of the Left is in the Hollywood literati. And so the Left just kept going further Left....The fact is rejection is an inadequate, long term strategy if you are serious about saving America, because rejection doesn't fix a center left coalition, which has been in power since 1932. And that requires us to adopt, I believe, a fundamentally new strategy: a strategy of replacement. We have to look at every level of American society, and every level of American government, and we have to decide that we are going to replace the Left, with policies, systems, and institutions that reflect the heart of the American tradition.
As Ferrara put it, Gingrich then lays out the "long term goal and vision":
And where we have to go is a goal to create a majority that's governed so decisively, with such positive results, that in January, 2021, we are inaugurating a team which understands why it is continuing a center-right majority, understands why it is continuing a prosperous America, understands why it's continuing a safe America, and understands why it is continuing the most free society in history. And only if you think out to that achievement, can you understand the challenge of the next two years, because this is an enormously complex country.
"Notice the emphasis on the word continuing, which I am explaining as a President Palin or Jindal being inaugurated after eight enormously successful years of a President Gingrich, similar to the eight enormously successful years of President Reagan," says Ferrara. "That is the magnitude of the long-term roadmap to victory for the conservative movement that Gingrich spells out in this speech."

Writing of " the accomplished practical record and standing that Gingrich has in setting this long term goal for the conservative movement," Ferrara further quotes Newt, who made a similar point when Fox News interviewed him for their 12 in 2012 special:
Now some people will tell you, there's Gingrich having these wild ideas. I think it is fair to say, if you look at my career, from helping create the Georgia Republican Party, which now occupies every statewide elected position, and controls both houses of the State Legislature, and the majority of state Congressional seats, to creating the first [Republican Congressional] majority in forty years, and the first re-elected [Republican Congressional] majority since 1928, to four balanced budgets in a row, paying off $405 billion dollars of national debt, on occasion, I can actually be practical.
Rejecting the foolish idea of simply trying to get 50% of the vote plus one, Gingrich calls for an outreach to every American:
[W]e have to be prepared to say, with the deepest of meaning, that…we are determined to go into the poorest of communities, of every part of America, from the valleys, to the inner cities, to poor rural areas, and we are going to change the culture, we are going to change the bureaucracy, we are going to change the tax code, we are going to do whatever it takes, so that every American is truly capable of pursuing happiness as they have been endowed by their creator. And I believe, the morning all Americans believe that we, as conservatives, are serious about them having the right to pursue happiness, we will create a 70% to 75% majority that will be staggering in the scale of it, and the reach of it, in the neighborhoods we never thought we could carry, simply for a practical reason. We can offer their children and grandchildren a vastly better future than the bureaucratic welfare state of dependency, coercion, and ineffectiveness.
In closing, Ferrara once again cites Gingrich's bona fides in leading the conservative movement from the White House:
It was Gingrich, do not forget, who led conservatives in the fight against Bush 41's disastrous 1990 budget deal, which is what catapulted him to the top of the House Republican leadership. He demonstrated his prime-time leadership abilities in engineering the historic Republican takeover of Congress in 1994. Most importantly, Speaker Gingrich successfully implemented conservative policies once in power. He slashed total federal spending by one-eighth relative to GDP, more even than Reagan did in the 1980s, though Reagan was rightly distracted by the defense buildup that won the Cold War without firing a shot. Gingrich led adoption of the enormously successful 1996 welfare reforms ending the entitlement status of the old, New Deal, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, sending it back to the states as long sought by Reagan and his welfare guru Robert Carleson. He also led adoption of Freedom to Farm, which began phasing out farm subsidies, until later overturned under Speaker Hastert. These are the policies that not only balanced the budget without tax increases, but achieved large surpluses with tax cuts that fueled the continuation of the Reagan boom through the 1990s.

With Reagan's glorious victory over Soviet Communism, Gingrich now offers the leadership to win the full and final victory over the Left in the next logical step: vanquishing the Left within America itself.
It may appear as if I quoted the entire article -- but there are plenty of other great sections that I did not. Here is the link again.

And the link to Newt's speech is here (at the Institute for Policy Innovation).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gingrich: The fight for repeal is beginning

In an e-mail sent out today, Newt Gingrich writes, "It's beginning. What will likely be at least a two year effort to repeal ObamaCare started this week." He then discusses the efforts of a few Senators "to repeal a requirement in the law that forces businesses to file paperwork for business transactions with a vendor or supplier if they amount to more than $600 a year, more commonly referred to as the '1099 provision.' "

Scott Brown is involved in that effort as well as taking out the individual mandate.

Gingrich ends the e-mail:
At American Solutions, we're continuing to build momentum for a grassroots, citizen-led push for repeal. In the coming months we're going to be developing a range of tools for all Americans to use to make this movement as big and as meaningful as it needs to be. We'll soon have an interactive map that includes contact information for each U.S. Senator, and we're also developing a citizen's guide to repeal, which will be a handbook describing how people can make a difference in this fight for repeal.

As always, thanks for everything you do, and stay tuned for more updates from me and American Solutions about ways we can work together to repeal ObamaCare.
If you do not receive e-mails from American Solutions on repealing Obamacare and other issues and wish to, here is where to sign up.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Newt's 12 in 2012 segment

The interview happened a week ago, but here are some of the highlights of Newt on Fox News' 12 in 2012 special:
  • Will only run if there is a good chance to win. “If I just wanted to make noise, I could make noise without being a candidate. It's a lot less expensive.”
  • The House Republican majority "have to" attempt to repeal Obamacare, take up spending cuts, and stopping the tax hikes.
  • “Confronting” President Clinton so earnestly over spending, even factoring in the government shutdowns, was crucial to proving to the GOP base they were serious.
  • When asked by host Bret Baier if he sometimes went too far, Newt responded: “Sure. Every once and awhile, I have to say, 'Well, that one wasn't all that clever, was it?' I think as a candidate, you'd have to be more disciplined, more careful, more methodical.”
  • On his personal baggage possibly dragging down his candidacy, “If you think we need to go back to first principles, in terms of the Constitution, people may say, 'You know, Newt's been around a long time. He's the guy who can actually fix it.”
  • Mara Liasson: “I think Newt Gingrich would love to run for President -- if only to be on stage with everyone else, driving the debate and coming up with more ideas than anybody else could.”
  • When prompted for real spending cuts: Discretionary spending levels of 2008 would save a trillion over the next decade; “fundamentally rethink unemployment compensation,” thinks “it ought to become a training program; “would overhaul” the Pentagon procurement process as it is “absurd to take 15 or 20 years to get a weapons system.”

In a blog post on FoxNews.com, Chris Stirewalt wrote, Gingrich "also has a political action group American Solutions for Winning the Future that boasts a wide donor base and big fundraising. His mailing lists would be the envy of most of the 2012 field.”


Dick Morris: Gingrich would clean the floor with Obama in a debate

After endorsing Newt Gingrich for President a few months ago, Dick Morris, who battled Newt during the 90s when Gingrich was Speaker, again spoke highly of Newt last night.

Appearing on The O'Reilly Factor, Morris said that among the other prospective GOP candidates, Newt was the only one who "could absolutely clean the floor with Barack Obama in a debate, because he can handle him, intellectually." In the above column, Morris put it this way: "He can match Obama’s words and overmatch his intellect. Newt’s teleprompter is inside his own mind."

Morris also predicted last night that Gingrich would win the GOP primary.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gallup memo: Most wide open GOP field since '72

A new Gallup Poll has the four GOP front-runners -- Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich -- bunched up between 19 and 13 percent. Romney and Palin both draw 19% support; Huckabee, 16; and Gingrich at 13. Romney and Palin's support has not changed since September, while Huckabee and Gingrich have each gained four percentage points in the two months.

Gallup's Jeffrey M. Jones writes of the race at this very early part, "The current results on Republicans' presidential nomination preferences suggest the 2012 contest could be more wide open than any since the winners began to be determined largely through state primaries and caucuses in 1972."

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post quotes a GOP consultant who worked on Romney's 2008 Presidential campaign as saying, "There has never been a field as wide open as this one is. Ever."

The liberal website Talking Points Memo put together the results of a series of Public Policy Polling polls, and they illustrate just how jumbled the race is.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Joe Gaylord

In my last post, I quote Joe Gaylord on a possible Gingrich run. As Thomas Beaumont made clear in that article, Gaylord would have a substantial role in such a campaign. And that is just natural since he has been Newt's right-hand man for many years. From his bio on AmericanSolutions.com:
Serving as the senior counselor to Speaker Newt Gingrich, the Speaker dubbed him the 'irreplaceable man' for his work as principal architect for the House leadership in mapping out and leading the effort to execute a blueprint to elect a Republican Majority in the House in 1994. For his achievement, his peers in the American Association of Political Consultants named him Co-Campaign Manager of the Year. He led the successful effort for the House leadership to re-elect the Republican House majority in 1996 and 1998 -- a feat not accomplished since the days of Herbert Hoover.
He has recently written his third book, Campaign Solutions, available for free in PDF or audio format.

A quick three-minute video from him:



Newt recounts a conversation weeks before the Revolution:
September 17, 1994, was the day that Joe Gaylord briefed the GOP team. We had a team that was going on a campaign swing on September 17 -- Dan Meyer, Steve Hanser, Kerry Knott, Joe Gaylord, and myself. Literally, as we were taking off at National, I asked both Kerry Knott, who headed up our planning operation, and Dan Meyer, what were we planning on the night after the election? At that time, I was still the minority whip and Bob Michel was still the GOP leader. I said, 'On election night, are we planning for me to be minority leader or to be Speaker?' And Gaylord broke in and said, 'Well, you better be planning to be Speaker, because you’re going to be.' Dan Meyer then turned to him and said, 'OK, before we do anything else, explain this prediction.' Gaylord started in Maine and, by memory, went through every congressional seat in the country and came up with a 52-seat gain. I think we gained 53, so he was off by 1.

Des Moines Register: "Gingrich takes steps toward a presidential run"

Gingrich made a quote to a Texas NBC station that him and wife Callista were "organizing" their enterprises to clear the way for a run last week.

In a column by Thomas Beaumont of the Des Moines Register, Newt once again talks of having to organize them in such a way to make a run at the White House. Beaumont writes, "Gingrich did not take similar steps to deal with his personal and business arrangements before ruling out a 2008 run, aides said."

Joe Gaylord, "Gingrich’s closest political counsel," said that he "would be very surprised" if there is not a Gingrich candidacy. "Does he want to run? You bet. Does he think he can figure out a way to do that? Yes. But he’s got to go through all the processes to make sure he can do it financially," Gaylord said.

Beaumont then sketched a possible outline of a campaign: "Gaylord, an Iowa native, likely would play the role of senior adviser in a Gingrich presidential campaign. Sam Dawson, another longtime Gingrich operative who was part of the 1994 House majority victory, also would be expected to take on a national campaign leadership role, aides said."

Estimating that he spoke to 39,000 people while campaigning for the mid-term elections, Gingrich said, "I have some sense for what’s working and what isn’t....We haven’t had the kind of sweeping reform capability that is survivable since Reagan."

"Gingrich plans to test the reaction to the themes when he addresses the Republican Governors Association meeting in San Diego this week and during four Web-based policy seminars," Beaumont added.

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Quick Hits

From CNN's website:
Next month the former House Speaker makes a high profile visit to South Carolina, another important early voting state in the presidential primary calendar. According to a GOP source, Gingrich keynotes the Spartanburg Republican Party's Bronze Elephant Dinner on December 16.
In their latest analysis of their polls, Public Policy Polling writes:
Newt Gingrich's one and only lead in this round of 18 polls comes from North Carolina where he gets 23% to 19% for Huckabee and Palin and 14% for Romney. Meanwhile Huckabee matches his largest lead in any individual state in Kentucky where he gets 26% to 19% for Palin, 17% for Gingrich, and 13% for Romney. Gingrich and Huckabee splitting these two states is somewhat emblematic of the fact that for either to win the GOP nomination may take the other not running since a strong across the board performance in the South would be vital for both of their chances.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quick Hits

MFrom the New York Times:
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, is one of the biggest variables. Mr. Gingrich has not been openly buttonholing major donors for a presidential bid, fund-raisers said. Nevertheless, all the work he has been doing for his policy center, American Solutions, generating large contributions (the group is permitted to take in donations of unlimited size) and building donor lists, could form a strong financial foundation for a run.

From National Journal:

On NBC's 'Meet the Press,' former House GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich said that he would make a decision about running 'around February,' and that if he did decide to seek the presidency he would probably announce in 'late March.' Gingrich said he expected a full Republican field of 12 to 15 candidates, and he predicted 'you will not know who the (GOP) nominee is until very late in the spring of 2012.' Gingrich added that President Obama remains personally popular and that he would not be easy to defeat. 'This president has enormous capacity' to recover politically, said Gingrich. He cautioned that Obama 'is not beaten.'

Friday, November 12, 2010

Another quote on 2012

From a Texas NBC report:
'I think Callista and I will make that decision in February or early March,' he said. 'We run four small businesses, and we're organizing them right now so that we'd be able to run. I must say that the clear, vivid choice between where Obama would take us and what most Americans want to go makes it very appealing.'

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Repealing Obamacare to be biggest "advocacy effort" of American Solutions

RIn an e-mail, titled simply "Repeal it," Newt slams Obamacare -- listing, among other things, the cost to taxpayers and small businesses -- and then lays out a course of action.
Put simply, as long as ObamaCare is the law of the land, America will not be providing an environment that allows businesses to grow, which means accepting stagnant growth and high unemployment as the new normal.

We shouldn't have to accept that. For that reason, we must begin the process of repealing this destructive law and replacing it with common sense health reforms.

Repeal and replace will not happen overnight and it will not happen after a week's worth of debate in Congress. Repeal will require a grassroots movement that puts strong and sustained pressure on Washington.

The time to start that movement is today.

Over the next few weeks we will be very active in starting the movement to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

We intend for this advocacy effort to be our biggest to date.

Thanks for everything you did to elect job creators last week, and thank you for all that you will do to keep the pressure on the new representatives in Congress to do the right thing.
"Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" was a game-changer and got 1.5 million signatures, so the group has a high standard to pass.

And in recent interviews, Gingrich has put the desired number of signatures at 50 million -- focusing on "every state where a Democratic senator is going to be up for re-election in 2012 -- drive them to vote yes." This petition drive would come after the House passes a repeal bill rather easily.

Gingrich continued, "Get the bill out of the Senate and then have a nationwide petition drive to the president, and seek to gather 50 million signatures so the president has overwhelming public pressure to sign the repeal of Obamacare."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

CBS News breaks down 2012 GOP contenders

Of Gingrich, they write:
He'll be visiting three Iowa cities next week on a book tour and has for months been in and out of the state more often than a freight train of cattle. State Republican officials say Gingrich is very popular with the party's base of social and Christian conservatives, but also claims considerable support from the business community as well. At some past events, Gingrich has been urged to run for the top job by people who see him as the best man to take on Mr. Obama in a debate. Whatever the Washington political elite may say about Gingrich, he is popular in Iowa and party pros in the Hawkeye state now fully expect him to run. 'He's taking all the right steps in preparation of setting up a statewide organization,' one official said of Gingrich.

Newt discusses 2012; says he's "probably" in fourth place

Appearing on ABC's "The View," Newt was asked about 2012 and whether he planned to run. Per usual, he did not answer the question directly but did say that he would place himself in fourth at this very early point.

And a quick glance at most national polls show just that: that, in some order, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney garner more support.

However, Romney's support will likely erode as his Republican opponents make hay of the fact that Romney's signature achievement as governor of Massachusetts -- known as Romneycare -- resembles very much Obamacare. Romney will try to distance himself from the act, but when running in 2008, favorably cited the piece of legislation as a reason people should vote for him.

While not mentioniong Romney's name, Gingrich attacked MassCare earlier this year. As the American Spectator wrote:
'It's the forerunner of Obamacare,' Gingrich said when asked about the Massachusetts plan. 'It is a general model in a general direction and it's the general direction that's wrong. And that's why I'm suggesting you need to be thinking about fundamental change, not just marginal reforms.'
Writing about Gingrich's rankings of the contenders at this point, ABC's senior political reporter Michael Falcone writes, "Lowering expectations is an age-old political tactic and Gingrich is an adept practitioner." He then adds:
But with his busy travel schedule, his 2010 campaign endorsements, fundraising for his 527 group and the array of projects he is spearheading through his organization, American Solutions, Gingrich has been carefully laying the groundwork for a presidential bid....Before the month is over that tour will take him to several key battleground states, including Florida, Ohio and Virginia as well as Iowa, a key early caucus state where Gingrich is making three separate stops.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Newt is gaining influence within the Tea Party

Given the Tea Party's dramatic influence on the upcoming midterm elections -- whether one looks at the moderate Republicans they have already played a part in defeating or the Democrats they will knock out on November 2 -- many have begun to speculate on the movement's role in the 2012 Presidential race.

The first part of that race, of course, is deciding who the GOP will nominate to take on President Obama. The general consensus has formed, within many conservative circles as well as liberal, that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would be the movement's favorite.

However, a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that, in the words of Pater Wallsten, "One third of Republicans support the tea party so strongly that they describe themselves as part of the movement more than they identify as Republicans. Among this group, Mr. Gingrich is considered the GOP's "most important leader."

Palin, however, does win among the Republicans who while supportive of the Tea Party movement "identifies more as Republicans."

The article also discusses the two different manners in which Gingrich and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney have prepared for possible White House bids.

The reason they have followed different paths is simple: they simply view the movement differently. Whereas Romney, according to his advisers, "is betting that the tea-party groundswell, while energizing fiscal conservatives, doesn't mark a fundamental shift in the preferences of GOP voters." Basically, the movement will wither and not have an influence for much longer.

Gingrich's view as described by Wallsten:
[Gingrich] views the tea-party revolt as the dawn of an enduring movement, and he has spent more time courting tea-party activists than forging ties to Republican party leaders. Mr. Gingrich has recast his American Solutions group, launched in 2007 to press for expanded oil drilling and other policy initiatives, into a tea-party clearinghouse of sorts -- creating a curriculum to teach activists, small business owners and first-time candidates how to run campaigns. He is keeping in touch with this potential army of volunteers.
So when it comes to building a base of support for a 2012 run, Governor Romney has courted a lot of party leaders. And Newt "is traveling the country to build alliances with local tea-party activists in key presidential primary and caucus states....assign[ing] a full-time staffer at American Solutions to recruit and work with local activists across the country. Many of those now in his database live in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina -- key early-voting states in the presidential primaries, where Mr. Gingrich has devoted time to meeting them in small groups."

Wallsten then gives the story of one such meeting:
Elisabet Wilson, a tea-party activist who lives near Greenville, S.C., said she received a call from a Gingrich aide last spring seeking her attendance at a May roundtable with the former speaker at a local hotel. When she arrived, she found a group of nearly 30 fellow activists.

"He went around the room and asked each of us, why did you get involved?" Ms. Wilson said.

Ms. Wilson later agreed to serve as a state coordinator for American Solutions.
Wallsten continues, "Mr. Gingrich said American Solutions was intended to boost the conservative movement whether or not he runs."

"It's certainly probably broadly helpful (to a presidential campaign), but it's not designed for that,' Gingrich said." "We're happy to share our ideas and our information with everybody, with all the different candidates."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Some quick hits

From The Statesman:

Speaking at a forum put on by the Austin Tea Party Patriots, Gingrich was asked about his plans, as the crowd chanted, 'Newt. Newt.' Gingrich ignored the question and redirected his answer to talk about the competence of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner, the House minority leader.

...

Gingrich challenged the conservative crowd to continue advocating for small government and free market values. 'You are serving your country as a citizen when you get involved,' he told the often cheering and applauding group, which was estimated by organizers to be about 450 people strong.

...

Gingrich said he signed [the Contract from America] 'as a tea partier.'
After the event, [Tea Party Patriots organizer Greg Holloway] said: 'The people seemed energized, interested.'

From Politico:

Newt's 527, American Solutions, raised 2.7 million dollars -- "almost as much as the groups headed by his prospective rivals for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, brought in combined. [Though, as the website points out, Newt's group has fewer restrictions on raising money.]

Gingrich, the former House speaker, has used his committee, American Solutions for Winning the Future, to pay political staff and consultants, build its email list, fundraise and travel the country. Those activities are considered necessary to lay the foundation for a presidential bid, and are similar to how Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty, and former Govs. Romney of Massachusetts, Palin of Alaska and Huckabee of Arkansas have used their committees.

...

“I see a massive acceleration on the fundraising side,” [Chief Operating Officer Dan Varroney] said, rejecting the premise that American Solutions is geared towards positioning Gingrich for a 2012 presidential run. “Not at all,” he said. “Our focus is clear cut: to save America.”

From the Independent Voter Network:

Reflecting on the 1942 Democratically-controlled Congress that created what he termed 'an anti-appropriations committee, Gingrich claimed that 'a substantial number of New Deal agencies were abolished by the actions of that committee.'

...

“You can’t govern by saying no,” [Gingrich] said. “Offer a dramatically better set of solutions principled based on conservatism...but solutions...not just ideologies. And all of a sudden people look up and you have an argument.”

"The Gingrich Surge"

So says Matthew Continetti of The Weekly Standard, who wrote a cover story about Newt Gingrich in March 2007.

He notes that from March 21 to April 11, Gingrich gained six points in the CNN Republican primary polling data. "What's fascinating, though, is Newt Gingrich's surge into the top tier of presidential prospects," writes Continetti. "He's gained six points in a month, and is only one point behind Palin. His favorable number is about the same as Palin's, but his unfavorable number is significantly less....As for Gingrich, the poll definitely suggests a presidential bid could gain some traction."

Another poll also shows good news for Newt -- and the other Republican frontrunners. Public Policy Polling (PPP) pitted President Obama against Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and Sarah Palin. Huckabee, by 47-45%, has the best numbers currently. Gingrich is tied with the President, 45-45%, while Romney is up 45-44%. Sarah Palin is down just two points, 47-45%.

That suggests two things: 1) Gingrich, due to a great rehabilitation on his part, is not nearly the divisive figure some still try to paint him as; and 2) Obama is in great trouble.
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