Saturday, November 20, 2010

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).

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