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": 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, 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: 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

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.
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.
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