Those oddities aside, Gingrich is likely catching on in Iowa because he’s usually one of the most eloquent Republican critics of Obama-style liberalism—within both government and the media. The audience in Jefferson groans in angry disbelief when he relates a familiar story about a dentist in New York defrauding Medicaid by filing 991 procedures a day. “[This] dental office in Brooklyn,” Gingrich says, “had somebody who stood out front and said, ‘If you loan us your Medicaid card, we’ll give you a free DVD player.’ ”Warren quotes Newt:
Voters across the largely agricultural state cheer when Gingrich takes on the regulatory regime of the Environmental Protection Agency, particularly a recent, widely reported proposed rule on dust. Gingrich says he guesses the regulation was written by “some person who lived in a high-rise air-conditioned apartment, who went down to ride in an air-conditioned subway to go to a high-rise air-conditioned office building [and who] sat in his windowless office and imagined dust.” In a part of the country where farming the dry prairie is a way of life and everyone regularly stirs up a cloud of dust while driving down a dirt road, that’s steak-tartare-quality red meat.
“The real pedigree of this campaign is Goldwater in ’62 to ’64, and then Reagan from ’75 to ’80 in that they were idea-generated movements which evolved into a campaign,” he tells me. “They weren’t campaigns in the traditional Republican meaning of the word. And I think that’s essentially what we’re trying to do.”