Thursday, February 24, 2011

Newt's newsletter about Scott Walker and Wisconsin

Excerpts from this week's newsletter:
It is vital that every one of us help Governor Scott Walker today.

In Madison, Wisconsin, we are witnessing a profound struggle between the right of the people to govern themselves and the power of entrenched, selfish interests to stop reforms and defy the will of the people.

In 2010, Wisconsin Republicans ran on a clear agenda of reforming government to gain control of spending. This agenda included many reforms to state government employee pay.

These reforms were desperately opposed by the Democrats and union bosses during the campaign and a full and vigorous debate on the merits of these reforms took place in the months before the election.

Then came the moment for the people of Wisconsin to make their choice – Election Day. And thanks in part to this bold agenda, the people of Wisconsin chose to switch control of the governorship, assembly and senate to Republicans.

The people of Wisconsin sent a clear message. They elected leaders that promised to change the way government operated in Madison. The will of the people was expressed through the ballot box, exactly how it is supposed to work in a representative democracy.
The showdown in Madison is precisely the crisis between elected self government and organized self interest seeking to impose their will through intimidation which led Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, during the coal miner’s strike of 1984-85, to warn, 'No government or no people can surrender to that kind of mob violence or intimidation, because if we did democracy would be finished.'
Callista and I helped launch the Scott Walker for Governor Campaign with a huge event in Milwaukee. During the following year I campaigned with him and heard him make the case for reforming the government unions.

At an event in October 2010, I remember Scott vividly describing the stakes, saying we can no longer function as a society “where the public employees are the ‘haves’ and the taxpayers who foot the bill are the ‘have-nots.’”

When the people of Wisconsin voted last November they knew exactly who they were electing.
Governor Scott Walker's union reform proposals today are precisely the union reform platform he campaigned on for all of 2010. Furthermore, the Governor's proposals were validated by the Republican state legislative successes.

It is in this context of fairly won elections in which Wisconsinites consciously chose reform over the status quo that the government employee unions and Democratic Party have decided they would side against the people.
Government employee union leaders know they are losing the battle for public opinion and that reform is coming. A Clarus Poll found that 64% of the American people do not think government employees should be represented by unions.

A victory for the forces of reform in Wisconsin would provide enormous energy on government reform efforts to balance budgets in Ohio, New York, New Jersey and elsewhere. It will also extend to other issues like meaningful education reform.

However, a defeat for Walker and the reformers would embolden those who seek to preserve the status quo. Yesterday, borrowing a play from their brethren in Wisconsin, Democrats in the Indiana House fled their state to prevent a vote on a measure that would make Indiana a right to work state.

That’s why it is vital for all who voted in favor of reforming government, wherever you live, to support Scott Walker and the Wisconsin reformers.

The most important way you can help is by articulating the case for self government and government reform to your friends and neighbors.
Newt includes a link to some facts about Wisconsin and a video of him on Fox News.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Newt discusses Scott Walker and Wisconsin (video)

In the interview on Fox and Friends, Gingrich notes that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker campaigned for two years on the policy that has led to the protests over the last week.

Newt also mentions that him and Callista were at "one of the first big events" of Walker's campaign a-year-and-a-half-ago.

Here is the entire interview, in which he discusses the federal budget showdown and Libya:

Newt the favorite among Iowa Republicans in a focus group (video)

Last week, Frank Luntz had a focus group of 26 Iowa Republicans who voted in the 2008 Presidential caucus. Some of the reactions can be seen in the above video.

The rules, according to U.S. News and World Report: "Like the television show Survivor, the 26 would discuss the candidates after Luntz showed videos of each. Then one would be voted out of the 2012 Iowa Caucus."

The results unfolded like this, writes Paul Bedard:
Some went fast. Daniels was 'boring,' Barbour’s southern accent was 'a turnoff,' and Santorum was 'yesterday’s news.' Romney went down next, labeled 'another Obama.' Next was Thune, though the Iowans say he has potential. Christie, who doesn’t want to run, went next. The reason, says one panelist to Luntz, author of the hit Words That Work and the upcoming Win: “He doesn’t want the job, so why should we give it to him?”

The Iowans then argued for their favorites, like Pawlenty, whose 'blue collar conservatism' and victories in Democratic-dominated Minnesota were a hit. When he was next to go, some of his supporters vowed that he’d make the cut down the road.

That left four: Huckabee, Gingrich, Palin, and Bachmann, who then bested Palin because Bachmann was 'less polarizing.' But because Bachmann was seen by the group as the least presidential of the remaining three, she was dumped, followed by Huckabee, making Gingrich the surprise winner.

They liked a video of Gingrich effectively blasting the national debt and the radical fixes proposed by Obama’s debt commission, like ending the home mortgage deduction. One panel member says, 'We want to see him dismantle Obama in the debates, and he can do it.' Luntz’s own conclusion is, 'Principles matter more than pragmatism to these voters, and principles with solid debating skills matter most.'
This focus group squares with another Luntz group, back in 2005:
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.
If Gingrich jumps in, he needs to continue with the same message -- not dampen it down like so many candidates do -- and he needs to keep being willing to talk about it anywhere he goes.

If he does that, and if Luntz's focus groups are any indication, he could make up the small deficit he has in the current polls -- in a hurry.
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