About This Blog
Here's the rest of the scoop on Newt Gingrich's not-so-conservative positions, from the Cato Institute:
Gingrich's campaign nearly imploded this summer when he dismissed Rep. Paul Ryan's, R-Wis., Medicare reform plan as "right-wing social engineering." But that gaffe was a window into Gingrich's irresponsible approach toward entitlements.
In 2003, Gingrich stumped hard for President George W. Bush's prescription drug bill, which has added about $17 trillion to Medicare's unfunded liabilities. "Every conservative member of Congress should vote for this Medicare bill," Newt urged.
And in his 2008 book Real Change, he endorsed an individual mandate for health insurance.
It's also unclear why anybody looking to distance himself from Pelosi would plop down on a love seat with her to call for government action on climate change — as Gingrich did in a 2008 television commercial.
It was a season of bipartisan chumminess for Newt. "Kerry and Gingrich Hugging Trees — and (Almost) Each Other," the Washington Post described a 2007 global warming event Gingrich headlined with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
In 2009, the ethanol lobby paid his firm $312,000, and in 2006, the former speaker scored a $300,000 fee from Freddie Mac, one of the government-sponsored enterprises that helped pump up the disastrous housing bubble.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)is one of the largest lobbying organizations in the country, and it was a leading advocate of Bush's Medicare drug bill, which provides billions of dollars in subsidies for seniors to buy drugs, while prohibiting Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices.
A source who worked for PhRMA at the time told me that Gingrich was being paid by "someone in the drug industry" -- either PhRMA, some other industry group, or a specific drug company -- as a consultant during the debate over the drug benefit. My source double-checked this with a former PhRMA colleague, who had the same recollection. The Gingrich Group operates the Center for Health Transformation, through which Gingrich publicizes his health care policy proposals.
"He received a monthly retainer," the former PhRMA employee recalls, saying Gingrich's price was "at the high end."
I don't want to pick on Newt, but he has some baggage, and I haven't even mentioned his divorce issues or his ethics violation that resulted in him resigning as Speaker Of The House and Congress. What can't be denied is that Gingrich is a beltway insider, has often acted like one, and profited from being one. As you can see from the above, Gingrich has endorsed big government policies in the past. He has also done some great work, as he did during the Clinton years when he helped write the Contract With America. When Gingrich was Speaker Of The House, the federal government balanced it's budget (more or less). That is no small achievement, and look where we've gone since he left his leadership role in Congress. We've gone into the dumper, and we now have a President who is leading us on the path of self-destruction. Even with his baggage, I would vote for Gingrich over Obama without a second thought.
In this election cycle, President Obama needs to manufacture something on which to run his campaign, because he sure can't run on his dismal record. If the American people ask themselves - Are we better off than we were four years ago ?, the answer is a resounding 'NO', and Obama will be out the door. Thus, Obama needs to distract the voters with some type of sideshow to win a second term. That sideshow will almost surely consist of the politics of division, in the form of Obama blaming a "do-nothing" Congress and Republican "obstructionism" for his failures as President. He'll also use his usual class warfare tactics. That approach will work with Democrats, but it won't work with Republicans and Independents. Obama needs more acts in his sideshow arsenal to distract voters from the reality of his presidency. He needs to be able to show that his policies are indeed the correct ones, and he can point to the items I just mentioned in Gingrich's record as proof that they are. Romney has some of the same problems to overcome, mainly with RomneyCare, but if conservatives are really looking for an anti-Romney candidate, the so-called "real conservative", shouldn't he at least BE an anti-Romney candidate ? I see Romney and Gingrich as being somewhat similar types, but Newt is actually the one with the most baggage to overcome, not Romney. I haven't heard a hint of scandal about Romney, and, unlike Obama, Romney has a proven track record of success in both the public and private sectors. Romney has some big advantages over Obama, and a challenger for the presidency needs those advantages. It is very difficult to defeat an incumbent, because the President has the bully pulpit, and he's going to have a boatload of money. As proof of how difficult it is to beat the incumbent, since FDR only three Presidents lost their bids for re-election (Bush Sr., Carter, and Ford), and Ford wasn't elected in the first place. He took over after Nixon resigned. That means only two elected incumbent Presidents have lost re-election since the 1930's. Beating Obama will be a formidable task.
Romney has also shown an ability to attract voters across the aisle. How else could he have become Governor in one of the most liberal states in the country, Massachusetts ? Gingrich's record is more divisive. He shouldered much of the blame for the government shutdown in the 90's (not a problem for me, but it is for others). If I was a Democrat opposition researcher, I'd have an easier time discrediting Gingrich than I would Romney.
I know this post is coming across as an ode to Romney and a swipe at Gingrich, and it sounds a bit harsher toward Newt than I actually feel, and a little more adoring of Romney than I actually feel. I like Newt. He is a good debater and he comes up with lots of interesting ideas. He comes up with more good ideas in a month than Obama has in his entire life. He's a policy wonk, a fighter, and if the Republicans make him the nominee, I will vote for him.
But what I want above all else is to defeat Obama. If we don't accomplish that.....this country is in BIG trouble. BIG trouble. I see the coming election as the most important one of my lifetime, and we can't afford to get it wrong this time. We can't afford to lose to Obama. As of today, I think Romney has the best chance to beat him, in my humble opinion.