After some very serious thought, I have decided to write a Diary on why I think Newt Gingrich’s record, skills, vision, and ability uniquely made him the most qualified person to take on this gargantum task of turning around USA, Inc. My objective is not to tear down any of the other candidates but to shed light on Newt’s past record and to defend those record against all comers. I would strongly suggest that supporters of Ron, Romney, and Rick do the same. There is enough negativity here and I am not convinced that is the best way to go through the rest of the primary.
I strongly encourage other Newt’s supporters to add to this diary.
Newt ran for congress twice before succeeding on his third try in 1978. Following Reagan’s Presidential election in 1980, Newt and a few of his colleagues in the House formed the Conservative Opportune Society (COS) in 1983 and took it upon themselves to defend the President against a fusilage of criticism from his enemies. Back in those days, Newt and
his colleagues would take turns to speak on the House floor, frequently to an empty audience. CSPAN will telecast the entire speech to the nation. It is believed that Newt and his young colleagues became known as Reagan’s young lieutenants because of those speeches to the empty House Floor. Unfortunately, it was during one such speech in March 21st, 1986 that Newt was caught lambasting Reagan’s reaching out to Gorbachev. Critics of Newt, including Romney’s super PAC friends used that little segment and took it out of context to assail the Speaker as being anti-Reagan when in fact in the very same speech, he was highly supportive of the President. The same critics failed to mentioned that most conservatives of that day were on Newt’s side. On January, 26, in an orchestrated move, the Drudge Report was flooded with a deluge of headlines lambasting Newt’s anti-Reagan speech, including a piece by serious conservative writer Elliot Abrams. Despite attempts by Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh to correct the error, damage was done and Newt paid the political price at the Florida primary a few days later.
While in congress, Newt
- Founded the Conservative Opportune Society which met weekly to discuss ideas many of which were adopted by Reagan during his second term supporting the group’s conservative goals on economic growth, education, crime, and social issues.
- Co founded the Congressional Military Reform Caucus and the Congressional Aviation and Space Caucus
- Led charges against the Democrat Speaker of the House Jim Wright
- Became House Minority Whip in 1989
- In 1990, he came up with a paper titled “Language, a Key Mechanism of Control”, that encouraged Republicans to “speak like Newt” and contained lists of “contrasting words” – words with negative connotations such as “radical”, “sick,” and “traitors” – and “optimistic positive governing words” such as “opportunity”, “courage”, and “principled”, that Gingrich recommended for use in describing Democrats and Republicans, respectively…Now we know why he is so good with words during the debates.
- Gingrich and several other Republicans, in an effort to offer an alternative to Democratic policies and to unite distant wings of the Republican Party came up with a Contract with America which laid out ten policies that Republicans promised to bring to a vote on the House floor during the first hundred days of the new Congress if they won the elections. The contract was signed by Gingrich and other Republican candidates for the House of Representatives. The contract ranged from issues such as welfare reform, term limits, tougher crime laws, and a balanced budget law, to more specialized legislation such as restrictions on American military participation in UN missions. In the November 1994 elections, Republicans gained 54 seats and took control of the House for the first time since 1954.
- Congress fulfilled Gingrich’s Contract promise to bring all ten of the Contract’s issues to a vote within the first 100 days of the session
- Legislation proposed by the 104th US Congress included term limits for Congressional Representatives, tax cuts, welfare reform, and a balanced budget amendment, as well as independent auditing of the finances of the House of Representatives and elimination of non-essential services such as the House barbershop and shoe-shine concessions.
- Newt led the Republican majority to an re-election in 1996, the first time Republicans had done so in 68 years, and the first time simultaneously with a Democratic president winning re-election.
- In 1996, Newt pushed for the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act which was intended to reconstruct the welfare system. The act gave state governments more autonomy over welfare delivery, while also reducing the federal government’s responsibilities. It instituted the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which placed time limits on welfare assistance and replaced the longstanding Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. Other changes to the welfare system included stricter conditions for food stamp eligibility, reductions in immigrant welfare assistance, and recipient work requirements. The said act was signed into law on Aug 22, 1996.
- Pushed Clinton for a Federal Balanced Budget- The plan included a total of $152 billion in Republican sponsored tax cuts over five years. Other major parts of the spending plan called for $115 billion to be saved through a restructuring of Medicare, $24 billion set aside to extend health insurance to children of the working poor, tax credits for college tuition, and a $2 billion welfare-to-work jobs initiative. Plan was to have a balanced budget by 2002 but was achieved in 1999, three years ahead of schedule.
- Through the Contract with America, Gingrich was credited with the largest Capital Gains Tax Cut in US History with the 1997 US Tax Relief Act