Mitt Romney has gone to great lengths to belittle Gingrich’s role in the Reagan revolution, even having an aide check the index of Reagan’s diary to find “just one reference” to Newt. Problem is, that speed reading to find what you want to believe, leads you to overlook everything else.
In fact, the people who were there at the time have a great deal to tell about Newt’s involvement, and it rapidly becomes apparent why the RINO establishment hates him so. Read some of the stories by Jeffrey Lord and Peter Ferrara, and you will see why those who were, and are, inclined toward ‘Pale Pastels’ are so affronted by Newton Leroy Gingrich. Bob Dole watering down the party platform, and leaving the door open to tax increases? BAM! “Newt struck back, hard”, said Lord, who was there at the time, calling Dole the “tax collector for the welfare state”. Pow!
Jeffrey Lord, who was in the Reagan administration, wrote an excellent historical piece, and pointed out that in 1985, Michael Evans, Reagan’s photographer, put together a book of black and white photos of the movers and shakers of the day. What was remarkable, was that out of thousands of names considered, a shortlist of 600, a final list of about 200, and only 19 members of congress, Newt made the cut because of his tireless work promoting Reagan’s conservative vision. As Lord put it: “He never failed Ronald Reagan or the cause both believed in so passionately. Newt never wavered, and he always led.” “Ronald Reagan is the only coherent revolutionary in an administration of accommodationist advisers,” Gingrich is quoted as saying in Steven F. Hayward’s The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution 1980-1989.
As the Reagan era drew to a close, and Gingrich lamented that there was so much still to be done, “Reagan put his arm around the young Georgia Congressman and said in his typically gentle fashion, ‘Well, some things you’re just going to have to do after I’m gone.'” This is a man on a mission, and the establishment is scared.
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author, and you can read his whole article “Reagan’s Young Lieutenant” over at American Spectator.
But wait, there’s more: Peter Ferrara, an author and economist, was there during the revolution, too.
He is Senior Fellow at the Carleson Center for Public Policy, Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy for the Heartland Institute, and General Counsel of the American Civil Rights Union. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under the first President Bush. He is the author of America’s Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb, now available from HarperCollins.
Peter Ferrara is a frequent contributor over at American Spectator, and two pieces of note are:
The Case for Newt Gingrich (How easily his great and solid conservative achievements are forgotten.)
Gingrich Frames the Debate (Before this campaign is over, America will know who Saul Alinsky is, even if Mitt Romney does not.)
For those who doubt that Reagan thought of Newt as an ideological successor, there’s this:
At the 1995 Goldwater Institute Dinner honoring President Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich was the keynote speaker. Nancy Reagan gave a short speech on behalf of herself and President Reagan, in which she both spoke warmly of Newt and recognized Newt at the heir to the Goldwater and Reagan legacies:
The dramatic movement of 1995 is an outgrowth of a much earlier crusade that goes back half a century. Barry Goldwater handed the torch to Ronnie, and in turn Ronnie turned that torch over to Newt and the Republican members of Congress to keep that dream alive.
Then, there’s the old chestnut of “Newt was forced out of Congress in disgrace, after paying a $300k fine”. NOT SO FAST! Look at this quote from the excellent article by Byron York over at the Washington Examiner
“Given all the attention to the ethics matter, it’s worth asking what actually happened back in 1995, 1996, and 1997. The Gingrich case was extraordinarily complex, intensely partisan, and driven in no small way by a personal vendetta on the part of one of Gingrich’s former political opponents. It received saturation coverage in the press; a database search of major media outlets revealed more than 10,000 references to Gingrich’s ethics problems during the six months leading to his reprimand. It ended with a special counsel hired by the House Ethics Committee holding Gingrich to an astonishingly strict standard of behavior, after which Gingrich in essence pled guilty to two minor offenses. Afterwards, the case was referred to the Internal Revenue Service, which conducted an exhaustive investigation into the matter. And then, after it was all over and Gingrich was out of office, the IRS concluded that Gingrich did nothing wrong. After all the struggle, Gingrich was exonerated.”
Bottom line? Who ya gonna believe, the man who disavowed the “Reagan-Bush years”, or eyewitnesses who were fighting in the trenches?
And THAT is why I support Newt Gingrich, because I’d rather have a vision laid out in bold colors than pale pastels, even if the bold colors occasionally resemble a Picasso!