Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich last night offered a grim outlook for the final two years of the Bush Administration, saying at best it would resemble President Gerald Ford’s administration and at worst President Jimmy Carter’s.
Gingrich spoke at a private fundraiser for the Virginia Conservative Action PAC. The event, hosted at the home of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs President Craig Shirley, attracted dozens of conservatives to hear Gingrich’s message.
Despite a clamoring among conservatives for Gingrich to run for president in 2008, he offered no indication he would do so. Recently, Gingrich has said he would make a decision in September 2007. He echoed those sentiments last night.
Gingrich’s remarks were wide-ranging, touching on America’s healthcare system, the bloated federal budget and a history lesson about George Washington’s Mount Vernon home—just miles from the site of the fundraiser.
He reserved his harshest remarks for the Bush Administration and Republicans in Washington, D.C. Gingrich called the consultant community “stupid” and said the GOP has wasted money on campaign ads. He said, “2004 was pathetic, and 2006 was worse.”
Gingrich said Republicans—and especially White House adviser Karl Rove—need to recognize why they lost control of Congress. He said Rove should leave his job if he doesn’t get it.
On Iraq, Gingrich said the U.S. won the first campaign there—toppling Saddam Hussein—but has failed in the second, ongoing campaign. He said he opposes the current plan of action in Iraq, and called on the U.S. to launch a new, broader third campaign. In the past, Gingrich has suggested a preemptive invasion of Iran to thwart that country’s development of a nuclear weapon.
He said the American people are more courageous than the Bush Administration realizes—and when called upon to act, they will respond accordingly. “Show them Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speeches,” Gingrich implored.
What advice would Gingrich offer Bush and Republicans? He named three bold moves he would take: Abolish the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, make English the official U.S. language, and praise US Airways, in the form of a congressional resolution, for its tough stand against six Muslim imams who behaved like terrorists on a recent flight.
He cited the “fiasco” in New Orleans as another embarrassment for the Bush Administration, which has relied on government to fix the city’s problems rather than private enterprise. “If there was no FEMA, New Orleans would have recovered faster.”
The fundraiser was organized on behalf of VCAP by Erin DeLullo, who most recently worked on Ken Blackwell’s campaign for governor of Ohio. Notable conservatives in attendance included VCAP Executive Director Robin DeJarnette, former U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell, public-relations consultants Diana Banister and Christian Josi, Townhall.com General Manager Chuck DeFeo, and American Spectator senior editor Quin Hillyer. Virginia Delegate Chris Saxman and Corey Stewart, the newly elected chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, were also in attendance.