With some conservatives eagerly awaiting the announcement of a Newt Gingrich presidential run, the former House Speaker launched his inaugural Solutions Day in Atlanta, Georgia yesterday.
The two day event kicked off with Gingrich’s opening address that outlined the problems facing America and how citizens could fundamentally address the challenges.
“American people are tired of red versus blue…the American people do want red, white, blue and that means bringing us together,” Gingrich said, repeating a line he’s used to color the face of Solutions Day in the past week.
He derided the concept a divided country (one of former Sen. John Edwards’ main campaign themes), saying this idea is a “falsehood” and instead America is “stunningly unified” when leadership steps up to the plate. The responsibility for change, he asserted, isn’t solely the responsibility of national leaders, but with local citizens as well.
“…the President is only one of 513,000 elected officials [local government elections]…when you try to change America, you have to change a heck of lot more than Washington,” Gingrich said, adding that “citizens on every level” must be prepared to work for real change and make the difference from the bottom up.
Gingrich applied his now-familiar “Fed Ex versus the Bureaucracy” analogy as a substantial angle of the speech, saying that the Fed Ex system is more efficient and easily accessible than the federal government.
He spoke of lowering taxes, eliminating the death tax and the capital gains tax on individuals and businesses as well as slashing back the massive paperwork of a government that is designed to reward failure instead of success. He also recommended a tax break for those corporations that stay in the US rather than outsourcing jobs.
After inviting Kellyanne Conway of the Polling Company and former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer (D) to say a few words that proved his points of a bi-partisan America that is unified on a values-driven front, Gingrich took the stage again.
“You can act with confidence that on most of the values you believe, 70-80-90 percent of American people agree with you and you therefore have the moral authority for the vast majority of America,” he said.
Gingrich went on to blast Columbia University for inviting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak. He said, “Overwhelmingly, the American people believe when you have an enemy…you have to defeat that enemy, not understand them.”
The second Solutions Day Conference — set for tomorrow — is to confront the entire range of challenging issues facing America right now.
Saturday’s events include a full schedule of hour-long workshops on everything from “Green Conservatism and Biodiversity” to “Raising our Children to be Good Citizens.” Sessions are moderated by civic leaders and topic experts that will present, answer questions and provide substantial steps participants can take to improve on that subject.
Interactive components will be emphasized as Gingrich has recognized working together closely is an intergal part of real change for America.
Gingrich has hinted at a presidential run for months now, saying in an American Spectator breakfast several months ago that he would run only if there were a void to fill in the Republican Party.
The likelihood of a Gingrich run was reduced when former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson jumped into the race. Thompson, expected to seize immediately the role of the friont-running “true” conservative hasn’t made any impressive leaps and Gingrich has yet to make the Sherman-esque “won’t run” announcement.
But Gingrich’s attitude still has the look and sound of a campaign: “How can you do anything besides be an American, roll up your sleeves and get the job done?” the former Speaker asked the crowd last night. He then called his grandchildren to the stage, looked at them proudly, spread his arms and said, “THIS is what it’s all about.”