Memo to the President and Congress: Real Change Now

To: President George W. Bush
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

From: Newt Gingrich

Re: Taking the Rest of the Year off Versus Real Change Now

We don’t yet know what the outcome of today’s voting in Michigan will be. However, we do know that in the four major contests of campaign ’08 so far, the voters have sent a clear and consistent message: real change now.

In both Iowa party caucuses and both New Hampshire primaries, the voters voted for change.

The country is speaking loudly and clearly. The American people are rejecting the special interests, and the bureaucratic status quo in Washington. The question for you now is: What are you going to do about it?

The People Are Voting for Change. What Are You Going to Do About it?

Some argue that Sen. Hillary Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) victory in the New Hampshire Democratic primary was a sign of a lack of support for change. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sen. Clinton didn’t defeat Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) by being the anti-change candidate. She defeated him by successfully arguing that her 35-year record of change was preferable to his promise of future change.

Exit polling also showed that Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) rode to victory in the New Hampshire Republican primary on the issue of change. He was seen by voters as the candidate who would do things differently in Washington.

We Don’t Have to Wait for Elections to Have Real Change

The back-to-back electoral earthquakes of Iowa and New Hampshire have sent an important message. Instead of taking the year off and watching the ’08 campaign, the President and Congress should focus — now, without waiting for the elections — on giving the American people what the real change they clearly want. We need real change because the system seems neither capable nor inclined to serve the American people over itself.

Led by you, the American people have a unique opportunity to seize this political moment.

We have the desire to change our country.

We have an agenda for change, which I describe to you below.

We don’t need elections. All we need is the political courage to bring about real change now.

Democrats Can’t Bring About Change. Republicans Won’t

My new book, Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works, describes how two facts of our political process have historically stood in the way of bringing about real change in the way Washington does business. They can be summed up in four words: Democrats can’t. Republicans won’t.

The Democratic base of unions, government bureaucracies and left-wing special-interest groups is fully invested in Washington’s status quo. For a Democratic politician, to effect change is to risk the wrath of her most important constituency.

As for Republicans, while they’re closer to the core values of Americans with their belief in lower taxes, limited government, entrepreneurship and strong national defense, they’re still stuck in a minority-party mindset in which they simply do not believe that in issue after issue they hold positions that are held by the majority of Americans. Until Republicans can break out of that, they won’t bring about real change.

The Answer: Listen to the American People

If Democrats can’t bring about change and Republicans won’t, the answer is to go to the source: the American people.

American Solutions has developed a unique political document that can serve as the blueprint for change. It is an agenda of truly “tripartisan” issues — goals for America that have the support of majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents.

We spent six months polling Americans and conducting nationwide Solutions workshops to develop this document. We asked Americans what values are most important to them and what solutions they’d like to see implemented to advance these values.

The results were surprising. The politicians may emphasize the negative and the news media may focus on the conflict, but Americans are united when it comes to the substantive changes they would like to see. Americans are so united that this agenda can credibly be called the “Platform of the American People.”

Six Areas of “Tripartisan” Agreement among the American People

Tens of thousands of Americans have already downloaded the Platform of the American People from And thousands of Iowa residents joined me in a tele-town hall meeting the night before the party caucuses to discuss the platform.

Out of the scores of tripartisan solutions contained in the platform, we have identified six that we believe are achievable by the President and Congress in the coming months and would constitute the start of real change in Washington:

  • Unifying America by making English the official language of government;
  • Accelerating energy solutions by dramatically increasing our investments in math and science education and by offering very large prizes, including prizes to invent an affordable car that gets 100 miles per gallon, to create new and safer ways to dispose of nuclear waste, and to find ways to reduce carbon emissions;
  • Embracing a “Green Conservatism” that supports building more nuclear power plants to help cut carbon emissions;
  • Implementing a prosperity agenda that includes the option of a single-rate tax system that gives taxpayers the convenience of filing their taxes with just a single sheet of paper;
  • Defending God in the public square by protecting the words “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance; and
  • Protecting America by making it a crime to advocate acts of terrorism.

Your Challenge: Real Change by Easter

Each of these items has the support of a majority of Republicans, a majority of Democrats and a majority of independents. What’s more, each of these goals is achievable and could be passed by Easter.

So this is your challenge: Force the issue of real change now.

In his State of the Union Address, the President should propose an agenda of real change.

And in the next three months, Congress should pass it.

There is no reason to wait 11 months to do what the American people are calling for now.

The President and Congress Have a Choice

The American people have spoken, and now you, our elected officials, must make a choice.

You can take the rest of the year off and watch the mounting frustration of the nation you were elected to serve, or you can spend the next three months collaborating to pass an agenda of real change.

This is a critical time in our national politics.

The American people are calling on you to change the bureaucratic and special-interests status quo in Washington.

Imagine the future of America if you accept this challenge.

Imagine a new era in which the vast majority of Americans are actually represented in government and politics.

Imagine a new era in which we actually get things done.

There is no reason to wait. You can and must act. The American people want real change — now.