All week the press has been playing a “will he, or won’t he” announce game with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Late yesterday, I was contacted about talking with Speaker Gingrich today and he did a live interview with me in the last segment of today’s Martha Zoller Show.
There’s been speculation throughout the mainstream and not-so-mainstream press about what he will do. Gingrich is setting up an exploratory phase leading up to an exploratory committee seeking the Republican nomination for president. He will launch a website today www.newtexplore2012.com to that end.
The opening for Gingrich is on policy. For the last number of years, since the launch of American Solutions, Newt has been wholly focused on the ideas that are conservative that can get broad support, much like a Contract for America in the 21st Century. Drill Here, Drill Now was the first initiative and it’s as relevant today as it was in 2008, maybe more so.
When the jubilant supporters of the newly elected President Obama were saying, “he’s going to pay my mortgage,” and “he’s going to pay my gas bill,” they didn’t really think the president was going to pay their bills. What they did think was he would have policies that would make things better. Not a single person I saw interviewed said, “I hope he overhauls health care.” It was all kitchen table issues.
Gingrich says, “The price of gas has risen under Obama. We need to use American sources [of energy].” It has to be an “all in” strategy. He points out the Obama Administration failed to deal with the problem, so now we are at greater risk than ever with a national security threat growing in the Middle East. “We need a real American energy policy. It is one of the great failed opportunities for this president, and it puts us at a big risk for a national security disaster in the Middle East,” Gingrich said today.
How many times do we have to get “hit over the head with a 2 by 4” before we understand we need an American energy policy for the short term and the long term? Too many presidents have promised this and have failed. Not because they haven’t had opportunities to do something but because they didn’t have the vision to get it done. Newt Gingrich has the vision, but will he have the support to get to the United States Presidency.
Gingrich points out that in the middle of turmoil throughout the Middle East, Iraq is a relative oasis of freedom. He received a letter from a friend who has worked on Iraq issues for many years and he wondered why the Iraqi people don’t get the credit for proving that people in the Middle East are able to govern themselves. While they have problems, they have their own elections and they are muddling through establishing private property rights and learning the free market. Newt believes President Bush and the Iraqi people deserve credit for moving in the right direction.
On running for President, he said, “Callista and I promised, as you know, for well over a year that we would make a decision in late February or early March and we have kept our promise,” Gingrich said. “We will have a Web site up later on today, people can go to it. It’s newtexplore2012.com and it’s an effort to reach out to folks and say if we really want to get back to being a country of American exceptionalism and we really want to create jobs competing with Germany and China and India and we really want to shrink government, get power out of Washington, balance the federal budget and we really want to have a stronger national and homeland security so we’re safer. Lots of folks are going to have to decide if that’s a project they want to be engaged in.”
Finally, on the topics of budgets and government shutdowns, he said, “Republicans have to be very firm and calm in negotiating with the president and insist that the president deliver democrats in the Senate. They can’t back down on cutting spending and meeting the challenges that they promised to work on and that includes a very large multibillion dollar cut in government and it includes what Cong. Paul Ryan, Budget Committee Chairman, will do tackling entitlements.” He closed by saying, “We cannot let the Washington establishment and Obama administration bluff Republicans. They have to keep their word.”
We will all be following Newt closely.