In a conference call with bloggers today, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich encouraged the Republican leadership to “keep the pressure” on President Obama and take legislative action to destroy his debt ceiling scare tactics. “Legislative bodies do better when they act,” Gingrich mused.
For example, he thinks the silly “Social Security freeze” talking point should be taken off the table with a Social Security Payment Guarantee Act. This would reaffirm the President’s duty to pay Social Security checks on time, no matter what happens to the debt ceiling. Either Obama would be obliged to drop his threats – and look profoundly dishonest for having made them in the first place – or he would have to veto the Guarantee Act, and enrage seniors from coast to coast.
This type of pro-active “checkmate” legislation would strip the President of his ability to pontificate without offering specifics… or, as a petition Gingrich is organizing at his campaign website puts it, “stand up to the bully in the pulpit.”
He also applauded the House leadership’s determination to pass a balanced budget amendment next week. Although it will be difficult to find the votes needed for passage in the Senate, it’s another good idea he thinks Democrats should be forced to shoot down. He believes “a number of Democrats will be defeated next year if they vote against it.”
Gingrich urged the Republicans to stand their ground, and make a firm demand for spending cuts equal to any contemplated increase in the debt ceiling, without any of the tax hikes Obama demands. “This is the moment to stand up to Obama,” he said. “If you can’t stand up to him with 9.2% unemployment, a $14 trillion national debt, and his radicalism, when can you stand up to him?”
He is “adamantly opposed to more tax increases going to the government,” citing the danger to our weak economy. “This country is overspent, not under-taxed,” Gingrich added.
One way to increase revenue without raising anyone’s taxes would be lifting regulations which block business opportunities, such as Obama’s moratorium on offshore drilling. “Increased offshore drilling would increase revenue through federal royalties. Pass it and make him veto it,” Gingrich suggested. This would be another piece of “checkmate” legislation, designed to force the President to reveal his dishonesty, by compelling his veto of legislation that responds to his public demand for greater revenue.
Speaking of that weak economy, Gingrich called on “everyone in the conservative movement” to “do what I’ve done, and call it the Obama Depression.”
“You can go everywhere in this country and find ways Obama kills jobs,” he asserted. “Obama is the best food stamp president in American history, but we need a paycheck president.”
Gingrich believes today’s congressional Republican leadership holds much higher ground than he did, during his legendary battles with President Bill Clinton. “Clinton was a natural centrist, but Obama is a radical.” He says Clinton won re-election by adopting Republican policies, such as welfare reform, while Obama is incapable of such ideological flexibility.
“Do we have the nerve to take on the most radical President in American history?” is the question Newt Gingrich wants every conservative to ask. Next week’s Congressional action should go a long way toward showing us which side of this debate is closer to failing a gut check.