In a forum well suited to his talents, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich stood out at the Faith and Freedom Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.
The style of the forum allowed each candidate to speak at length about his or her values and policies and then had a few follow up questions afterward. The other five Republican candidates attending the event, Herman Cain, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum each spoke and were given roughly the same questions afterward.
Gingrich stood out because he stated clear and concrete policy ideas, discussed his opinions about the latest events in foreign affairs, and sprinkled in a healthy dose of history and beliefs about American Exceptionalism as well.
Putting the 2012 presidential contest in focus Gingrich marked the 2012 election as the most important since 1860.
“Next year we will decide whether the disastrous policies of class warfare, bureaucratic socialism, radical judges, and bureaucrats who treat us like as subjects rather than citizens will continue in office, or we will decisively repudiate an eighty year drift to the left,” said Gingrich.
Gingrich commented about the recent announcement that American military forces would be pulling out of Iraq by the end of the year. He clearly stated that the policy is a disaster and marked the final stage of the war as a complete failure.
Stating the success in the first Iraq War under President George H.W. Bush, and the quick takeover of Iraq that was conducted under President George W. Bush, Gingrich said that the third effort under President Barack Obama is now a defeat.
“After eight years, thousands of lives, hundreds of billions of dollars, we will leave in defeat,” Gingrich continued, “Don’t kid yourselves, it is defeat, Iran is stronger.”
On the issue of abortion, which is greatly important to many Iowa voters and people of faith, Gingrich said that upon entering office he would declare two executive orders that will bring the practice immediately under control.
Gingrich said his first executive order would be to “Reinstate Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City Policy that that no U.S. money is spent for abortion anywhere in the world.” The second would be to “Reinstate George W. Bush’s conscience policy which says ‘no doctor, no pharmacy, no nurse, no hospital can be compelled to perform any activity against their religious beliefs.’”
Gingrich said, “I would immediately move to de-fund Planned Parenthood and take that money and immediately devote it to adoption services to create an alternative to abortion.”
According to Gingrich, the final answer to getting rid of abortion on demand in America would be to go after radical judges by “bringing balance back to the Judiciary.” He highlighted the history of judicial activism during the last forty years, mentioned destructive judicial decisions in American history, and brought up how the President could in fact not enforce unconstitutional Supreme Court decisions.
At the end of his speech Gingrich made a direct challenge to Obama if he was to become the nominee. Channeling his earlier declaration that this election was the most important since the presidential election of 1860, which Abraham Lincoln won, Gingrich said that he would engage in “seven Lincoln-Douglas style debates, three hours each, with a time-keeper, but no moderator.”
When answering a question about energy in the question and answer session, Gingrich stuck to his beliefs and appealed to corn growers in Iowa when he defended ethanol subsidies. He said that ethanol subsidies have “kept money here at home” and have “enriched rural communities”.
The setting for Gingrich seemed perfect and he received a far greater applause than the previous speakers. He demonstrated knowledge, ideas, and pitch-perfect political rhetoric that won the crowd over and will perhaps help his campaign on its slow climb to top-tier status.