CPAC 2012: Newt Gingrich hits the reset button


No one can say they don’t know what Newt Gingrich will do after his inauguration.  He’s got big plans, and he laid them all out in his CPAC address.  He pledged to have a full list of his proposed executive orders and presidential findings published online by October, so that every voter will know exactly what they’re getting.  He wants every Republican candidate to campaign with him on a pledge to hit the next Congress in a monster jam session that repeals the job-killing centralized corruption of ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, and Sarbanes-Oxley by the time he’s sworn in… and that’s just an appetizer. 

Within two hours of plopping his Dilbert calendar and family photographs on the Resolute Desk, he’ll have signed an executive order to cashier every one of the Obama czars.  Then he’ll sign one to approve the oil pipeline from Canada to Houston.  By lunch, he’ll have moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.  (I believe that under the Lean Six Sigma doctrine, it would be a good cost-saving measure to send all the unused office supplies from the fired Obama czars to outfit the new Jerusalem embassy.) 

Next up would be re-instituting Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City policy, to forbid spending money to subsidize abortion overseas, even as “every act of religious bigotry by the Obama government” is swept away.  By the time ex-President Obama “lands in Chicago,” he aims to have repealed “40 percent of Obama’s government.”

Then the munchkins of the Establishment would get to clutch their “fairness” and “revenue-neutral” teddy bears, suck their thumbs, and watch as President Gingrich proceeded to “create the most dynamic economy on the planet, and rebuild our manufacturing base” by eliminating the capital gains tax for all investment in the United States, allow 100 percent expensing of all new capital equipment, requiring mandatory business-led training for all who receive unemployment benefits, eliminating the job-killing Environmental Protection Agency, creating an Environmental Solutions Agency full of common-sense professionals instead of zero-growth anti-business radicals, creating a 21st-century Food and Drug Administration to unleash job-creating medical research, slashing the corporate tax rate to 12.5 percent, actually collecting some taxes from General Electric, abolishing the immoral death tax, cutting everyone’s taxes with the flat tax plan Steve Forbes brought back from Hong Kong, balancing the federal budget by bringing the level of spending down to meet the level of revenue, stop taxing the American people to pay off Barack Obama’s credit card, using American energy to reduce fuel prices, increasing government revenue through economic growth, save $500 billion a year by replacing the 130-year-old incompetent and inefficient civil service system with a modern system based on ideas like Lean Six Sigma, abolishing the totally failed Department of Energy, subcontracting fraud-riddled Medicaid and Medicare administration to professional data administrators from credit card companies, taking the 10th Amendment seriously, strengthening Social Security, auditing the Federal Reserve, re-balancing the federal judiciary, and bouncing Fed chief Ben Bernanke out of Washington.  Oh, and he won’t be bowing to any Saudi kings.

But that’s not all!  Be sure to drop by, where you can bathe your mind in “an immense amount of material.”

No one else at CPAC had a speech as packed full of specifics as Newt Gingrich.  He’s got a broad and deep agenda, and he can run through it from memory.  He loves talking about every aspect of it.  Whether you like his ideas or not, you can’t say he’s trying to hide any of them.

He is, however, a very bad golfer, by his own admission.  Nobody’s perfect.

Gingrich is no fan of the “GOP establishment,” which loves to use the word “unrealistic” as a death curse to strike down ideas that challenge it.  That’s the defining feature of the various Establishments trying to grind Gingrich beneath their heels, including the Washington Establishment, the Wall Street Establishment, and the Media Establishment.  You don’t become a member of the Establishment by serving in Congress or working in Washington for a number of years.  The essential rite of passage involves deciding all the bold ideas are “unrealistic,” and settling into an overstuffed armchair of humdrum Big Government “reality.”

They called the capital gains tax cuts, welfare reform, balanced budget, and job growth Gingrich stewarded during the Clinton years “unrealistic,” too.  The Republican Establishment remains as it has been for half a century, preferring to “manage the decay,” because that’s easier than “changing the trajectory,” which involves “real fights, and a real willingness to roll up sleeves and actually take on the Left.”  The Establishment sure knows how to muck up a primary, but they’re just not tough enough to beat the Left in a presidential campaign.  Only the “Paycheck President” can defeat the “Food Stamp President.”

Some say Gingrich is paranoid and self-serving to talk this way, seeking to whitewash the less appealing elements of his Speakership by casting himself as a rebel against the flabby but powerful Establishment.  Maybe so, but you’ve got to admit it’s not hard to think of Republicans who embrace the mind-set he’s describing.

According to Gingrich, we face now an hour similar to 1980, 1984, and 1994, when a bold conservatism presented with vigor can rally independent and moderate voters, who might otherwise be cowed by the Left’s moralistic commands to continue America’s downward spiral.  A timid and leashed America that needs 23 years to cut through the bureaucracy, incompetence, and red tape to add a runway to an airport, where its forefathers needed only 3 years to smash the Axis, is hungry for energetic leadership to lead it back into a mostly private-sector “world that works.”  It is “not a theory” that UPS and FedEx can track 28 million moving packages a day, while the federal government “cannot find 11 million illegal immigrants, even if they’re sitting still.”

Wit is a sign of confidence, and Gingrich got big laughs by suggesting illegal aliens could be tracked down by sending them a UPS package… then scored again by reminding the media (ahem, make that The Media Establishment) that he was engaging in hyperbole, and did not need to be fact-checked.

Gingrich was unsparing in his criticism of both the incumbent President’s policies and character.  He said Obama has clearly demonstrated that he “cannot be trusted” to protect the religious liberty of Americans, and would “wage war on the Catholic Church” if given a second term.  He accused Obama of being “anti-American energy” in his quest to saddle us with five-dollar gasoline at the pump.  The Obama Administration’s foreign policy so badly “misunderstands the nature of reality” so badly that they’re inflicting deep defense cuts even as Americans are once again held hostage in a Middle Eastern nation, and Barack Obama completes his transformation into Jimmy Carter the Second.  Gingrich, in contrast, would “tell us the truth about radical Islamists who are trying to kill us.” 

Some relish proposal-packed speeches like this, while others say it’s too wonkish for “independent voter” consumption, and Gingrich is biting off more than any President could chew.  Where Rick Santorum offered a focused table of contents for his proposed Administration, and Mitt Romney spent half of his speech talking about his biography, Gingrich is already working on the footnotes and appendix.  But is his exhaustive list of proposals really too much for one Administration?  Barack Obama hasn’t been shy about swinging executive power like a wrecking ball.  Why can’t it be used constructively?

For Newt Gingrich, the historic election ahead will be a choice between those who cleave to the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Federalist Papers, versus Barack Obama and the Saul Alinsky radicals.  He calls for hitting the “reset button” and rebuilding America, instead of managing its decay.  None of the Establishments talk like that.