There has been a significant shift in public opinion over the past year, and polling data indicates the GOP is now leading in every policy area. The approval rating of President Obama and the Democratic Congress has declined dramatically, but many voters have no idea what the GOP is advocating.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) created the Contract with America in 1994 to outline a positive GOP agenda. His work contributed to the tremendous victory that year which produced a gain of 9 seats in the Senate and 52 in the House. The GOP had been out of power for 40 years and the unexpected victory stunned the nation.
Similar to President Obama today, Bill Clinton’s popularity in 1994 was under 50%, but GOP enthusiasm today is far greater. In 1996 the nation saw the re-election of the first Republican Congress since 1928, and the GOP continued to control the House for a dozen years.
It will be difficult for Republicans to now win the 40 seats they would need to capture control of the House of Representatives, and it is doubtful that will happen without a positive agenda. Gingrich is again working on a new contract. He sees this campaign as “not a normal series of elections” but “a fundamental fight over the core definition of America. The more we make this about the nature of America, the weaker they are.” Below are excerpts from some of his recent remarks.
In economic terms this is the worst administration since Herbert Hoover. The economy is not going to recover when you have a giant energy tax, a giant health tax, and the end of the Bush tax cuts. All the different things they want to do are going to end up being a tremendous burden on this economy. . .
Why is Sacramento such a mess, and why is Albany such a mess? Why has Detroit been destroyed? What’s happened is that the Democratic machine has a set of values which are antithetical to creativity, productivity and the work ethic. The machine exists for the purpose of taking away your money, controlling your life, and redistributing your goods to other people based on political whim. It’s fundamentally wrong, and it’s fundamentally the opposite of American traditions.
We need to discipline ourselves in starting out every conversation. Whatever the news media asks us and however the left attacks us, our first answer should be ‘Let me tell you what I’m for.’
- I think we should decide we’re going to be the Party of Yes, and Republicans say yes to a balanced budget through controlled spending.
- Republicans say yes to more jobs through tax cuts.
- Republicans say yes to balancing the Federal budget without a single penny of tax increases by reforming government.
- Republicans say yes to stopping waste, fraud and abuse which is stealing money from Medicaid and Medicare.
- Republicans say yes to spending money to help American soldiers get better equipment rather than paying money to lawyers to defend terrorists.
- Republicans say yes to producing energy at home.
- Republicans say yes to litigation reform to protect every doctor in America from inappropriate and unnecessary defensive medicine.
- Republicans say yes to allowing individuals and small businesses to group together to be able to buy health insurance across state lines at lower costs with no government involvement.
- Republicans say yes to five specific tax cuts for small business and for business in general. A CBS News poll indicates that by a 59% to 21% margin the American people believe business tax cuts are more effective than government spending at creating jobs.
- Republicans say yes to cutting the regulatory burden on small business, so that people can focus on creating jobs, not filling out Federal paperwork.
- Republicans say yes to a 50-percent reduction in Social Security and Medicare taxes for both the employer and the employee for two full years to jump-start the economy, to increase the liquidity of small business, and to give every working American some money to take home.
- Republicans say yes to ending earmarks. They are the politics of the past and they’re the politics of the machine. Over the next year or two, you’ll see the Republican Party adopt a no-earmarks policy.
Let’s have a positive campaign. During September and October we need to contrast the things we say yes to — lower taxes, more jobs, less spending, lower deficits, lower interest rates — and the things they say yes to — higher taxes, fewer jobs, bigger government, more bureaucracy, more powerful politicians.
Let’s see which party is choosen by the American people. My prediction is we will win in 2010 and 2012 because the GOP represents the values, vision, and hopes of the American people, and the Democrats represent a future absolutely unacceptable to the vast majority of Americans.
I doubt Gingrich will run for President, but the speculation does keep him in the spotlight. He was forced out of Congress by the GOP and if he did run many skeletons of the past (such as the House Ethics Committee investigation) would re-appear. I do not view Gingrich as a candidate but he is an excellent spokesman on policy issues. He is the GOP’s “thought leader” on generating compelling and workable policies that expand on Reagan/Bush conservatism.
Grover Cleveland admitted paternity of an illegitimate child in 1884 and that did not keep him out of the White House. Many presidents have had extramarital affairs but the public usually did not know about it until they left office. Nevertheless, personal lives have been a significant factor. The divorces of New York Republicans Nelson Rockefeller and Rudy Giuliani were factors in their primary defeats, and Democrats probably would have nominated Ted Kennedy if it had not been for his personal life.