Thursday, December 16, 2004

Groundshaking Book Alert!: Newt's New Book "Winning The Future: A 21st Century Contract with America"

Gingrich Now Seeking a New Contract

Friday, November 12, 2004
by Luiza Ch. Savage

Newt Gingrich is preparing to unfurl a new Contract with America.

The last time he did so, the ideas catapulted Republicans to a majority in the House for the first time in a half century. Now the former House speaker is plotting a way to keep conservatives in power "for a generation or more." Yet it is Democrats who are being urged to look to him for inspiration as they contemplate their future in the minority.

"A 21st Century Contract with America" is the subject of a book scheduled for release in January.

Mr. Gingrich said it is not a platform from which to launch a presidential run in 2008.

"I don't plan to [run]," the former congressman from Georgia told The New York Sun yesterday. But he did not completely rule out a return to elected office. "I never say never," he said. "But it's not something I'm currently thinking about."

The book is to be a blueprint for "Phase Four" of the conservative revolution. The first phase, he said, was Ronald Reagan's "defining" conservatism. The second phase was the original Contract with America a decade ago and the election triumph that "created the majority." The third phase is the George W. Bush presidency, which has "deepened and reaffirmed the majority." The fourth phase of the revolution is to build up the Republican majority.

"I have a lot of good friends who will be out campaigning," Mr. Gingrich said, "and I hope they read the book."

Much of Mr. Gingrich's prescription is not original. Some of his suggestions, such as the inclusion of Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and African-Americans in decision-making roles rather than as the subjects of "outreach" programs, sound like familiar lines from the Karl Rove strategy book. Others, such as an exhortation to admit and correct mistakes swiftly, including what he calls "major mistakes" in Iraq, sound like a speech by Senator Kerry. Others, such as the need to "solve problems" and "deliver results," sound like vague common sense.

Mr. Gingrich argues that solving problems and convincing people that Republicans can help improve their lives, including dealing with mistakes that "inevitably" come with the exercise of power, will be critical to the longevity of the GOP majority.

Yet some of the ideas in his new contract call for government spending and involvement. While they may help the party build the "big tent" that he advocates, they hardly appear designed to help their author in a presidential primary run.

Mr. Gingrich runs a health-policy think tank, and he is interested in the promise of technology to revolutionize health care. Despite his past as a fiscal conservative, he was a backer of the president's costly Medicare prescription-drug benefit.

In addition, Mr. Gingrich argues that Republicans must tackle environmental conservation, an issue he said they "are not strong on yet," but one he believes to be "an overwhelmingly popular desire" that cannot be ignored.

"Which does not mean paying off the Sierra Club. It means developing high-tech solutions," Mr. Gingrich said.

He has long advocated finding technological fixes for social problems, once suggesting equipping poor children with government-financed laptop computers.

"I'm not sure his ideas have a lot of resonance with the Republican base," the director of the Center for Representative Government at the free-market-oriented Cato Institute, John Samples, said.

"Newt is not a traditional Republican. I think he sees that as a necessary step to becoming a majority party, but you've got to bring your base along with you or they may be recalcitrant," Mr. Samples said.

At the same time, Mr. Gingrich does work on market-oriented issues, such as the private Social Security accounts that President Bush has said will be a priority of his second term.

"He is playing an interesting role in managing center-right coalitions," the president of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, said.

"He is going to be one of the people working with everybody to make it happen - talking to guys on the Hill, talking to the White House ... making sure that the administration doesn't ask Congress to do anything that is politically costly," Mr. Norquist, who spent an hour with Mr. Gingrich last Sunday, said.

Mr. Norquist does not think Mr. Gingrich has any problem with Republicans but said that without a governorship or a Senate seat, he is in no position to make a run in 2008.

There are other obstacles to his electability. He made many foes at Capitol Hill with his strong-arm tactics as speaker, he was the subject of House ethics charges, and he faced allegations of extramarital affairs.

"He begins to look a bit like a Mc-Cain candidate, except weaker, because he doesn't have McCain's appeal to independents and Democrats. Where is he going to win in a primary?" Mr. Samples said, referring to the Arizona senator.

Mr. Gingrich's spokesman, Rick Tyler, calls him a "solution-oriented conservative who is pragmatic."

"A lot of our conservative friends were upset that he was for the Medicare bill," Mr. Tyler said. "But in the long run it will save money."

As for a presidential run, or a rumored appointment in the Bush administration, Mr. Tyler is doubtful. He said the book is not a platform for a political campaign. Mr. Gingrich is busy running the think tank, the Center for Health Transformation; delivering lucrative speeches, and appearing on the Fox News Channel. In addition, he reads two or three novels a week and is a prolific writer of reviews

Mr. Gingrich stepped down in 1998, beset by Democratic foes fomenting ethics charges and by internal GOP wrangling. Although he led the push for President Clinton's impeachment, the partisan bitterness that colored his relations with Democrats has been softened by time and by comparison.

"Newt looks like a Renaissance man compared to the medieval minds who are now running the House Republican caucus," the president of the Progressive Policy Institute, Will Marshall, said.

And as much as he wants to chart the Republican future, it is the Democrats who are being urged to study and learn from Mr. Gingrich's past.

"Now that they are out in the wilderness, they can look at Newt's model as a guide for how they can come back," a longtime senior aide to Mr. McCain, Marshall Wittman, said.

"I was around Republican circles in the early 1990s, when Republicans thought Newt was fanciful in his schemes to retake Congress. Democrats should learn from that example. Dare to do the impossible," Mr. Wittman, who recently crossed the aisle to join the Democratic Leadership Council, said.

The insurrection Mr. Gingrich launched, with stem-winding speeches in the House blasting Democrats as corrupt, set out a sharp and coherent agenda for change.

The midterm elections of 1994 became less about individual races and more about the concrete list of proposals labeled the Contract with America. The agenda included independent auditing of congressional spending, bal anced-budget amendments, and a line-item veto.

Nine of the 10 items were passed by the House within the first 100 days of the Congress.

"There is real opportunity for Democrats to fashion themselves as an insurgent party for reform," Mr. Marshall, of the Progressive Policy Institute, said.

"We could learn from the Gingrich insurrection about how to use the minority status in the House, when you have no real power, as a bully pulpit, and to use floor speeches to sell to the country a new package of ideas," he added. Mr. Gingrich said, however, that the Democrats cannot follow his example from the 1990s until they have the ideas to sell.

"I think they face a real choice about what kind of party they are going to be," the former college professor said. "To the degree they are dominated by the Pelosi wing, they are out of touch with most Americans. Until they go through an identity crisis, tactics are kind of irrelevant. All they are doing right now is waiting for Republicans to make a big enough mistake."

Winning The Future: A 21st Century Contract with America
by Newt Gingrich

From the Inside Flap
In the twenty-first century, America could be destroyed.
The dangers are manifold: Terrorism. Judges who think they’re God (and who are anti-God). Rising economic challenges from China and India. Immigrants and young Americans who know little about American history and values. Can America survive? Yes, says Newt Gingrich, and we as Americans can do more: We can create a safer, more prosperous, and healthier America for our children and grandchildren. How? By enacting a 21st Century Contract with America. When he was Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich issued his first Contract with America. What was the result? Sweeping reform that shocked Washington and spurred an economic recovery for the nation, including: the first major tax cut in sixteen years; real, lasting welfare reform; and four years of balanced budgets. But the challenges now are even starker, and Newt is back with a plan for American greatness that includes: · How to win the War on Terror – how Ronald Reagan’s winning strategy in the Cold War can be adapted and modified to win this new global struggle · How to reestablish God in American public life – without God, America ceases to be American, which is why leftists are so keen on banishing our Creator · How to reform Social Security – and improve your retirement earnings – before Social Security bankrupts the nation and the next generation of taxpayers · How to restore patriotism to American schools – and insist on patriotic learning for new immigrants · How to make American health care the global standard for excellence and accessibility – while reducing health care costs · And much more The challenges of the 21st Century are great, says Newt Gingrich, but so are the opportunities. The decisions we make over the next four years will determine our future. And no book can be more important for making the right choices than Newt Gingrich’s Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America

Product Description:
A grass root call to action and will set the debate for the new administration and Congress.

Product Details:

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Regnery Publishing, Inc. (January 10, 2005)

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