#1 – An Honest Look at Newt Gingrich
Written by Jack Kerwick, Ph.D. Thursday, 17 November 2011 10:30
(Excerpt): While there can be no denying that Gingrich is deserving of credit for some of his accomplishments as House Speaker, neither can there be any denying that he is as committed a proponent of Big Government — i.e., a system within which the federal government is ultimately the supreme authority — as anyone. To put this point another way, Gingrich is most definitely not a champion of the liberty that the framers of the Constitution sought to bequeath to their posterity.
While some of Gingrich’s ideas for the country may be less destructive of liberty than those of others, there is no circumventing the ugly truth that he is an establishment Republican through and through. Newt Gingrich, that is, is just another Big Government politician who will do nothing to weaken the federal government’s control over our lives.
Tax Collector of the Welfare State
In its "Professor Cornpone" op-ed, the Wall Street Journal suggested of Gingrich, "The Georgian has been campaigning in the tea party age as a fierce critic of spending and government, but his record on that score is, well, mixed."
Though Gingrich once derided Kansas Senator Bob Dole as the "tax collector of the welfare state," this was primarily the role Gingrich filled when he had a constitutional stranglehold on the nation’s finances as House speaker from 1995-99. The Constitution provides that the federal government may not spend a dime unless the House of Representatives approves it in an appropriation bill. The "conservative" Gingrich failed to cut spending at all, but did manage to increase tax collection from the citizenry by more than 50 percent. Total federal spending during Gingrich’s speakership increased from $1.227 trillion fiscal 1995 to $1.383 trillion in fiscal 1999, the last fiscal year of his speakership, a 12.7 percent increase (3.2 percent per year). The U.S. budget did move from a $226 billion deficit to an $86 billion surplus during that period. But it had nothing to do with spending cuts; the deficit was erased because of increased extraction of tax dollars from taxpayers. During Gingrich’s tenure as speaker, federal tax receipts increased by more than 50 percent, from $1.001 trillion to $1.545 trillion.
Not surprisingly, Gingrich is campaigning on the same platform he employed as Speaker: no spending cuts, but higher tax revenues. "We can have higher revenues without having higher taxes," his campaign website boasts. Indeed, his campaign "solutions" website fails to itemize any specific spending cuts other than repealing ObamaCare and the boilerplate waste, fraud, and abuse that even liberal Democrats campaign against. Of the GOP presidential field, only Ron Paul has offered a proposal with specific and substantial spending cuts.
With current front-runner Herman Cain opening himself up to the charges of flip-flopping, it’s possible Gingrich could replace Cain as the apparent anti-Romney and Tea Party favorite. But that depends upon the forgetfulness of GOP primary voters.
There’s a precedent for voters forgetting Gingrich’s record. Gingrich was apparently able to get many Christian Right "values voters" to forget his past, which included some very striking examples of lack of values. Gingrich once suggested that his adultery in his first two broken marriages was partly an outgrowth of his patriotism. Gingrich told Pat Robertson’s CBN television network on March 8, 2011 that "there’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate. And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn’t trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them." Yet the thrice-married Gingrich — a convert to Catholicism in 2009 — received a standing ovation by Christian Right "values voters" at the October 22 Iowa Faith and Freedom Forum, the strongest applause of any candidate at the forum.
The question remains: Will Tea Party voters likewise forget Gingrich’s record and adopt him as one of their own?