America’s most powerful Republican doesn’t hold political office. Since resigning as speaker of the House 11 years ago, Newt Gingrich has officially been a private citizen, giving speeches, writing books and making documentaries. But unofficially, the man who ended 40 years of Democratic majority in Congress still rules the American right. Can he repeat his 1994 Republican Revolution?
Is the Tea Party good or bad news for the Republicans and the United States?
The Tea Party movement supports and reinforces the conservative ideals of lower taxes, responsible spending and limited government. According to a recent Gallup poll, 59 percent of Americans believe the federal government currently has too much power. We need political leaders advocating for the principles and beliefs our citizens value. So yes, I believe a movement that supports the American people is good news. It strengthens and energizes the Republican Party as well as our nation as a whole.
You’re a historian by training. Which lessons have you learned from 20th-century US history?
One of the most important lessons is the importance of recognizing and defining our nation’s enemies. The Cold War provides the key example.
Following World War II, the left in America romanticized about many ideas put forth by Moscow, and turned a blind eye to the fact that Stalin had already slaughtered millions of his own people and was now subjugating much of Eastern Europe. Just four years later, the Soviets detonated a nuclear weapon, China fell to the Maoists and it was clear that we were facing an enemy hostile to our existence and way of life. If you go back and look at the left’s responses to communism, you see the delusion and the disinformation.
The left consistently apologized for the Soviet empire, heralding its dubious “egalitarianism” while ignoring the thuggish, totalitarian instincts of the regime. These were the people who were shocked when Ronald Reagan finally defined the Soviet Union as what it really was: “the evil empire.” It took heroic efforts, spanning dec- ades, to loosen the communist grip in Eastern Europe.
The left’s refusal to tell the truth about the threat from radical Islamism is a logical parallel to this pattern. The political elite in the United States still refuses to recognize that radical Islamists and their ideology are our enemy.
Despite nine years of reorganization and billions of dollars, the national security apparatus has failed — yet there’s been no honest assessment of failure. And meanwhile, we have a political and bureaucratic elite who, just as during the Cold War, still refuse to acknowledge that we are facing an enemy that systematically wants to destroy us.
What do you tell Republicans running for office?
We tell any serious conservative candidate to speak about this election as a fundamental choice. On the one hand, you have a governing party with a job-killing agenda. On the other hand, you have a Republican party poised to become the party of paychecks. Republican candidates must continue to explain their plans for controlling spending, cutting taxes and reforming government.
What’s the most important issue in this election?
Jobs. This is an election between the party of job creators and the party of job killers; between the Republican party of paychecks and the Democrat party of food stamps.
The administration’s poor decisions have consistently been destroying American jobs, spurring the high unemployment, rattling our economy.
Who will win the election?
Joe Gaylord, one of my partners in creating the Contract with America in 1994, was amazingly accurate with his projections back then. He predicted we’d gain 52 seats in the House. We ended up picking up 53 and became a majority for the first time in forty years. Gaylord has been analyzing this year’s races, and I’ll defer to him: He predicts 59 Republican additional seats in the House.
What’s today’s biggest threat to the US position as the world’s strongest nation?
The greatest threat to America is the prospect of losing what makes us uniquely and exceptionally American. Right now, there is a total lack of understanding that this nation was born out of a religious heritage and founded because our rights came from our Creator, and these rights are enshrined in our Constitution. This is what makes America exceptional, this is what millions have sacrificed for, and this is something precious and rare.