Jim covered Congress and The White House during the George W. Bush administration for The Washington Times, and worked as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. He has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, and many local and national talk radio shows to talk politics and policy.
Latest posts by Jim Lakely (see all)
I awoke late on Sunday — late in the morning, that is. So I only found out via my Twitter feed that Newt Gingrich not only screwed his presidential hopes, but handed the opponents of Paul Ryan’s sensible budget plan all the fodder they need to gain the upper hand in an already difficult debate.
I believe my Twitter response went something like this:
Dammit, Newt! (expletive, expletive … an expletive my mother would slap me for … some safe-for-work words … some expletives for which I have to go to confession.)
Thankfully, I deleted that Twitter response before I sent it. Only now, two days later, can I write about what Newt said without using expletives — but it takes more self-control than when I see the box of doughnuts that shows up at Heartland’s offices sometimes on Thursdays.
Newt has spent a lot of time today trying to “explain” or “walk-back” or “put in context” what he said on Meet the Press about Paul Ryan’s plan to inject long-needed market forces into the bankrupt, state-controlled Medicare program. But there ain’t no walking back from this. Here’s the only quote that matters:
“I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering,” he said when asked about Ryan’s plan to transition to a “premium support” model for Medicare. “I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.”
When I read what Newt said, my first (non-swearing) thought was that he just wrote the campaign ad/talking points for Obama and the statist Democrats on this issue.
Hell! Even that right-wing nut-job Newt Gingrich thinks Paul Ryan’s plan is ‘radical.’ And we’re talking about the ‘Gingrich Who Stole Christmas’! The guy who wanted to throw grandma into the snow — and if she made it to the trash can fire under the bridge for warmth, she’d have to subsist on cat food. God Bless Bill Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, who saved her from death back in the ’90s by beating back these ‘radical’ ideas. I can’t believe ‘the other side’ wants to try that stuff again! …
(Etc., etc., … I’m gonna puke.)
How can a man who is supposed to be so smart make such a stupid gaffe? (SPOILER ALERT: Newt’s arrogance trumps all; simply Newt being Newt.) Just look at that Newsweek cover from late 1994 at your left. That is how the MSM portrayed him when he advocated policies that Bill Clinto eventually embraced — and for which the Democrats have endlessly taken credit.
Doesn’t Newt remember that? Doesn’t he have that on the wall of his office to remember what the MSM does to any politician brave enough to take on The Leviathan that is the statist government establishment?
What the left has done to this country over most of the 20th century is the definition of “social engineering” — to establish a society in which generations of Americans look first to government for direction in life; to look first to government to handle their retirement, their medical care, their jobs … and to nine lawyers on the Supreme Court to define what rights we may have, rather than our rights being inherent before our government was established.
What the right has tried to do has been to roll it back. Ideally, roll back all (or most) of it. But politics requires taking one piece at a time given the size of The Leviathan and the way the electorate, for generations, has been conditioned to wrongly think of the massive and controlling state as a benevolent master. But our founders set up a government with the idea that free men don’t need a “master,” but only to be left alone to build their lives and society in liberty.
Paul Ryan advocates such a gentle “roll back” of The Leviathan, that he keeps the state structures in place. He only wants to cut spending down to historic levels of GDP, and insert the kind of market forces that have made the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan come in 40 percent under budget.
That is what Newt Gingrich calls “right-wing social engineering.” Golly. I’m close to typing expletives again.
I caught a bit of Newt on the Mark Levin Show this evening. Kudos to Newt for agreeing to be on the air with a talk show host who fully understands what’s at stake here, and is not afraid to get in his face. From the couple minutes I heard, Newt is essentially not backing down — and mouthing some nonsense about how his meaning was misinterpreted.
Sorry, Newt. When you call “right-wing social engineering” an attempt to cut off the pinkie of The Leviathan — a bit at a time, with no pain to current recipients — you’ve gone “beyond the pale” for those who value their liberty and care about the future of this country.
Fans of Newt may say he’s too professorial — to smart! — to be president. Nope. He’s too clever … and too enamored by his cleverness to not only be president, but to do much good anymore for the cause of liberty.
UPDATE, May 17, 4 p.m. CDT: Among others not happy with Newt …
The Republican Presidential campaign is off to a slow start, but judging by the last week not slow enough. First Mitt Romney defends his ObamaCare prototype in Massachusetts, and now Newt Gingrich has decided to run against House Republicans on Medicare. They must be loving this at the White House.
The personality trait that has especially repulsed me about Gingrich is a self-serving ruthlessness that he exudes, a smallness and a lack of sincerity coupled with extreme personal arrogance.
A Iowa primary voter:
“Get out now before you make a bigger fool of yourself.”
And Charles Krauthammer says Newt’s toast:
“This is a big deal. He’s done. He didn’t have a big chance from the beginning, but now it’s over,” Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News’s Special Report last night. “Calling the Republican plan, which all but the four Republican members of the House endorsed and will be running on, and now will be running on, calling it radical and right-wing social engineering is deadly.”