Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says that grass-roots conservatives are “almost certainly” on the verge of winning “a great victory” in the form of a ban on all earmarks in the House of Representatives.
While most of the attention in Washington this week will be on a secret earmark vote among Republican senators, Gingrich told Newsmax in an exclusive interview Saturday afternoon that a historic House ban on earmarks now appears all but inevitable.
He credits the tea parties, as well as presumptive incoming House Speaker John Boehner, for that landmark achievement.
“[GOP Rep.] John Boehner has never taken any earmarks his entire career,” Gingrich told Newsmax. “He’s very determined to drive it through the House.
“And I think the House Republicans are almost certainly going to adopt an earmark ban, which is a great victory for the tea party people,” Gingrich told Newsmax.
Gingrich acknowledged, however, that the fate of earmarks in the Senate, where GOP Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell has been backing away from a proposed earmark ban, is far less certain.
“[Sen.] McConnell has a difficult problem leading the Senate Republicans,” Gingrich said, “because they’re very split on this issue.”
Newsmax caught up with Gingrich at a Northern Virginia event celebrating his new novel “Valley Forge,” which illuminates the dramatic saga of how George Washington and his generals rallied Americans during the bitter winter of 1777, at a moment considered by some historians the darkest hour in America’s war for independence.
Gingrich knows what it’s like first-hand to govern during tumultuous times. As the leader of the 1994 conservative revolution that led to major reforms and a balanced budget during the presidency of Bill Clinton, he knows full well the seductive Beltway realities that await the incoming new members of Congress going through their orientation this week.
Gingrich, an oft-mentioned presidential hopeful for 2012, offered advice to the new members of Congress on how they can remain true to their principles and constrain government growth.
“The three things that new members have to do to remain dedicated to the cause they ran for,” Gingrich told Newsmax, “is one, put down in writing to themselves their own notes, what they believe in and what they’re going to try to do.
“Two, find colleagues who share their values, and form [groups] like we did with the Conservative Opportunity Society, people who get together, reinforce things together, and think things through together.
“And three,” he said, “spend a lot of their time back home in their districts with people, getting away from the influence of Washington, and being reminded by their friends back home why they were sent there in the first place.”
Gingrich added: “If they do those three things, they’ll find they’re both more effective, and they’re more loyal to the cause that caused them to run in the first place.”
Gingrich is considered a leading contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination if he decides to run.
Asked when he’ll announce whether he intends to toss his hat in the ring, Gingrich told Newsmax: “Probably in February or early March we will make a decision, and we’ll announce it at that time.”
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