Tags: Gingrich | GOP | Victory: | Good | Ideas | Always | Beat

Gingrich on GOP Victory: Good Ideas Always Beat the Bad

Thursday, 07 November 2002 12:00 AM

Gingrich, who in 1994 used dissatisfaction with the Clinton administration and his flagship "Contract With America" to gain 52 Republican seats and take charge of the chamber, is already on record as believing that the president has been, in fact, embracing and expanding the contract's touchstones of welfare reform, increased defense spending, tax cuts and a compassionate approach to social issues.

But should the original contract serve in any way as a model for Bush’s agenda, now given great impetus by what many pundits are calling a mandate?

No, Gingrich spokesman Rich Tyler tells NewsMax exclusively. "The contract was never intended to be a platform. It was always a management tool. The speaker said it best when he was asked after his election what he was going to do now – and simply answered: ‘Implement the contract.’”

So is there a use now for this type of model?

Yes, says Tyler. "The speaker knows the president has a strong sense of where he is going. He doesn’t need to revive the contract, but the speaker does endorse the use by the president of a similar ‘management document,’ a document that tells Americans, ‘Help us get this done.’”

What should such a document feature?

"The speaker is behind seven key items,” notes Tyler. "One, take care of national security by getting Homeland Security passed; two, get the economy moving; three, fix the broken health care system; four, accomplish legal reforms that will allow you to fix the broken health care system, such as reining in predatory lawyers; five, promote scientific environmentalism; six, pull together policies that will account for an aging American population that will shortly be retiring with one-half their lives still to live; and seven, rethink education from the ground up.”

Tyler recalls that when the original Contract With America was being touted, it was published in TV Guide magazine, as a way for average Americans to get familiar with it.

"You could follow the text along,” says Tyler. "It was all positive stuff. The speaker likes to say, ‘In the absence of big ideas, all you have is negative campaigning.’”

Gingrich, busy working on the Defense Policy Board with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, developing public policies with his Gingrich Group, working as a fellow with the American Enterprise Group, giving speeches, and occasionally commentating on Fox News (where he just signed another three-year contract) gives low priority to requests for "political” interviews, says Tyler. "We like to talk to scientists these days.”

Which is not to say the onetime Washington powerhouse is out of the political loop.

Although Gingrich resigned from the House in 1998, his office at AEI is right next door to Jeane Kirkpatrick's. Also, he chums with old pal Rumsfeld; chats with Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser; and gets through on one ring to Karl Rove, President Bush's senior adviser.

"I've got pretty remarkable access to all the senior leadership," Gingrich once told New Yorker magazine.

And speaking of Bush’s agenda, Tyler likes to remind folks that his boss was on the leading edge of the homeland security issue, well before 9/11, which explains why getting homeland security through Congress is No. 1 on his hit parade.

Gingrich was appointed to the Hart-Rudman commission just after stepping down as speaker. There, says Tyler, long before it became de rigueur, Gingrich was pushing for security against terrorists at U.S. ports, helping to design an internal security agency outside of the FBI and CIA, and formulating a recovery program, which would account for the exigent circumstance of first-responders taken out in a WMD attack.

Despite being much maligned during its heyday, the Contract With America was very successful, says Tyler. Some examples:

The contract also promised a number of internal rule changes in the House chamber, all of which have now been substantially enacted:

FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country to apply equally to the Congress;

SECOND, select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;

THIRD, cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;

FORTH, limit the terms of all committee chairs;

FIFTH, ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;

SIXTH, require committee meetings to be open to the public;

SEVENTH, require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;

EIGHTH, guarantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.

Tyler tells NewsMax that during the just-ended midterm campaign, the workers for Republican Bob Eurlich, who has now beaten Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend for the governorship of Maryland, complained that their candidate was being criticized by the opposition for supporting the Contract With America.

Tyler confronted the Kennedy people and asked what specifically in the contract had they found so vexing?

According to Tyler, no response was forthcoming.

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Gingrich, who in 1994 used dissatisfaction with the Clinton administration and his flagship Contract With America to gain 52 Republican seats and take charge of the chamber, is already on record as believing that the president has been, in fact, embracing and expanding...
Thursday, 07 November 2002 12:00 AM
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