It's no secret that Newt Gingrich has had his eye on the White House for several Presidential cycles, and has been waiting his turn for the nomination. Thankfully, his recent flameout has pretty much eliminated his chances. However, it has been a long time coming, and it is time to remind America that Newt isn't so much on our side.
Let's start things off with his support for Medicare Part D. At the time, it was the biggest expansion of entitlements since the LBJ era (has since eclipsed by ObamaCare), and remains one of the largest Republican travesties in recent memory. Club For Growth has a great white paper that takes an extensive look at Newt's record. On Medicare Part D:
"Gingrich also has a recurring impulse to insert the government into the private economy. A particularly bad mark on his record came in 2003, when he urged "every conservative member of Congress" to support the Medicare drug benefit bill. He called it the "most important reorganization of our nation's healthcare system since the original Medicare Bill of 1965." The drug benefit now costs taxpayers over $60 billion a year and has almost $16 trillion in unfunded liabilities.
In addition, he's long been a proponent, like Obama, of forcing us to buy health insurance with an unconstitutional individual mandate.
...In his keynote speech during the Greater Detroit Area Health Council's annual Health Trends Conference on Monday in Dearborn, Gingrich called for:
A free-market system that encourages Americans to take more responsibility for their health care. He would require Americans over a certain income level to buy health insurance or post a bond.
Gingrich called it "fundamentally immoral" for a person who can afford insurance to save money by going without, then show up at an emergency room and demand free care. He said those who can afford insurance and choose not to buy it should be required to post bonds to pay for care they may someday need.
Just last weekend, he restated his love for the individual mandate, and in the process managed to take a shot at one of the most popular Republican Congressmen we have, at the same time giving Romney and RomneyCare a pass. It should be expected, considering his vocal support for the very policies that have been Romney's albatross.
Policy failure aside, this expresses a new level of political tone-deafness. Health care should be a gimme for Republicans at this point. A piece of advice: When you are among the most unpopular Republicans in the 2012 field, you do not make yourself more popular by A) Taking shots at those that are more popular than you are or B) Aligning yourself with losing issues. For all of the talk of Newt's brilliance, this was a boneheaded move.
Obviously, he has realized this and has been furiously backpedaling, even calling Ryan to offer an apology. Too little, too late.
In the midst of his health care policy failures, Newt also found time to fail in regard to climate change legislation as well. All that really needs to be said about Newt and climate change is in this shocking video he filmed with Nancy Pelosi where they agree we "must take action to address climate change" :
And to be clear, this wasn't just an embarrassing black mark for Gingrich, or a misguided attempt at populism that has now been rectified in light of better science. No, as recently as January he was standing by every word of it:
Yet Gingrich told us Friday: "I meant exactly what I said in that commercial."
He added that though "nobody knows" every cause of every climate change -- past, present and future -- for sure, "What I said was, 'As a matter of prudence, conservatism ought to involve caution.' "
Watch the video. That's not what he said.
Next, there was TARP, which motivated many Tea Party activists to take to the streets in the first place. The bailouts were the inspiration for Rick Santelli's famous rant, and inspired the movement that became the political force it is today.
Enter the 2010 election cycle. At every turn, Newt managed to work against conservatives and undermine the efforts of the Tea Party insurgence. For example, in 2009's NY-23 special election, he endorsed liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava, who wound up embarrassing her own party and those who endorsed her by pulling out of the race and supporting the Democrat over conservative Doug Hoffman. $900,000 went to Scozzafava from the RNC and NRCC, all for nothing.
Then came the Utah Senate primary. Big government Republican incumbent Bob Bennett was among the top Senate targets in the 2010 cycle for the Tea Party movement, and he was being primaried by both conservative and local tea party favorite Mike Lee and establishment Republican Tim Bridgewater. In the time leading up to the primary, Newt threw his support behind Bennett, undermining the efforts of Utahans and the sentiment of conservatives nationwide.
With all the statist policy proposals and boneheaded political moves under his belt, it isn't even necessary to dig into his personal transgressions to make him irrelevant. He's everything that Americans have been working against - a DC insider who is out of touch with what's important, and who is more concerned with populist garbage than being, well, right.
It's time for Newt to disappear into the background. His moment has passed, and this tailspin has been decades in the making.
Make room for the new guys, Newt.