Newt’s 1994 Speech
I think it’s important to look at his record and at what he’s said in the past to determine what he believes the most. So this speech he gave at the “Returning Power to the States” conference, given December 9, 1994 given before ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, might be somewhat enlightening about his positions.
click the image to watch the video of Newt’s speech
As the speech begins, Newt makes note of his tie, which bears the picture of a “triceratops breaking out of it’s shell.” This brought on a lot of laughs from the Republican audience, as it appeared to be a metaphor of Newt’s own breaking out of a shell.
Immediately, he launches into his budget cuts – remember he hasn’t even assumed the Speakership at this point:
“We eliminated 28 specialized inteest groups from the congress, we eliminated 3 congressional committees, we cut congressional staffs by a third, and we adopted a resolution that will sell at least one office building that we currently occupy.”
This is not the tone of a progressive, but that of a Speaker that takes pride in every single cut of government. He continues:
“My only challenge to you is very simple. I do not believe you can be too bold in asking us to send power and responsibility back home..”
Newt has often repeated this. It’s worth listening to his story in this speech about how he came upon this epiphany – it’s not that he believes the electorate can send a savior that can fix everything. He understands that in order to do great and good things, a leader needs the people behind him at all times. This is a theme that he carries on, even 15 years later.
“1995 will be the most important year of change in Washington DC since 1933. And where the New Deal was accumulating power, we are going to be dispersing it back home and getting it out of Washington, in two directions. One, of course, is getting it back to state governments. And that’s a start. But much more importantly is to find ways to get it back to the citizens, so that the citizens have power.”
Does that sound progressive? He specifically rejects the goals of the New Deal, and asserts that he wants the opposite.
“1980 was important because Ronald Reagan convinced the American people to trust him. But in 1994 it was the American people on their own who made a decisive, deep commitment to decentralization and dispersion of power…. they did it this time without any single leader that they could trust, but instead as a basic philosophical commitment to change the direction of power and responsibility away from Washington and back home to cities and counties and states, and to individual citizens and their neighbors.”
It is incredible that anyone would try to characterize Newt as a big government conservative – at his core is giving control and power back to the citizenry, to the local authorities.
Here he launches into an explanation of how conservatives are destroyed in the media – it’s interesting to note how little has changed, except now the Right wing media joins in:
You will make a bold, daring but rational proposal.
Your liberal reporter will then report the least rational version.
Your local editorial writers will then distory the inaccuracy, and will condemn you with their self-described distortion of what you never said.
You neighbors will then wonder why you have lost your mind.
It’s a shame that Newt has ignored his own observations, and allowed the media to determine the tenor and course of the GOP primary debate.
But what’s happening around the country because we have talk radio, we have letters to the editor, because we do have computer bulletin boards, because we have townhall meetings … More people believe Rush Limbaugh…”
This is yet another attribute of Newt’s that isn’t complimented enough – from the very beginning he was dedicated to understanding the importance of technology on a changing world. He still has that understanding.
The next excerpt is one of the best descriptions of liberalism I’ve ever heard:
“Caretaking demeans and destroys the person but it makes you feel good… liberalism is based on people wanting to feel good about themselves. It doesn’t matter whether or not they helped the poor person – it matters that they feel good, they feel virtuous. ‘I did my part – I paid more for a school system that failed totally. Why are you mad at me?'”
“We have to enter the third wave information age… the first wave was agriculture, the second wave was industry, the third wave will be the information age.”
There are few things more prescient than those words from Newt in the nineties. This was the first “big change” that Newt says Republicans have to embrace to preserve America. He continues with the other “big changes”:
“The second big change is to just roll up our sleeves and decide we are gonna compete in the world market, and we’re gonna be the best high value producers with the greatest productivity, with the best jobs, doing the best job on the plantet, and therefore having the best take home pay. Now that means we gotta change our attitudes. one attitude we gotta change is education… if youre serious about competing with China, Japan, India and Germany, you have to rethink litigation, regulation, and taxation.”
Those three issues are the same problems we are dealing with much later. Newt then makes a very wise observation that most just simply don’t want to hear:
“We had a much poorer nation with much less money two generations ago and people managed to somehow find the time to care for the human beings they had created.”
He continues about renewing American culture:
“The third big thing is that we have to replace the welfare state with an opportunity society… The welfare state is not just a problem because the poor kill each other. The welfare state is not just a problem because the poor may kill you. The welfare state is not just a problem because your national capitol is a disgrace… the welfare state is a mortal threat to the survival of your civilization.”
This is where Newt the historian shines – he understands the problems of America in very sweeping overarching way. Even as you hate that people keep comparing America’s decline to the fall of Rome, you know he’s probably right.
One the biggest reasons I support Newt is his understanding of the insidious nature of multi-culturalism on a country:
We are multi-ethnic but we are one civilization. We have people who get paid fairly good salaries to pay total nonsense. and in some case the tenure rolls are so bizarre that they can be racist, they can be anti-Semitic, they can be hateful, they can say things that are factually false, and somehow you can be sued and be required to keep them on so that they can miseducate even more people. It is the most bizarre circumstance you can imagine and bears no relationship to having academic freedom.”
When Newt tackles immigration he understands the most important aspect of it – the maintenance of a more successful culture as people choose to join it:
“People dont come here from all over the planet, to be where they left. This is what our multi-cultural friends don’t get. People come to America to become American.”
This is exactly what Newt’s immigration policy preserves and upholds.
He goes on to identify the great abyss of civic education:
“Our schools for two generations have had less and less courage and will about teaching about Americans. Now this is not just my ranting as a right wing conservative republican… Washington was the moral symbol on which America was created. And yet how many schools today teach about the real Washington? A man who was a giant, a man who could have been king of America, but who voluntarily put power away because only by giving it back could he establish the principle that we are a free people, governed by ourselves. A man who fought a seven year war, who went home voluntarily, who returned to chair the constitutional convention, who was drafted to be president. Now how many of your children in your states are learning anything about the real Washington who existed as a historic figure.
Here Newt goes into an explanation of the foremost principle that allowed for our country to reach such great heights:
One of my goals is to get every state to adopt the principle that from head start to high school, every year, children have to encounter the Declaration of Independence. And there is one particular sentence that I particularly want to see how teachers cope with. It is the most radical core statement of human rights ever written. It says, ‘we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'”
Here Newt really shines – his love of American political principles comes to the fore:
“The document begins, ‘We, the People of the United States,”… nobody else. The power is loaned by the people to Washington, which is why shipping the power back home is merely returning it, to it’s rightful owner.”
He continues on the theme of great changes the Republican party has to face.
“The fifth great change… is to re-establish civic leadership for every citizen, and recognize that the experiment in professional politicians and professional bureaucrats has now failed.”
Again, to characterize this man is a progressive is ridiculous when you consider the previous words – these are the words a faithful Conservative…
While Mitt has spuriously tried to make it seem that Newt did not get along with Reagan, this speech shows the great respect that he had for the Gipper:
“I’m a great great deep believer in Ronald Reagan, so I’m gonna give you a critique of something, but let me start by saying, all of us stand on president Reagan’s shoulders. And he, through his vision, re-established American morale, launched a decade of economic growth, and defeated the Soviet Empire and extended freedom.
It’s hard to give a more glowing endorsement of Reagan, especially in contrast to Mitt Romney saying he was an Independent in the time of Reagan-Bush and would not return to those days.
“After De Tocqueville: “Big people, tiny government.” What’s happened to us is that we’ve had two generations of bigger government while the people shrank. And it doesnt work in a free society. And thats what we’re telling Moscow, and thats what we’re telling Warsaw, and thats what we’re telling Budapest. Well, we oughta be telling it here to ourselves.“
Again – how are any of these words “Progressive” in any way? There are not – they are Conservative, through and through. Newt is brazenly joining in Reagan’s mission to bring freedom to the Eastern Bloc nations. And still people pretend he was anti-Reagan?
In this next portion, ironically, Newt predates Rick Perry’s suggestion of zeroing out foreign aid, by advocating that ALL Federal spending be given the same treatment:
“Start by assuming that every program has been zeroed out. Now make them explain to you why we should put them back in.”
In his closing statement, Newt makes what he is best known for – an intellectual plea for the defense of our great nation, and for striving forth to conquer our enemies, and spread liberty:
“This country is the only country in the planet capable of leading the human race beyond Bosnia, and Haiti, and Somalia. If we disintegrate, then I think our grandchildren are going to inherit a dark and bloody planet. If we re-establish American civilization, if we replace the welfare state with an opportunity society, if we truly teach Americans once again to be civil leaders which is at the heart of being American, then I honestly believe that in the 21st century, we will reach out and lead the entire human race to prosperity, to safety, and to freedom.
It’s for this reason that I’m endorsing Newt Gingrich. He is not the perfect candidate, but he has the great vision to propel us forward as a leader of the world, while understanding the greatness from which we came, and how we might recaptures it. GO NEWT!!!!