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January 15, 2012
Newt and the Last Conservative Revolution
In her book Slander, conservative commentator and pundit Ann Coulter called Newt Gingrich one of the most consequential politicians in the last century. Why would she make such a claim? What did he do that had such consequence?
In 1993, the Republican Party was the minority party. It had been in the minority since 1955. Even President Reagan had to deal with a Democrat Congress in the 80s and was limited in his ability to change Washington as a result. Newt Gingrich had seen this up close and personal. He had tried to help Reagan with the Conservative Opportunity Society. By 1993 he had become the Republican whip in the house. With his leadership the Republicans crafted a proposal called the Contract With America (CWA). It was designed so that Republican candidates could campaign on conservative principles in order to win their congressional seats and then govern in a conservative manner. The electorate responded. It handed the House and Senate over to the Republicans. This was a revolution unheard of in the times they occurred. Gingrich became the Speaker of the House as a result.
The CWA was a conservative proposition. It held that the electorate could hold their representatives responsible and could remove them if they didn't perform. The representatives would be responsible to their constituents. But it also implied that they should perform like they would under a business contract.
Did Gingrich write the contract himself? No. But he led the effort for congressional candidates to sign up. And most did. He led educational efforts for those potential conservative congressmen to help them campaign. Since then Gingrich has lead other congressional education efforts. He has been a constant source of education for congressional representatives.
What did the Contract propose to do? There were two parts to the CWA. The first part was a series of reforms to Congressional activity itself. These were proposed changes to the way it would operate. The proposals were: require that Congress be held to all laws that apply to the rest of the country; audit Congress for fraud and waste; reduce the number of House committees and committee staff; set term limits for committee chairmen; disallow proxy votes; require public committee meetings; require a three-fifths majority for tax increases; and implement zero base-line budgeting.
These are all conservative proposals. Did Pelosi enforce these types of rules? No way. Should they be implemented again? You betcha. Let's audit Congress again. Let's reduce their budgets, staff, and terms etc. But we need to change the presidency too.
The second part of the Contract contained legislation that Republicans would introduce within the first 100 days. The legislation consisted of the following:
THE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: A Constitutional amendment to balance the budget and give the president a line-item veto.
THE TAKING BACK OUR STREETS ACT: An act designed to enhance law enforcement, judicial branch sentencing and prison construction for safer neighborhoods.
THE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: An act with work provisions for welfare recipients and provisions discouraging women to have additional welfare babies.
THE FAMILY REINFORCEMENT ACT: An act with various provisions in tax laws and other legislation to help reinforce the family.
THE AMERICAN DREAM RESTORATION ACT: An act designed to begin repeal of the marriage tax penalty, to create tax savings accounts and child tax credits.
THE NATIONAL SECURITY RESTORATION ACT: An act designed to increase funds for national security.
THE SENIOR CITIZENS FAIRNESS ACT: An act that raised the Social Security earnings limit for seniors and repealed the 1993 tax hikes on Social Security benefits.
THE JOB CREATION AND WAGE ENHANCEMENT ACT: An act with various tax reforms for businesses to create jobs and raise worker wages.
THE COMMON SENSE LEGAL REFORM ACT: An act to allow for loser pay laws and place reasonable limits on liability penalties to discourage endless lawsuits.
THE CITIZEN LEGISLATURE ACT: An act to create term limits to discourage career politicians.
This was all legislation based on conservative principles. Was it perfect? Maybe not. But it was a revolution in the right direction. The CWA led to the Republicans gaining a majority in both the House and the Senate.
But the CWA only had so much of an effect. The Senate, where Republicans held only a simple majority, and the presidency, were controlled by Democrats (A simple majority does not control the senate because of filibusters). Today we need a president to lead a revolution in the executive branch. Gingrich has a 21st Century Contract just for that purpose. He is also calling for input from you and me. Send him your ideas.
Gingrich has run against the tide of liberalism for his whole career. He ran as a Republican when Georgia was still dominated by Democrats. He ran and lost two times but didn't give up. He finally succeeded on his third try. He is a fighter for conservative government.
We are in the middle of another conservative revolution. The Tea Party started it in 2010. But it needs to continue on and change the executive branch. Of course it needs to change the Senate as well. But a groundswell in the presidential vote would contribute to a Senate victory. And Gingrich is ready to lead a revolution again for the presidency. A leader with revolutionary experience is what we need.
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