In a dizzying display of campaign hubris with a pinch of denial, Newt Gingrich took what would ordinarily be a concession speech Tuesday night and turned it into a blueprint for his first day in the White House.
Looking past Mitt Romney, who beat him decisively in Florida, Gingrich focused his attention squarely on Barack Obama.
The former House speaker rattled off eight specific achievements that he promised to accomplish within a few hours of his inauguration, including five that he would enact by executive order. The other three, he said, would require “a Republican Senate and a Republican House.”
With complete GOP control established on Capitol Hill, Gingrich promised, he would “ask them to immediately pass the repeal of Obamacare. I will ask them to immediately pass the repeal of the Dodd–Frank bill which is killing housing, killing small business, and killing independent banks. And I will ask them to pass the repeal of Sarbanes–Oxley, which is crippling American businesses with no net profit.”
His goal, he said, was “to have all three bills sitting there, waiting, so the minute I am sworn in I can sign all three — and we’re off to a pretty good opening morning!”
His first executive order, Gingrich said, would “abolish all of the White House czars as of that moment. … All of this is going to happen about two hours after the inaugural address.”
Another, he promised, would authorize the “immediate deployment” of the Keystone XL pipeline, a Canadian crude-oil transportation project that President Obama recently blocked.
“My message to the people of Canada,” Gingrich trumpeted, “is, ‘Don’t cut a deal with the Chinese. Help is on the way. By January you’re going to build the right pipeline to the right place.’”
In a hat-tip to Florida’s Jewish retiree population that likely will mean little in the primary and caucus states to come before Super Tuesday, he also promised to “instruct the State Department — that day — to open the embassy in Jerusalem, and recognize Israel.”
The last two promises, decidedly rooted in social-issues territory, touched on abortion and religious freedom.
Gingrich promised to reinstate Ronald Reagan’s “Mexico City policy” — meaning, in his words, that “No U.S. money will go anywhere in the world to pay for abortion — period.”
His final pledge was the most vague of all and came on the heels of Gingrich’s dismissal of what he called the Obama administration’s “war on the Catholic Church and other religious institutions.”
“On the very first day,” he promised, “I will sign an executive order repealing every anti-religious act of the Obama administration, as of that moment.” Gingrich didn’t offer specific examples of which policies or proposals would qualify.
Returning at one point to his focus on the president, Gingrich poked fun of Obama’s Jan. 19 fundraising appearance at New York City’s Apollo Theater, during which he sang Al Green’s song “Let’s Stay Together” to the Democratic faithful.
“I’m not going to compete with Obama in singing,” he jabbed, “because I’m not running for entertainer-in-chief. I’m running for president. And I would say to him now, ‘Mr. President, you cannot sing your way past the disaster of your presidency.’”