Newt Gingrich: Self-proclaimed savior of the Western world
A recent report by the Washington Post sheds some light on his claims to Reagan and his conservative credentials.
The Post analyzed decades of speech and meeting transcripts held by the University of West Georgia, where Gingrich used to teach, and uncovered evidence of a politician with “moderate-to-liberal beginnings, a product of the civil rights era who moved to the right with an eye on political expediency — and privately savaged Republicans he was praising in public.”
According to their research, Gingrich had grandiose visions of himself, even saying it was his job to save the Western world.
“That is my job,” he said in a 1979 address to his congressional staff. “It is not my job to win re-election. It is not my job to take care of passport problems. It is not my job to get a bill through Congress. My job description as I have defined it is to save Western civilization.”
In 1968, he was deeply affected by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and was motivated to work for Nelson Rockefeller, a left-leaning Republican. In 1970, Gingrich describes himself as a “progressive” on his application to teach at University of West Georgia, then called West Georgia College. He later changed his self-description to “common-sense conservative” in his 1974 campaign and attacked his opponent for voting for government programs.
Gingrich also ran as an environmentalist in 1974, years before joining with Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi from California to fight climate change. Some other past transgressions against conservatism include opposing a constitutional amendment banning abortion and supporting a Cabinet-level Education Department. Furthermore, on abortion, the Post reports that he “focused only on ‘where the country is’ on abortion and that he treated the ‘morality’ of the issue with ‘Olympian disdain.’”
Gingrich may also be over-blowing his ties to Reagan. Publicly he praised Reagan for his success with national audiences, despite his disagreements with Reagan on foreign policy and defense spending. In private, Gingrich berated Reagan and other conservatives and was reported saying, “Really, Reaganomics has failed.”
Also, according to a meeting transcript, Frank Gegorsky, a Gingrich aide, said, “He knows more than the president, the president’s people, Michel, Baker. He calls them stupid all the time, and I think that’s going to get him into big trouble someday.”
Gingrich also claims to have worked with Reagan throughout the 1980s, but some doubt this claim. An article by Bloomberg quotes journalist Lou Cannon saying, “Gingrich had absolutely nothing to do with the Reagan Revolution,” and, “I’m not sure Reagan even knew who Gingrich was.” Also, the Weekly Standard reports that Gingrich is only mentioned in Reagan’s diary once.
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