Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said Wednesday that House Republicans should stop negotiating with President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats on the fiscal cliff, saying that by doing so, they give Obama all of the leverage in the talks.
“One of the things I would say to House Republicans is to get a grip,” Gingrich said in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
“They are the majority. They’re not the minority,” he said, enunciating the words as if explaining the concept to someone who did not understand it. “They don’t need to cave in to Obama; they don’t need to form a ‘Surrender Caucus.'”
“So my number one bit of advice to the congressional Republicans is simple: Back out of of all of this negotiating with Obama. The president is overwhelmingly dominant in the news media. You start setting up the definition of success finding an agreement with Obama, you just gave Obama the ability to say to you, ‘Not good enough,'” Gingrich said.
The onetime presidential hopeful ridiculed the idea of the fiscal cliff, saying it was a manufactured crisis. (RELATED: Boehner: Democrats ‘yet to get serious about real spending cuts’ [VIDEO])
“There is no fiscal cliff. It’s absolute, total, nonsense,” Gingrich said.
“It is an excuse to panic. It’s a device to get all of us running down the road so we accept whatever Obama wants because otherwise we have failed the fiscal cliff, and how can you be a patriot if you don’t do what the fiscal cliff requires, and the fiscal cliff will appear to us one afternoon, much like the land of Oz, where there will be this person hiding behind the machine who will say, ‘Raise taxes now,'” Gingrich intoned, “and if you don’t raise taxes you’ll have violated the fiscal cliff.”
“Now, do any of you want to be the person who stands up and destroys America by violating the fiscal cliff? Do you want to go on one of the national networks and explain that you are so reactionary, so out of touch with life, that you don’t care that America is going to die late on Thursday?” Gingrich scoffed.
He also addressed the recent focus on Grover Norquist and his no-raising taxes pledge, which some Republicans have abandoned in recent weeks, calling it a “distraction.”
“I give Obama great credit for this. I have never seen anybody better at finding trivial distractions in order to avoid responsibility,” Gingrich said.
“I’ve known Grover Norquist for a long time, and I think he’s a fine person. He holds no elected office, and in fact, he wasn’t elected president. So here you have the President of the United States who is responsible for solving our problems, who has not offered a single serious, cost cutting measure, … Instead of dealing with the fact that the president has once again failed to provide leadership, the president has now gotten us worried about whether Grover Norquist now defines the Republican Party.”