Newt Gingrich: conservative no more

Ronald Reagan understood Communism and socialism
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Newt Gingrich said some very un-conservative things today, and ruined his reputation by doing it. And he might never undo the damage.

The ex-Representative from Georgia showed up on NBC-TV’s Meet the Press. In his interview with host David Gregory, he tried to lay out what he meant by this:

I believe we can return America to hope and opportunity, to full employment, to real security, to an American energy program, to a balanced budget.

Sadly, he means forcing people to buy health insurance, just like Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law. Newt Gingrich tried to say that his idea was different from Obama’s.

In, in the first place, Obama basically is trying to replace the entire insurance system, creating state exchanges, building a Washington-based model, creating a federal system. I believe all of us—and this is going to be a big debate—I believe all of us have a responsibility to help pay for healthcare …

That makes no difference. In an earlier interview (play the above clip), Gingrich proposed a voucher system that he admitted was “a sliding scale of subsidies.” That’s what the Obama law provides. And Gingrich used the same defense of his idea that the Democrats have used, on the stump and in court: that health insurance must become like automobile insurance, which no State allows any motorist to drive without. But driving is a privilege, not a right, so comparing health to auto insurance doesn’t work. Judge Andrew Napolitano has said that often enough to set it to music.

Gingrich also called Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare reform “right-wing social engineering.” He objected to “radical change.” He forgets that “radical change” got the country into this mess in the first place, and only “radical change” will get us out of it.

Furthermore, Gingrich said that Congress must “avoid default if [they] possibly can.” That means raising the debt ceiling. And like the White House, Gingrich had no proof that default would result from not raising the debt ceiling, or even that a “technical default” (making the bondholders wait a few days for their interest payments) would be so bad.

Newt Gingrich’s remarks did not impress the American Federalist Journal. They accused him of “sandbagging” his fellow Republicans. The Wall Street Journal said much the same, as did RedState.

Newt Gingrich is already in trouble with conservatives on several issues, including:

  1. Immigration. NumbersUSA gives him a D minus. He has a “bad” record on limiting immigration overall and in ending “chain migration” (bringing the whole family in after you). On two-thirds of all immigration issues that NumbersUSA tracks, Newt Gingrich is “unhelpful.”
  2. Morals. He served divorce papers on his wife while she was in the hospital taking a chemical cure for cancer, and he has never made it up with her or anyone likely to sympathize with her.

This latest talk cannot help. Most Tea Party activists want “ObamaCare” gone. Some are suing to make it go away, or supporting others who have sued. Every one of those lawsuits says that to do what Obama did, and what Newt Gingrich said today that he would do, is unconstitutional.

An old proverb says:

Better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you’re a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Newt Gingrich did the second thing today.