Political Hay

Gingrich Frames the Debate

Before this campaign is over, America will know who Saul Alinsky is, even if Mitt Romney does not.

By 1.25.12

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Let me just say that I believe the debate we're going to have with President Obama over the next eight or nine months is the outlining of the two Americas:

Those two choices, I believe, will give the American people a chance to decide permanently whether we want to remain the historic America that has provided opportunity for more people of more backgrounds than any country in history, or whether, in fact, we prefer to become a brand-new, secular, European-style, bureaucratic socialist system.

The America of the Declaration of Independence v. the America of Saul Alinsky; the America of paychecks v. the America of food stamps; the America of Independence v. the America of Dependence; the America of strength in foreign policy v. the America of weakness in foreign policy.

In so summarizing his South Carolina victory speech last week, Newt Gingrich framed the debate against President Obama with a clear vision that will sharply clarify the choice the American people will have to make this year.

Do we want the America of the Declaration of Independence? Or the America of radical Marxist revolutionary and social manipulator Saul Alinsky? One TV commentator indicated that most Americans do not even know who Saul Alinsky was. But that is exactly why Gingrich is so right to frame the debate this way, because with Barack Obama as their President, Americans need to know who Saul Alinsky was, and when Gingrich is done with his campaign, every American will.

President Obama is not only a follower of Saul Alinsky, and literally a practitioner of his strategies and tactics for the radical socialist takeover of America. After graduation from Harvard Law School, Obama was an instructor of fellow Marxist comrades in the Alinsky philosophy and methodology of social manipulation for the radical Marxist organization ACORN.

The American people need to know this, and all about Alinsky, to make an informed decision on whether to vote for Obama for reelection. That vote would represent a fundamental rejection of America, and all it has stood for since 1776.

America has long been the land of world leading prosperity, a true workers' paradise. But the real point of Obama's State of the Union last night was that all of that has to change now, because America is "unfair," in the Alinsky/Marxist worldview.

Let's give the President credit where credit is due. Obama is a very sophisticated Marxist philosopher, combining the highly advanced social manipulation tactics of Alinsky with careful, long developed insights in how to craft a modern, neo-Marxist message to sell to a majority of modern America. This is what we heard in last night's State of the Union. The real question this year is whether this generation of Americans can be duped into trashing the greatest, most prosperous, most successful nation in the history of the world, for a retrograde Marxist vision that thoroughly failed throughout the last century, and which the rest of the world has learned through hard experience is confused to the point of practical silliness. This only indicates how much deep trouble America is in, with Obama as President, and his philosophy and worldview having taken over the modern Democrat party.

What Gingrich indicated in his South Carolina victory speech is that he understands what Obama is really all about, and the fundamental challenge he represents to the future of America. And he intends to reveal the truth of Obama's carefully crafted neo-Marxist message to the American people.

Gingrich is the only candidate remotely capable of carrying the flag for the true, original, historic America in this fundamental, existential battle for national survival. He so rightly identified the public mood in his South Carolina speech, saying, "The American people feel that they have elites who have been trying for a half-century to force us to quit being American and become some kind of other system." He further identified the pending danger, "If Barack Obama can get re-elected after this disaster, just think how radical he would be in a second term."

Gingrich recognizes the central importance of the economic issues in this campaign, and has proposed the most specific, most bold, most comprehensive supply-side economic recovery program of all the candidates, which I have discussed in this space before. He very effectively dramatizes that by saying, "President Obama has been, historically, the most effective food stamp President in American history…. If you want your children to have a life of dependency on food stamps, you have a candidate, it's Barack Obama. If you want your children to have a life of independence and paychecks you have a candidate, it's Newt Gingrich."

Gingrich recognizes another component of his long-term economic recovery and prosperity program is an American energy policy, unleashing producers to maximize production of American energy from all sources. He adds as another central component: "Since I am the only Speaker of the House in your lifetime to have helped create four consecutive balanced budgets, I think I can tell you, as President, I will work very hard to get back to a balanced budget as rapidly as possible, and then to run a surplus to pay down the debt so no Chinese leverage exists on the United States by having our debt." Indeed, as Speaker, he left a legacy of paying down $560 billion in debt with four consecutive record budget surpluses.

Gingrich rightly touts his proven leadership and success on these policies, saying, "I worked with Ronald Reagan to create jobs, and 16 million jobs were created by the American people in the 1980s. I worked with Bill Clinton, the Democrat, to create jobs, and 11 million jobs were created by the American people during the four years that I was Speaker." His goal in sharp contrast to Obama: "I would like to be the best paycheck President in American history."

He also recognizes that "One of the key issues is the growing anti-religious bigotry of our elites." He served as one of the most faithful, highly effective leaders in modern history on social conservative issues while in office, from pro-life, to pro-gun rights, to pro-family and traditional moral values issues. Most intriguing, he has proposed in this campaign a comprehensive, truly original, historically and legally based strategy to counter liberal activist judges, who have implemented from the bench in recent decades the social liberal agenda. (See Newt.org).

Gingrich concludes, however:

But the centerpiece of this campaign, I believe, is American exceptionalism versus the radicalism of Saul Alinsky….[W]hat we are going to argue is that American exceptionalism, the American Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution, the American Federalist papers, the Founding Fathers of America, are the source from which we draw our understanding of America. [Obama] draws his from Saul Alinsky, radical left-wingers, and people who don't like the classical America.

Having served President Reagan in the White House Office of Policy Development in the early 1980s, I can say the comprehensive conservatism and breadth of this South Carolina victory speech is quintessentially Reagan.

The Romney Trash-Talking Contrast

In sharp contrast, Romney is the perfect foil for Obama's Alinsky strategy and tactics. Everything about him, from his business career, to his public record, to his appearance, to his inability to express fundamental principles and philosophy, only communicates "Country Club" Republican. Al Sharpton calls him "Mr. 1%." Does the Republican Party, let alone confused "conservative" talking heads, really want to run this year against Obama a Wall Street multimillionaire who pays a 15% tax rate, and can't explain or defend that?

Instead of the inspiring substance of leadership that Gingrich has provided, Romney has engaged in low brow trash talking, backed by the millions provided by his Country Club cronies. Romney says, "We're not seeking a talk show host. We're seeking a leader." New Jersey Governor and Romney crony Chris Christie chimes in, "Newt has been an embarrassment to the Republican Party."

You want a leader? Gingrich led the entire party to an historic victory in 1994 to the first Republican takeover of Congress in 40 years, something even Reagan didn't accomplish. Then in 1996 and 1998, Gingrich as Speaker led the first reelection of Republican House majorities in since the 1920s. Some embarrassment, Chris.

Romney has no comparable history of successful political leadership. Instead, he has lost every race he has run, except his one gubernatorial victory in Massachusetts. Some leadership.

Instead, Romney has sent his surrogates out to trash the true leader with the false claim that he had to resign as Speaker in disgrace, the only Speaker to have to resign in U.S. history, they say. The only problem is that there was no resignation, and there was no disgrace.

Gingrich never resigned as Speaker. In 1998, after Republicans failed to make the traditional gains expected in a second midterm election, Gingrich took responsibility as the leader to decline to run for reelection as Speaker.

Moreover, the Romney campaign is engaging in the same calculated deception as Obama in arguing he had to resign in disgrace over supposed ethics charges, taking advantage of what it hopes is a public with short memories. The "ethics" charges were filed against Gingrich at the beginning of his service as Speaker, by defeated left-wing Democrats bitter over losing their first majority in 40 years. This was the exact same thing that was done to Sarah Palin recently. Out of 84 supposed charges, 83 were dismissed. The IRS cleared Gingrich of the last years later. In January 1997, upon returning for a second term as Speaker, Gingrich settled to end the political mudslinging by agreeing to pay $300,000 to cover the costs of the investigation. There was no fine. Gingrich did not leave as Speaker until two years after that, upon the disappointing election results discussed above.

But he left as a legacy the first reelected Republican House majorities in 70 years, since the 1920s, and record budget surpluses, balancing the budget in three years instead of the expected seven, doing it the only way it has ever been done, cutting both taxes and spending. Contrast that with Romney mentor and cheerleader George H.W. Bush, who in 1990 fell for Democrat seduction for tax increases that are still with us, in return for budget cuts that never happened, with the deficit soaring by 50% as a result.

Yet, Romney continues with his own disgrace, charging Gingrich with "influence peddling." But he provides exactly zero documentation of any instance of actual influence peddling. Gingrich's consulting contracts all included prohibitions of any lobbying of any sort, at his insistence. For making that dishonest charge without documentation, it is Romney who should resign his campaign, in disgrace.

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About the Author
Peter Ferrara is Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy at the Heartland Institute, General Counsel of the American Civil Rights Union, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, and Senior Policy Advisor on Entitlements and Budget Policy at the National Tax Limitation Foundation. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under President George H.W. Bush.