07.26.2010 0

On Gingrich: A legacy of surrender

This article originally appeared in Politico.

By Howard Rich –

The news that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich folded like a cheap suit in the wake of a brazen political attack on the tea party movement was sad. But not surprising.

As far back as his second term in Congress, in 1980, Gingrich sided with big labor interests until brought to his knees by a National Right to Work education campaign. Contrary to his image, Gingrich has demonstrated throughout his political career that he possesses no real ideological mooring.

Now, his legitimizing the NAACP’s crass political attempt to play the race card reveals him to be nothing more than a rank political opportunist – a White House-aspiring demagogue who prefers looking good for the liberal legacy media to standing up for our rights as citizens and taxpayers.

Practically-speaking, Gingrich no more subscribes to the tea party ideals of limited government, individual liberty and personal responsibility than President Barack Obama. At least, that’s what one could infer from his endorsement of liberal “stimulus”-supporter Dede Scozzafava in upstate New York last year.

In fact, Gingrich previously dismissed the tea party as nothing more than the “militant wing of the Republican Party” — a crude diminution of a diverse group of freedom-loving Americans.

That’s why, when the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People decided to play the race card against the tea party earlier this month, it wasn’t shocking to see Gingrich immediately raise the white flag and suggest that the Tea Party should give credence to this attack by co-hosting town hall meetings with the NAACP.  Rather than rebuking this unfounded attack and exposing its political motivations, Gingrich chose to cave – again – in hopes of giving America a “teachable moment.”

This policy of appeasement had disastrous results in past.  In fact, it is responsible for the GOP’s fateful retreat from its limited government roots after the “Republican Revolution” of 1994.

“When the Republican Party faced withering criticism during the government shutdown of 1995 to 1996, our leaders folded instead of standing their ground,” then-former Rep. Tom Coburn wrote in his 2001 book, “Breach of Trust.” “Rather than doing the hard work of explaining to the public, or even to rank-and-file Republicans, what was necessary to reduce the size of government, our leaders retreated.”

By taking the easy way out, and bowing to the altar of political-correctness, Gingrich established a pattern of appeasement that has defined the GOP to this day. Making matters worse, it was his arrogance which precipitated the costly sellout.

“He told a room full of reporters that he forced the shutdown because Clinton had rudely made him and Bob Dole sit at the back of Air Force One,” former House majority leader Tom DeLay later wrote. “Newt had been careless to say such a thing, and now the whole moral tone of the shutdown had been lost. What had been a noble battle for fiscal sanity began to look like the tirade of a spoiled child. The revolution, I can tell you, was never the same.”

Nor was the Republican Party — which from that moment began caving left and right to the Washington establishment it was elected to uproot.

In short order, Gingrich’s Contract with America gave way to bridges to nowhere and other big government spending outrages.

Now, in the hope of positioning himself as a legitimate presidential contender in 2012, Gingrich is again betraying the ideals of the limited government movement for his own political gains. Instead of calling NAACP leaders out as intellectual frauds, Gingrich is seeking to give their race-baiting views a national platform at the tea party’s expense.

Such appeasement is a recipe for disaster.

True limited government advocates should recognize both the NAACP and Gingrich for what they are – enemies in the fight for greater personal and economic freedom for all Americans.

That is the real “teachable moment” of Gingrich’s latest betrayal.

Howard Rich is chairman of Americans for Limited Government.

Copyright © 2008-2019 Americans for Limited Government