On Wednesday night, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Sean Hannity that he’s advising the House Republican leadership on an effort led by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to “develop a [new] compact or contract [with America].” On previous occasions, Gingrich has made clear that a staple of that new contract will be to repeal health care reform.
In a speech last night at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Gingrich delivered an address that was touted to the press as a strategy for how the GOP can become “the party of Yes.” Instead, Gingrich –- the author of a forthcoming book titled To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine — explained his strategy of obstruction in further detail.
Since more Republicans are conceding the full repeal of health reform is unlikely to occur on President Obama’s watch, Gingrich offered a two-tiered approach that is becoming increasingly popular among conservatives:
Here’s my promise: … When we win control of the House and Senate this fall, Stage One of the end of Obamaism will be a new Republican Congress in January that simply refuses to fund any of the radical efforts. […]
Once upon a time, I used to be Speaker of the House and I actually understand the legislative process. And the truth is, under our Constitution, the Congress doesn’t have to pass the money. If EPA gets not budget, it can’t enforce cap-and-trade. […]
So Stage One of Obamaism being gone is to simply win this fall and not fund it for two years. Stage Two is…to ensure Obama joins Jimmy Carter in the tradition of one-party presidents (sic). And, that in that context, that we be prepared to commit that a Republican President and a Republican Congress in February and March of 2013 will repeal every radical bill passed by this machine.
Gingrich’s remarks were met with roars of approval from the right-wing crowd. Watch it:
Gingrich is recycling from his old playbook. As Salon’s Mike Madden describes the “new” strategy, “In other words, shut down the government.” For approximately three weeks in the winter of 1995, Gingrich orchestrated a shutdown of the entire federal government by refusing to fund its operations, either by passing a budget or a continuing resolution. CNN reported at the time, “The current shutdown began at midnight Friday, when Congress did not extend a temporary spending measure put in place after the last closure.”
Newt’s budget showdown with President Clinton caused the former Speaker significant political damage. His personal disapproval ratings reached a high of 65 percent. Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) criticized Gingrich’s handling of the shutdown, saying he “made the mistake of his life.” It’s a mistake that Gingrich appears willing to make again.
As Dave Weigel notes, “Gingrich proposing the same endgame as” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). She told G. Gordon Liddy this week, “I support the House of Representatives defunding Obamacare so that the bill is denied the funds it needs in order to be able to work.”
,Jed Lewinson notes that Gingrich acknowledged in 1996 that his shutdown strategy failed. The New York Times reported, “Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged in a recent interview, ‘our strategy failed’ because Mr. Clinton and his allies, instead of surrendering and making a budget deal, ‘were tougher than I thought they would be.’”