Later today, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to drop out of the Republican presidential race and endorse former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Not too long ago, however, Gingrich provided Perry with an endorsement of his own. In 2010, Perry published Fed Up!, a screed against the federal government which claims that Social Security, Medicare and, indeed, most of the progress of the 20th century is unconstitutional. Gingrich wrote the foreword to Perry’s book, and he wholeheartedly endorsed the book as a “handbook” that will arm “every American” with “the facts so that you can inform your family, friends and neighbors”:
Lest there be any doubt, Fed Up! is not the least bit ambiguous when it claims that America’s safety net violates the Constitution. The passage calling Social Security unconstitutional, for example, clearly and unequivocally states that Social Security exists “at the expense of respect for the Constitution” (note: the font in this clip is different because it is not available online and had to be captured on a Kindle reader):
Eighteen months after Gingrich lavished praise on Perry’s narrow vision for America, he will now share a stage with the radical governor and accept his endorsement. Given Fed Up!’s complete clarity in laying out Perry’s view of the Constitution, however, it is difficult to believe that Gingrich did not know exactly what he was praising when he drafted such an effusive foreword to Perry’s book.
Now that Gingrich has emerged as one of the two leading contenders for the GOP presidential nomination, he has an obligation to explain whether he still believes, as Perry does, that Social Security is unconstitutional. Moreover, if Gingrich has since abandoned that belief, he has an equal obligation to explain what happened in the last eighteen months to change his mind on such an important constitutional question.