Sitting in his spacious Washington, D.C., office on K Street, the leader of the last Republican revolution, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, ponders the future and likes what he sees. The intensity and commitment by the tea partiers to "throw the bums" out, seems to him as strong as the 1994 revolution that swept Democrats from power and gave Republicans an opportunity Gingrich readily admits they squandered.
"People are now much madder and sicker at the system than they were in 1994," he says. That doesn't mean they hate everything about government. It is the process they hate most. "People actually want an open, bipartisan, transparent process. So you can't say, 'OK, I'll pass these 10 things' (he's thinking of his Contract With America). You've got to come in and say, 'We will work together in the open in a way that is transparent before the whole country to achieve these 10 things.' That's a big difference."
Gingrich thinks one of the 10 things should be repeal of the new health care law: "Republicans should promise that a Republican president and a Republican Congress in February 2013 will repeal and replace Obamacare. That's pretty straightforward and it's doable." He says the more that is learned about the law, "the more it kills jobs, the more it puts us in debt, the more it cripples us with bureaucracy -- this will become a more and more popular position."
And if Republicans are wrong? "The Democrats will have won their great gamble to create a socialist country."
Gingrich describes the Obama administration as a "secular-socialist machine." He says though the country is largely center-right, "it is a tribute to the power and capability of the Democratic Party and the incompetence of the Republican Party -- it's a dual effort -- that you end up with 70 percent of the country being misgoverned by a militant minority."
As the country shifts demographically from a white majority, to majority minority, I ask why the GOP has done so poorly among minorities, especially African-Americans. Gingrich responds: "In part there are very few conservatives willing to campaign for their votes. Why didn't President (George W.) Bush go to the NAACP convention for eight consecutive years and say, 'We need your help in liberating people'? I went around the country with Al Sharpton, who actually says the right things, and the reaction on the right is, 'how can you be associated with Al Sharpton'?"
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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