Still, at one time, the media, without reservation, gave credit to Gingrich for making a balanced budget a priority -- and for pushing Clinton toward the center to achieve it. Back then, even when writing negatively about Gingrich, the major media routinely credited Gingrich with pushing a recalcitrant President Clinton toward a balanced budget.
Let's go to the videotape:
In 1995, Time magazine named Newt Gingrich "Man of the Year": "Leaders make things possible. Exceptional leaders make them inevitable. Newt Gingrich belongs in the category of the exceptional. All year -- ruthlessly, brilliantly, obnoxiously -- he worked at hammering together inevitabilities: a balanced federal budget, for one. ... Today, (SET ITAL) because of Gingrich (END ITAL) (emphasis added), the question is not whether a balanced-budget plan will come to pass but when.
"Gingrich has changed the center of gravity. From Franklin Roosevelt onward, Americans came to accept the federal government as the solution to problems, a vast parental presence. ... Newt Gingrich wants to reverse the physics, make American government truly centrifugal, with power flowing out of Washington, devolving to the states."
And what of Clinton's role?
Time continues: "Having organized an insurrectionist crew in the House, Gingrich seized the initiative from a temporarily (SET ITAL) passive president (END ITAL) (emphasis added) and steered the country onto a heading that the speaker accurately proclaimed to be revolutionary."
In 1996, Newsweek's Evan Thomas wrote: "More than anything else, Gingrich wanted to dismantle the 'beauractic welfare state.' To do that, he understood, he had to attack Congress' addiction to deficit spending. When he assumed power in 1995, he consulted CEOs who had downsized their own companies; they advised him to stake out bold positions and force others to follow. ... Under Gingrich the House passed a budget that truly restrained the growth of federal spending."