Newt Gingrich talks midterms, 2016 and the future of US democracy

gingrich

I met Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia 6.th district), former Republican Congressman for 20 years and Speaker of the House, at a book signing for his recent book “Breakout» Wednesday evening at the Barnes & Noble in Bethesda, Maryland. This is an English version of an article I wrote for http://www.amerikanskpolitikk.no.


Washington D.C.:
20 years has gone since the last time the Republican Party won both Congressional Chambers, then under the leadership of Congressman Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia). According to Gingrich, the Republican Majority Congress will be a success story that reflects a broader paradigm shift in America’s democracy.

The relative unoccupied line in front of the book signing table where Mr. Gingrich and his wife Callista were seated opened for the chance to chat with Gingrich about his thoughts on the impressive Republican triumph in Tuesday’s Midterm Elections.

–  We will see broad reform proposals that will set the stage for  the 2016 election. Republicans will be united in their leadership and they will reach out to President Obama. If Obama will seize this opportunity remains to be seen, Gingrich said.

Republican Reemergence
As the main architect behind “Contract with America”, Gingrich is frequently identified as the brain behind the “Republican Revolution” in 1994, when the GOP took control of both Congressional Chambers after a sweeping victory over the Democrats during the first Midterm Election cycle of Bill Clinton’s presidency.

“Contract with America” was a series of political promises Republicans assured voters to promote within the first 100 days in office – a political campaign strategy many commentators points to as the reason for the 1994 Republican victory, which granted them the majority in both Chambers for the first time in 40 years.

It took the GOP 20 years to repeat this achievement. Yet, Gingrich maintains the political differences between “his Congress” and the incoming Republican majority Congress.

“We entered in power with a specific contract with America with things that defined our first 100 days. They will have a series of smaller steps, the Keystone XL pipeline for example. They probably won’t have as big of a step as we have, but they will keep building on that. I’ll think we’ll gradually see more and more reforms.”

The Bookish Technology Optimist
While Callista Gingrich, Newt’s wife, talked to an elementary school teacher about her illustrative children’s book “From Sea to Shining Sea” and on the importance for children to be “proud of America”, Mr. Gingrich candidly discussed his recent book Breakout.

In spite of Gingrich assertions that the new Republican Congress will find “common ground” with Obama, he nonetheless upholds that the American democracy faces “revolutionary changes” in government’s role in society in the looming years.

Gingrich thinks America is on the edge of a new era due to rapid technological innovation. In Breakout, he discusses driverless cars, 3D printing and biotechnology and other advances that will allow people to “break free” from conventional political social engineering, in addition to many of the present challenges facing everyday life.

– In Breakout, I write that we are on the edge of the largest rethinking of government since the founding fathers. I think the technological changes we have seen, for example the shift from the manual typewriter to the smartphones and Ipads, gives us extraordinary opportunities. It allows us to imagine eliminating the federal bureaucracy by 40 %. It allows you to think about the replacement of the current VA system with a totally new model built around empowering veterans and hospitals with modern technology. I am very excited for the potential of large-scale changes, Gingrich continued.

However, the Gingrich other aspect in Breakout is  the special interest groups, regulations, and government bureaucrats, which will hamper this development. The right leadership is therefore crucial, says Gingrich, with reference to the 2016 presidential election.

GOPs open 2016 field
Gingrich, who gave Mitt Romney a run for his money in the 2012 GROP primary, is confident that the Republican field will be marked by many strong candidates

“We are probably going to have ten or more candidates, but we have no front runner. I suspect we will pick a governor.” Gingrich said, and mentioned Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

“For the Senate, we will probably have Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Rand Paul might capture it, he is very smart and he’s running a very smart campaign, but I also think the other group can too”.

– It is the most open Republican nomination since 1940, so it is really pretty wild, Gingrich concluded.

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