Newt Gingrich's Political Views
The former speaker of the House of Representatives and one of the nation's leading conservative thinkers, Newt Gingrich is famous for his role in the GOP's "Contract with America" and subsequent electoral landslide in the 1994 midterm election. A prolific author and speaker, Gingrich is also known for his leadership of the Republican party during President Clinton's impeachment hearings and his subsequent fall from grace as revelations about his own marital infidelities led to charges of hypocrisy. Newt run for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2012, but ultimately lost the nomination to Mitt Romney. This hub will attempt to present an unbiased look at Gingrich's views on a number of key political issues - what did the Congressman really believe and how do his views stack up to current GOP heavyweights such as Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, and Jeb Bush?
Gingrich on the Issues
Unlike many politicians with high political aims, Gingrich has never been shy about sharing his opinions on a host of policy debates, having been heavily involved in various conservative think-tanks and political action groups since he resigned from Congress in 1988. For this reason, the public has great insight into his positions on a number of key issues, as Gingrich has not shied away from sharing his opinions about controversial issues.
1. Health Care Reform: Gingrich has been a sharp critic of the Health Care Reform bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in 2009. Gingrich has repeatedly denounced the health care reform bill as "socialism" and favors a private based reform approach which reduces costs through decreased regulation, a reduction in malpractice costs, and tax credits for unemployed individuals. These comments contrast with statements Gingrich made in 2006, when he supported then Governor Mitt Romney's plan for government provided health insurance in Massachusetts, stating that "The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system."
2. Taxes/Deficit Spending: Gingrich has generally been critical of increased government spending and has called for a reduction in the federal deficit. In late 2010, Gingrich suggested that reduced taxes on businesses could help spur job growth going forward, commenting that he would let business leaders decide "how many years...the tax code has to be extended to make an investment decision." Gingrich also called for an end to unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, suggesting that benefits should be replaced by worker training, and has generally expressed strong support for extending the Bush era tax cuts, though he has not laid out specific spending cuts he would make to close the structural deficit left in place by those cuts. Gingrich has also repeatedly decried the "radicalism" of the federal government under President Obama, describing it as leading America towards "authoritarianism, totalitarianism, and the end of Democracy."
3. War on Terrorism: Gingrich was generally a strong supporter of the war on terrorism during President Bush's two terms, and has continued to support American involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. Gingrich has repeatedly dismissed concerns about torture and civil liberties violations, telling the Economist in 2009 "we are watching the Obama administration...return to the criminal justice attitudes that failed to keep the U.S. safe in the Clinton years...the Obama team is even more pro-terrorist rights and anti-national security than the Clinton team was." It is unclear what Gingrich meant by these comments, since the 9/11 attacks occurred while President Bush was in office, and President Obama has largely continued the counter-terrorist policies began under President Bush.
4. Attitude towards Islam: Gingrich was a very outspoken critic of the decision to build a mosque near the former site of the World Trade Center, telling CNN "there should be no mosque near Ground Zero so long as there are no churches are synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission our over." Gingrich also compared the decision to build the mosque as "putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust museum", a statement which received extensive criticism from many commentators, including many of Gingrich's fellow conservative thinkers.
5. Immigration: Gingrich has generally expressed support for increased border security and in the past has suggested implementing some sort of guest worker program which could potentially lead to citizenship for some immigrants.
6. Education: Gingrich has pushed for significant reform in education, calling for greater teacher accountability and increased funding and standards for science and mathematics education as essential to keeping American competitiveness going forward.
7. Social Issues: Gingrich has made past statements about banning abortions, though he has also repeatedly acknowledge the difficulty of overturning Roe vs. Wade and implementing restrictions on abortions in practice. Gingrich is an opponent of gay marriage and gay adoption, though he has criticized some conservative for being too outspoken in their views on homosexuality. Gingrich has also been repeatedly criticized by pro gay marriage groups for hypocritical statements regarding the importance of the sanctity of marriage, as Gingrich has divorced twice and married three times.
I hope everyone finds this hub informative, feel free to leave any questions or suggestions for improvements in the comments! And please do look at my other Hubs on politics and some of Gingrich's potential competitors for the 2012 GOP Presidential Nomination.
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