Exactly 16 years ago, Newt Gingrich released his “Contract With America.” It made an instant connection with voters, and six weeks later the Republicans swept to a 54-seat pickup in the House and majority status.
On the first day of their majority in the House, the Republicans promised to pass eight major reforms:
- Require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply to Congress;
- Select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;
- Cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;
- Limit the terms of all committee chairs;
- Ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
- Require committee meetings to be open to the public;
- Require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;
- Guarantee an honest accounting of the Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.
How things have changed in just a decade and a half! Within the past month that very same Newt Gingrich has:
- Compared the Muslims building their community center in Manhattan to Nazis at Auschwitz
- Claimed that President Obama is an “outsider” channeling his father’s “Kenyan anti-colonialism”
- Trumpeted the need for a federal law to ban the institution of Sharia law in America
Like him or not, Gingrich has generally been recognized as the “idea guy” within the Republican party, one of their few deep thinkers and serious policy wonks. So does Newt really believe this kind of stuff is what a politician needs to say in order to win votes from today’s GOP?
If so, it makes one wonder what their new “Contract” will look like when it is released on Thursday.
No, it’s not about Christine O’Donnell whipping up a little treat for her friends. It’s about the cry now echoing across the land…“Holy crap, what’s up with Newt?”