Eye of Newt; Toe of Frog

Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House.

Image via Wikipedia

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:

  1. Require all laws that apply to the rest of the coun­try also apply to Congress;
  2. Select a major, inde­pen­dent audit­ing firm to con­duct a com­pre­hen­sive audit of Con­gress for waste, fraud or abuse;
  3. Cut the num­ber of House com­mit­tees, and cut com­mit­tee staff by one-​​third;
  4. Limit the terms of all com­mit­tee chairs;
  5. Ban the cast­ing of proxy votes in committee;
  6. Require com­mit­tee meet­ings to be open to the public;
  7. Require a three-​​fifths major­ity vote to pass a tax increase;
  8. 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:

  1. Com­pared the Mus­lims build­ing their com­mu­nity cen­ter in Man­hat­tan to Nazis at Auschwitz
  2. Claimed that Pres­i­dent Obama is  an “out­sider” chan­nel­ing his  father’s “Kenyan anti-​​colonialism”
  3. 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?”