Friday, January 27, 2012

To Say Newt Gingrich is Anti-Reagan is All a Lie


The other day there was an article stating that Newt was against Ronald Reagan. Conservative Republicans put Reagan high on the mantle for being Conservative. Any GOP candidate spewing conservatism should mimic Reagan. The article came from a pro-Romney supporter. Thus, the article was a lie. In fact, Nancy Reagan supports Newt. Also, Ronald Reagan's son, Michael Reagan, supports Newt too.


(Spectator) 
As Ronald Reagan used to say: Well...
Yesterday we took note of former Reagan State Department official Elliott Abrams' piece over at NRO that went after Newt Gingrich on his relationship with Reagan. While voting regularly with Reagan as a young congressman from Georgia, Gingrich, claimed Abrams, "often spewed insulting rhetoric at Reagan, his top aides and his policies to defeat Communism." Abrams then goes on to cite " a famous floor statement Gingrich made on March 21, 1986."
Or sort of cites it. 
In fact, I'm sorry to say, what appears to be going on here is that Elliott Abrams, a considerably admirable public servant and a very smart guy, has been swept up in the GOP Establishment's Romney frothings over the rise of Newt Gingrich in the Republican primaries. He is even being accused of trolling for a job in a Romney administration. No way!!!! Really????
What else can possibly explain a piece like the one Abrams penned on a day when Gingrich was being of a mysterious sudden targeted in one hit piece after another for his ties to Reagan? The pieces invariably following the Romney line that Newt had some version of nothing to do with Reagan.
A piece like the one Abrams wrote depends for its success in garnering headlines -- which it did -- by assuming no one will bother to get into the weeds and do the homework. Usually a safe assumption when dealing with the mainstream media, particularly a mainstream media that, as one with Establishment Republicans, hates Newt Gingrich.
Not so fast.
Specifically, Abrams implies that Newt Gingrich was spewing mindless vitriol about Reagan on the House floor. Not only not so, it was quite to the contrary. Of President Reagan, Gingrich says:
• "Let me be clear: I have the greatest respect for President Reagan. I think he personally understands the threat of communism." Gingrich then goes on -- at Newtonian length -- praising Reagan for Reagan's understanding of Lenin, Reagan's understanding of the real "purposes of a Soviet dictatorship" and much more. He lists and applauds Reagan repeatedly for the President's appreciation of "the threat in a more powerful Soviet empire" and the threats posed by Communist Cuba and Nicaragua. He ranks Reagan with the great cold war presidents in protecting freedom.
In short, time after time after, Newt Gingrich -- true to form -- is there on the floor of the House relentlessly praising and crediting Ronald Reagan. Is it any wonder that years later Nancy Reagan would speak so publicly and warmly about "Ronnie" passing the conservative torch to Newt? Is there any wonder that Michael Reagan has stepped into the middle of this current brawl to endorse Newt?
• Abrams quotes Newt for saying in this speech that Reagan's policies towards the Soviets are "inadequate and will ultimately fail." This is shameful. Why? Here's what Newt said -- in full and in context:
"The fact is that George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Irving Kristol, and Jeane Kirkpatrick are right in pointing out the enormous gap between President Reagan's strong rhetoric, which is adequate, and his administration's weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail."
In other words, Newt was picking up on a concern, prominent in the day and voiced by no less than Reagan's then ex-UN Ambassador Kirkpatrick, not to mention prominent Reagan supporters Will and Kristol and the late-Mondale aide turned conservative Krauthammer, that Reagan's anti-Communist policies could be stronger if better institutionalized and not tied as much to the Reagan persona. The entire speech focused on suggestions of how to do just that -- to effectively institutionalize Reagan's conservative beliefs in the government. Is Abrams seriously accusing Jeane Kirkpatrick and George Will of being anti-Reagan? Of spewing "insulting rhetoric" at a president everyone in Washington knew they staunchly supported? Really? Of course not. But in apparent service to the Romney campaign, in order to make Newt Gingrich appear to be doing just that, Abrams apparently quite deliberately cut out the original Gingrich reference to Will, Kirkpatrick, Krauthammer, and Kristol.