Monday, February 22, 2010

WTF? Newt Gingrich is 'Model' for Tea Parties?

File this under the "Department of MSM Orwellianism."

The Los Angeles Times has a story out this morning that's truly unreal in its distortions of reality. And I've got a screencap of the article for some additional context. "
Conservatives Draw Up a New 'Contract'." I guess by showing up at CPAC and giving his standard "American Solutions" corporate stump speech, Gingrich can get the endorsement of the tea party-bashing MSM via some front-page disinformation hack jobs. From the article:

Although "tea party" activists and other conservatives claim kinship with the founding fathers and the Spirit of '76, their emerging strategy for the November elections has more in common with the Spirit of '94 -- the year Republicans ended 40 years of Democratic dominance on Capitol Hill.

Conservative strategists centered the 1994 Republican campaign on a "Contract with America." This year, GOP leaders in the House have pledged to issue their own, updated version of that agenda, which is widely credited with having helped Republicans focus their message and win a historic victory.

But this time, the declaration of principles that House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio has promised will have to play in a crowded field.

A version of the tea party-backed "Contract From America" was unveiled last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual showcase of leaders and activists on the right. The unveiling came a day after another group -- including many of the elders of conservatism -- announced their own manifesto, dubbed the Mount Vernon statement after its signing at a library near George Washington's estate.

Newt Gingrich, chief architect of the 1994 Contract with America, also has weighed in, publishing his version of a new contract in this month's NewsMax magazine.

The plethora of manifestoes reflects a heightened energy among Republicans, and also shows the work the GOP has to do in uniting the party.

Reflecting that lack of unity, former Republican House leader Dick Armey, now a leading voice of the limited-government, anti-tax tea party movement, said the tea party contract wouldn't be necessary "if Republicans had the credibility to do it themselves. They don't."

Armey's Washington-based advocacy group, FreedomWorks, has endorsed the "Contract From America," which bills itself as culled from the collective wisdom of Internet activists. Its organizer, Houston attorney Ryan Hecker, has been soliciting policy ideas through a website for months and has selected 22 that will be narrowed to 10 through an online vote.

Many of the original suggestions on Hecker's site,, might be difficult for mainstream Republicans and moderate voters to swallow: abolishing the Department of Education, dismantling the IRS and establishing an official U.S. language.

The shortened version distributed last week was edited with an eye toward making the goals more palatable. On education, the new contract proposes to "give parents more choices in the education of their children." On reforming Washington, the ideas include making bills public seven days before a vote and "demanding a balanced budget." The often-divisive issue of immigration didn't make the list.

Focusing on positions that would attract broad popular support was central to the original Contract with America's success, Gingrich wrote this month, and the same must be true of any current effort to spell out what conservatives stand for.

"It has to be popular with 70% or more of the American people," he said.
See how clever that is? Dick Armey was House Majority Leader under the Newt Gingrich speakership. Since Armey has indeed been one of the original backers of the tea party movement, the Times can piggyback Gingrich into the story to make this link between the GOP takeover in 1994 and the tea parties today. Problem is, the "Contract with America" was a campaign vehicle rather than a real reform manifesto with teeth. By 2000, according to Edward Crane at Cato, "the combined budgets of the 95 major programs that the Contract with America promised to eliminate have increased by 13%. " And Crane adds something important: "For all of his talent in generating the "revolution," Newt was never the conservative ideologue the media painted him to be."

Yeah. Hello.

Remember last October and Newt's endorsement of Dede Scozzafava over Doug Hoffman in NY-23? See Michelle's piece on that, "
An ACORN-Friendly, Big Labor-Backing, Tax-and-Spend Radical in GOP Clothing."

But you don't get that from the Times. What a joke. Recall
Eric Erickson's comments at Politico the other day:
“There needs to be a purging of the movement, and I think we’re already starting to see a different of hierarchy of groups,” said Erick Erickson, the Macon, Ga.-based founder of ...

Erickson, a favorite of the new activists, said, “Some of these legacy groups have become so entrenched in the Republican establishment in Washington that a lot of these new activists don’t think they can trust them.”

As examples, Erickson singled out CPAC’s primary sponsor, the American Conservative Union, as well as CPAC stalwarts like The Heritage Foundation think tank and the groups headed by Grover Norquist and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
I attended Gingrich's "American Solutions" event in the O.C. early this month. He's a true patriot on national security. But his calls for bipartisanship made me cringe. He said the same things over the weekend at CPAC. See, "At CPAC, Gingrich Calls for ‘Principled Bipartisanship’."

The Times has a big global warming "cap-and-trade" piece up this morning, "
Saving the Amazon May Be the Most Cost-Effective Way to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions." Conservatives should ask Newt Gingrich what he thinks about that? Oh, I almost forgot. We don't have to: See Michelle's post, "Lunch-Losing Video: Gingrich and Pelosi Tag-Team for Al Gore."

ADDED: Dr. Melissa Clouthier links, "Newt Might Try To Co-Opt The Tea Party Movement But It Won’t Work."