Was Newt for the Ryan plan before he was against it?

posted at 8:48 am on May 16, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Newt Gingrich had plenty of people on the Right scratching their heads after his attack on Paul Ryan’s budget plan as conservative “social engineering,” but Republicans weren’t the only ones mystified.  The attack also puzzled Jay Newton-Small at Time.  Two weeks ago, Gingrich told her that he would have voted for the plan offered by the “brave” Republican Representative:

The former speaker sang Ryan’s praises for being a “brave” “man of ideas,” like Gingrich himself.

“But would you have voted for Ryan’s plan?” I pressed.

“Sure,” Gingrich replied.

“Do you think it would actually save the health care system?”

“No, I think it’s the first step,” Gingrich said. “You need an entirely new set of solutions.”

Compare this to how Gingrich described the Ryan plan yesterday:

MR. GREGORY:  But not what Paul Ryan is suggesting, which is completely changing Medicare.

REP. GINGRICH:  I, I think that, I think, I think that that is too big a jump.  I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose upon the–I don’t want to–I’m against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.

So one day it’s a good first step, and 14 days later, it’s several steps too far?  There are only a couple of plausible explanations for this change, and none of them complimentary to Gingrich.  The first is that he told Newton-Small that he’d have voted for the Ryan plan as a “first step” without bothering to read it first in order to ingratiate himself with the conservative base.  The second is that he read it, but it took him two weeks to understand it.  And the third is that Gingrich decided that most of his 2012 competition would back the Ryan plan and that he could get political space for himself by being a contrarian.  The fourth option is that Newton-Small is simply making up the story, which seems unlikely although not impossible.

Gingrich isn’t stupid by any stretch of the imagination, so I tend to doubt that it’s option 2.  If Newton-Small didn’t make up the exchange out of whole cloth, it’s either option 1 or 3, and both of them paint a picture of a politician operating from something other than principle.


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Gingrich isn’t stupid by any stretch of the imagination, so I tend to doubt that it’s option 2. If Newton-Small didn’t make up the exchange out of whole cloth, it’s either option 1 or 3, and both of them paint a picture of a politician operating from something other than principle.

Or, he thinks we’re stupid.

Good Lt on May 16, 2011 at 8:50 AM

What’s a Newt?

Amadeus on May 16, 2011 at 8:50 AM

It’s over for Newt.

forest on May 16, 2011 at 8:50 AM

I love it when the Good Lt and I agree.

Amadeus on May 16, 2011 at 8:51 AM

“I hand my presidential candidate Maverick crown to you, Sir Newt, may it bring you better luck than it brought I.”

-Big Mac

Bishop on May 16, 2011 at 8:52 AM

The new maverick

cmsinaz on May 16, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Jinx bishop :)

cmsinaz on May 16, 2011 at 8:53 AM

He tried to weasel his way out of adultery, Global Warming hysteria, and “let’s get Gadaffi – let’s not get Gadaffi!”. He’ll be all over trying to save his sorry ass now.
You know Newtie, the Morning Joe crowd is so pleased with the “Paul Ryan – even Newt Gingrich thinks you are EXTREME!” talking point.

Marcus on May 16, 2011 at 8:56 AM

Two weeks ago, Gingrich told her that he would have voted for the plan…

He wasn’t running for President two weeks ago.

Therein lies the difference between THEN and NOW.

pilamaye on May 16, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Need to ask Newtered why exactly he endorsed that rolling disaster Scozzapaloovafava in New York, just to see how badly he tries to explain it all away.

Bishop on May 16, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Whatever… keep him around long enough to make some great debate points, then he’s gone by March 2012…

Khun Joe on May 16, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Tru dat Marcus

The crew was giddy

cmsinaz on May 16, 2011 at 9:01 AM

I don’t think I have ever heard Bill Bennett in such a lather about another Republican as he is about Newt attacking the Ryan plan.

myrenovations on May 16, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Yogi says the fat lady is singing for you newt. Newt you are just a tired old insider who insists that compromise is the way forward, compromising the Constitution is not a solution it is the problem all you insiders have created to get us into the predicament we find ourselves in today.

tim c on May 16, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Whatever… keep him around long enough to make some great debate points”

What? That Paul Ryan is RADICAL!?

More of the “Newt is so smart” crap. I’ve always said it was in the same vein as “Obama is so smart.” Seriously – is Gingrich there to raise Mitt Romney’s numbers?

Marcus on May 16, 2011 at 9:04 AM

Only Joe Biden torpedoed his POTUS bid faster than Newt.

Can’t wait to how Newt tries to walk this one back.

Talon on May 16, 2011 at 9:07 AM

With Huckabee out, Gingrich decided to throw away 3 years of rebuilding bridges with conservatives and throw in with the presstitutes and liberal “Republicans”.

Steve Eggleston on May 16, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Sigh. Flip-flop on Libya, flip-flop on Medicare.

Newt’s got many ideas, for sure. Problem is, some of his ideas are polar opposites of some of his other ideas. It’s rank opportunism.

If Gingrich weren’t already being weighed down with his personal baggage, this should be enough for any competent campaign to finish him off. I eagerly await the John Kerry commercial.

KingGold on May 16, 2011 at 9:07 AM

He’s stealing flip-flop voters from Mitt…

the_nile on May 16, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Newt, another politician who sticks his finger up in the air to figure out which way the winds are blowing. Newt has no principles, I believe he falls under Option 2, and wanting the “Morning Joe” crowd to explain to him what his position should be.

TulsAmerican on May 16, 2011 at 9:09 AM

We don’t need Newt. He needs us.

We like Ryan’s plan. We don’t like RINOs who sit with Nancy Pelosi on Global Warming and who carry Obama’s water on the Ryan plan.

’nuff said.

CatoRenasci on May 16, 2011 at 9:11 AM

I don’t care what he thinks, you don’t hand the Left sound bites on a silver platter.

Cindy Munford on May 16, 2011 at 9:11 AM

“She turned me into a Ryan plan supporter!”
..silence… embarrassed look..
“I got better”

original signed on May 16, 2011 at 9:11 AM

“If Newton-Small didn’t make up the exchange out of whole cloth”

Whole cloth is too all-encompassing, but I have a lot of doubt about it’s context. I know nothing about Small but she does work for Time, so the odds are it is tilted.

Dusty on May 16, 2011 at 9:11 AM

With Huckabee out, Gingrich decided to throw away 3 years of rebuilding bridges with conservatives and throw in with the presstitutes and liberal “Republicans”.

Steve Eggleston on May 16, 2011 at 9:07 AM

You nailed it.

Tim Zank on May 16, 2011 at 9:12 AM

There are only a couple of plausible explanations for this change, and none of them complimentary to Gingrich. The first is that he told Newton-Small that he’d have voted for the Ryan plan as a “first step” without bothering to read it first in order to ingratiate himself with the conservative base. The second is that he read it, but it took him two weeks to understand it. And the third is that Gingrich decided that most of his 2012 competition would back the Ryan plan and that he could get political space for himself by being a contrarian. The fourth option is that Newton-Small is simply making up the story, which seems unlikely although not impossible.

I think it’s Option #3. Which is beyond stupid. Of all the elections for a Republican candidate for President to decide to run to the middle(or left in this case) as a political strategery, this is quite possibly the worst time imaginable. Was Newt on a bender or something last November? Does he not remember what happened to not only the Democrat Party but quite a few “moderate” Republicans who thought a large government and big entitlement spending was what a major of Americans wanted?

He was always a longshot for the nomination, but now I’d argue that even Santorum has better odds of winning than Newt.

Doughboy on May 16, 2011 at 9:14 AM

Newt has been hanging around DC too much

J_Crater on May 16, 2011 at 9:15 AM

What’s a Newt?

Amadeus on May 16, 2011 at 8:50 AM

Well… it’s what Ed said:

a picture of a politician operating from something other than principle.

Vince on May 16, 2011 at 9:18 AM

Save yourself some money and get out now.

sheesh on May 16, 2011 at 9:18 AM

I’d go with Option mixed in with Newt’s own sizable ego and self-centeredness. He simply said what he knew the base wanted to hear while at the same time not really giving a damn about Ryan’s proposals in any depth, because in Gingrich’s mind there’s only one real idea man among Republican politicians in Washington, and it’s not Paul Ryan.

So his answer to Newton-Small was basically along the lines of “yeayeatheplanit’sgreatit’sgreatit’sgreadgoodbyegoodbyegoodbye” as he said it without thought one about the nuts and bolts of the thing or how it would affect his own campaign, because he’s the real Man With the Plan in the 2012 election. Gingrich is going to really have to put on his thinking cap to square this circle the next time he’s on with Sean Hannity.

jon1979 on May 16, 2011 at 9:20 AM

The fourth option is that Newton-Small is simply making up the story, which seems unlikely although not impossible.

That’s not an option. Dr. Bennett has audio from a previous show and he’s not afraid to use it. It was a big part of his show today. Who forgot to tell Newt about audio and video capabilities? Dr. Bennett is going to invite him on his show to clarify. This ought to be good.

Cindy Munford on May 16, 2011 at 9:20 AM

Gingrich isn’t stupid by any stretch of the imagination,

Have any proof? His actions over the past few years disprove that statement.

rmgraha on May 16, 2011 at 9:21 AM

[Nearly Nobody on May 16, 2011 at 9:04 AM]

No offense to Bachmann, but at the rate Barry is going, they’ll be afraid of everyone down to Zombie Pat Paulson by summer of 2012.

Dusty on May 16, 2011 at 9:22 AM

You nailed it.

Tim Zank on May 16, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Yep, although he wouldn’t have been certain about the Huckster when he said this. I do agree, he’ll now shoot for the non-conservative votes.

a capella on May 16, 2011 at 9:23 AM

No offense to Bachmann, but at the rate Barry is going, they’ll be afraid of everyone down to Zombie Pat Paulson by summer of 2012.

Dusty on May 16, 2011 at 9:22 AM

Pat Paulson is dead? No!
I’ll bet the upcoming presidential campaign will resurrect him.

Vince on May 16, 2011 at 9:26 AM

I am truly astonished that both Mitt and Newt were asleep the last 2 years.

faraway on May 16, 2011 at 9:26 AM

So his answer to Newton-Small was basically along the lines of “yeayeatheplanit’sgreatit’sgreatit’sgreadgoodbyegoodbyegoodbye” as he said it without thought one about the nuts and bolts of the thing or how it would affect his own campaign, because he’s the real Man With the Plan in the 2012 election. jon1979 on May 16, 2011 at 9:20 AM

He may have been in a hurry,…may have had a hot date waiting.

a capella on May 16, 2011 at 9:26 AM

Have any proof? His actions over the past few years disprove that statement.

rmgraha on May 16, 2011 at 9:21 AM

I don’t think Newt’s dumb. He’s just weak in the spine. He has conservative principles, but he doesn’t have the b@lls to stand on them. Instead he caves in to what he perceives to be the mood of the electorate. Do you really think Newt believes in manmade global warming? I don’t, but I do think that he felt the public was siding with Al Gore and the environmentalist wackos a few years ago and as a result we ended up with the stupid TV spot with Nancy Pelosi.

In fact, Newt’s defense at the time was that he didn’t necessarily believe in it. He just wanted the GOP to not be behind the curve. He’s a squish who sticks his finger in the air to see which way the wind blows. Frankly I don’t see how he’s any better than Mittens with this kind of mentality. The only advantage he really had going into this weekend was that a disaster like Romneycare wasn’t on his resume, but his remarks on Meet the Depressed kinda killed that.

Doughboy on May 16, 2011 at 9:28 AM

I think Newt is losing his mind. The evidence:

1) Sitting on the couch with Pelosi, totally buying into the lie about global warming
2) Endorsing extreme liberal, traitor Dede Scozzawhatever, and maintaining that endorsement all the way to the point where she dropped out of the race and endorsed the far left progressive Dem opponent over the tea party conservative who was killing her in the polls
3) Trashing Ryan’s medicare plan which does NOT impact anyone older than 55 at all and lying about that point.

This is not the Newt that had a fairly successful reign as Speaker when the budget got balanced for the first time in a bazillion years and they reformed welfare.

So Newt has just shot himself in his nuts here. He just gave his opponents lots of fodder for opposition ads. Obama is laughing his bony behind off in the Oval Office.

karenhasfreedom on May 16, 2011 at 9:29 AM

That’s got to have been the shortest run in history. lol

Murf76 on May 16, 2011 at 9:33 AM

I’m against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.

So, can we assume that the Contract with America and the Balanced Budget Amendment WAS NOT radical change in Newt’s mind.

Have to wonder how Newt’s going to walk back his support with Pelosi on climate change since NASA’s fabrications of sea levels? Hmmmmm? Radical change, indeed.

Rovin on May 16, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Newt is about promoting Newt.

His “American Solutions” plugs during every interview are the give away.

When it comes to Newt: follow the money.

rickyricardo on May 16, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Newt is about promoting Newt.

His “American Solutions” plugs during every interview are the give away.

rickyricardo on May 16, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Agree.

Newt – promoting American Solutions
Cain – promoting his radio show
Paul – crazy old man
TPaw – trying to be the “next in line” for 2016
Romney – ??? a mystery
Bachmann – Tea Party rep

faraway on May 16, 2011 at 9:42 AM

If it isn’t his idea, it stinks. He was for Libya intervention before he was against it as well. He is a talking head, nothing more. Georgia will hopefully support Cain.

JDH on May 16, 2011 at 9:42 AM

He’s against Ryans plan, and pro AGW.

I think he’s a liberal trying to get elected in Republican clothing.

capejasmine on May 16, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Option #5 – Newt’s just another typical mealy-mouthed, scheming, triangulating, politician. Ooops, sorry, I repeated myself!
-
I thought that Gingrich was unfairly tarred with the adultery charges, but he lost any residual sympathy I might have felt with this lizardly treatment of Paul Ryan.

Metanis on May 16, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Newts shed their skin, and if they loose a leg or a tail, they can grow them back.

Fallon on May 16, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Newt, please go away. We’ve asked nicely.

search4truth on May 16, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Since the race is getting stressfull for Newt i worry about his marriage….

unseen on May 16, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Yep, I was really crossing my fingers and hoping for a field of career candidates who attacked each other even worse than the media does.

ACES!!!

hawkdriver on May 16, 2011 at 10:01 AM

I think he’s a liberal trying to get elected in Republican clothing.

capejasmine on May 16, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Hah! When has THAT ever happened. /

hawkdriver on May 16, 2011 at 10:02 AM

option 5. Newt saw the self destruction of Mitt and decided his path to the nomination was to go after the Mitt/Rino voters without having the romneycare mess around his neck.

EPIC fail btw.

unseen on May 16, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Since the race is getting stressfull for Newt i worry about his marriage….

unseen on May 16, 2011 at 9:59 AM

He just loves his country SO MUCH.
/

steebo77 on May 16, 2011 at 10:05 AM

This is all the lsm can talk about this am….they are eating this up with glee

cmsinaz on May 16, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Doesn’t really matter. Newt will not make it out of the primaries. He is a voice from the republican past that we need to put to rest. There is a new conservative ascendancy in this party and the old, established guard will be unable contain and neutralize it. Newt should get out now and save himself some money IMO.

KickandSwimMom on May 16, 2011 at 10:06 AM

This is all the lsm can talk about this am….they are eating this up with glee

cmsinaz on May 16, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Yes and it conjures this …

As in the Libyan fable it is told that once an eagle, when stricken with an arrow, said when it saw the nature of it’s shaft. “With our own feathers, are we now smitten.”

Liberal Republicans do the media’s work for them. I can only imagine they want the results they know it’ll produce.

hawkdriver on May 16, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Was it Newt, or John Edwards, that cheated on their cancer-stricken wife?

faraway on May 16, 2011 at 10:15 AM

He just loves his country SO MUCH.
/

steebo77 on May 16, 2011 at 10:05 AM

so true. I worry about those interns working for his campaign…

unseen on May 16, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Newt the go along to get along leader … PL00TTT

tarpon on May 16, 2011 at 10:18 AM

faraway on May 16, 2011 at 10:15 AM

According to Newt’s daughter it would have to be Edwards. Apparently the first Mrs. Gingrich’s tumor was benign.

Cindy Munford on May 16, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Indeed hawkdriver

cmsinaz on May 16, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Gingrich isn’t stupid by any stretch of the imagination,

Have any proof? His actions over the past few years disprove that statement.

rmgraha on May 16, 2011 at 9:21 AM

It depends. He’s pretty smart when thinking with Big Head, but he spends way too much time thinking with dumb ol’ Little Head.

WASHINGTON,DC(MSM) Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, speaking about the uproar over his comments on Meet the Press on Sunday, said,”It was my fault for not expressing correctly what I really think of Paul Ryans plan. You see, I was thinking how radical my life has changed for the better with Callista. I mean…she’s just awsome…radically awsome…and will be a fantastic First Lady!
That was in the back of my mind and affected my comments on Ryan and my party. See how she affects me? Awsome!”

cartooner on May 16, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Newt….Done
Mitt….Done
R.Paul..Done
Trump…Done
Huckabee….Done

Leaves Palin, Bachmann, and Cain…Any of which are fine by me. Establishment Republicans suck the big Wazoo…..

adamsmith on May 16, 2011 at 10:44 AM

And the third is that Gingrich decided that most of his 2012 competition would back the Ryan plan and that he could get political space for himself by being a contrarian.

The third choice is it. Knowing that after the primaries, a dead cat could beat Obama, he’s looking to gain favor with the media as evidenced by the recent NYT headline:

“Gingrich Calls G.O.P.’s Medicare Plan Too Radical”

With near-bottom polling among Republican candidates, he knows that there won’t be any grassroots swell behind him, and that the left loves to pick our candidate with their unbiased reporting *sarc* (i.e. McCain, Dole). He just wants to be their man with statements against the Ryan budget. After an expected primary win, hard swing right and, Voila — instant amphibian Presidency.

funkengruven on May 16, 2011 at 10:49 AM

I would love to take an American history class from former Speaker Gingrich.

Cindy Munford on May 16, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Brit Hume gave him a good smacking on Fox News’ show with Hemmer.

Marcus on May 16, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Was Newt for the Ryan plan before he was against it?

This is precisely why Newt should NOT be elected to any higher office. He’s obviously been infected by the Washington disease, and can no longer be trusted.

He could still be useful as an idea man, provided he works under someone who has unshakeable principles and can effectively filter out the unnecessary capitulations to the left which keep showing up in Newt’s work.

landlines on May 16, 2011 at 11:28 AM

♪♫

Flip-floppin’ away,
Flip-floppin’ away,
You know the nearer your destination,
The more you’re flip-floppin’ away.

slickwillie2001 on May 16, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Was Newt for the Ryan plan before he was against it?

Then for it again, after he checked the temperature…go back to writing books and pontificating.

Schadenfreude on May 16, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Newt’s got more websites/organizations than a junkyard dog has fleas. (Thought I was going to say exwives didn’t you!) He’s turned into a self promoting carnival barker.

jnelchef on May 16, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Of course he’s a liar. He lied to his family and his wives, why wouldn’t he lie to everyone else?

Slime.

Common Sense on May 16, 2011 at 2:33 PM

…it’s either option 1 or 3, and both of them paint a picture of a politician operating from something other than principle.

Gee, lemme think. How could we have possibly predicted that Newt might not be a man of principle?

Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Yep, that’s a toughie, all right.

Splashman on May 16, 2011 at 3:57 PM

He could still be useful as an idea man, provided he works under someone who has unshakeable principles and can effectively filter out the unnecessary capitulations to the left which keep showing up in Newt’s work.

landlines on May 16, 2011 at 11:28 AM

This. He doesn’t belong in leadership. Unprincipled leaders are what got us in this mess in the first place.

He needs a leash. And a shock collar.

Splashman on May 16, 2011 at 3:59 PM