Audio: Newt Gingrich “in a benign sense … is a totalitarian,” says Mark Steyn

posted at 8:00 pm on December 17, 2011 by Tina Korbe

This, to balance out my anti-Mitt post earlier. The truest sentence Mark Steyn speaks in this audio: Newt Gingrich has “solutions to stuff most of us didn’t know were problems.” I’ll let Steyn’s statements about Gingrich speak for themselves:

Rather than add more about what we don’t want in a president, I’d like to offer a model for what I, at least, would like. Steyn references Calvin Coolidge as the quintessential conservative president. He’s onto something. Silent Cal truly grasped that less is more. Here, indeed, is a lesson for our crony-capitalism-plagued times, from Coolidge, via Paul Johnson in A History of the American People:

Later that year [1925], in an address to the New York Chamber of Commerce, Coolidge produced a classic and lapidary statement of his own laissez-fair philosophy. Government and business, he said, should remain independent and separate, one directed from Washington, the other from New York. Wise and prudent men should always prevent the mutual usurpations which foolish men sought on either side. Business was the pursuit of gain but it also had a moral purpose: ‘the mutual organized effort of society to minister to the economic requirement of civilization … It rests squarely on the law of service. It has for its main reliance truth and faith and justice. In its larger sense it is is one of the greatest contributing forces to the moral and spiritual advancement of the race.’ That was why government had a warrant to promote its success by providing the conditions of competition within a framework of security. The job of government and law was to suppress privilege wherever it manifested itself and uphold lawful possession by providing legal remedies for all wrongs: ‘The prime element in the value of all property is the knowledge that its peaceful enjoyment will be publicly defended.’ Without this legal and public defense ‘the value of your tall buildings would shrink to the price of the waterfront of old Carthage or corner-lots in ancient Babylon.’ The more business regulated itself, he concluded, the less need there would be for government to act to insure competition. It could therefore concentrate on its twin tasks of economy and of improving the national structure within which business could increase profits and investment, raise wages and provide better goods and services at the lowest possible prices.

(Read the full address here.)

And, as a matter of personal taste, how nice would it be if our politicians said a whole lot less? As Coolidge put it, “I don’t recall any candidate for president that ever injured himself very much by not talking.’ Or again: ‘The things I never say never get me into trouble.’ All our candidates could stand to learn that lesson.

Parting thought: Coolidge was president in the twentieth century, and Newt still chooses FDR as the “greatest”?


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Government, like fire, is a tool and a force with its own set of abilities. It can protect us and offer us a warming place in life… and it can burn our lives, our homes, our Nation and freedom. It is a dangerous tool and best kept in the hearth and errant sparks put out with water and then stamped into oblivion. These people running around with bags of embers to spread them onto the floor and walls of every room because such a power is obviously so good, must be stopped or we will then face the destructive power of government inflicted upon us.

ajacksonian on December 18, 2011 at 7:23 AM

Fascinating stuff, thank you.

noeastern on December 18, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Let’s face it, it isn’t the Republican Party that has a deficit of character and personality in its candidates, but our society as a whole.

Cleombrotus on December 18, 2011 at 8:15 AM

i use to think its was liberal’s that were the problem.i guess i wasnt paying close enough attention,because there is certainly enough conservatives that are just as Authoritarian,they just have differnt dictates.(social engineering)(social regimentation)!

svs22422 on December 18, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Government, like fire, is a tool and a force with its own set of abilities. It can protect us and offer us a warming place in life… and it can burn our lives, our homes, our Nation and freedom. It is a dangerous tool and best kept in the hearth and errant sparks put out with water and then stamped into oblivion. These people running around with bags of embers to spread them onto the floor and walls of every room because such a power is obviously so good, must be stopped or we will then face the destructive power of government inflicted upon us.

ajacksonian on December 18, 2011 at 7:23 AM
Fascinating stuff, thank you.

noeastern on December 18, 2011 at 1:37 PM

i also send my thanks.

svs22422 on December 18, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Oh how much I can’t stand Newt. It doesn’t get any more “establishment” than him. I don’t always like Coulter, but think she made some excellent points here (minus the Romney touting, bleh):

http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2011-12-14.html

Dagny__Taggart on December 18, 2011 at 2:50 PM

ajacksonian on December 18, 2011 at 7:23 AM

Fascinating stuff, thank you.

noeastern on December 18, 2011 at 1:37 PM

i also send my thanks.

svs22422 on December 18, 2011 at 1:46 PM

I third the motion, ajacksonian. I’ve always enjoyed your informative posts at HA the past couple of years — and your blog as well. I often wished I could post to express my frustration with how under-appreciated and ignored your comments often are by the other commenters. [Seems like the new blood has been good in this regard.] Cheers!

ShainS on December 18, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Say what you want, but Mitt is honest, faithful to both his private and public his vows and is not a creature of government. Mitt was a success in private industry, Newt never tried it. Mitt is a free market capitalist and Newt is a crony capitalist.

He’s a free market capitalist who put the biggest governemnt overreach in our country’s history into play with RomneyCare, setting the state for Obamacare at the federal level.

This is what matters to voters, not this other trivial stufff you and the Romneybots are trumping up.

He ran as a liberal to win in Mass and he danced for them up there for 4 years. He did nothing to move the state to the right.

To say he’s better than Gingrich is absurd. If he wants to run as a moderate, he needs to lose as one.

Dr. Tesla on December 18, 2011 at 3:34 PM

I think Romney grew up rich.

And I don’t care that he made a lot of money with Bain Capital?

What’s does that mean to me as a voter? That’s great he had private sector success, but his record as govenor isn’t much different from what a Democrat in his place.

If you are truly voting for somebody to represent you because you are a conservative, Romney’s not the guy.

Dr. Tesla on December 18, 2011 at 3:37 PM

In my view, Gingrich is a populist, not some benign totalitarian. He seems to want to be this perfect small “d” democrat. If the people think global warming is a legit and demand a solution for it, Gingrich wants to solve that problem even if it’s a hoax. That dosn’t him Stalin-lite, it makes him a populist. You’d think Steyn could understand the difference here.

He wants to do whatever the American wants him to do at a given point in time. If they support enttilement reform, he’s on board. If they don’t, he’s not.

Dr. Tesla on December 18, 2011 at 3:42 PM

National Review, Steyn, Coulter, Haley, Bachmann, etc.etc. shilling for Massachusetts liberal Romney……Pathetic! !! kingsmill on December 17, 2011 at 10:38 PM

Hot Airheads shilling for Freddie Mac Gingrich. Worse than pathetic. You must love being lied to kingsmill.

Basilsbest on December 17, 2011 at 10:56 PM

Nice try Basal-cell carcinoma. I’m not with Newt. I have however lived under double dealing Mitt during his disastrous Mass governorship:

—Increase in state spending by 15% under Mitt the fiscal chicken hawk;

—-underhanded acquiescence in gay marriage by this tepid Mormon;

—–incompetent management of Big Dig project;

—– aid and comfort to pro aborts including Planned Parenthood.

Mitt’s ability to manipulate the truth leaves Newt in the dust.

kingsmill on December 18, 2011 at 3:54 PM

kingsmill,

I thought Haley said that Romney balanced the budget and cut spending. Did she have her facts wrong?

Dr. Tesla on December 18, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Haley speak with forked tongue. Check the increase in MA state spending under Mitt.

kingsmill on December 18, 2011 at 4:54 PM

In my view, Gingrich is a populist, not some benign totalitarian. He seems to want to be this perfect small “d” democrat.

Dr. Tesla on December 18, 2011 at 3:42 PM

I’m constantly amazed at this notion. Yes, Newt has put forth some rather unorthodox ideas with respect to environmentalism and entitlement reform, but really, how does anyone in their right mind label this man a democrat? The man who engineered the first GOP controlled Congress in 40 years? The man who balanced the federal budget for four years? The man who substantially reduced the welfare roles – and ONLY man in the race to do anything remotely close to these accomplishments in the face of a democrat president and uncooperative GOP conference in the House who bucked his leadership from day one?

Who? WHO is the candidate in this field that has any legitimate accomplishments, ON THE RECORD, illustrating a reduction in the entitlement state? I am still searching for someone to show me, with EVIDENCE, how Newt Gingrich has a liberal legislative record. How Newt Gingrich was a squish in Congress? How he proposed and passed entitlement expansion legislation?

This cycle of garbage declarations about Newt Gingrich’s so-called liberal side, based upon statements he’s made as a private citizen (admittedly stupid, in some cases), rather than based upon his legislative record, easily researched, is a joke.

Stop calling the man a democrat when you have NO evidence to substantiate that claim. He balanced budgets, sir. For YEARS. Facts are facts and your claim is baseless.

MTLassen on December 18, 2011 at 8:32 PM

You did not understand my point.

I said small d democrat for a reason.

Democracy is supposed to be about majority of the people getting what they want. My point was he is a populist who wants to support and find solutions to whatever a majority of Americans think is a problem at the time, like global warming.

I don’t how you can lash out at me as being some anti-Newt hardliner if you’ve read any of my previous posts on here. I think that I’ve been pretty clear that if comes down to Newt and Romney, I think you have to support Newt, since he’s run to the right of Romney. I’ll vote against the Republican who positions himself as the moderate in our primary every time.

Dr. Tesla on December 18, 2011 at 11:24 PM

And I don’t care that he made a lot of money with Bain Capital?

What’s does that mean to me as a voter? That’s great he had private sector success, but his record as govenor isn’t much different from what a Democrat in his place.

This is such lightweight treatment of a very substantive fact of this election – which is that Romney (love him or hate him and I know these parts are full of people who can’t contain their Stranglovian jerking at the mention of his name) did the very hard, creative work of building the private sector infrastructure in which growth occurs.

Anyone who is seriously interested in understanding what Romney did at Bain – and how good he was at it, and how good it was for the economy and their clients – has an obligation to read this excellent piece from Steven Kaplan of the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-15/romney-honed-right-skills-in-private-equity-commentary-by-steven-kaplan.html

What it should tell you as a voter is that (a) Romney is a candidate who understands the gritty inner workings of a market economy, the way someone who has never lived it can’t, (b) Romney has a track record of success that is largely owing to his willingness to bust his ass working hard and smart.

Those things should always matter, but they especially matter now.

InVinoVeritas on December 19, 2011 at 12:31 AM

Haley speak with forked tongue. Check the increase in MA state spending under Mitt.

kingsmill on December 18, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Apparently you know something abt forked tongues.

The MA budget was absolutely balanced in Romney’s tenure and it was a major political achievement facing an 85% Democratic legislature.

InVinoVeritas on December 19, 2011 at 12:38 AM

Parting thought: Coolidge was president in the twentieth century, and Newt still chooses FDR as the “greatest”?

Exactly. FDR is the choice of liberal statists, not conservative Republicans.

No Newt.
No Romney.
Period.

Full Disclosure: Perry is my preferred choice. (But, above all, a conservative rather than a RINO!)

Theophile on December 19, 2011 at 4:09 AM

Steyn is right about that. Newt seems like a big government guy thinking that government can be the Uber Problem Solver of all things problematic. It isn’t. He’s not got his heart in the right place when it comes to liberty and freedom except where the government says you can have some.

kens on December 19, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Haley speak with forked tongue. Check the increase in MA state spending under Mitt.

kingsmill on December 18, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Apparently you know something abt forked tongues.

The MA budget was absolutely balanced in Romney’s tenure and it was a major political achievement facing an 85% Democratic legislature.

InVinoVeritas on December 19, 2011 at 12:38 AM

He didn’t say the budget wasn’t balanced. He said spending grew by 15%. Did it? Yes. Lighten up francis.

runawayyyy on December 19, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Nothing wrong with Speaker of the US Congress House of Representatives Newt Gingrich

I repost, however, a related previous comment I made on Facebook [with some edition/addition] ~

November 13 2011

Nothing wrong with Congressmen Gingrich and West and Cain [or other fine Republicans]

I do however, repost a related comment

I did not bother to watch, as I have not watched any political speech since 2008, because none of these figures are of any importance or relevance in that not one of them knows how to or will save America economically

There is only one candidate who even says he can and has a specific way to save America:

Me

For that reason I have been excluded from the sight and hearing of the voters by the major parties and media

John W Stevenson

PS My Facebook Profile page is in the same name as here John W Stevenson. Haha! be sure to get the right one

I have just announced there the formative stages of a movie of my life story and Call for assistances and Angels to help me pull it together, nope it is not a political puff piece for myself, one of the purposes is to raise funds sufficient to pay for my two smart, tiny photogenic “Daughters” in The Philippines to attend university.

November 15 2011

!. Get me on the ballot

2. Vote for me

Or continue with the ruination of America

John W Stevenson

http://www.johnwstevenson.com

http://www.johnwstevensonforpresident.com

John W Stevenson on December 20, 2011 at 5:11 PM

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