What they’re saying about Gingrich’s not-so-great grasp of his own history with Reagan

posted at 6:35 pm on January 26, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Who are “they”? You know … them. Insiders.

Establishment criticism of Newt Gingrich is sure to just galvanize support for him among anti-establishment voters, though, and they’ve got to know that, too, so you kind of have to wonder what, exactly, they hope to accomplish with these revelations. Unless … Maybe some people care to set the record straight just for the sake of a straight record. I’d like to think that.

Either way, at least a couple of folks have suggested that Newt Gingrich has rewritten the history of his relation to Ronald Reagan. Mark Shields, for example, writes:

In an interview on CNBC, Gingrich recently emphasized his close identification with the nation’s 40th president: “I’ve done a movie on Ronald Reagan called ‘Rendezvous With Destiny.’ Callista and I did.

We’ve done a book on Ronald Reagan. You know I campaigned with Reagan. I first met Reagan in ’74. I’m very happy to talk about Ronald Reagan.”

Just like when Newt went to the House floor during the Gipper’s second White House term and declared the president’s Soviet policy a “failure.” Here is what Gingrich said: “Measured against the scale and momentum of the Soviet empire’s challenge, the Reagan administration has failed, is failing and without a dramatic, fundamental change in strategy will continue to fail. … The burden of the failure frankly must be placed first upon President Reagan.”

This was after Gingrich, as reported in the Congressional Record, had found Reagan responsible for our national “decay”: “Beyond the obvious indicators of decay, the fact is that President Reagan has lost control of the national agenda.” Students of Newt-speak will recognize that by “decay,” Gingrich was generally referring to factors such as crime, illegitimate births and illiteracy.

Elliott Abrams, an assistant secretary of state in the Reagan administration, seconds that information and adds more:

Gingrich scorned Reagan’s speeches, which moved a party and then a nation, because “the president of the United States cannot discipline himself to use the correct language.” In Afghanistan, Reagan’s policy was marked by “impotence [and] incompetence.” Thus Gingrich concluded as he surveyed five years of Reagan in power that “we have been losing the struggle with the Soviet empire.” Reagan did not know what he was doing, and “it is precisely at the vision and strategy levels that the Soviet empire today is superior to the free world.”

There are two things to be said about these remarks. The first is that as a visionary, Gingrich does not have a very impressive record. The Soviet Union was beginning to collapse, just as Reagan had believed it must. The expansion of its empire had been thwarted. The policies Gingrich thought so weak and indeed “pathetic” worked, and Ronald Reagan turned out to be a far better student of history and politics than Gingrich.

The second point to make is that Gingrich made these assaults on the Reagan administration just as Democratic attacks were heating up unmercifully. Far from becoming a reliable voice for Reagan policy and the struggle against the Soviets, Gingrich took on Reagan and his administration.

And, then, there’s this video:

As it turns out, though, that video was selectively edited (credit to Dan Riehl for that discovery). Elsewhere in the same setting, Gingrich actually praised Reaganism. So it’s best to take the video, at least, with a grain of salt.

Also, none of this means Gingrich didn’t vote with Reagan regularly or that he doesn’t genuinely want to build on Reagan’s legacy now. If anything, it’s just proof that he has a long history of speaking out against his party — at times for the good of conservatism and at times, as in the case of his criticisms of Reagan, for the ill.

That said, it’s easy for me to believe that Gingrich was less than impressed with Reagan at the time. After all, we already knew Gingrich thinks FDR, not Reagan, was the greatest president of the 20th Century.


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It seems the Anderson people are out in force trying to make Reagan their own.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on January 26, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Levin made an ass of himself by staking every single bit of his credibility on Christine O’Donnell. Nobody gives a damn what he says any more.

KingGold on January 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Oh well, I never liked Levin much anyway.

captn2fat on January 26, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Romney sure is good at uniting the party behind him isn’t he?
I have reservations about a Newt candidacy, but about Romney I have none.
He’s an unprincipled snake who’ll destroy the conservative movement for a generation.
And I say that as someone who voted for him in ’08.

billy on January 26, 2012 at 8:09 PM

How many of the establishment RINOs in office right now ripped GW’s surge in Iraq?

I just saw for the first time if Mitt is the nominee they’ll stay home.

I think that’s very, very wrong but its going to be an issue, people are fed up with new boss same as the old boss, at least in perception.

Speakup on January 26, 2012 at 8:10 PM

I have to correct myself–Abrams is married to Jennifer Rubin’s sister, not Rubin. I’m sorry–I misread an article.

INC on January 26, 2012 at 8:11 PM

KingGold on January 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM

…and yet the Romney campaign touted her endorsement. Hmmm.

alwaysfiredup on January 26, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Levin has a voice and style reminiscent of the cranky old dude who works at the deli. He keeps kvetching on and on, thinking you’re listening to what he’s saying, when the whole time you’re thinking to yourself, “Would you please just SHUT UP AND MAKE MY SANDWICH!!!”

captn2fat on January 26, 2012 at 8:21 PM

Levin had one of the Reagan team on his show tonite, they both are adament that this coordinated attack about newt and Reagan is unfounded and unprincipled.

karenhasfreedom on January 26, 2012 at 8:23 PM

In a 1995 speech at a dinner honoring Ronald Reagan, Nancy said: “The dramatic movement of 1995 is an outgrowth of a much earlier crusade that goes back half a century. Barry Goldwater handed the torch to Ronnie, and in turn Ronnie turned that torch over to Newt and the Republican members of Congress to keep that dream alive.”

Bullhead on January 26, 2012 at 8:25 PM

I have to correct myself–Abrams is married to Jennifer Rubin’s sister, not Rubin. I’m sorry–I misread an article.

INC on January 26, 2012 at 8:11 PM

I still don’t have it right. My only excuse is a headache and I’ve been reading too much, too fast.

INC on January 26, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Mark Shields the liberal hack who hasn’t had a nichol’s worth of criticism for any democrat ever,… is a credible source? Eliot Abrams?, the guy who was discredited during Reagan’s terms?…. who never owned his own choices?

Look,.. you can find douchebags in any administration to hawk their importance at the cost of someone elses reputation, they publish those books endlessly during every presidency. That doesn’t give these charges much beyond,.. they just hate Newt..

But I never remember any schism between Ron and Newt, Newt didn’t agree with everything, but who does..

Abrams… and Shields?…

Mark Shields?

The guy who hated Reagan with all the shine of the glassey eyed stare Ron got from all the “right” people? Shields has no crediblity here, he’s made a career on PBS scolding even the mere mention of Ron’s name as something hateful… The guy who thought Jimmy Carter was a “great” president is now telling us the “truth” about the GOP front runner?

Why am I not surprised he accuses Newt of lying.

Hell he does the same to every republican pol, without exception. Not going to listen to anything from that party hack, even if he has it on tape, I’d demand the uncut version..

Mark Shields lies for a living,.. that’s what he does.

Mitt is way past disgraceful for using this,.. and has now driven me firmly into the Newt camp, because it’ll be a cold day in Hell now, before Mitt gets a vote from me.

mark81150 on January 26, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Mitt distorts Newt’s plan. Newt is clear. Santorum distorts.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on January 26, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Levin has a voice and style reminiscent of the cranky old dude who works at the deli. He keeps kvetching on and on, thinking you’re listening to what he’s saying, when the whole time you’re thinking to yourself, “Would you please just SHUT UP AND MAKE MY SANDWICH!!!”

captn2fat on January 26, 2012 at 8:21 PM

He’s got a rough voice, but is a Constitutional scholar and he’s brilliant. I may not agree with absolutely everything he says,.. but he’s not an insignifigant voice,..

Besides, anyone who’s a walking contradiction to the liberal meme conservatives are “anti-intellectual” as he is, just drives them crazy. That, and he’s alot more in tune to the base than the beltway republicans who roll their eyes when discussing the base.

mark81150 on January 26, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Levin made an ass of himself by staking every single bit of his credibility on Christine O’Donnell. Nobody gives a damn what he says any more.

KingGold on January 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Yeah sure, except that his book is #1.

rightConcept on January 26, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Amjean on January 26, 2012 at 6:54 PM

Good advice. Those are great articles. Jeffrey Lord has 5 pages of info. He was on the Mark Levin radio program this evening and Mark’s website should have the replay up.

bluefox on January 26, 2012 at 10:24 PM

Levin made an ass of himself by staking every single bit of his credibility on Christine O’Donnell. Nobody gives a damn what he says any more.

KingGold on January 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Your opinion,.. not shared by millions it seems. His sin was what? expecting that the will of the voters should be respected and suggesting they vote for the party’s nominee? Even if you personally, hated her?.. for the sake of party unity and respecting the voters right to pick whomever they wanted?

Not so different from folks here demanding that all bow down and whorship at the feet of Mitt should he win the nod. Levin was vastly more supportive of the voters right to choose who they wanted.. then you were from the contempt dripping from your post..

now,… do the voters have a right to choose their own candidate or not? If you heap contempt on folks for supporting that right, how much respect do you really think your choice should get?

I mean really?

Name a voice in politics who hasn’t enraged some segment by picking someone that slice didn’t like, and standing by that. Levin has every right to do the same. As far as ass making goes.. better to let that one lie there on the floor..

mark81150 on January 26, 2012 at 10:31 PM

Michael Reagan and Limbaugh had interesting takes on all this:

Reagan wasn’t a saint, he was a great president. No one should be forced to side with him 100% of the time, but that is now the standard. 100% or else.

JP1986UM on January 26, 2012 at 10:37 PM

http://legalinsurrection.com/

This site has so many threads that have the “rest of the story” for those that are incomplete or misleading that Tina has selected to post.

bluefox on January 26, 2012 at 10:50 PM

Video of Nancy Reagan turning the torch over to Newt:

http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/01/nancy-reagan-1995-ronnie-turned-that-torch-over-to-newt/

bluefox on January 26, 2012 at 10:53 PM

I’m going to have to go with Nancy Reagan on this one. That was one thing about her… if you bad mouthed Ronnie – even once – you were dead to her. Oh, and she’d rip your gonads off.

So there is no way at all that she would have praised Gingrich if he’d bashed Reagan. Would never happen in a million years, ’cause that woman knew how to hold a grudge. She practically made it an art form.

Snorkdoodle Whizbang on January 26, 2012 at 7:08 PM

That is a reasoned conclusion based on facts:-) Unlike some comments that admit they don’t know something but comment anyway against the issue, LOL

Jeffrey Lord was on Levin tonight and said as much & more.

bluefox on January 26, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Another perspective…

http://spectator.org/archives/2012/01/24/reagans-young-lieutenant/

Unrepentant Teapartyist on January 26, 2012 at 11:08 PM

I.will.not.allow.myself.to.be.steamrolled.by.Romney’s.dirty.campaign.

KickandSwimMom on January 26, 2012 at 7:34 PM

I heard that also. It was very good, Mark & Jeffrey Lord. I’d rather listen to those that know the truth and were there in person than to the ones that have an ax to grind. They in trying to attack Newt also are attacking Reagan. Nasty people.

bluefox on January 26, 2012 at 11:25 PM

Oops posted this on another story, meant to on this one.

This video is much more damning than the one Drudge linked to today. Surely Michael Reagan will want his endorsement back?

Gingrich bashes Reagan on House floor.

http://race42012.com/2012/01/26/gingrich-bashing-reagan-on-house-floor/

sheryl on January 26, 2012 at 11:27 PM

By the way, the Florida Tea Party (which is huge) just endorsed Newt.

Sarah Palin has also come out in his defense… they are Palinizing him.

We have got to stop the media and the elites from running our country.

stenwin77 on January 26, 2012 at 7:40 PM

I read there were 300 TP Florida organizations, but forgot where!!
Being a political junkie is hard work, LOL

bluefox on January 26, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Elliott Abrams is married to Jennifer Rubin, who is a Mitt supporter and has had the knives out for Newt.

Tina, you ought to mention the interconnection of the people who are going after Newt.

INC on January 26, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Now that is a bit of interesting news. That would explain Abrams opinion on Newt possibly.

Newt has a lot of knives out for him from almost all sectors.

bluefox on January 26, 2012 at 11:54 PM

Now we have an all out war going on.

INC on January 26, 2012 at 7:59 PM

You know, you have to give Newt credit. He knows all of this and in spite of that, he entered the race. With the deck being stacked, most people would not have done so.

bluefox on January 27, 2012 at 12:00 AM

I still don’t have it right. My only excuse is a headache and I’ve been reading too much, too fast.

INC on January 26, 2012 at 8:32 PM

No problem. I do that when the family wants to know who Dad’s youngest sister’s 2nd son’s name is and who he married, LOL

bluefox on January 27, 2012 at 12:05 AM

mark81150 on January 26, 2012 at 8:52 PM

I was surprised at including Shields also and the rest of the thread’s sources. I’ve had to go to other websites to finally get the truth of it all and the video of Nancy Reagan that was left out here.

That’s not good, when you have to double check an entire thread for accuracy.

bluefox on January 27, 2012 at 12:09 AM

No problem. I do that when the family wants to know who Dad’s youngest sister’s 2nd son’s name is and who he married, LOL

bluefox on January 27, 2012 at 12:05 AM

I can understand forgetting Larry, but his wife? Who does not know Mabel? She’s the one who brings the red jello with carrots and brussels sprouts to all the parties.

katy the mean old lady on January 27, 2012 at 1:21 AM

Did anyone see Ed Rollins on Hannity tonight? Rollins, who was a top advisor to Pres. Reagan during his year in office, was asked who of the two candidates is closer to RR? He said in no uncertain terms that Newt is. He said that in fact Newt was one of 10 or 12 most influential people from the entire congress who would meet with The President every week/10 days. Here’s a quote from his column: “As someone who was there in the Reagan White House and on his campaign, I can say that Newt was a strong ally and early supporter of President Reagan.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/01/26/debate-leaves-undecided-voters-in-florida-still-undecided/#ixzz1keAyILxa

He went on to say that at the same time, Romney was an Independent and was voting democrat.

This not only ends this debate, but it points out that Romney is really running an unfair, dirty campaign. And the media is eating it up. Even Drudge had the headline up for about 48 hours! Geez. Why do we Republicans allow a coronation rather than a vote?

Just my opinion.

JeffVader on January 27, 2012 at 4:01 AM

Sorry, I know where it is. I was asking why it hasn’t been posted here at HotAir. How bogus!

kg598301 on January 26, 2012 at 7:18 PM

One, it was posted in the headlines earlier today, and two, Newt is not incessantly dropping the name of Nancy Reagan in the debates.

If Newt had been thrown out by the time she made that speech, we’d be hearing about how “Ronnie passed the torch” to someone else.

KingGold on January 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM

One, headlines come and go pretty quickly here. It’s pretty bad when the commenters are the ones that have to give both sides of the story. I see that Allah posted the link, finally- kudos to him anyway.

And two, Nancy Reagan was speaking for her husband- the one person who is really qualified to do so.

Three, if your aunt had b@lls she’d be your uncle.

kg598301 on January 27, 2012 at 7:50 AM

Tina,
I hate to point this out, but if you’d done about 10 seconds of research you would have found a link to an entry at legal insurrection with about 8 stories that talk about Reagan and Newt’s close relationship, including a link to a Reagan insider that completely disputes Elliot’s story. I suggest for this primary you check more than Beck or Drudge. Thanks.

http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/01/nancy-reagan-1995-ronnie-turned-that-torch-over-to-newt/

sweetsarah on January 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

So, Newt was a supporter of Reagan’s policies who constructively criticized him from the right when he found a disagreement, while Mitt Romney was a Reagan-despising independent during this era.

That makes Mitt Reagan’s intellectual and political heir in the Orwellian mind of the Mittbot, got it.

ebrown2 on January 27, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Tina,
I hate to point this out, but if you’d done about 10 seconds of research you would have found a link to an entry at legal insurrection with about 8 stories that talk about Reagan and Newt’s close relationship, including a link to a Reagan insider that completely disputes Elliot’s story. I suggest for this primary you check more than Beck or Drudge. Thanks.

http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/01/nancy-reagan-1995-ronnie-turned-that-torch-over-to-newt/

sweetsarah on January 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

This.

And this:

Sarah Palin: They’re trying to ‘crucify’ Newt Gingrich

Palin has not made a formal endorsement but backed Gingrich in South Carolina. | Reuters
By MJ LEE | 1/27/12 6:04 AM EST

The establishment is trying to “crucify” Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin charged late Thursday.
“Look at Newt Gingrich, what’s going on with him via the establishment’s attacks. They’re trying t crucify this man and rewrite history and rewrite what it is that he has stood for all these years,” Palin said on Fox Business Network after being asked about Ron Paul. “So it’s not just Ron Paul. I believe it’s also Newt Gingrich, that the establishment, that the liberal media, certainly that the progressives and the Democrats don’t like.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0112/72070.html#ixzz1kfUaAt8d

IndeCon on January 27, 2012 at 9:30 AM

The only problem of course with the meme that Gingrich is rewriting history is the simple fact that the Reagan’s themselves are out there screaming about Newt’s close relationship with Reagan. I guess amplification is much more important than substance after all, even on our side of things. Tell a lie enough times, and people will ultimately believe it, isn’t that the heart of the matter.

Flyovercountry on January 27, 2012 at 11:03 AM

http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/01/nancy-reagan-1995-ronnie-turned-that-torch-over-to-newt/

sweetsarah on January 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Well DUH!!!!

In 1995, the Newtron was Speaker of the House. The leader of the ONLY part of government controlled by Republicans.

AT THE TIME, he was the only available to even have the torch.

But hey, if you want to see it as the Newtron having the mantle of Reagan, go ahead and delude yourself.

Gunlock Bill on January 27, 2012 at 11:08 AM

O.K. genius, what about today, and Michael Reagan’s endorsement? How do you explain the current remarks? or perhaps you have something else to add in your colorful but brilliant wordsmithing abilities, similar to your, “well DUH!!!”

Flyovercountry on January 27, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Ronald Reagan’s eldest son Mike Reagan has issued a statement lambasting Mitt Romney and his supporters for claims that Romney’s Republican presidential rival Newt Gingrich was a strong critic of President Reagan. Reagan says such claims are false. Even Rush Limbaugh, shocked by the Romney claims, chimed on his Thursday radio broadcast to say “This is obviously a coordinated attack to take Newt out here in Florida.” Rush slammed the Romney-backed smear campaign against Newt. “That kind of stuff is why people hate Romney so much,” Limbaugh said. Limbaugh added that Newt has always been a conservative from his early days in national talk radio in the 1980s. “He was perhaps the premier defender of Ronald Reagan,” Limbaugh said.

“I am deeply disturbed that supporters of Mitt Romney are claiming that Newt Gingrich is not a true Reaganite and are even claiming that Newt was a strong critic of my father.“Recently I endorsed Newt Gingrich for president because I believe that Newt is the only Republican candidate who has both consistently backed the conservative policies that my father championed and the only Republican that will continue to implement his vision.“It surprises me that Mitt Romney and his supporters would raise this issue — when Mitt by his own admission voted for Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale who opposed my father, and later supported liberal Democrat Paul Tsongas for president.“As governor of Massachusetts, Romney’s achievement was the most socialistic healthcare plan in the nation up until that time.“Say what you want about Newt Gingrich but when he was Speaker of the House he surrounded himself with Reagan conservatives and implemented a Ronald Reagan program of low taxes and restrained federal spending.“Newt’s conservative program created a huge economic boom and balanced the budget for the first time in more than a generation.”Mike Reagan concluded: “I would take Newt Gingrich’s record any day over Mitt Romney’s.”And Nancy Reagan, Reagan’s wife, has stressed Gingrich’s close relationship with her late husband.
In a 1995 speech at a dinner honoring Ronald Reagan, Nancy said: “The dramatic movement of 1995 is an outgrowth of a much earlier crusade that goes back half a century. Barry Goldwater handed the torch to Ronnie, and in turn Ronnie turned that torch over to Newt and the Republican members of Congress to keep that dream alive.”

Flyovercountry on January 27, 2012 at 12:15 PM

In 1995, the Newtron was Speaker of the House. The leader of the ONLY part of government controlled by Republicans.

AT THE TIME, he was the only available to even have the torch.

But hey, if you want to see it as the Newtron having the mantle of Reagan, go ahead and delude yourself.

Gunlock Bill on January 27, 2012 at 11:08 AM

I don’t know if Gingrich was running with the Reagan torch back then in a sincere way, but what I do know is around that time in history Mitt Romney was busy throwing the Reagan/Bush legacy under the bus while trying to get elected to the Senate in Massachusetts.

SleightOfHand on January 27, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Elliott Abrams, an assistant secretary of state in the Reagan administration, seconds that information and adds more:

Gingrich scorned Reagan’s speeches, which moved a party and then a nation, because “the president of the United States cannot discipline himself to use the correct language.” In Afghanistan, Reagan’s policy was marked by “impotence [and] incompetence.” Thus Gingrich concluded as he surveyed five years of Reagan in power that “we have been losing the struggle with the Soviet empire.” Reagan did not know what he was doing, and “it is precisely at the vision and strategy levels that the Soviet empire today is superior to the free world.”

Rush tearing into Abrams now for distorting the record, particularily the Special Order of 1986, where in context, the opposite is true that Newt was a soldier for Reagan. Rush’s reading and excerpting the American Spectator

Once again, it is clear that the establishment/Mittness Campaign is AFRAID of Newt and will do anything to betray us conservatives just as they distort and villifiy Newt.

AH_C on January 27, 2012 at 12:25 PM

The video was “selectively edited” the March 21, 1986 it turns out was selectively edited. Romney’s political past is the most gross example of selective editing.

eaglephin on January 27, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Ok, Gunlock. Did you click the link? I doubt it. If you did, did you happen to notice all the other stories from all the other Reagan family/administration insiders that completely agree that Reagan and Newt got along just fine? Couldn’t quite bring yourself to read that far, huh? Clicking on links is a hard thing to do I know, especially when you’re SO SURE you’re right.

sweetsarah on January 27, 2012 at 1:54 PM

has anyone seen Jeffrey Lord’s piece at American Spectator that was just posted? Apparently, Abram’s lied in his piece about Newt. Lord has located the actual speech – in its entirety – with the help of one of Newt’s assistants in the 1980s. The whole piece Abrams wrote was a complete lie. National Review should be ashamed of themselves and owe Newt an apology. Note: if you want to read the actual speech go the BigGovernment.com and Dana Loesh has posted a story with links to the speech.

KickandSwimMom on January 27, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Cannibalism at it’s finest. Newt pushed Reagan from the Right not the Left. All those stories are separate quotes from the same context.

Egfrow on January 26, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Is he pushing to the right when he refers to FDR as the greatest president of the 20th century?

netster007x on January 27, 2012 at 2:11 PM

http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/01/nancy-reagan-1995-ronnie-turned-that-torch-over-to-newt/

sweetsarah on January 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Nancy Reagan said : Barry Goldwater handed the torch to Ronnie, and in turn Ronnie turned that torch over to Newt and the Republican members of Congress to keep that dream alive. Is the grandiose Newt the whole Republican caucus?

galtani on January 27, 2012 at 4:50 PM

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