Ed Rollins, Jeffrey Lord and others rise to Newt’s defense

posted at 5:40 pm on January 27, 2012 by Tina Korbe

As I reported yesterday, at least a few former Reagan administration officials say that, in his campaign comments, Newt Gingrich has rewritten the history of his relationship with Ronald Reagan. Today, a number of counterbalancing voices say those officials — and not Gingrich – are the ones who are shading the facts.

On Fox News, for example, Ed Rollins, Ronald Reagan’s national campaign manager, described Gingrich as one of “the most important players and most loyal to Ronald Reagan”:

At The American Spectator, Jeffrey Lord, former Reagan White House political director, calls out Elliott Abrams, also a former Reagan official, for what Lord characterizes as a disingenuous dissection of a 1986 floor speech by Gingrich:

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 [time], 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?

Lord, like Rollins, characterizes this argument about Gingrich’s past as beneath the dignity of those who are broaching it.

The difference between skepticism and cynicism, a dear professor once told me, is that a skeptic demands to be shown while a cynic refuses to be shown. While I remain skeptical about whether Gingrich would be the best GOP nominee of the remaining four contenders, I’ll not be cynical. As Mr. Lord pointed out in his post, all of the candidates have real strengths and weaknesses. It serves no purpose to manufacture false ones.

It appears that, in the case of Gingrich’s relationship with Reagan, “perception is reality.” Those who like Newt Gingrich consider him to have been a close ally of a universally beloved conservative icon, while those who are wary of him (or who prefer Mitt Romney) consider him to have been a self-interested and occasionally rhetorically disloyal member of Reagan’s GOP. What’s the true story? For those who weren’t around at the time, it’s hard to know — but, either way, the fact remains that this election is not about the 1980s and Ronald Reagan; it’s about 2012 and Barack Obama. What matters most to me is who among the current GOP contenders stands the best chance to stop him from winning reelection.


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Nice try but FAIL. Romney is a private sector guy who did a term as governor in Massachusetts. He’s the actual “outsider” not Newty. What has Newty actually accomplished ON HIS OWN? All of his “accomplishments” were actually collaborations with others, in most cases many others.

cicerone on January 27, 2012 at 7:30 PM

ummmm, you do know that the reason why Mitt had only one short stint as a governor is because he has lost every race prior and after that. It wasn’t his choice to serve a short time.
And now it is wrong to be a “collaborator”, you are dissing Newt for organizing the largest and most dramatic takeover of congress…listen, do you think Mitt washes his windows? Changes his oil? Do you think he writes those ads, well maybe the ones where he was caught lying…do you think he arranges all of his meetings? Good grief, imagine complaining that a guy is too organized and a leader…

right2bright on January 27, 2012 at 7:36 PM

But we do have video of Romney saying he was an independent and not supportive of Reagan…that is a fact.
Yet the Mitt supporters, I swear, have never seen it, or claim it exists.
Somewhere, these supporters are taught to be deceptive, deceivers, it is almost like they went to some kind of school to learn those practices…

right2bright on January 27, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Romney explained it last night. Like Reagan (a Democrat for his first 40+ years) Romney wasn’t always a Republican. There are plenty of Conservatives today who were not only NOT Republicans back in the day but were radical liberals. So…what is your point again?

cicerone on January 27, 2012 at 7:36 PM

And now it is wrong to be a “collaborator”, you are dissing Newt for organizing the largest and most dramatic takeover of congress…listen, do you think Mitt washes his windows? Changes his oil? Do you think he writes those ads, well maybe the ones where he was caught lying…do you think he arranges all of his meetings? Good grief, imagine complaining that a guy is too organized and a leader…

right2bright on January 27, 2012 at 7:36 PM

I don’t have a problem with collaboration. It can be very valuable and constructive. But since Newty and his flunkies are making all these grandiose claims to being the ULTIMATE REAGANITE CONSERVATIVE IN THE WORLD and talking about all his accomplishments as if he did them unilaterally somebody has to call timeout on all that.

cicerone on January 27, 2012 at 7:38 PM

But we do have video of Romney saying he was an independent and not supportive of Reagan…that is a fact.

right2bright on January 27, 2012 at 7:32 PM

We have video of him saying “I’m someone who is moderate and my views are progressive“.

Flora Duh on January 27, 2012 at 7:41 PM

We have video of him saying “I’m someone who is moderate and my views are progressive“.

Flora Duh on January 27, 2012 at 7:41 PM

And?

cicerone on January 27, 2012 at 7:41 PM

We also have this for a fact:

That’s right. Mr. Scheve, incensed at what he felt was a deliberate misrepresentation of his old boss by Abrams and the Romney forces, specifically of Gingrich’s long ago March 21, 1986 “Special Order” speech on the floor of the House, and aware “that most of his [Abrams'] comments had to have been selectively taken from the special order” — Scheve started digging. Since the Congressional Record for 1986 was difficult to obtain electronically, Scheve trekked to the George Mason Library to physically track down the March 21, 1986 edition of the Congressional Record. Locating it, copying and scanning, he was kind enough to send to me.

So now I’ve read the Gingrich speech that is the source of all the hoopla. All seven, fine print pages worth of it exactly as it appeared in its original form.

I can only say that what Elliott Abrams wrote in NRO about Newt Gingrich based on this long ago speech is not worthy of Elliott Abrams.

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.

A paragraph down Lord goes on to say:

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?

INC on January 27, 2012 at 7:43 PM

If Mitt Romney wins the nomination I will have to vote for him rather then Obama but I will not vote for one who I feel is more of a moderate or liberal in the primaries. You can’t be a progressive because you are running or governing a state that is liberal and then turn to be a conservative because you want to run for President. I do not believe Romney when he says he will repeal Obamacare. He keeps defending Romneycare and this last debate Mr Romney showed his true colors when Rick Santorum challenged him on Romneycare.

spanishboy on January 27, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Wasn’t Rollins one of the guys (with Gergen) who worked to put Clinton in the White House?

I was really pulling for Newt. Finally, a very articulate Conservative and willing to take it to ‘em! Was willing to forgive the past – Pelosi commercial, etc. when he owned up to his follies. But his recent attacks with leftist talking points and his position on illegals are beyond too much.

Perhaps Santorum will pick up the pace.

I can’t believe, after three years of Obama, this is the best the GOP can do.

Scherzo442 on January 27, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Well, Tina, if you read the whole Lord article you have a far stronger stomach than I do. The whiny BS that permeated teh first paragraphs was too much for me.

This is as far as I got:

• 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.

Classic Newt Gingrich: obsessively and unjustifiably full of himself (Reagan’s rhetoric is “adequate”), and completely clueless about reality (Nancy Pelosi and the AGW couch, accusing Reagan of “weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail”, three years before the Berlin Wall fell).

It’s 25 years later, and he hasn’t changed a bit. I’ll take Romney.

Greg Q on January 27, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Wasn’t Rollins one of the guys (with Gergen) who worked to put Clinton in the White House?

Scherzo442 on January 27, 2012 at 8:05 PM

No, he was not. He was in the Reagan administration and led Reagan’s 1984 campaign.

INC on January 27, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Greg Q on January 27, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Lord worked for Reagan and Kemp. He’s quoting hard copy.

Sneering doesn’t change the facts.

INC on January 27, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Ed Rollins USED TO BE smart.
Mitt Romney used to be a progressive.
Newt panders to everybody but the establishment now.
Ron Paul has always been batty about Israel and foreign policy but has been consistent on everything else.
Rick Santy pandered to the Dems in his state but has been consistent on everything else.
Why is all the talk on Mitt and Newt?
People and circumstances change!
John Kennedy, today…would be to the right of all of them!

KOOLAID2 on January 27, 2012 at 9:01 PM

This place is not worth reading any more with all the nastiness from the trash that signed on last registration. I used to enjoy reading the comments, but not so much any more.

silvernana on January 27, 2012 at 10:43 PM

I was around back then, and yes, Newt was very loyal to Reagan and the conservative cause.

CliffHanger on January 27, 2012 at 10:58 PM

We should give thanks to these GOP RINO establishment types for incurring the wrath of the AWE inspiring Sarah Palin.

I wonder how strong the TEA Party in Florida is today …

DannoJyd on January 28, 2012 at 2:00 AM

I was around back then, and yes, Newt was very loyal to Reagan and the conservative cause.CliffHanger on January 27, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Dittoes and agreed!

DannoJyd on January 28, 2012 at 2:01 AM

Been waiting for Drudge to splash the pro-Newt/Reagan headlines.

He’s an HONEST broker that Drudge, so I’m waiting….

Oh well, maybe he and Ann are tieing one on with thier friend Bill Maher and Ann’s old flame Keith Obby (google it).

tonotisto on January 28, 2012 at 7:02 AM

We have video of him saying “I’m someone who is moderate and my views are progressive“.

Flora Duh on January 27, 2012 at 7:41 PM

We on the Right were lectured mercilessly last election by A PROGRESSIVE who boasted about being PROGRESSIVE who brought on a V.P. who eagerly embraced and endorsed BEING PROGRESSIVE and who today we’re told insists she’s “conservative” despite an increasingly bent-on-madness language bespeaking paranoia about capitalism, private sector relationships, profits, all that (bespeaks someone who remains a Progressive).

What about Gingrich’s endorsement of Scuzzafava and how he was excorciated by the same people who supported the above, last election duo? Today they’re promoting him, if not suggesting he’s the new savior.

This has been like trying to reason with jello, these last years with this element among the Right.

Instead, rather than abide by these various labels, perhaps more people ought to try to evaluate potential leaders by their track records, behaviors, capabilities and promises. A highly checkered past doesn’t bode well for a productive future.

Lourdes on January 28, 2012 at 8:16 AM

Instead, rather than abide by these various labels, perhaps more people ought to try to evaluate potential leaders by their track records, behaviors, capabilities and promises. A highly checkered past doesn’t bode well for a productive future.

Lourdes on January 28, 2012 at 8:16 AM

A highly checkered past doesn’t bode well for a productive future…

…at least until enough time has passed in which a person with a highly checkered past establishes a newer track record of success, then, it bodes well for a productive future.

Lourdes on January 28, 2012 at 8:17 AM

Trotting out Ed Rollins to defend you is a little like sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi.

There will come a time when Newt will regret it — and there is no doubt that it will be too late, because in the very nature of things it will have already worked to his detriment.

Just ask Michelle Bachmann.

Newt Gingrich is really getting desperate.

Trochilus on January 28, 2012 at 9:02 AM

Just a couple of points. First of all, I long for the days when a Speaker of the House can actually disagree with a President. I personally wish Pelosi had disagreed more with Obama and we wouldn’t be stuck with Obamacare.

Secondly, look at the culture Newt had to change. The Republican Party, at that time, was nothing more than a go along to get along party, willing to take their bones from the Democrats, and not make any waves. I’m not sure they had any beliefs, and they showed them when they got rid of Newt.

bflat879 on January 28, 2012 at 3:58 PM

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