Gingrich speech gets conservatives cheering

posted at 6:37 pm on February 10, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Of the three Republican contenders who planned to speak at CPAC — Ron Paul oddly decided to take a pass this year — Newt Gingrich might have needed the biggest boost.  Gingrich felt right at home at CPAC, as he has had long ties to the annual gathering of conservative activists.  He needed to reconnect to the activist base and cast himself as an ambassador of sorts for their anti-establishment approach to the GOP.  After all, as Gingrich reminded people at the beginning of his speech, CPAC exists because of conservative discontent with the Republican Party establishment.  Gingrich emphasized his ability to bring real change rather than “manage the decay” throughout his speech:

Clearly, Gingrich understood the stakes involved, and the crowd responded with a great deal of enthusiasm.  This was the Newt Gingrich that ran on his own ideas, the one who caught fire in November for very good reasons.  Instead of spending time launching attacks on Bain Capital, Gingrich simply suggested that his competitors represented the old party establishment and that they would say “profoundly untrue” things about him to keep their grip on power. Instead of an angry address bordering on bitterness and spending time complaining about financial disadvantages, Gingrich stuck to the issues and the ideas that attracted voters to him in the first place.

Was this a game changer?  He certainly seemed to win the enthusiasm and entertainment battle between the three candidates, although Santorum did well and Romney was at least enthusiastically received.  I suspect, though, that this will be the speech that gets the most discussion over the next 24 hours here at CPAC.  I’m not as sure that this will change much on the ground for Gingrich, but it certainly did him no harm.

The attacks he made stuck mainly to Barack Obama, which had the crowd cheering:

“By the time I am sworn in, [Congress] will have repealed Obamacare,” Gingrich said, explaining that he would ask Congress to get to work on the repeal beginning January 3, 2012, after its Christmas recess. “It will have repealed [the Dodd/Frank financial reform bill]. It will have repealed [the] Sarbanes-Oxley [Act]…That’s a reasonable start.”

He said that “by the time President Obama lands in Chicago we will have repudiated at least 40 percent of his government on the opening day.”

Gingrich won his loudest applause with his promises to repeal the president’s landmark bills. He spent less time attacking his GOP rivals than the other Republican presidential candidates did in their remarks at CPAC today — and also appeared to get a less enthusiastic response from the crowd.

If Gingrich can remain this focused on the campaign trail, he might find a way to make life difficult for Romney and Santorum.  At the very least, he did exactly what he needed to do here, and even if the rest is out of his hands now, this was a fine speech to finish the day.

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No one can tell me that Obama isn’t a weak incumbent when confronted with the concrete plans that Newt sets forth. Nearly all of them reduce the reach of the federal government and return the power to the states and to the people.

onlineanalyst on February 10, 2012 at 11:06 PM

NEWTZILLA IS BACK…the one that disappeared somewhere between the Florida debates and Nevada caucus.

I hope he stays on message and not takes things so personal again.

tkyang99 on February 10, 2012 at 11:11 PM

We need to “teach the Republican establishment a lesson and not manage the decay”? WFT are you talking about Newtie? The ultimate strawman…

Buy Danish on February 10, 2012 at 11:39 PM

All we need is one primary in which Newt & Rick run 1-2, with Romney a poor third or fourth. Then the race can acquire a conservative focus.

C’mon Arizona or Michigan, give us a breakthrough!

Truizm on February 10, 2012 at 11:44 PM

What Newt talks about is not Red Meat, it is what he has been all about since the 1970’s. Sure he got on the goldwater train a bit later than Reagan did, but once he got on it, he has been a strong believer.

astonerii on February 11, 2012 at 12:12 AM

Newt, the smartest guy in the room, and in the field of candidates. We Americans deserve to have the smartest guy as our President.

JeffVader on February 11, 2012 at 1:16 AM

Sorry, I don’t see it. His speech was simply a string of punch lines that pressed all the right conservative buttons. It wasn’t particularly soul-stirring. It was just what you’d expect–entertaining but not anything special. Given his baggage, he would never get elected.

writeblock on February 11, 2012 at 1:26 AM

Gingrich speech gets conservatives cheering
posted at 6:37 pm on February 10, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Finally. A good pic of Newt on the main page, and a positive article. Thanks.

Because Santorum is suddenly the HOT candidate, everything he does is. AWESOME, facts be damned.
Newt’s speech blew his out of the water.

AmeriCuda on February 10, 2012 at 6:56 PM

Rick Santorum is the hot not-Romney, and pretty much getting a free pass. Newt’s speech shows just how much more qualified he is to actually make drastic changes in DC, and not just ‘manage’ the continued decline.

CPAC Handout: Only Gingrich Offers Bold Conservative Change

Where is all the ‘this isn’t about winning; this is about destroying Newt AND Santorum’ lies and nastiness from Romney’s establishment team? It’s sure to be coming along shortly.

BTW, I’ve been doing my own research on Rick Santorum, just because I don’t know much about him, and the conservative press is not vetting him very well, if at all. One vid I find particularly disturbing:

Rick Santorum’s “Real Concerns” About The Tea Party

About 35 seconds in, Rick disses the Tea Party and praises his own ear mark prowess.

I have ‘real concerns’ about Santorum’s big govt, progressive leaning tendencies.

IndeCon on February 11, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Manage The Decay!
Vote Romney!

gordo on February 11, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Newt’s great when he takes on Obama and the Democrat Stooge Media (DSM). His understanding of the need to come up with a short list of memes, such as the Contract with America, and emphasize them repeatedly is spot on. However, he damaged his credibility with me by attacking Romney from the far left. I consider that another example of his track record of erratic positions and leadership.

kd6rxl on February 11, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Hypotheticals have their place. Some are more useful than others. But there is no use finishing a sentence that starts like this:

If Gingrich can remain this focused on the campaign trail…

It’s simply too hypothetical. Like asking what you would do if the sun didn’t come up tomorrow.

rogaineguy on February 12, 2012 at 9:51 AM