What can we say about Newt Gingrich these days? He has supported, and at times in the past, taken credit for putting my medical records, and yours, online. That should be enough to turn anyone off of a Newt presidential bid. Outside of that, and forgetting his coziness with Pelosi and Kerry, there is much more to be concerned about. In this lengthy conversation, Rush Limbaugh talks to Newt about the “puke” fights of the last week involving Paul Ryan’s budget, and Rush attempts to sort it out. (Gingrich says the Ryan plan is “right-wing social engineering.” Ouch!) After the conversation with Newt, Rush’s commentary defines the continuing conundrum.
First, Newt is on a cell phone and Rush eventually becomes most frustrated that Newt will not pause to let him ask a question. Once Rush gets a few words in, he pushes Newt’s position on the healthcare mandate, which he has advocated for as far back as 1993. Newt seems to say it’s not fair to to harken back to 1993 when the discussion was different from today’s, as Republicans were trying to kill HillaryCare. Rush points out that Newt once seemed to say he was for a mandate before he was against it, and he asks about Newt’s recent criticism of Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan.
At 4:50 in Rush finally gets in to ask his own questions:
You yourself said it was the conservative position in ’93 to support a mandate. The Heritage Foundation even had a paper back then supporting a mandate, in opposition to HillaryCare, as you said as they [Democrats] were trying to get to single payer. Heritage then came out and said it was not workable, it was not Consitutional…people can produce quotes more recent than 1993 with you advocating posting a bond or having a mandate for people buying insurance…
Newt tries to sum it up that he has now rethought that position, and in 1993 the process of thinking-through health insurance was just beginning.
[RUSH] There’s a June 2007 op-ed in the Demoines Register. You wrote “personal responsibility extends to the purchase of health insurance. Citizens shouldn’t be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying it, particularly when they can afford it, and expect others to pay for their care when they need it. An indiv mandate should be applied when the larger healtcare system has been fundamentally changed.
Rush tells Newt this matters because 26 states are now suing against the Affordable Care mandate and there are too many Newt-quotes that can be used against his current positions.
Rush says he is very uncomfortable about this whole thing (as Rush has much admired Newt’s “intellect,”) and says Conservatives do not want to think Newt is no longer Conservative. As Rush correctly alludes to, Newt has not acted Conservatively in many situations.
Another part of this is the Republican position this past week that Newt has criticized Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan. Rush asks at about 17:15 mins-in: if you are behind Ryan, “why were you apologizing to him?” Throughout, Newt spins as fast as he can. Read the entire transcript at RushLimbaugh, and since I can’t seem to keep the video embedded, view it here.
Back in January 2010 I said “if Newt does decide to run, he will suck every dollar the GOP has from the race. The Grand Old Party [fossils] are hungry for Newt.” I still believe it today. Let’s remember what Jim DeMint said: we “need some new Republicans…to challenge the institutions of government….even the Republican Party”
Having said all that, I will enthusiastically (maybe less than more) embrace any Republican candidate that ends up on the ballot – including Newt, including a Libertarian, including far-right or not-so-far right. I’ll do what I have to do to rid this country of Barack Obama.
The Newt interview transcript with David Gregory, which is mentioned in the Rush interview can be read at NewsMax (with conversation about RomneyCare. Read Paul Ryan’s response to Gingrich’s “right-wing social engineering” charge at The LATimes.
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