At the Values Voter Summit, Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker, argued that the greatest threat to America came from establishment elites. Gingrich warned with a straight face that the elites in Washington D.C. behave like Soviet occupiers, that they will allow sharia law to be imposed on America, and that elites in the media were working to suppress the opposition.
The message of Gingrich’s speech was: I’m not an elite, really! He wasted no time trying to establish his “grassroots” credentials, praising Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint, predicting that Christine O’Donnell was going to win her race, and even offering free advice on how to conduct campaign messaging “[Her Opponent] is the candidate of food stamps, she is the candidate of paychecks.”
But Gingrich doesn’t want to just play catch-up with Palin and DeMint, he wants to run for president so he needs to practice trying to connect with the audience with his own material. The problem is that Newt seems to have trouble suppressing his wonkyness. He spoke about the idea that “There are more of us then there are of them”, a quote that O’Donnell and other Tea Partiers invoke to argue that they are America’s true majority.
Newt agrees with this, but rather than just evoke the constitution, he embraces his inner policy wonk. A week ago, he endorsed Dinesh D’Souzza’s theory about Obama’s “anti-colonial world view.” At the Values Voter Summit, he endorsed Arthur Brooks book, “The Battle” which Gingrich says proves that there is a culture war being waged by a tiny elite (who don’t believe in capitalism) against the vast majority of freedom loving Americans.
Gingrich also said we need to “go back to the moral case for free enterprise.” While Gingrich said he was invoking Adam Smith’s “theory of moral sentiments”, intentionally or not, Gingrich is making an argument that is identical to one Ayn Rand made: that capitalism must be defended on moral grounds.
In his speech, Gingrich spent some time on healthcare. He said that Kathleen Sebelius behaves in the spirit of the Soviet occupiers of Poland and that she should resign. But the meat of his speech would focus on the national security issues that he has been in the news for.
Newt argued that the “thought police” in the media had been working to suppress and twist his message on the “ground zero” mosque. In addition to being “totally opposed to any effort to impose sharia” in the United States, Newt felt the need to go one step further and call for a law to preemptively ban the recognition and practice of sharia law within the United States.
Gingrich also spoke about the three near-misses on domestic terrorism that have occurred on Obama’s watch: the Fort Hood shooting, the Christmas Day underwear bomber, and the Times Square bomber. The security component here was something he felt very comfortable talking about, and tied all these near masses back to the disconnect and apathy of the elites.
After his speech, it felt appropriate that Gingrich would end on two very ironic notes. He first pointed out that if all the grassroots candidates that the Tea Party backed win their general election, and get supported in future election cycles, they will eventually become the new elites. The Tea Party may discover that policy is not black and white when they have to start making it. He finally ended with a dream that the Democrats would lose the election and go into retirement to write their memoirs. As Gingrich noted, those who fail have the dignity to retire and make money on talk shows and as commentators. Gingrich would know.
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