Gingrich bids to bridge conservative divide
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 03:14:17 PM EST
With his new group, Renewing American Leadership, and his endorsement of Tax Day Tea Parties, the former House Speaker aims to unite religious and economic conservatives

Of all the possible political enterprises you'd expect to find the ubiquitous Newt Gingrich involved with, an effort aimed at uniting religious and economic conservatives would not immediately come to mind. "Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less." Sure. A health care reform plan advocating medical savings accounts? Absolutely. Privatizing Social Security? Definitely. Now with his eyes apparently firmly planted on the 2012 presidential sweepstakes, and sensing a definite opening, the smart and snarky former House Speaker -- who led the 1994 Republican Revolution that took control of the House for the first time in decades, and then later was forced to resign -- has formed an organization called Renewing American Leadership, which aims to breach the gap between conservative factions.

Dan Gilgoff recently reported in U.S. News & World Report that "At a time when many religious conservatives say the Republican Party is ignoring their issues and taking their support for granted, former House speaker and GOP idea man Newt Gingrich is turning his attention to the concerns of conservative Christians like never before."

Renewing American Leadership

Gingrich's new group Renewing American Leadership, was recently designated a nonprofit organization by the IRS. According to U.S. News, he will be "speak[ing] to a handful of large gatherings for politically conservative clergy that have been organized by David Barton, an influential evangelical activist who spearheaded the Republican National Committee's rigorous outreach to pastors in 2004." And, there's a movie "about the role that Pope John Paul II's 1979 trip to Poland played in bringing down the Soviet Union" that Gingrich will release sometime this fall.

"In the last few years I've decided that we're in a crisis in which the secular state, if allowed, will fundamentally and radically change America against the wishes of most Americans," Gingrich told Gilgoff in a phone interview. "You've had such rising hostility to religious belief that I wanted to reach broadly into the country and dramatically raise public awareness of threats to religious liberty."

Gingrich's actions are aimed at revivifying the relationship between economic and social conservatives: "There's too much finger-pointing between economic conservatives who say we're losing ground because of social conservatives and social conservatives who say the opposite," says Barton, who sits on Renewing American Leadership's board. "Instead of having a circular firing squad, we need to start identifying real allies and the real opponents."

"Secular conservatives often operate from a perspective that says, 'Why should I care about evangelical voters?'" said Rick Tyler, who served as Gingrich's spokesman before becoming founding director of Renewing American Leadership. "And I show them why: because when you turn out evangelical voters who support socially conservative candidates, you also get conservative economic policies."

Making conservatives grumble

Last year, when Gingrich appeared in a television advertising spot -- alongside current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) -- as part of Al Gore's $300 million campaign aimed at combating global warming, sponsored by the Alliance for Climate Protection, conservatives were steamed. Debra Saunders, a conservative columnist wrote that "Gingrich's role confirms the suspicion of many Republicans that the Newter will say anything to get his face in the limelight."

In a WorldNet Daily column titled "Newt Gingrich: Reaping with the enemy?" Doug Powers wrote: "As a political philosopher and historian, I have consistently considered Gingrich to be an upper-echelon conservative -- but fairly recently, something has happened to Newt. For one, he's jumped aboard the 'climate-change' train while claiming it's only so he can make sure the gauges aren't broken."

Joseph Bast, the president of the Heartland Institute, the conservative public policy institute that has long led those believing global warming is neither man-made nor a major threat, told John Andrews, a fellow at the conservative Claremont Institute that while "Gingrich was once an important figure in the conservative movement," his appearance in the advertisements run by Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection "confirms what many conservatives have been saying for quite awhile: Gingrich is no longer a conservative."

While Gingrich may have put smiles on the faces of his religious colleagues after there were mass demonstrations around the country following the passage of Proposition 8 -- the California initiative amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage - and he told the Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly that "[T]here is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us," his allies might be stunned to learn that one of the major funders of his American Solutions for Winning the Future, is Sheldon Adelson, the chairman and chief executive of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Adelson, who has an estimated net worth in excess of $26.5 billion, has given Gingrich's group more than $5.4 million.

In 2006, Gingrich published "Rediscovering God in America" -- a book maintaining that the Founding Fathers vigorously encouraged religious expression in the public square. The following year, in what many interpreted as a first step towards a presidential run in 2008, Gingrich appeared on the radio program of Focus on the Family's Dr. James Dobson. When asked by Dobson about his personal failings, Gingrich said: "There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards." The confessional was clearly aimed at assuring the base that he was done with serial affairs and divorces, and that he could be a trusted ally.  

Endorsing Tea Parties

Recently, Gingrich's new group has teamed up with Donald Wildmon's American Family Association "to encourage churches and religious groups to participate in no-more-taxes rallies across the country on April 15," Gilgoff reported.

Last week, American Solutions for Winning the Future -- an organization that bills itself as non-partisan, while raising millions of dollars from top-shelf longtime Republican Party donors -- announced that it was endorsing and supporting the Nationwide Tax Day Tea Party (NTDTP); a series of events scheduled in over 150 cities and towns across America on April 15 (Tax Day). The Nationwide Tea Party Coalition (NTPC) is a coalition -- formed February 20, 2009 by Dontgo Movement (Dontgo), Top Conservatives on Twitter (TCOT), Smart Girl Politics (SGP), and now includes Gingrich's American Solutions.  

"The American people are fed up with Washington's irresponsible spending spree," Gingrich, General Chairman of American Solutions, said. "There are better solutions than big government."

"I see Gingrich as the ultimate political opportunist," Rob Boston, senior policy analyst for Americans United for Separation of Church and State and a contributor to Talk2Action, told me via e-mail. "He's very adept at exploiting the Religious Right and using its members to lift his profile while giving little back in return except for some speeches. If Gingrich were a liberal Democrat, Religious Right groups would attack him constantly over his personal life and sordid political connections. That they overlook it is only further proof of their hypocrisy."




Display:
Newt is first and foremost a political opportunist, we saw that when as Speaker, he tried to shut down the government, and then jumped on the impeach Clinton bandwagon despite Newt's own skeletons in the closet. One thing you can say about Newt, he certainly has no sense of shame or irony. His appeal to the Christian right has all the smell of opportunism about it.

by khughes1963 on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 06:51:14 PM EST
I read at TPM that Newt's becoming a Catholic.

It must have been all that talk about distributive and social justice that won him over.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 07:51:22 AM EST
Parent

From what I heard, Newt had his previous marriages to Jackie and Marianne annulled so he could marry wife #3, Callista Bisek, in a Catholic ceremony. Great, now we will have Newt the hypocrite to join the ranks of Randall Terry, Deal Hudson, and Screamin' Bill Donohue. Seeing ol' Newt reminds me of the old saying that "hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue."

by khughes1963 on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 07:52:47 PM EST
Parent



Well I guess Gingrich has given up on the independent voters (well, at least for now), probably realizing that there aren't enough of them who are still dumb enough to buy into his shtick.

But I think he'll find that there aren't enough fundamentalists dumb enough to buy into his new-found enthusiasm for their causes either.

And that's Gingrich's problem.  He doesn't have a political base of support any more.  Republicans are still not interested in having a uncharismatic policy wonk as a leader no matter how he dresses himself up.  

by tacitus on Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 07:19:57 PM EST

benefit of the doubt by those who know his history, social and economic conservatives are desperate for someone, anyone to come forward and outshine Pres. Obama. So, as I've seen in comments at Freeperville and other sites, many on the right are rooting for Gingrich's success, with caveats out the caboose.

by trog69 on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 02:22:26 PM EST
Parent



WWW Talk To Action


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (290 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (95 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (58 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (62 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (59 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (79 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (80 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (57 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (117 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (44 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (58 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (129 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (21 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (39 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (117 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (148 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (52 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (71 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (86 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (89 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (96 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (94 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (50 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (70 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (59 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (48 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (83 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (51 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (69 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (54 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.