PARTY LIKE IT’S 1995…. Disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) threw some red meat at the crowd assembled for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference last night, in a speech ostensibly about showing the GOP how to become “the party of ‘yes.'”
But ol’ Newt has some bad habits he just can’t kick. The former Speaker — forced by his own caucus to resign more than a decade ago — believes congressional Republicans should say “yes” next year to … shutting down the government.
“When we win control of the House and Senate this fall, stage one of the end of Obamaism will be a new Republican Congress in January that simply refuses to fund anymore,” he said. “The Congress doesn’t have to pass the money. If EPA gets no money, it can’t enforce cap and trade.”
That’s been the new line since the healthcare reform bill passed and Republicans realized they probably wouldn’t be able to repeal it. Gingrich, and some lawmakers, have instead been talking about simply not paying for it. But what Gingrich proposed Thursday went beyond just that — to refusing to pay for anything the (hypothetical) GOP Congress didn’t want to let President Obama do.
In other words, shut down the government. Which, of course, worked out very well for Gingrich the last time he tried it.
According to Mike Madden’s report, it was this part of the Gingrich’s vision that generated “the most applause” from Republican activists assembled in New Orleans.
I realize that the events of 15 years ago seem like ancient history for a lot of folks. A 30-year-old voter today was just starting high school when Newt Gingrich shut down the federal government — twice — and became one of the nation’s most reviled public figures.
But for those who do remember, it may seem almost amusing that Gingrich would actively encourage his party to follow his misguided playbook all over again.
Perhaps the more relevant question is, would the GOP be so foolish as to follow Newt’s ridiculous advice?