Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich today energized the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference by announcing, “I knew Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan.”
To the crowd assembled in Washington it was a welcome adaptation of Sen. Lloyd Bentsen’s famous comment to Sen. Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice-presidential debate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Gingrich highlighted the mid-morning CPAC first-day session with a one-two punch at Barack Obama.
Looking very much like a presidential contender, Gingrich took the stage to a standing ovation as the auditorium’s sound system played the familiar theme from the Rocky movies, “The Eye of the Tiger.”
Gingrich began by ridiculing Obama’s much-touted move to the center, humorously suggesting that if Obama was sincere about imitating Ronald Reagan, then maybe CPAC should invite the president to be the group’s 2012 keynote speaker.
But some actual acts that Reagan might adopt might be appropriate in the interim, he suggested.
“Obama could start by repealing Obamacare,” Gingrich taunted.
Among other policy suggestions, Gingrich invited Obama to sign a permanent repeal of the “death tax,” to pass a new version of the Hyde Amendment to block the use of federal money for abortions, and to secure immediately the border with Mexico.
“The Reagan 100th birthday anniversary is a wonderful event,” Gingrich observed, characterizing Obama as a politician from the far left.
“But it makes you wonder how many times we have to get hit over the head before we realize that capitalists in the United States will not only make the rope the socialists use to hang us, but we will also sell the rope to them.”
He suggested that Obama wants the EPA to impose carbon taxes on American utilities and businesses because Obama wants the same type of government control over the private economy that Obamacare gives Obama over medical care.
Gingrich blamed Obama for the continuing struggles of the U.S. economy to compete in the global economy.
“The Germans are buying the New York Stock Exchange,” he observed. “The Germans will own 60 percent of the new entity because they are larger. We are experiencing a dramatic fall of New York as the center of the financial system.”
Gingrich attributed the rise of the German economy to the strength of free market principles of the German government, as he blamed the economic fall of the United States on what he characterized as the anti-jobs, anti-business attitudes of the Obama administration.
“America only works when Americans are working,” Gingrich insisted. “We need to take Americans off unemployment and put them back to work.”
Gingrich called for an “American energy policy” that allows U.S. oil companies to explore and develop U.S. oil and natural gas resources, including those in the Gulf of Mexico.
“In Louisiana, if the state wants to drill offshore and create jobs, let’s let them do it now,” he proclaimed. “The environmentalists inside the government and the environmentalists outside the government conspire together to force America to get our energy resources overseas. We have abundant oil and natural gas at home and it is utterly foolish not to use them.”
Gingrich also attacked Obama as being soft on terrorism, noting that Obama has refused to characterize U.S. Army major Nidal Malik Hassan as a radical Islamic terrorist, even though Hassan shouted “Allah Akbar” as he allegedly proceeded to kill 13 people and wound 29 others at Fort Hood.
“The Obama administration is wrong on terrorism, wrong on Iran, wrong on the Muslim Brotherhood,” Gingrich insisted to loud applause.
Gingrich’s high energy speech overshadowed the characteristically understated calm of McConnell’s careful dissection of the Obama administration’s record.
Preceding Gingrich to the podium, McConnell got a laugh from the CPAC audience by observing that this was a special week in Washington – “Ronald Reagan is in and Keith Olbermann is out.”
Appearing to set the stage for the Republican Party in the coming 2012 election, McConnell observed, “We will not let the Democratic Party that has been trying to turn the United States into France walk away from what they have done.”
Observing that the mid-term elections in November 2010 marked the resurgence of conservative principles in American politics, McConnell said in 2009, the mainstream media was predicting the demise of the Republican Party only to see the party revived by Obama socialism.
“We will stand for what we believe in and popularity will take care of itself,” McConnell said.
McConnell characterized the Democrats as being “on the defensive, even in Massachusetts and New Jersey,” referring to the ballot box victories of Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown in 2010 and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2009.
“We conservatives believe the Constitution means what it says and there is no reason ever to apologize for America,” he insisted.
“We need to stand firm as we move into the next phase of the battle and continue fighting for what we believe in,” he said. “Because you stood by your principles we today have Speaker Boehner, not Speaker Pelosi.”
McConnell also devoted much of his speech to attacking Obamacare, characterizing it as unconstitutional and vowing to keep fighting Obamacare, “in the House, and the Senate, in the courts, and in the forums of public opinion until Obamacare goes the way of Hillarycare.”
“We will not let the Democrats try to rewrite history claiming Obamacare is popular with the American people,” he said, referring to polls that show a majority of Americans actually want the government to reverse itself and repeal the complicated takeover.
McConnell called either for a Supreme Court that overturns Obamacare or a president who repeals it.
“Let’s go after Obamacare until we get a waiver for every person in the United States,” he suggested. “We need to make sure we keep government out of your doctor’s office.”