Newt Gingrich’s support among Republican voters is falling as his record in Congress and as a lobbyist become more publicized. Gingrich’s positions on global warming, his lobbying for Freddie Mac and his support of amnesty for illegal aliens are among the many reasons conservatives are beginning to doubt his credentials.
However, he has, thus far, avoided any scrutiny over his support for racial preferences and race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
Gingrich used to oppose affirmative action. When he became speaker of the House he initially told conservatives that the Republican Congress would “pursue an all-out effort to end affirmative racism in America.” Gingrich also helped support Ward Connerly’s ballot initiative, Prop 209, which outlawed racial preferences in California.
However, when Sen. Mitch McConnell introduced legislation to end racial preferences nationwide, Gingrich flip-flopped and opposed the bill. He called for an “affirmative outreach” program because “if you’re a poor black child, you don’t have a very good future compared to somebody who’s born into an upper-class family or an upper-middle-class family. We want to make sure everybody has a fair opportunity.” (This argument falls flat, because most beneficiaries of affirmative action are not poor blacks, but upper- and middle-class minorities.)
He argued that Republicans needed to tip toe around the issue because it “divides America” and conservatives had been “passive during the segregation fight” or “candidly on the side of segregation.” The then-speaker claimed that without a racial minority in Congress leading the fight, he would not support ending racial preferences.