Posted by: Deborah D | May 17, 2011

Gingrich tells GOP to drop dead.

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Gingrich tells GOP to drop dead.

By now most of America is aware of Newt Gingrich’s bizarre lashing out against Paul Ryan’s Medicare fix and agreeing somewhat with Obama on his health care mandate on Meet the Press on Sunday. Outrageous statements such as these have made many Republicans nervous about a Gingrich candidacy. It makes everyone scratch their heads. Why would he attack his own party? Why would he attack the House Republicans, all but 4 of whom voted in favor of Ryan’s budget plan? This is a really pertinent question since Newt himself was in favor of something similar to this when he was Speaker of House during the Clinton administration. This is from the Wall Street Journal.

Asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday about Paul Ryan’s reform plan, Mr. Gingrich chose to throw his former allies in the GOP House not so much under the bus as off the Grand Canyon rim.

The Ryan program “is too big a jump,” he said. “I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options. Not one where you suddenly impose upon you—I don’t want to—I—I’m against ObamaCare, which is imposing radical change. And I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.”

By using the word “radical,” Mr. Gingrich deliberately chose to echo the liberal critics who want to write the Ryan plan out of respectable political debate. Mr. Gingrich knows that all but four House Republicans voted for a budget outline that includes Mr. Ryan’s Medicare plan, so his remarks had the political effect of undermining his former comrades in the middle of their budget showdown with President Obama.

… Mr. Gingrich conceded that he “probably used too strong language”…

He said he thought Ryan should have focused on incentives and thought it would be politically untenable to pass the bill as it stands.

Yet surely Mr. Gingrich knows that the Ryan plan has no chance of passing this Congress given opposition in the Senate. Our guess is that a politician as experienced as Mr. Gingrich knew exactly what he was doing and that as he runs for President, he wants to appear to be more moderate than he has sounded over the last, oh, 20 years, by suddenly triangulating against the GOP House he once led.

Of course, that’s a perfectly good reason to throw Paul Ryan under the bus – for Newt’s personal gain. This isn’t someone I want as president. To me, that’s like throwing the country under the bus, exactly what Obama continues to do.

Mr. Gingrich’s charge of radicalism is false in any case. Mr. Ryan is proposing a “premium support” model for Medicare of the kind that already governs health plans for federal workers and public employees in California and other states. The government would pay a set annual fee (starting at $15,000 per senior and rising with inflation) to private Medicare plans that would then compete to attract seniors. With consumers paying the marginal costs of their own care, providers and insurers will begin to compete on price and quality.

The irony is that Mr. Gingrich’s own history of political failure on health care has made Mr. Ryan’s proposals all the more necessary. In 1995, Mr. Gingrich pushed a “Medicare Plus” reform through Congress that shared many of the same features as Mr. Ryan’s. It would have cut $270 billion from Medicare over seven years, while giving seniors a premium-support choice to join HMOs. President Clinton vetoed it, which along with Mr. Gingrich’s refusal to compromise helped precipitate the government shutdown.

In 1997, he agreed to a balanced budget deal that planted the seeds for future spending increases by creating a new entitlement for children’s health insurance but offering no fundamental Medicare changes. A formula was created for phony cuts in physician payments, hiding the program’s true costs. And the difficult choices were deferred to a bipartisan commission, which in 1999 recommended—yes, premium support, like Mr. Ryan.  Snip –

…now he is trashing Mr. Ryan for thinking far more deeply about health care, and in a far more principled fashion, than Mr. Gingrich ever has. The episode reveals the Georgian’s weakness as a candidate, and especially as a potential President—to wit, his odd combination of partisan, divisive rhetoric and poll-driven policy timidity.

…Mr. Ryan speaks softly but proposes policies commensurate with America’s problems. Mr. Gingrich speaks loudly but shrinks from hard choices. Who’s the “radical” and who’s the real leader?

Read it all here:

What’s truly bizarre about the attack by Gingrich is the fact that he praised Ryan, the Republicans and the Ryan plan just a few weeks ago, and he titled that positive column: “From Paul Revere to Paul Ryan.” High praise, indeed, from history professor Gingrich. Here’s just one sentence:

Today, Congressman Paul Ryan has been our generation’s Paul Revere, warning his fellow Americans about the coming danger and rallying us to a plan to meet the threat head on.

I see you scratching your head.  You can read that here:


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  1. Well— Newt screwed up.

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