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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Newt: "This Is Not a Right Wing Country"

At The Hill, Cameron Joseph reports on Newt Gingrich's occasional support for moderate-to-liberal Republicans over conservatives.  Though he is currently emphasizing his conservative credentials, he has often spoken of a big tent.  From his address to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Raleigh, North Carolina, March 30, 1990:
Now, it is important to understand where we're at.  We are, in terms of a center right coalition -- and understand carefully want I just said.  This is not a right wing country. This is a center right country. And it is a coalition. and that means we have to get used to fighting ourselves at times and we have to recognize that as a majority, we are in the business of conflict management. We are not in the business of conflict resolution. You only resolve conflict by kicking people out and that means you become a minority. So if you intend to be a majority, you have to be willing to live with a lot of conflict because that is the nature of a majority. And you have got to be cheerful about fighting each other. It is like having a giant family picnic where 60 percent of the country shows up and somebody says, "And what would you like to have to drink?" And you are bound to have arguments over the answers. But in that frame work, if we learn to love each other a little bit, we are potentially the decisive governing force in the United States which is the decisive governing society on the planet. 
In 2009, he had this exchange with Greta Van Susteren about a special election in upstate New York: 
 MR. GINGRICH: ... Dede Scozzafava is endorsed by the National Rifle Association for her 2nd Amendment position, has signed the no tax increase pledge, voted against the Democratic governor's big-spending budget, is against the cap-and-trade tax increase on energy, is against the Obama health plan, and will vote for John Boehner, rather than Nancy Pelosi, to be Speaker. Now, that's adequately conservative in an upstate New York district. And on other issues, she's about where the former Republican, McHugh, was. So I say to my many conservative friends who suddenly decided that, whether they're from Minnesota or Alaska or Texas, they know more than the upstate New York Republicans? I don't think so. And I don't think it's a good precedent. And I think if this third-party candidate takes away just enough votes to elect the Democrat, then we will have strengthened Nancy Pelosi. 
MS. VAN SUSTEREN: What is it that they have identified as why they think the independent candidate -- 
MR. GINGRICH: Well, there's no question, on social policy, she's a liberal Republican. 
MS. VAN SUSTEREN: On such as abortion? 
MR. GINGRICH: On such as abortion, gay marriage, which means that she's about where Rudy Giuliani was when he became mayor, and yet Rudy Giuliani was a great mayor. And so this idea that we're suddenly going to establish litmus tests, and all across the country, we're going to purge the party of anybody who doesn't agree with us 100 percent, that guarantees Obama's reelection. That guarantees Pelosi is Speaker for life. I mean, I think that is a very destructive model for the Republican Party.