Watch video interview with Newt Gingrich.
Exclusive Interview (CNSNews.com) - Republicans should reject red vs. blue campaign models for a positive vision for America that appeals to the nation's natural center-right majority on key issues, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) declares in his latest book and in an exclusive interview with Cybercast News Service.
In "Real Change: From the World that Fails to the World that Works," Gingrich explains that the divide in America is not between red and blue states but between red, white, and blue America and far left elitists hostile to American values and American culture.
In his interview with Cybercast News Service on Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., Gingrich detailed that conflict and presented, for example, his perspective on the "bigoted anti-religious judiciary" and the proper response that should come from average Americans. He also commented on entitlements, immigration policy, and multiculturalism, and offered advice for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is expected to win the Republican nomination for president. The interview follows here:
Cybercast News Service: Whenever I go looking for examples of bad policy I turn to my home state of New Jersey and, sure enough, there is an example here in your book of school officials who prevented a student from reading his favorite story in class because it came from the Bible. ... Mr. Speaker, how did we evolve to this point where the elites and especially the judiciary became so hostile to the very worldview that made the United States possible?
Newt Gingrich: Well, I think a broad, vast majority of the American people kept tolerating judicial arrogance and didn't realize the trend line: that every time you were reasonable, they would take one step further toward being unreasonable. And so we've been in about a 45-year period that goes back to the 1963 decision to outlaw school prayer - which was, I think, clearly unconstitutional and wrong - and we have tolerated a court system which has been more and more arrogant and more and more out of touch. Now, I think with President Bush's nominations there is some hope of the courts beginning to drift back. And if we could keep a conservative in the White House, I think we might be able to actually calmly change the direction of the courts. But when you look at how bad the Ninth Circuit court is, for example, it would probably be more appropriate to abolish it and start over. The Ninth Circuit is the least representative court in the United States.
Cybercast News Service: The concept of separation of church and state, you spent quite a bit of time on that recently. As you know, it comes from the letter Jefferson wrote, it doesn't actually appear in the language of the First Amendment, I'm wondering ...
Newt Gingrich: Well, Jefferson's language, which had not been interpreted by anyone for 170 years to mean anything significant, was seized upon by Supreme Court justices who were determined to create a secular society. The wall of separation they want to build is between the historic America that has always been there and a new radical secular society.
Jefferson, two days after he signed the letter to the Danbury Baptists, got in a carriage and went up from White House to the Capitol and went to church in the U.S. House of Representatives. He loaned the Treasury building to be a church. He signed legislation paying for missionaries to the Indians in the Northwest Territories. If you go to the Jefferson memorial, you will see three of four walls on the memorial that have quotes that refer to God. He wrote the passage that says "we are endowed by our creator." That's Jefferson's language. And it's very important to understand, they really meant that your rights come from God, and you are sovereign, and you loan power to the government, which is different than any other society in the world.
Cybercast News Service: What sort of advice would you have for families, for young people who have their religious freedom challenged? There seems to be a mindset that they don't want to spend the money to take on the ACLU?
Newt Gingrich: Well, I would say first of all, they should elect board members to their school boards who are prepared to take on the ACLU. Second, they should get their congressman to change the law so the ACLU doesn't get money out of the taxpayers every time they file one of these lawsuits. Third, in a worst case environment, they should be prepared to home school their children or take out and send them to private school. People do not have to accept their children being brainwashed into a secular world just because the bureaucracies are out of control.
Cybercast News Service: Another challenge you take on is the question of entitlements, which is festering, and President Bush tried to give it a push with Social Security, and it got no where. It seems the challenge though is, on the one hand the American people are philosophically conservative but operationally liberal in the sense that they like the idea of limited government, but they are still getting a lot of checks from the government.
Newt Gingrich: I don't know that they are operationally liberal. They are operationally practical. They want to know, "How is it going to work?" I think if the president had followed the Ryan-Sununu plan and had focused narrowly on people under 40 and then communicated that they would get three to five times as much money under a personal held, personal Social Security investment system, they would have liked it, because it would have been operationally better for them - not just theoretically - but they'd have more money. It seems to me if you can't put together a proposal that says 'how would you like more money' and get it understood, you shouldn't be in politics.
And so, I think what we're arguing is a better health system that is designed in a transformational way - such as done at the Center for Health Transformation - is actually better health with better outcomes with a longer life and lower costs. So, we're not saying let's have tradeoff between I can get you a cheap health system but you're going to die sooner. I think I can actually get you a wellness-prevention, self-management, early treatment system that is actually better for you, less expensive for the taxpayer, and leads you to live a longer life with better health.
Cybercast News Service: Is it fair to say entitlements are no longer the third rail, not quite as radioactive?
Newt Gingrich: I think that if you describe it correctly, it's actually a big advantage. I think we did a series of surveys at AmericanSolutions.com - just go to AmericanSolutions.com and click on research. And we found that 90 something percent of the country thought you had to fix Social Security. People understand - the average American understands - that these inherited New Deal, World War II entitlement structures that were based on an industrial society 60 years ago have to be fundamentally re-thought for a world market, very mobile, longer-living society.
Cybercast News Service: As speaker of the House, you had a balanced budget, and you spend time in your book talking about how we got there, how we got back. It seems to me one thing that has been overlooked, even though you exerted downward pressure on spending and took a lot of heat in the news media, the Republican Congress was re-elected, unlike the past Congress. What kind of lessons can be drawn from this?
Newt Gingrich: Yes, I think the fact that we keep our word, the fact that we implemented the Contract with America, the fact that we passed welfare reform, we passed the first tax cut in 16 years, we passed four consecutive years of a balanced budget and paid off $405 billion in federal debt - I think all of those things came together to convince people that for the first time since 1928 they ought to re-elect Republicans. I think one of the great disappointments of 2006 is that Republicans clearly lost their way - they've forgotten that we are the party of taxpayers. We pay for the pork. We are not grateful for pork. We expect reform. We don't like corruption. To some extent they acted like Democrats and thought we'd re-elect them anyway.
Cybercast News Service: Mr. Speaker, you spend a lot of time, some time, on immigration policy. It has been a divisive topic here. It's been a problem for John McCain. You've identified the multicultural ideology as a severe challenge. Would you say the challenge is more of our internal failures, such as the multicultural ideology as opposed to immigration per se? How do you think that debate should be framed?
Newt Gingrich: I think there's an interaction. I think the fact that the elites don't like American civilization, don't like American values, don't like English, further increases the anxiety about immigration. I think the American people are very comfortable with legal immigration. It is a lie to say American people are xenophobic or anti-immigrant, but they want it to be legal. They want the immigrants to have a desire to become American. They have a pretty good sense of what they mean by American.
Eighty-seven percent of the American people favor English as the official langue of government. That's a majority of Democrats, Republicans, Independents and Latinos. Only the elites are opposed. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted against English as the official language of government. The American people would actually like to increase the number of H1 and H2 visas. It's the labor unions that oppose it. A biometric card that probably has a retinal scan and a thumb print that is outsourced to Visa or Mastercard or American Express because they don't believe the government can possibly deal with fraud in the system.
And I will go a stage further and say the American people feel deeply that to enforce the law people who are here illegally should go home to get their guest worker card and should apply at home. I think it's a practical feeling. It's a sense we went through an amnesty with Simpson-Mizzoli. It didn't work. We amnestied 3 million people when we were told it would be 300,000. If we have another amnesty now, it will send a signal to the planet to sneak into the America. And it cheats everyone who obeyed the law. And I think Americans feel very deeply, including Americans who are first-generation, that the person who has been obeying the law and doing everything to get in legally, should not have leapfrogged over them people who have been breaking the law being here illegally.
Cybercast News Service: Is there any way our legal channels of immigration can be liberalized, so to speak, so that someone who is willing to follow the rule of law doesn't have to jump through hoops?
Newt Gingrich: Yes, absolutely. In fact, this administration has been destructive, because at the very time they don't enforce illegality, they have been raising the cost of becoming a citizen. So, they are making it more expensive to do the very thing we want you to do while they are not enforcing the law for the thing we don't want you to do.
Cybercast News Service: Mr. Speaker, will conservatives coalesce behind Sen. McCain to be the GOP nominee, and how much of your own support are you willing to throw behind him?
Newt Gingrich: Well, I think if Sen. McCain becomes the Republican nominee, we should support him, if for no other reason than for Supreme Court nominations.
Cybercast News Service: Is he a conservative?
Newt Gingrich: He's a moderate conservative. He's not a movement conservative, but he's a moderate conservative, nut a lot of the level of energy he gets out of conservatives will be based on, who does he pick for vice president? What's his platform like? What issues does he campaign on this fall? And I think he has a long way to go to generate the level of enthusiasm and energy that he's going to need to win.
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