Newt Gingrich

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I'm not a natural leader. I'm too intellectual; I'm too abstract; I think too much.

Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich (born Newton Leroy McPherson; June 17, 1943) is an American politician, historian, author and political consultant. He represented Georgia's 6th congressional district as a Republican from 1979 until his resignation in 1999, and served as the 50th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999.





Address to College Republicans, June 24, 1978

Transcript, A 1978 Speech By Gingrich | The Long March of Newt Gingrich, PBS
I think that one of the great problems we have in the Republican Party is that we don't encourage you to be nasty.
  • I think that one of the great problems we have in the Republican Party is that we don't encourage you to be nasty. We encourage you to be neat, obedient, and loyal and faithful and all those Boy Scout words, which would be great around the camp fire, but are lousy in politics.
  • The only explanation I can give myself for spending two hours here is that one or two or three of you will become leaders, as a result of a slightly better understanding of what the term means. The first thing it means is taking risks. Because all of you, if you try to do anything, are going to make mistakes. That shouldn't bother you, because Lyndon Johnson, when he was forty years older than you, made mistakes and destroyed his presidency. Richard Nixon, when he was forty-five years older than you, made mistakes and destroyed his presidency. Jimmy Carter makes mistakes on a daily basis. None of those things should worry you, that's the nature of this business. We're all human and we all goof.
  • Everyone of you is old enough to have been a rifleman in Vietnam. A number of you are old enough to have been platoon leaders, or company commanders, depending on the situation, and how rapidly you move up in rank. This is the same business, we're just lucky, in this country, we don't use bullets, we use ballots instead. You're fighting a war. It is a war for power.
  • Do you like the state of the Republican Party? Do you think you ought to respect Bill Brock because he has done such a great job? Or Richard Nixon, or Gerald Ford, the only incumbent president since Herbert Hoover to lose an election? They have done a terrible job, a pathetic job. In my lifetime, literally in my lifetime, I was born in 1943, we have not had a competent national Republican leader. Not ever!
  • One of the great weaknesses of the Republican Party is we recruit middle-class people. Middle-class people, as a group, are told you should not shout at the table, you should be nice, you should have respect for other people, which usually means giving way to them. You want to go to the beach, they want to go to the movie, well, you ought to go to the movie, cause otherwise they'll get mad at you. So what do you do? We ended up going to Watergate because we didn't want to offend Richard Nixon. We ended up allowing Gerald Ford to do some things that were incredibly dumb, just unbelievably dumb. Gerald Ford personally cost me a congressional seat.
  • Now the reason I am being harshly critical is because I want you all to learn a lesson. When you see somebody doing something dumb, say it. You don't help your party any by neatly sitting off to one side and saying, "God I wish you weren't so stupid." You weaken your party. And when you say it, say it in the press, say it loud, fight, scrap, issue a press release, go make a speech.


  • The number one fact about the news media is they love fights. When you give them confrontations, you get attention; when you get attention, you can educate.
  • I see myself as representing the conservative wing of the postindustrial society.
  • You can have an active, aggressive, conservative state which does not in fact have a large centralized bureaucracy…This goes back to Teddy Roosevelt. We have not seen an activist conservative presidency since TR.
  • I'm the guy in the eighth grade who did not go across the floor and ask the girl to dance for two reasons. One is, she might say no and I'd be embarrassed; two, she might say yes and I'd have to dance…
  • There were long periods in my marriage when I was in enormous pain, and I did a lot of things during that time that reflect how much pain I was in. I am not going to argue every point of that story, but I will say that it painted a picture of me that is essentially untrue.
  • I have an enormous personal ambition. I want to shift the entire planet. And I'm doing it. Ronald Reagan uses the term 'opportunity society' and that didn't exist four years ago. I just had breakfast with Darman and Stockman because I'm unavoidable. I represent real power. And I can also, as an elected official, I can hold a press conference and that's a form of real power. The ambitions that this city focuses on are trivial if you're a historian. Who cares?
  • If Wright ever consolidates his power, he will be a very, very formidable man…We need to take him on early to prevent that.
  • The left-wing Democrats will represent the party of total hedonism, total exhibitionism, total bizarreness, total weirdness, and the total right to cripple innocent people in the name of letting hooligans loose.
    • Harwood, John (27 July 1989), "Newt Gingrich: GOP's Bare-Knuckles Battler", St. Petersburg Times: 1A .; Brock, David (2002-03-05). Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-conservative (1st ed.). Crown. pp. 66-67. ISBN 9780812930993. ; Rising, George (2010). Stuck in the Sixties: Conservatives and Legacies of the 1960s. Xlibris. p. 130. ISBN 9781456804848. 
  • The idea that a congressman would be tainted by accepting money from private industry or private sources is essentially a socialist argument.
  • The values of the left cripple human beings, weaken cities, make it difficult for us to in fact survive as a country…The left in America is to blame for most of the current, major diseases which have struck this society.
  • You’re gonna see weird things coming out of this city over the next few years, because you’re watching the death throes of the machine, and you’re watching its power to smear, and its power to intimidate. And the next time you hear anyone say, ‘Let’s fire Lee Atwater,’ the first thing you ought to know is…they are either left-wingers or they have been intimidated by left-wingers.


People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz. I see evil around me every day.
  • There's something that doesn't fit about this whole case and the way it's been handled…I'm not convinced he didn't [commit suicide]. I'm just not convinced he did. I believe there are plausible grounds to wonder what happened and very real grounds to wonder why it was investigated so badly.
I'm willing to lead, but I'm not willing to preside over people who are cannibals.
PDF, The Republican “Contract with America” (1994), Oxford University Press
  • This year’s election offers the chance, after four decades of one-party control, to bring to the House a new majority that will transform the way Congress works. That historic change would be the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public’s money. It can be the beginning of a Congress that respects the values and shares the faith of the American family.
  • On the first day of the 104th Congress, the new Republican majority will immediately pass the following major reforms, aimed at restoring the faith and trust of the American people in their government:

FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress
SECOND, select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse
THIRD, cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third
FOURTH, limit the terms of all committee chairs
FIFTH, ban the casting of proxy votes in committee
SIXTH, require committee meetings to be open to the public
SEVENTH, require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase
EIGHTH, guarantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.

Assortment of private notes, released January 17, 1997

Grandoni, Dino, On Gingrich's To-Do List: 'Articulate the Vision of Civilizing Humanity' (December 8, 2011), The Atlantic

Gingrich—Primary Mission
—Advocate of civilization
—Definer of civilization
—Teacher of the rules of Civilization
—Arouser of those who form Civilization
—Organizer of the pro-civilization activists
—Leader (possibly) of the civilizing forces.

Priorities to 6/30/93
1. Articulate the vision of civilizing humanity and recivilizing all Americans (task 1)
2. Design general planning—management system and set up quarterly review at a general level (task 2, 9, 10, 11)
3. Build a House republican Team committed to professionalizing the House GOP and to becoming a majority and in particular building a team among the leadership and with our active House member patrons (task 6)
4. Building a volunteer-staff Team in the 6th Distr. (task 7)
5. Define, plan and begin to organize the movement for civilization and the effort to transform our welfare state into an opportunity society to help people achieve productivity, responsibility, and safety so they can achieve prosperity and freedom so they can pursue happiness (task 3, 5, 8)
6. Diet, exercise, recreational renewal with Marianne (task 9)
7. Begin to plan and develop the intellectual—educational effort to sustain in the vision of civilizing humanity and recivilizing America (task 4)




I see myself as representing the conservative wing of the postindustrial society.
  • Jefferson wanted very small government. Obama is the opposite -- he wants government to take care of you, a government that runs virtually everything.
  • The things Obama wants us to be bipartisan on are fundamentally wrong and have very little popular support.
  • We're not going to beat Barack Obama with some guy who has Swiss bank accounts, Cayman Island accounts, owns shares of Goldman Sachs while it forecloses on Florida and is himself a stockholder in Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac while he tries to think the rest of us are too stupid to put the dots together to understand what this is all about.
  • Can we drop a little bit of the pious baloney? The fact is, you ran in '94 and lost. That's why you weren't serving in the Senate with Rick Santorum. The fact is, you had a very bad re-election rating, you dropped out of office, you had been out of state for something like 200 days preparing to run for president. You didn't have this interlude of citizenship while you thought about what you do. You were running for president while you were governor.
  • It's just like this pretense that he's a conservative. Here's a Massachusetts moderate who has tax-paid abortions in 'Romneycare,' puts Planned Parenthood in 'Romneycare,' raises hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes on businesses, appoints liberal judges to appease Democrats, and wants the rest of us to believe somehow he's magically a conservative.
By the end of my second term we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American.
  • I'm going to go out on a limb tonight and you can keep this tape and remind me about it after the election, OK? Donald Trump’s going to win.
  • Donald Trump’s going to win because in the end the country is not going to reward big banks and big unions and big bureaucracies and big donors and big corruption by voting for a big liar. And in the end, the country is going to say, you know, whatever Trump's weaknesses may be, he's a sincere guy trying very hard to get this country back on the right track.
  • And you can quote me and use my voice saying it. The fact that someone was Vice-President does not make them immune to discovering whether they were involved in corruption. And it’s kind of astonishing to me that the American news media, in its passion for hating Trump, is wandering around saying, “Gee, it would be really terrible to ask the Ukrainians to find the truth.”
  • I will stipulate you are a human being.
  • I am fascinated and intrigued with the natural world, whether in its paleontological form or its current form. I am intrigued with watching how animals operate and what they do, and how different systems coexist. I think it is endlessly fascinating. Plus, I like them. I have dogs, I like them. I have given zoos rhinoceroses and a variety of other things, and it is fun. I just went to the zoo in Nagoya, Japan, which is actually a quite nice zoo.


  • If we want America to survive as a constitutional republic under the rule of law, which protects the right of free speech and is dedicated to the belief that each one of us is endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we have no choice but to fight to defeat the anti-Americans and reassert our nation.

    Reagan would understand. Lincoln would understand. Freedom itself is at stake.

  • I’ve been active in this since 1958. That’s 62 years. I am the angriest I have been in that entire six decades. You have a group of corrupt people who have absolute contempt for the American people, who believe that we are so spineless, so cowardly, so unwilling to stand up for ourselves that they can steal the presidency. And we will wring our hands, bring in a few lawyers and do nothing…The Philadelphia machine is corrupt. The Nevada machine is corrupt. The machine in Detroit is corrupt. And they are trying to steal the presidency. And we should not allow them to do that.
  • And I think we have to take this whole system apart and recognize that this is — this election is a great moment for the American people to decide do they want to have an honest election where they get to pick their leaders or do they just want corrupt machines such as the one that Stacey Abrams is building.
  • So I think this is going to be an extraordinarily important election, and I think the odds are very high that if every Republican will vote — my model is very simple, we have to win by a bigger margin than Stacey Abrams can steal.
  • He’ll remain a dominant figure for a fairly long period of time, depending on how hard he wants to work at it and how serious it is. People fade pretty quickly if they don’t pay attention. This is a country of enormous restiveness.
  • An immense amount got done but it’s also why the left hates Clinton. He signed welfare reform, he signed capital gains tax cut, he signed four balanced budgets. It’s nothing to do with his personal behavior. It’s very much like what happened to the prime minister in Great Britain, Tony Blair: both of them were centrist and both of them were viciously repudiated by their left even as they were popular in the country. It’s just fascinating stuff.

About Newt Gingrich

  • The assault of the new conservatives--of Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Clarence Thomas and the rest of their pack--helped focus the march. African Americans read the message of the Gingrich-Dole agenda clearly. The deepest cuts in spending come not from programs benefiting the wealthy, the corporations, those who pay for their party. The cuts are targeted on the weak--poor mothers and children, the disabled, the elderly, the working poor. The cuts are targeted on the cities--on public housing, public health, public transportation, public water. To win support for this injustice, the poor and the urban are given a Black face, dismissed as hopeless genetically and culturally, and set up for the hit. The Gingrich-Dole strategy doesn't seem new or clever to African Americans; it seems but a tired sequel to the divisive politics of the old South. So the Million Man March called for a political recommitment. Gingrich and his crowd won the Congress by a cumulative total of 19,000 votes in 1994. Eight million eligible African Americans are not registred to vote. There was no conservative tidal wave; they won not because the wave was high, but because our walls were low.
  • Drilling without thinking has of course been Republican Party policy since May 2008. When gas prices soared to unprecedented heights, the conservative leader Newt Gingrich unveiled the slogan "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less," with an emphasis on the now. The wildly popular campaign was a cry against caution, against study, against measured action. In Gingrich's telling, drilling at home wherever the oil and gas might be-locked in Rocky Mountain shale, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and deep offshore-was a surefire way to lower the price at the pump, create jobs, and kick Arab ass all at once.
    • Naomi Klein On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal (2019)
  • It seems hard to believe today, but as recently as 2008, tackling climate change still had a veneer of bipartisan support, even in the United States. That year, Republican stalwart Newt Gingrich did a TV spot with Democratic congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the House, in which they pledged to join forces and fight climate change together…Those days of bipartisanship are decidedly over.
    • Naomi Klein This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (2014)
  • If the Constitution gives me a way of forcing Newt Gingrich's feet to the fire, a way of forcing American politicians to live up to the letter of the law, then I'm going to do that.
    • 1996 interview in Conversations with Bharati Mukherjee Edited by Bradley C. Edwards (2009)
  • You deliberately stood in the well of this House and took on these members when you knew they would not be here…It's un-American…It's the lowest thing that I've heard in my 32 years here.
  • take a step back, and you look at the absurdity...Big money dominates the economic life of our country. They decide whether our jobs go to China or reinvested in America. They own the political system. Republican Party had a fundraiser here last month, $16 million in one night. Gingrich goes out around the country, $10,000-a-plate fundraising. That’s the issue.
  • Many who have heard my harsh assessments of Gingrich over the past year have assumed that I feel a personal animus toward my former colleague. That’s just not true. That fact is that I remain awestruck that Newt envisioned a Republican majority when his closest allies thought he was crazy. Even an eternal optimist like me laughed at the “Think Majority” sign hanging over the NRCC reception area in early 1994. But Newt was right and we were wrong. The Gingrich Revolution overtook Washington (with a huge assist from Bill Clinton’s overreaching agenda) and good things followed. Within a few years, Congress passed the first balanced budget in a generation, welfare reform, tax cuts and meaningful congressional changes. If Newt’s story ended there, I might have a Gingrich 2012 sign in my front yard. But unfortunately, it does not.
  • On the one hand it's a lovely symbolism that the Dem slate in Georgia represents the old school civil rights coalition between black people and Jews. On the other, it's telling that the exact same tropes from then are being used by the gop in 2020
    • Adam Serwer 11/18/20 on Twitter, responding to Gingrich saying "Reverend Warnock is an extraordinarily radical candidate and essentially Ossoff is a product of Hollywood and Silicon Valley."
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