Watching former Congressman Bob Walker on the floor of the U.S. House back in the 1980s was so much fun. He knew the house rules, and he was a smart conservative. Guys like Walker, Jack Kemp, and Newt Gingrich used to deliver some terrific “Special Orders.” Google it if you’re not familiar with it.
A week or so ago Walker had an op ed posted in the Washington Post. Here are a few excerpts (emphasis added):
After Newt Gingrich rose in the polls, criticism of the former House speaker began grabbing headlines. But Republican establishment attacks on Newt are not new. Newt’s political career has been devoted to mounting a conservative challenge to the establishment’s desire to play the Washington power game of go along to get along.
Newt really upset the establishment when he refused to go along with the tax increases that had been engineered in negotiations between Congress and the George H.W. Bush administration. Party leaders put him on the negotiating team in an effort to neutralize him. Instead, Newt made it clear that he would not accept tax increases and his message to President Bush was that tax increases would destroy his “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge. When the negotiations produced new taxes, Newt refused to sign on and led the Republican opposition to the settlement in the House. To this day, establishment figures harbor a grudge against Newt for not joining their “revenue enhancement” conspiracy.
When Newt became speaker, he was focused, disciplined and tough. He insisted on moving the Contract With America intact. He abolished committees and denied “old bulls” chairmanships. He insisted on using the majority to win conservative victories such as balancing budgets, achieving welfare reform and producing 11 million new jobs with tax cuts that spurred economic growth. He made some people unhappy when he pursued legislation that could win instead of pet bills that would have divided Republicans rather than uniting them.
While Newt has been a part of the Washington scene for some time, he always has been the outsider challenging the establishment and insisting on reforms and transformation. He has been vilified, targeted with ethics complaints, subjected to lies and mythology. Millions of dollars have been spent on attacks against him. And he’s still standing, offering America the kind of ideas and leadership it needs in the 21st century.
It boils down to this: Newt Gingrich is a conservative; the establishment prefers moderates. Newt prefers to stand up and debate conservative ideas and ideals; the establishment prefers to keep people guessing. Newt is a proven leader, someone with the background, understanding, vision and discipline to be our president; the establishment fears that he just might win.