We should expect high “grades” from them, because it is not difficult to determine whether legislation oversteps the clearly delineated, limited powers of the Constitution. If there is uncertainty, the Bill of Rights tells the government everything else is off limits. Moreover, an oath calls God as witness to the oath-taker’s honesty and integrity. In other words, it is both illegal and immoral to violate the Constitution. Why are so many Representatives bringing home Fs on their report cards? They may mean well, but a Congressman’s good intentions do not fulfill his obligation before God to vote according to the law. (To see a PDF of The New American's latest "Freedom Index," which shows how every member of the House and Senate voted on key issues, click here.)
So the burden is, as it should be, on “We the People,” and we have no one to blame but ourselves if we continue to send failing Representatives to Washington. We must use the Constitution as a litmus test. This will be especially important in 2012 since Obama seems to have a callous disregard for the Constitution and his oath to uphold it. As a Senator in the 110th Congress, his cumulative score in the "Freedom Index" was 11 percent. But what alternatives will we have?
There are a growing number of candidates for Congress who are running in support of the Constitution. Many of them were motivated to become involved as a result of the political phenomenon in the last presidential race that became known as the “Ron Paul Revolution.” But if the GOP establishment has its way, the Republicans who will go to Washington will be of the neocon variety and will offer voters looking for alternatives to the liberal Democrats more of an echo than a choice. The establishment-favored Newt Gingrich is a case in point.
The Republican Answer?
After more than a decade out of the spotlight, Newt Gingrich is once again making headlines as a conservative author and basking in media speculation of his possibility as a presidential candidate. He is busy promoting his conservatively themed books and documentaries while touting firm belief in limited government and personal freedoms. Gingrich’s rhetoric brings back memories of his old days as a staunch proponent of cutting taxes, balancing the budget, reducing bureaucratic regulations, and strengthening national defense.
Just as in those days, Newt Gingrich now positions himself as a conservative. But does his definition of conservative mean loyalty to the Constitution, or loyalty to the establishment? “Understanding the real Newt Gingrich … is essential,” said John F. McManus, president of the John Birch Society and producer of the new DVD The Real Newt Gingrich. “Americans must realize that they are being persuaded to follow false leaders, to put confidence in men who don’t deserve our confidence.” Both Gingrich’s congressional track record and his present activities prove him no better than the current White House occupant.
Newt Gingrich served in Congress from 1979 until 1999. His first Freedom Index score (when it was known as the “Conservative Index”) was 84, but it nose-dived from there. He achieved his lowest scores as Speaker of the House. Gingrich consistently lost points for his propensity to support unconstitutional legislation.
1. Education — Gingrich backed federal education funding from his earliest days in office, though the Constitution gives absolutely no authority over education to any branch of the federal government. He helped garner support to create President Jimmy Carter’s Department of Education in 1979. Since then educational spending has soared while educational standards have plummeted. Things got worse when he was Speaker. In 1996, then-Republican Party Chairman Haley Barbour bragged that “education spending went up under the Republican Congress as much as it went up under the Democratic Congress.” That is a bit of an understatement since Gingrich’s Republican Congress increased education funding by $3.5 billion in 1996, the largest single increase in history.
2. Foreign Aid — Gingrich voted numerous times throughout his 20 years in Congress to increase and expand unconstitutional foreign aid and trade. He supported both subsidized trade with the Soviets and federally funded loans to foreign governments through the Export-Import Bank. Between 1994 and 1995, Gingrich voted for $44.8 billion in foreign aid. He also helped push through federally funded loan guarantees to China. Today, that murderous communist regime is the largest holder of U.S. debt in the world.
3. NAFTA and GATT — In 1993, Gingrich proved himself invaluable to Clinton and the Democrats in Congress when he garnered enough Republican support to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the precursor for development of an eventual North American Union, following the same trajectory that has occurred in Europe with the emergence of the EU. (See the October 15, 2007 “North American Union” issue of The New American, especially “NAFTA: It’s Not Just About Trade” by Gary Benoit.) The next year he followed suit by supporting the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO). As Minority Whip, he could have postponed the lame-duck vote on GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) that subjected Americans to the WTO. Gingrich’s Benedict Arnold act helped to hand over the power to regulate foreign commerce, a power reserved in the Constitution to Congress alone, to an internationally controlled body, making America’s economic interests entirely at the mercy of the WTO.
Gingrich knew GATT sounded the death knell for American sovereignty. In testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee prior to the lame-duck session, he said, “We need to be honest about the fact that we are transferring from the United States at a practical level significant authority to a new organization.... This is not just another trade agreement. This is adopting something which twice, once in the 1940s and once in the 1950s, the U.S. Congress rejected.... It is a very big transfer of power.”
4. Contract With America — Another con-game Gingrich played was the much-acclaimed “Contract With America,” the Republican Party’s supposed answer to big government. It turned out to be a public relations smokescreen to cover various unconstitutional measures that Congress planned to pass under Gingrich’s leadership. The Contract included a “balanced budget amendment,” which amounted to a Republican excuse to continue spending while claiming to fight for fiscal conservatism. If the government only spent money on constitutional programs, the deficit would take care of itself.
Other areas of the Contract With America dealt with measures to reduce welfare programs and relieve tax burdens on families and businesses. That sounds good until one considers that the Constitution prohibits welfare programs and taxes that the Contract proposed only to reduce. If Gingrich had been loyal to his oath of office, he would have worked not to trim but to purge them. Ironically, but hardly surprisingly, federal spending in all the areas addressed by the 1994 Contract rose in subsequent years. Edward H. Crane, president of the Cato Institute, observed that “the combined budgets of the 95 major programs that the Contract With America promised to eliminate have increased by 13%.” Crane also pointed out, “Over the past three years the Republican-controlled Congress has approved discretionary spending that exceeded Bill Clinton’s requests by more than $30 billion.”
Another of the problems with the Contract was that it called for stronger federal crime-fighting measures, despite the Constitution’s prohibition on federal involvement in police matters outside of piracy and treason. Countries that do not have such strict constitutional safeguards on federal police end up with Gestapos, KGBs, and Departments of Homeland Security.
5. School Prayer Amendment — The proposed balanced budget amendment was not Gingrich’s only attempt to change the Constitution. He also pushed hard for a school prayer amendment to allow America’s children to pray in schools. It was just another shameless publicity stunt, for Gingrich knows the main obstacle to prayer in schools is not a faulty Constitution but an overambitious Supreme Court. Had he truly wanted to release the federal stranglehold on prayer in schools, Gingrich could have employed Congress’ constitutionally authorized power to restrict the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction of the issue.
6. Clinton’s GOP (Grand Old Pal) — In 1995, Time magazine named Newt Gingrich “Man of the Year,” characterizing him as a states’ rights conservative and the Republican answer to Bill Clinton. The ironic thing about Time magazine’s 1995 claim is that in June of that year, Gingrich and Clinton both agreed at a debate in Clare-mont, New Hampshire, that they were “not far apart” in their views. Later Clinton publicly thanked Gingrich for his support of the President’s pet projects in areas such as welfare, education, labor, the environment, and foreign affairs. He made special mention of Gingrich’s support of the $30 billion Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 that shackled gun owners with new restrictions, federalized a number of crimes, and handed the feds police powers that the Constitution reserves to the states.
On numerous occasions, Gingrich showed himself a friend to Clinton’s military policies, with a flagrant disregard for the constitutional mandate that Congress alone may declare war. He made a formal appeal to the House of Representatives in 1995 to “increase the power of President Clinton” by repealing the War Powers Act. He praised Clinton’s unconstitutional use of the U.S. military to inflict a communist regime on Haiti in 1994, the same year he voted for an extra $1.2 billion for United Nations “peacekeeping” missions. He also urged the President to expand U.S. military presence in Bosnia the following year.
This partial resumé does not include Gingrich’s support of abortion and anti-family measures, federal welfare, a presidential line item veto, the National Endowment for the Arts, confiscation of private property, amnesty for illegal immigrants, higher taxes, and a myriad of other unconstitutional legislation. But it is enough to prove he lied each time took his oath of office. The question is, why this disdain for the rule of law? A close look at Gingrich’s associations provides the answer to why he had such a propensity for claiming conservatism while voting with the establishment.
In 1994, Gingrich described himself as “a conservative futurist.” He said that those who were trying to define him should look no further than The Third Wave, a 1980 book written by Alvin Toffler. The book describes our society as entering a post-industrial phase in which abortion, homosexuality, promiscuity, and divorce are perfectly normal, even virtuous. Toffler penned a letter to America’s “founding parents,” in which he said: “The system of government you fashioned, including the very principles on which you based it, is increasingly obsolete, and hence increasingly, if inadvertently, oppressive and dangerous to our welfare. It must be radically changed and a new system of government invented — a democracy for the 21st century.” He went on to describe our constitutional system as one that “served us so well for so long, and that now must, in its turn, die and be replaced.”
Gingrich recommended The Third Wave as essential reading to his colleagues when he became Speaker of the House. In his forward to another Toffler book, Creating a New Civilization: The Politics of the Third Wave, he grieved at the lack of appreciation for “Toffler’s insight” in The Third Wave and blamed politicians who had not applied his model for the “frustration, negativism, cynicism and despair” of the political landscape. He went on to explain that Toffler advocated a concept called “anticipatory democracy,” and bragged that he had worked with him for 20 years “to develop a future-conscious politics and popular understanding that would make it easier for America to make the transition” to a Third Wave civilization.
Another explanation for Gingrich’s liberal voting record is that he has been a member, since 1990, of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a group founded in 1921 as a think tank of influential politicians and policymakers dedicated to sacrificing national independence to create a global government. He showed his fidelity to internationalism in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Affairs in July of 1995 when he brazenly admitted his disdain for our founding document.
“The American challenge in leading the world is compounded by our Constitution,” he said. “Under our [constitutional system] — either we’re going to have to rethink our Constitution, or we’re going to have to rethink our process of decision-making.” He went on to profess an oxymoronic belief in “very strong but limited federal government,” and pledged, “I am for the United Nations.” That is certainly no surprise since his mentor is none other than former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger (also a CFR member and one-world internationalist).
On other occasions Gingrich expressed his admiration and regard for establishment insiders Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and George Catlett Marshall, praising what they had done to bring about international government. Gingrich scorned any connection with “isolationists” (a dirty word used to describe anyone who defines free trade as the ability to conduct international business unfettered by unconstitutional regulations) in a speech given at the Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom on March 1, 1995. He cited his work on NAFTA, GATT, and various foreign aid measures, and concluded saying, “I’m always curious why there’s some presumption that [I am] in any way isolationist.”
Newt and Improved
What about Gingrich today? Isn’t it possible he has changed since he served in Congress? He has a new wife and a new religion, converting to Catholicism earlier this year. He still says he is conservative, but maybe that definition has changed, too. Indeed, he positioned himself as a hero of this past April’s Tax Day Tea Party movement, partnering with that group in his position as chairman of American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF). He issued a general invitation to all Americans on YouTube to join local Tea Parties across the nation. “The fact is that we need a smaller government, a more effective government, and we need lower taxes,” he said. “Let’s communicate to our leaders, ‘We want you to fix it, or we’re gonna want new leaders.’” He used even stronger language in a rousing delivery at the April 15 Tea Party in New York, when he warned big-spending legislators to straighten up or “we’re gonna fire you.”
Yet it seems Gingrich is still up to his old tricks. In front of a Tea Party crowd, he expounds the virtues of limited government, but elsewhere he is still the futurist conservative devoted to internationalism. His blog biography brags about his work as Speaker of the House and then boasts of such unconstitutional credentials as serving on the CFR’s Terrorism task force, co-chairing the UN task force to “reform” (i.e., strengthen) the United Nations, and receiving credit for the DHS being his brainchild. “Newt Gingrich is a leading advocate of increased federal funding for basic science research,” reads the bio. Gingrich’s ASWF endorses federal involvement in areas such as energy, education, labor and the environment. He also founded the Center for Health Transformation, which advocates its own version of socialized medicine.
Global Government Gingrich
It would seem the CFR has done a good job schooling Gingrich in foreign affairs over the past 10 years as well. No longer the novice, Gingrich supports continuing the “war” in Afghanistan despite the fact that Congress never actually declared war as required by the Constitution. The Baltimore Sun noted on October 22 that Gingrich supports expanding the U.S. military presence in the Middle East. He claimed, “Afghanistan is a skirmish in a long war.... We need a much larger grand strategy that deals with the whole war.” He even had the audacity to invoke George Washington as a model for Obama in making “morally correct” decisions in Afghanistan. Careful, Gingrich, you’re quoting one of those nasty noninterventionists! Washington had this to say about foreign policy in his Farewell Address: “The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.” Yet National Review quoted Gingrich in opposition to the Father of Our Country. “You can pull out of Afghanistan, and then what?... We pulled out of Somalia, and now we have pirates,” he said, ignoring what U.S. support of the UN puppet regime in that unfortunate country has done to promote terrorism, and parallel scenarios in Afghanistan and across the Middle East. His statements leave little doubt as to how Gingrich would conduct himself as Commander in Chief.
Little Green Man
But he isn’t all fight. There’s also the kinder, gentler Newt who, in April 2008, cuddled up with current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a love seat at the National Mall to make a “We Can Solve It” television commercial (for Al Gore’s $300 million global-warming ad campaign) urging constituents to pressure their Representatives in Washington to go green. He said that “our country must take action to address climate change.” Yet when he explained his participation at newt.org, he admitted, “I don’t think that we have conclusive proof of global warming [or] that humans are at the center of it.” This is ludicrous. If Gingrich intends to take a side in the debate, he is de facto conceding that climate change is real and humans are the cause. He is yielding to a false premise, and any “compromise” solution based on it will be disastrous.
Gingrich’s blog explains further, “There is a big difference between left-wing environmentalism … and a Green Conservatism that wants to use science, technology, innovation, entrepreneurs and prizes to find a way to creatively invent the kind of environmental future we all want.” (Emphasis added.) He fails to acknowledge that the Constitution prohibits federal involvement in those areas, but the really troubling word is “prizes.” This has cap and trade written all over it. Gingrich already sanctioned cap and trade on sulfur dioxide emissions in the 1990 Clean Air Act. He claims to oppose Obama’s plan but instead wants the government to lower prices on alternative energy sources, “because I think you’re going to get faster acceleration of new innovation if you lower the price of good products … rather than raise the price of obsolete products.” So Gingrich’s “conservative” answer to the concocted energy crisis is price regulation and government subsidies, both of which use tax money to stifle the economy, giving advantage to faulty products and services that cannot support themselves in a free-market economy. Gingrich’s “Green Conservatism” seems much like the “left-wing environmentalism” that he disapproves.
Education Reform à la Al (Sharpton)
Pelosi and Gore are not Gingrich’s only strange bedfellows. He recently toured the nation with Reverend Al Sharpton and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to promote President Obama’s education reforms and charter schools. Of course, there are a number of problems with that scenario, not the least of which is Gingrich’s association with Al Sharpton, a controversial left-wing activist, or his contemptible pandering to the dictates of the liberal Obama administration. The main problem, as usual, is Gingrich’s endorsement of patently unconstitutional measures. The tour agenda recommends increased local control of schools to be regulated and subsidized by the federal Department of Education. That’s right: increased local control through increased federal regulation.
The proposal also calls for “the ability of parents to pick the right school for their child.” Parents would already have that ability if it weren’t for the Department of Education. Rearranging how the federal government regulates education may be “reform” of the current system, but the current system is unconstitutional.
Republican to the Oh-so-bitter End
If all this weren’t enough to expose Gingrich’s fidelity-at-all-costs to the establishment, he endorsed an ultra-liberal Republican over a conservative third-party candidate in New York’s 23rd Congressional District special election held November 3. Republican Dede Scozzafava supports same-sex “marriage,” big labor, and abortion. She won the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood in March of 2008. The liberal ACORN-affiliated Working Families Party backs Scozzafava, and conservatives within her party call her a RINO (Republican In Name Only). When the New York Post came out in support of her Conservative Party opponent, Doug Hoffman, it said, “a Republican should adhere to certain minimum GOP principles. Scozzafava is just too far to the left too often.” Yet Gingrich described her in a letter to supporters as “our best chance to put responsible and principled leaders in Washington.” Gingrich explained his endorsement on newt.org, saying his “number one interest in the 2009 elections is to build a Republican majority,” and to do so it is sometimes necessary “to put together a coalition that has disagreement within it.” Considering that the publisher of the liberal Daily Kos endorsed Scozzafava as “willing to raise taxes” and “to the left of most Democrats on social issues,” it’s fair to ask if Newt has any principles at all.
Scozzafava dropped a campaign bomb-shell when she withdrew from the race just four days before the election, leaving a two-man fight between Hoffman and Democrat opponent Bill Owens. Gingrich then endorsed Hoffman, not on principle, but to prevent the Democrats from gaining another seat in the House. Owens got an endorsement from Scozzafava the very next day and proceeded to win the election by a narrow plurality. So Republicans lost a seat in the House, and Gingrich lost an enormous amount of credibility among conservatives.
Jekyll and Hyde vs. the Constitution
With outrageous national debt and out-of-control federal spending, loss of sovereignty to the likes of the UN and the WTO, spiraling taxes, and a bloodsucking bureaucratic leviathan, America can no longer afford to gamble on such a Jekyll-and-Hyde “conservative” as Newt Gingrich. What we need in Washington instead are constitutionalists who know that it is against the law to violate the Constitution no matter what anyone’s opinion may be. The easiest way to tell a phony conservative from the true constitutionalist is to ask a few simple questions. Does he support federal education and welfare programs? Foreign aid? An interventionist foreign policy as opposed to staying clear of foreign quarrels? If yes, he is not a constitutionalist. We will never get back to good government unless we urge lawmakers to use the Constitution as their guide, and only support candidates who adopt the Constitution as their platform, regardless of party.
Rebecca Terrell is a marketing representative in Memphis, Tennessee, where she lives with her family. She is a former congressional staffer for Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas). Rebecca earned a B.B.A. from the University of Arkansas and an M.B.A. from the University of North Alabama.
— Photo: AP Images