Newt got a theatrical introduction—a rock star intro—at CPAC, weaving through the adulatory crowd as the lightbulbs flash to the throbbing beat of “eye of the tiger.”
He begins with the news that the NYSE will soon be German-owned—makes that a symbol of the Democrats' job-killing policies.
He challenges Obama to move to the center by doing 7 things—seven steps to the center:
1. Sign repeal of Obamacare. 58 percent favor repeal. That should be the center. . .
2. Sign tort reform for doctors
3. Sign the permanent repeal of the death tax - 78 percent support
4. Sign the new Hyde amendment so no taxpayer money funds abortions in the U.S. (big applause here)
5. Sign a Paul Ryan-style balanced budget act
6. Sign laws that will decisively control the border now
7. Sign a tenth amendment implementation act returning power to the states and the people, and influences how Medicaid is disbursed
By the way, Newt’s call to ban taxpayer funding of abortion got even bigger applause than his endorsement of Paul Ryan-style budget cuts (as others observed).
Unlike Mitch, Newt clearly believes in poll-testing. As in the Contract with America—the Gingrich strategy is to point to conservative idea that he says large majorities support - 58 percent want to repeal Obamacare. 78 percent want to repeal death tax.
If 78 percent aren’t the center, he asks, where will you find it?
He focused on an American energy plan to replace the EPA, which he says will become the site of President Obama’s effort to control the non-health care economy, as Obamacare will come to control the health care economy.
Back on our evaluation criteria, Newt gets high marks for mentioning the new Hyde Amendment. He said nothing about marriage and really made no mention of social conservatism at all. This is in part because Newt’s speeches are the speeches of a charismatic policy nerd (if that’s not an oxymoron): he thrives on the poll-tested policy points.
It’s a smart speech and very substantive: He has just announced that “American energy” is his new theme for the next year and probably 2012.
On Life: B+
On Marriage: D
On Social Conservatism: D