Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘gingrich’

A challenge for Obama from Newt Gingrich

Posted by Richard on August 23, 2012

I’m not a big fan of Newt Gingrich, but he’s smart and articulate (when he isn’t being a loose cannon), and in the 90s he did a lot of good. This week marked the 16th anniversary of a very good thing in which he played a pivotal role: on August 22, 1996, President Clinton signed the bipartisan welfare reform bill passed by Congress. Gingrich issued a challenge (via email; online here) to President Obama to mark the anniversary:

Sixteen years ago this week, President Clinton signed the 1996 bipartisan welfare reform which he lauded as “ending welfare as we know it.” This anniversary offers President Obama a unique opportunity to honor the historic achievement.

At the heart of the 1996 law was a simple principle: no one in America should get money from the government for doing nothing. We knew the welfare system of the past was corroding the work ethic, destroying families, bankrupting our country, and most tragically of all, entrapping the poor.

That’s why we put strong work requirements at the center of the reform. We would help people get back on their feet, and after two years, they had to get a job.

At the time, critics on the left said the policy would turn millions of poor people out of their homes. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan characterized the proposal as “the most brutal act of social policy since Reconstruction.”

And as a state senator from Illinois, our current president opposed it too. Barack Obama said he “did not entirely agree with it and probably would have voted against” it. He later said he was “not a huge supporter” of the reforms.

But contrary to the dire predictions of the Left, welfare reform proved to be one of the most successful social policies in American history. Two-thirds of welfare recipients got a job or went to school. Within 4 years, 4.2 million people rose up from poverty. In five years, child poverty was at an all-time low, having dropped by 25 percent.

The work requirement was the key to achieving these gains.

Presidential candidate Barack Obama acknowledged this fact when he said at Saddleback Church pointed to welfare reform as an issue he’d been wrong about: “I was much more concerned ten years ago, when President Clinton signed the Bill, that this would have disastrous results,” he said…”It worked better than a lot of people anticipated.”

So he told us as a candidate.

But last month, President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services issued a memo announcing it would grant states waivers on the work requirements.

The HHS memo declared the authority to “waive compliance with [work requirements] and authorize a state to test approaches and methods other than those set forth in [the section pertaining to work requirements], including definitions of work activities and engagement.”

The memo then proceeds to give examples of “projects states may want to consider” – most of which are attempts either to dilute the work requirements or expand the definition of “work”.

Apparently the Obama administration didn’t believe the bureaucratic change would be noticed. When challenged, however, they denied attempting to weaken the requirements (an authority which the memo asserted but which is explicitly prohibited in the law). And having just asserted the authority to undercut the requirements, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stated angrily that “any request from any state that undercuts the work requirement in welfare reform will be rejected.”

The apparent conflict between the Obama administration’s memo unilaterally empowering itself to waive the work requirement and the Obama White House’s denial that will ever take advantage of this new authority present the President with an opportunity on this 16th anniversary of the law: If he has no intention of waiving the requirements, he should denounce the memo and he should direct the secretary of HHS to officially rescind it.

Then we’ll know for sure if the president truly believes work should remain at the center of welfare reform.

The President and his supporters disingenuously insist that the change in HHS policy didn’t end the work requirement. In Clintonian fashion, I guess you could say it depends on what the definition of “waive” is.

In any case, what they’ve done is, as Gingrich noted “explicitly prohibited in the law” — specifically, Section 407, and the Heritage Foundation’s Andrew Grossman explained in detail how the new Obama policy flouts the law.

But then, making (or circumventing) law without regard for Congress, the Constitution, or the separation of powers seems to be this administration’s forté.

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Is ABC News helping or hurting Newt?

Posted by Richard on January 18, 2012

Matt Drudge reports that ABC News is sitting on an interview with Newt Gingrich’s first wife, Marianne, that contains “explosive revelations.” On my way home, I heard Hugh Hewitt tell his radio audience that they’re withholding the interview until after the South Carolina primary in order to protect Newt and hurt Romney in that state. But now, on his website, he’s acknowledged another possibility:

… The leak of the story of the interview of Marianne Gingrich without details may actually do more damage to Newt than the interview itself, but it is amazing that a network news operation is sitting on a big story three days before an election.

I question Hewitt’s original contention, as well as his use of “actually” and “but” in that sentence. I think it’s likely that the story was leaked to hurt Gingrich, not Romney. The MSM have been largely pro-Romney (after the attempt to elevate Huntsman’s candidacy fizzled). As in 2008, they’re favoring the most moderate Republican — until after he’s nominated, and then they’ll suddenly discover that he’s a right-wing extremist.

South Carolina has a high percentage of evangelical voters. Leaking the claim that Gingrich’s first wife has dirt on him is going to be damaging even if her revelations later turn out to be no big deal. If nothing else, it reminds those evangelicals of Gingrich’s sorry marital history.

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Newt at his best

Posted by Richard on January 17, 2012

I’m not a big Newt Gingrich fan, but when he’s right, he’s right, and when he’s on his game, there’s nobody better. In last night’s debate, his response to Juan Williams’ race-baiting, “don’t you realize your wife doesn’t like to be beaten” question was simply masterful. He was unapologetic, forceful, articulate, and stood by his principles — qualities that are unfortunately rare among the GOP leadership. It’s the first time a presidential candidate in a debate ever got a standing ovation, and he deserved it.


[YouTube link]

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Anti-capitalist conservatives

Posted by Richard on January 10, 2012

Yesterday, I mentioned in passing the leftist-sounding attacks on Romney by Gingrich and Perry. Bobby Eberle has much more:

In their quest for the Republican nomination, it seems these “conservatives” will embrace any idea in order to attack another candidate. The latest is an assault on capitalism… yes, capitalism! What’s next? Supporting higher taxes and bigger government?

As noted in a story on CNSNews.com, GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is under attack by his fellow opponents, namely Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. Why, you ask? Because Romney ran Bain Capital, which would restructure and reorganize companies in order to make them profitable. In doing so, everything that would be involved in saving a company was on the table: selling assets, trimming work staff, modernizing… you name it.

Oh the horror of it all! Gingrich and Perry are blasting Romney for not relying on the government, not going for corporate bailouts, but rather, for handling corporate woes in the private sector.

In National Review, Jay Nordlinger writes, “The last two presidential election cycles have revealed a stinking hypocrisy in conservatives: They profess their love of capitalism and entrepreneurship, but when offered a real capitalist and entrepreneur, they go, ‘Eek, a mouse!’ And they tear him down in proud social-democrat fashion.”

I’m not writing this column as a Romney supporter. I too would prefer someone more conservative. But in this race, the so-called conservatives are sure NOT sounding conservative to me. They are blasting Romney for engaging in capitalism. They are hounding him for turning companies around. That was his job, and apparently, he was good at it.

I said there’s no Reagan in this Republican field and no clearly best choice. The “conservative alternatives to Romney” have been making themselves less and less palatable to me.

Ron Paul is great on economic and fiscal issues and on the size and scope of the federal government, but he has some serious flaws: (1) that unfortunate association with the Lew Rockwell paleo-libertarians, (2) flirtations with 9/11 Trutherism and Bilderberger/CFR conspiracy theories, and (3) a dangerously mistaken and ignorant view of the Islamofascists.

I hate to say it, but Romney is beginning to look like the best (or least bad) that the GOP can offer this year.

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Joe the Forgotten Man

Posted by Richard on October 22, 2008

According to Newt Gingrich, a June Gallup Organization survey asked Americans if the government should focus on improving economic conditions or on "distributing wealth more evenly," and 84% chose the former. Thanks to Joe the Plumber, it should now be clear to everybody that Barack Obama is one of the 13% who chose the latter:

America met Joe the Plumber last week.  But a pro-market economist writing over a hundred years ago was already familiar with Joe Wurzelbacher and Americans like him — and understood how they are used and exploited by politicians.

“They are always under the dominion of the superstition of government, and forgetting that a government produces nothing at all, they leave out of sight the first fact to be remembered in all social discussion — that the state cannot get a cent for any man without taking it from some other man, and this latter must be a man who has produced and saved it. This latter is the Forgotten Man.”

These are the words of William Graham Sumner, brilliantly analyzed and applied to 21st century America by Amity Schlaes in her recent book, The Forgotten Man.
    
Sumner wrote of the Forgotten Man: "He works, he votes, generally he prays — but he always pays — yes, above all, he pays."

Joe the Plumber has struck a chord in the closing weeks of this election because he represents the Forgotten Man.  When he confronted Sen. Barack Obama on the campaign trail with the question of what would happen to his taxes under an Obama Administration should he realize his dream of owning his own business, Joe cast the decision that faces us in this election in stark relief:

Which will be better for our economy:  Politicians redistributing our wealth or growing more wealth?

And Sen. Obama gave us an equally stark answer:  Under his leadership, America will focus on “spreading around” the Forgotten Man’s wealth, not encouraging him to create more of it.

Read the whole thing.

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Solutions Day

Posted by Richard on September 27, 2007

Today is the 13th anniversary of the Contract with America, and Newt Gingrich's American Solutions project starts its Solutions Day activities today in Atlanta. Solutions Day is Saturday the 29th, and Gingrich has some interesting workshops scheduled, and lots of interesting speakers — Roy Romer, Neal Boortz, Mike Huckabee, Dick Armey, Porter Goss, and a plethora of people from business and academia. 

The point is to explore opportunities for real change to improve public policies and institutions for the future:

It's hard to believe that 13 years ago today on the steps of the West Front of the Capitol hundred of candidates for Congress signed the Contract with America. The Contract was the beginning of real change in welfare, which resulted in 65% of the people on welfare either going to school or going to work.

The Contract was the beginning of real change in the budget, producing four consecutive balanced budgets that included the first tax cut in 16 years, real control of federal spending and the first new defense and intelligence investments since Reagan.

Those were real changes. Now it is time for real change again.

Tonight, I will be broadcasting and web casting from the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. It brings back a lot of memories, because it was the election night headquarters in 1994 when we learned we had elected the first Republican majority in 40 years.

Americans voted for real change then, and we need real change again.

A lot of people pretend to be for change, but they offer only the same tired old excuses.

Albert Einstein once said, "Insanity is when you think that by doing more of what you are already doing you can get a different outcome." An awful lot of our politics and government is insane by Einstein's standards.

America needs a continuing process of innovation and reform if we are to continue to be the most successful society in history.

Americans can insist on real change, and we have done it before. The politicians, interest groups, elite media and bureaucrats can be forced to reform by the sheer weight of the American people.

Gingrich notes that there over 500,000 elected officials in the United States, so it's not just about Congress or the White House.

If you're in the Atlanta area, all the activities are at the Cobb Galleria Centre and are free. There's an opening presentation tonight at 7 pm Eastern. The workshops are Saturday afternoon (see schedule). The opening presentation, three workshops, and closing remarks are being telecast on Dish Network (channnel 219) and DirecTV (channel 577). Everything, including all the workshops, will be available via webcast . There are also local workshops planned around the country.

This afternoon at 2 Eastern, Gingrich is hosting a virtual workshop at the virtual Capitol building in the Second Life virtual world. So, if you're a Second Lifer, be sure to drop by.

Personally, I'm amazed that so many people have time to pursue a second, virtual life — I don't have enough time for this life. 

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