07.19.2010 0

Remember Newt Gingrich?

Remember, the pre-Speaker Newt Gingrich, who fought to create wedge issues ranging from Jim Wright’s questionable book deals to voter anger over taxes?

Remember, the pre-Speaker Gingrich, Newt, who drove the House minority leadership nuts because he would always seemingly rather fight than engage in the same old go along to get along, consensus finding approach that Bob Michel preferred?

Well, you’ll have to remember him, because he doesn’t exist anymore. He’s become Beltway Newt.

Too many years inside the Washington, DC Beltway have completely transformed Newt Gingrich into someone who could actually believe that “tea party” leaders should reach out to the NAACP in an attempt to achieve common ground and host a joint meeting.

Pre-Speaker Newt would have understood that the NAACP attack on the tea party movement is nothing more than a cynical attempt to use race to energize the leftwing base, and defame every person who claims the tea party mantel.

Pre-Speaker Newt knew that any attempt to discuss the NAACP’s concerns would be cast by the media as a validation of their charges, and would be a slap in the face to those African American tea party supporters who have courageously stepped away from lock step belief that bigger government is the solution, and publicly proclaimed the opportunity society that he once championed.

Pre-Speaker Newt would have embraced the massive grassroots energy of the tea party movement and attempt to harness it through a series of common sense policy initiatives that galvanized their support.

Unfortunately, Beltway Newt cautions the tea party with the knowing wag of his finger suggesting that this home grown political force wrap their arms around those who falsely accuse them, thus giving credence to the very charges themselves.

Beltway Newt seeks to sap the very energy that makes the tea party meaningful, by turning them into a Sadat, Begin photo op with him playing the role of Jimmy Carter.

Beltway Newt seems more interested in achieving acceptance from the dying mainstream media replacing former darlings John McCain and Lindsay Graham.

Fortunately, in spite of the feel good polemics being uttered by the former Speaker, there is one key piece missing — any understanding of who the tea party is and what they are not.

The tea party movement is not monolithic and no individual can speak for it. It is a spontaneous uprising of concerned Americans who see their country being spent into oblivion that rejects a government that is reaching into every aspect of their lives. No one individual represents them, because the very top down power structure that makes inside the beltway crowd so comfortable is what the individuals who associate themselves with the tea party reject.

They are the citizens who want to be left alone by government and are intent on hiring people as their elected officials who will see that it does.

The one thing they don’t want to do is sit down with those who hate them and engage in a dialogue of understanding and compromise.

Pre-Speaker Newt, would recognize those tea partiers, because he was one of them, and they looked to him to lead.

Sixteen years after the Republican Revolution of 1994, Beltway Newt should stand as a cautionary tale to tea partiers across the nation, as too many years of seeking spots on Meet the Press, too many years of going from reception to reception hearing from Gucci shoed lobbyists, too many years soliciting funds for pet projects, have turned the former hero of the people into the very thing that they have come to reject.

We miss you, Pre-Speaker Newt.

Rick Manning is the Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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