Say what you will about former Speaker Newt Gingrich. His philosophy, his policy proposals, his track record, his campaign, and all the rest. But the one thing you have to acknowledge about Gingrich is that he’s a sizzler. He has a way with words. And he’s as good a communicator as anyone in modern politics.
In my CNBC interview with Gingrich this week, he slammed President Obama’s tax-the-rich, class-warfare attack on bank’s and businesspeople. He hammered Obama, calling him a hard-left radical who is opposed to free enterprise, capitalism, and “virtually everything which made America great.”
It was a brutal, frontal, hard-hitting attack on the president. He called Obama “the candidate of food stamps, the finest food-stamp president in American history.” He said, “I want to get equality by bringing people up. [Obama] wants to get equality by bringing people down.” He said, “I want to be the guy who says, ‘I want to help every American have a better future.’ [Obama] wants to make sure that he levels Americans down so we all have an equally mediocre future.”
Now, I haven’t heard any of the other GOP candidates offer that kind of response to Obama’s recent class-warfare speech. Maybe I’m missing something. But I haven’t heard it from Mitt Romney or the others in a sizzle fashion, which is the way Gingrich operates.
Frankly, Romney ought to be beating back Obama right now. He should at least be asserting that America’s free-enterprise, capitalist system rewards success, not punishes it, and that free-market economics — including supply-side tax-cut policies, worked in the 1920s under Calvin Coolidge, in the 1960s under Democrat John F. Kennedy, and again in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan.
In fact, Bill Clinton joined with Gingrich in the 1990s to slash the capital-gains tax, cut spending, and enact welfare reform, all of which kept the Reagan boom going. Over 40 million jobs were created in the two decades that followed Reagan’s supply-side tax cut.
Gingrich made a special point during our talk to reestablish his supply-side bona fides. He said to me, “you’re a witness to this. I was part of [Jack] Kemp’s little cabal of supply-siders.” And then came Gingrich’s most sizzling point: “You can make an argument that I helped Mitt Romney get to be rich, because I helped pass the legislation.”
So I asked, “Have you ever made that argument to him?” And Gingrich said, “I am as of right this minute. Just occurred to me.” He went on to say that Romney “should be thanking me because I did the macroeconomic things necessary to make his career possible.”