Newt’s Baggage

by John J. Pitney, Jr.

Notwithstanding the endorsement of the Union-Leader, Newt Gingrich is likely to face increasing criticism and scrutiny from the right. Back in 1989, he spoke of a “new synthesis evolving with the classic moderate wing of the party where, as a former Rockefeller state chairman, I’ve spent most of my life, and the conservative/activist right wing.” In 1992, when a reporter asked why he was backing President George H. W. Bush over Pat Buchanan, he responded:  “Bush has never been a Rockefeller Republican. I have been. In 1968 I was for Rockefeller because he was the most pro-integrationist Republican candidate.” Gingrich would probably say that, like Ronald Reagan, he became more conservative over time.  But his more recent stands on immigration and the environment are supplying material to his conservative critics.

What’s true of his ideology applies to other aspects of his life and career. It’s not just that has to carry old baggage; it’s that he keeps adding new baggage.