The Warrior and the Wonk: A Tale of Two House Speakers
Paul Nehlen | June 27, 2016
Hearken back, dear reader, to 1994.
Republicans in the House of Representatives were suffering the indignities of their 40th straight year in the political wilderness as the minority party. Then emerged a visionary: a then-unknown GOP congressman from Georgia named Newt Gingrich.
For over a dozen years, Gingrich and a handful of conservative insurgents laid the foundation for a Republican takeover of the House. At the core of the effort was an ingenious plan to nationalize 1994’s congressional elections. Thus was born the now infamous “Contract with America.”
Every Republican House candidate signed the Contract, which promised the American people that if they gave the GOP the majority, the GOP House would vote on ten widely popular, poll-tested bills in the first 100 days.
Talk about raising a banner of bold colors!
As we all know, voters did give the GOP that majority, and Gingrich was elected speaker. Under his leadership, Republicans honored their word and acted, voting on all ten planks of the Contract and passing nine of them.
During that era, Gingrich also recruited and trained a new generation of conservative activists, campaign professionals, and candidates through an organization he helped set up called GOPAC.
He also helped raise money for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), signed fundraising letters for all manner of conservative grassroots organizations, and traveled the country tirelessly doing fundraising events for individual House colleagues, as well as state and county GOP organizations.
The man was the absolute epitome of a “movement” conservative. He didn’t just talk the talk. He walked the walk.
And even though he had his share of run-ins with then-Senate majority leader Bob Dole at the time, Gingrich enthusiastically supported Dole as the GOP’s presidential nominee in 1996, as he’s done for every other GOP presidential candidate thereafter.
Now compare all that to current House Speaker Paul Ryan.