The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Gingrich Advises GOP on ‘Bully’ Obama: Stop Negotiating and Start Legislating

Posted on | July 15, 2011 | 13 Comments

Say what you will about Newt, he’s a brilliant legislative tactician:

President Obama is a “bully” who is “clearly failing” on economic policy, according to Newt Gingrich , and House Republicans should stop negotiating with the White House and move forward with passing their own solutions to the debt-ceiling and budget deficit.
“Obama has put the ‘bully’ back in the bully pulpit,” Gingrich told reporters Friday afternoon. The former Speaker of the House and current GOP presidential hopeful accused Obama of “intellectual dishonesty,” and said congressional Republicans should “take Social Security off the table” in the current debate over the federal debt ceiling.
John Boehner and House Republicans should “quit talking to Obama and start passing legislation,” Gingrich said in a conference call with a number of writers for conservative publications and blogs. . . .

Read the rest at The American Spectator. In a situation like that — where everybody and his dog is on the same conference call — the trick is to take good notes, figure out your lede before the call ends, and be the first to whip out a quick 200 words. Let somebody else transcribe the whole thing and write an 800-word analysis, if they want. Just get the scoop while the getting’s good.

Take notes, kids. This will be on your final exam.

UPDATE: The conference call was billed as a follow-up on Gingrich’s recent appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show:

In that interview, Newt panned Mitch McConnell’s compromise plan:

The way it is written I think is basically a surrender by the Republicans. Now is the time to be calm, courageous, creative and clear. To be calm, first I want you to understand. Obama is under as much pressure as the Republicans are. Does he want to be the first president in American history to default? Is he really going to go out to the world and say I can’t do my job and I can’t get Washington to work? I don’t think so. I think in the end he’s going to have to reach an agreement.
Second, I think that they have got to be courageous because this is a hard business. This is history. This isn’t politics. This isn’t 30-second attack commercials. This is a power struggle between the 80 percent of the American people who believe in a citizen-centered government and the 20 percent who believe in a Washington-centered government. That power struggle is as deep and as real as anything since the civil war. You have to have the courage to stand there and take the heat.
They’ve also got to be creative that’s why I suggested just now, pass a one-month debt ceiling increase and pay for it with the same number of dollars in savings and be prepared to come back a month later and do the same thing. And do it once a month until we win the presidency.
And finally, I think you have to be clear so the American people understand it.

UPDATE II: John “Doctor Zero” Hayward has more at Human Events:

Gingrich called on “everyone in the conservative movement” to “do what I’ve done, and call it the Obama Depression.”
“You can go everywhere in this country and find ways Obama kills jobs,” he asserted. “Obama is the best food stamp president in American history, but we need a paycheck president.”
Gingrich believes today’s congressional Republican leadership holds much higher ground than he did, during his legendary battles with President Bill Clinton. “Clinton was a natural centrist, but Obama is a radical.” He says Clinton won re-election [in 1996] by adopting Republican policies, such as welfare reform, while Obama is incapable of such ideological flexibility.
“Do we have the nerve to take on the most radical President in American history?” is the question Newt Gingrich wants every conservative to ask. . . .

Read the whole thing. Friendly advice to John: Never begin your story with “In a conference call with bloggers today . . .” Why? Because the real news-value is what he said, not where he said it or to whom he said it. Also, by leading with “conference call,” you’re telling the reader up front that what you’re reporting isn’t exclusive. But if your story contains important material that the other reporters on the call forgot to include, your story is exclusive to that extent, and therefore you don’t want to start off by signaling the reader, in effect: “Hey, a dozen other publications have the same story, so this isn’t really anything special.”
Therefore, when reporting a conference call, do what I did:

  1. Lead with the news.
  2. Slip into the second paragraph the fact that the subject “told reporters” such-and-so; and then
  3. At some point later in the story, mention that all this stuff was said in a conference call, or during a speech to a Kiwanis Club, or overheard in a bar while the politician was sloppy drunk and trying to pick up a 17-year-old.

On second thought, sometimes where a politician says something is more important than what he says, but that’s just the exception that proves the rule.

UPDATE III: Linked by The Lonely Conservative — thanks!

UPDATE IV: Katrina Trinko of National Review gets down into the tall grass of policy:

Newt Gingrich thinks that Republicans should only hike the debt ceiling by as much as Democrats are willing to cut spending by.
“The principle for a long-term debt ceiling hike ought to be very simple: the president does not get any more money in the debt ceiling than he signs into savings. So if he wants a trillion dollars increase in the debt ceiling, there has to be a trillion dollars in savings in how the government is run,” Gingrich said in a conference call with reporters this afternoon.
Gingrich focused on waste, fraud and abuse when talking about how spending could be cut, arguing that applying Six Sigma business practices to the government could save as much as $500 billion. He also cited a study done by his Center for Health Transformations that estimated Medicare and Medicaid theft amounted to $70 billion to $120 billion. He pointed to Rep. Paul Ryan’s $700 billion savings estimate for block granting Medicaid, and recommended that cabinet officers should eliminate the 10 percent of workers least effective under them. . . .

Read the rest. Katrina got her story online about 30 minutes after I did, and adds serious news value with the detail about the specifics of Gingrich’s policy ideas, but I still think his “bully” remark was the obvious headline from the story. To have a candidate for president call the incumbent a “bully” is news, any way you slice it.

Also news: Gingrich’s campaign is $1 million in debt, which would rather tend to undermine his lecture on “applying Six Sigma business practices,” I suppose . . .


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