Washington (CNN) – As Republicans begin to prepare in earnest for this year's midterm elections, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is again challenging his party to do more than oppose Democratic initiatives.
Instead, Gingrich told a gathering of conservative bloggers at The Heritage Foundation Tuesday that the GOP should develop a positive agenda for 2010 that can carry Republicans through to the next presidential election in 2012.
Rather than running from 'the party of no' label developed by Democrats as a talking point against congressional Republicans, some Republicans have embraced the idea of resisting the priorities of the White House and the Democratically-controlled Congress as the midterms inch closer.
"There is no shame in being the party of no if [Democrats are] proposing an idea that violates our values, violates our conscience, violates our Constitution," former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said last week at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. But, speaking at the same event, Gingrich offered a very different vision. "There are many things that we can say yes to," he told his fellow Republicans.
Asked about the split between himself and Palin, Gingrich said Tuesday that running only on opposition to the Democrats may result in success later this year, but doing so would leave the GOP without a clear road map for how to wield the levers of government should they regain control of Congress.
"You can't govern by saying no," the former House Speaker said.
"Imagine we won a huge victory [in November]. Imagine that John Boehner's the new [House] Speaker. Imagine that Mitch McConnell is the new [Senate] Majority Leader. What's their agenda? It can't just be yelling no."
Citing unemployment, energy policy, and the size and scope of the government, Gingrich added that "there are a hundred questions that are real," when it comes to what the Republican agenda would be if they recaptured control of Capitol Hill.
Gingrich also opined that having a positive agenda now would help Republicans in the next White House race.
"If you run in '12, you want to win a re-affirming election, in which people actually vote for something," he said.
Citing Ronald Reagan's victory in 1980 and Republicans' success in the 1994 midterms, Gingrich said it was important to offer "solutions not just ideology."
And, referring to the GOP's victory in 1994, Gingrich said, "We did not have a contract against Bill Clinton. We had a 'Contract with America.' We stood for welfare reform, we stood for tax cuts, we stood for a balanced budget."
Asked to name what he sees as the top issues for a positive Republican agenda, Gingrich mentioned creating jobs, balancing the federal budget, developing an energy policy that reduces dependence on foreign suppliers, and reforming the educational system.