April 13th, 2010
03:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Gingrich: 'You can't govern by saying no'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/13/art.newt0413.cnn.jpg caption="Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Tuesday that having a positive agenda in 2010 could help Republicans win the White House back in 2012."]
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.

Filed under: 2010 • 2012 • GOP • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Mitch Eisenman

    You have to feel sorry for a party that is listening to the likes of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. She's a moron. He's just a miserable human body.

    April 13, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. TCM

    Well, the democrats are the Party of D'oh!!!!

    Endangering us, and making stupid decision after stupid decision....the most productive 4 days they've had is when the capital was snowed in, and they couldn't show up to further slide the country into the abyss....

    April 13, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "What's their agenda? It can't just be yelling no."

    For once, I agree with Newtered. Unfortunately, yelling no is all it is, all it has been since January 2009 and, based on everything we've seen so far, all it will be for some time to come. They demogogued themselves into a corner and now have to find a way out. Friendly advice for the good of the country: don't take the Teatards' hands if they offer to help.

    April 13, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. Allen in Hartwell GA

    From what I read, the agenda of the Republicans (should they win a majority in either house) is to repeal everything that President Obama and the Democrat-led Congress has passed. I guess that represents positive instead of negative movement...,somehow, in a muddied sort of way, maybe, sort of...

    April 13, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. BestProfitCompany = WAR

    Careful Gingrich. Your type likes dumb simple ideas. I don't think their into reforming the educational system, since they don't use it (but need a lot of it). They don't want an energy policy, they want to drill drill and drill.

    Also, if the government helps the people get jobs isn't that a socialist thing to do? So now you want the government to be socialist? The tea baggers (not legit "ron paul" tea partiers) will hunt you down and call you a RINO.

    April 13, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. pc

    the top issues that gingrich called out are the democrats issues [and they have them first] so does that mean that the republicans are now going to acknowlege the fact that barack obama's plan is the same plan they now have? what a joke these creeps are. AND NO..... NEWT I CAN NOT IMAGAINE BOEHNER AND MCCONNELL RUNNING ANYTHING MUCH LESS IN CONGRESS. BOTH LOOK LIKE THEIR UNDERWEAR IS RIDING HIGH OR TO TIGHT,AND BOTH LOOK LIKE THEY HAVE GAS THEY NEED TO EXPELL.
    the republicans have cryed NO to many times and now no one is listening!

    April 13, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Dutch

    They're not the Party of No. According to John Boehner, they're the Party of Hell No. I'll remember that when I go to the polls in November.

    Republican – NO
    Republican – NO
    Republican – NO

    April 13, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. drew Williams

    No, you certainly cannot govern by saying no. But as far as the GOP is concerned, you cant' govern when you're out of power, either. If they feel saying no helps them win elections, you can bet they're going to continue to do so.

    April 13, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. once upon a horse

    Not a big fan of ol' Newtie but I have to agree with him here. If you're gonna say NO to everything the Dems offer, then at least let the American people know what your alternative is. Sarah Palin just shows her own ignorance by making the statement she did. President Obama even had said that you can not govern by just saying no to everything and I think those of us that are not blinded by the right and the Tea Party movemant can see that this is the case.

    April 13, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Realist

    Newt is wrong, he had a contract on America and not with America. Palin is a nobody when it comes to politics, remember she quit her post. However, Newt is not what America needs and his vision is the same vision Obama has but both take a different path.

    creating jobs> Tax cuts for small business

    Developing an energy policy that reduces dependence on foreign suppliers> Clean energy, green energy, wind, solar as examples from Obama.

    reforming the educational system> Obama want to re-do no child left behind. Put more money into education etc. Same vision, different paths.

    The major difference is, Obama wants to include all in his plans unlike all republicans whose plans are inclusive to only a few.

    April 13, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Levi

    unfortunately, all the republicans have is no. What else are they going to do? Govern by the bible? That violates the constitution more than anything. And what moral standing do they have? The republicans are becoming more like the taliban every day.

    In order to have any real platform to stand on, the Republicans need to speak from Reason, not religion, and they need to offer solutions that stem from thinking that includes the whole of the american people, not just their base. The problem is that their message separates this country and leaves little room for moderation.

    The Republicans have no platform but to deny all things democrat. And their entire message cuts out so much of the american people that there seems no room for moderation.

    I would blame the majority of the division in this country to the republicans and the tea partiers,and that division is what is paralyzing this nation and it's greatest threat.

    April 13, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. Rich in PA

    It's funny, all the issues cited in the last paragraph were completely ignored when Republicans had control of the White House and congress. Now, we are supposed to believe they would fix all of this if they had control again. By the way, how many conventions, conferences, summits, and gatherings do the Republicans have? It seems like once a week they have trash Obama convention. All talk, no action.

    April 13, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. Dar

    Newt sounds good but I have a hard time beleiving anyone in office right now. far to many lies have fallen on our ears in the last few years.

    If the Repub's do regain control of the congress/senate Odumbo will put the VETO stamp on almost everything that comes accross his desk. Which still leaves us all screwed because like the last year nothing will get done due to all the head banging politic's. Sad, Very Sad

    April 13, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. Michelle

    If Democrats imagine John Boehner as House Speaker and McConnell as
    Senate leader, that will be enough to ensure a HUGE Dem turnout and another Republican defeat. The Tea Party may be vocal, but no one has shown that they are in big enough numbers of VOTERS to influence anything on a national level. As people see the Republicans for the do-nothings they have been for the past 2 years, they will be even less likely to vote for the Party of Palin and her lies and smarmy remarks.

    April 13, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    The GOP has been so rudderless for so many years now that I doubt even they know what they want anymore . . .

    Putting on their thinking hats might be a good place to start.

    April 13, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |

    One of the smartest guys Republicans have.

    April 13, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. Remus Redbone

    I'll bet that there are a lot of Germans and their ancestors who wish there would have been a party of "no" when the Nazi party was coming to power in the 1930's. And NO, that is not a comparison to the current Democrat party, it's just an example of how saying "no" to specific ideas proposed by the party in power is not a bad thing. In fact, it's part of the design of our form of government.

    April 13, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. kravitz

    Gingrich is stuck. The real problem for the GOP is they're only into some people doing well, not as many as possible. Which is how rich people stay rich. Obama's policies attempt to benefit more people than anything the republicans have suggested. In fact, sometimes the republicans do damage in their plans, like Paul Ryan not paying for Medicare at all in his health care...um...plan.

    April 13, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. Saul-Virginia Independent

    I just Wish that republicans stop saying "the American People" when they spread their lies. They do not represent me or anyone reasonable person that i know. Why would they even think of playing politics with wall street regulations. Our country suffered severe financial terrorism from these crooks and they are choosing to side with the enemy. Wake up america and vote republicans out and do buy their deceitful rhetoric. They were in power very recently and did nothing to serve our interest. I would rather keep the democrats in office rather that electing republicans for doing nothing depite full pay and health benefits they get from tax payers.

    April 13, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. Laverne

    I would take Nancy Pelosi any day over John Boehner and the way he has behaved over the past year should be a red flag to everyone as to what kind of leader this man would be. He does not deserve to be speaker of the house, but rather in the dog house!

    April 13, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. Carl Justus

    The problem is that Gringrich knows what is wrong but he has no idea how to overcome the problem. It does not take a rocket sciencetist to know if something is wrong, but to have a solution is takes some brains which I find at a premium in the republicans party of today.

    They could make a big difference in what we get as policy and programs if they would quit worrying if they will get any credit, but instead they will try to take down the economy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, our relations with other nations just to try to make Obama look bad.


    April 13, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. JES

    You are correct but I haven't seen anything to say yes about unless you want more taxes, more spending, more debt, and so on.

    Obama only cares about one thing and that is what he will look like in the history books.

    The polls say world leaders respect him why not he cows down to them every chance he gets.

    April 13, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Katie B in NC

    Sorry, Newt, those issues are already on President Obama's agenda. You'll have to find something else.

    April 13, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. kyle from ohio

    That would be Hell No. That they would be yelling.

    Please for the Country First, you all's slogan

    do your job add to and subtract from the ideals from the majority, as it should be done.

    If you do win the next President election, what do you think is going to happen.

    how does that saying goes "I do not get mad, I just get even".

    So you have your chance to do right and listen to Newt not The quitting Gov. Palin

    April 13, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  25. ray

    the party of no is saying they cannot govern by saying no.........no no no no no no, hahhah, round up all these racists and put them away for good, round up all these immigrant haters and put them away for good,

    April 13, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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