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. Independent

    And then imagine if Sen. McConnell & Rep. Boehner actually got the memo and started working together WITH our president and their Democratic colleagues for a change.

    If McConnell's absurd opposition to the much-needed finance reform today is any indication, many Americans are not buying it as anything other than "no" (again) and will not vote for that nonsense in November.

    April 13, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  2. ray

    someone get this moron in a staight jacket.

    April 13, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. Abe

    Thats right they better prepare. After all look the Dem's said no for most of the last 8 years and they are three years into governing Congress and are still inept. Pelosi has perefected stone throwing at the opposition but she couldn't manage a Dairy Queen.

    April 13, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. Dave

    I think Newt is a slimy as they come as a politician but I have to give him credit on this one. He is right on the money with this statement.

    I also think he is starting to smell disaster in Nov 2010 for the Republican Party. His party is hanging their hats on Palin and her Tea Party clowns (I'm sure there are some tea party people who have good ideas but they are getting drowned out by the nut jobs) and he is reading the tea leaves (no pun intended here) and seeing a downward trend for Republican candidates in the upcoming election. The economy is getting better. There will be more confidence in the President. Foreign policy is doing pretty well under Clinton. This does not bode well for the party of no. He knows that moniker is really starting to stick.

    April 13, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. michael

    I think most republicans disagree with Newt and they just say Hell No. Obstruct! Obstruct! Obstruct! our way to victroy the hell with doing the peoples business we get paid either way so long as we get elected. They have been the party of no ideas for a very long time. They are an affront to less spending and less governent just see the Bush era.

    April 13, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Newt has hardly come up with a novel idea. We've been telling the GOP this very thing since January 2009.

    April 13, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. Charlie in Maine

    Dear GOP,

    I was so apalled by George W Bush running my country into a ditch that I really did not notice,or care, that he was running your party into a ditch as well. Can the GOP of 2010 actually be the same party that ended slavery and won the civil war?, that built the inter-state highway system? established the EPA? There was a time when the GOP was willing to do things for the American people. When they would work with Democrtats to get things done and help the country. Now that they worship on the alter of personal distruction they are so determined to not let Obama succeed that they are willing to sacrafice the good of the counrty to make it happen. It is a trait they started with McCarthyism, strengthened while trying to impeach Pres. Clinton. I thought it had reached it's worse with George W Bush's war on the constitution when, drunk with their own power and Karl Rove's "permenent majority" they bankrupted to country morally ethically and in the end financilaly. Now that the people have taken away the power they wasted the wheels have really come off. How ironic if it is Newt who get's them to see the error of their ways.

    April 13, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. FM

    Sarah Palin entered the Dem trap of accepting that she belongs to the party of NO. People do not love the negatives and don't get motivated by it. This label of No gives light to people to understand what level of thinking are, of individual GOP leaders.

    April 13, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. Jim

    Help, please do not listen to this man, he is making sense!!!!

    April 13, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. Tim

    Of all the Republicans out there speaking, Gingrich is the only one who says something reasonably intelligent – on occasion.

    April 13, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |

    Will the Repukes listen to him?


    April 13, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. Testify

    Well then talk to me. What changes are you wanting and how will this help us. Dont just say cut cut cut....no taxes...cut cut cut..you need better ideas that impact us folks. Also this exstremism that you talk about in the administration is just to mislead folks. Tell us solutions not fear tactics. Tell poeple the truth dont mislead them. You republicans have your work cut out for you.

    April 13, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. Jim in San Mateo

    Republicans will need a message to compete in November. On the flip side, you have a lot of unemployed people and people who will be gaining access to healthcare who will be voting Democratic. The real difference will be which party can get it's members to the polls. The winner of that race will be the winner in November.

    April 13, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. frank in valparaiso indiana

    The Republicans have never had an agenda except take care of the rich. from the Railroads, to union busting, to Reagan's tax cuts, to Bush going to war and giving tons of money to contractors.

    April 13, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. lara

    They're going to turn on him next.

    April 13, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. Willy Brown

    Newt the RINO Gingrich; Jump in the race or sit down and shut up!

    April 13, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans better let Palin know they're not her children that she says no to, it didn't work in her parenting and it doesn't work in politics. Yelling and saying "NO" has no sticking points other than no, and Newt is right on this one. Saying "no" makes Republicans appear too lazy and unintelligible to research and bring forth informed facts an talking points. Republicans are setting themselves up for the big questions "WHAT IS YOUR SOLUTION".

    April 13, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. PEDRO

    Good idea Newt, but it is way too late. The GOP's obstruction of the health care bill, even though it was almost entirely comprised of parts of former GOP health care bills is just plain criminal. Worst of all, it just demonstrates that the GOP is not interested in helping America, only in getting back into power. I'd be happy if you all never got elected again.

    April 13, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. James Miller

    Why should it be different then. Let`s have consistency folks !!!! NO,NO,NO,NO,NO,NO,------ and NO.

    April 13, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. The Unsub

    Can't believe I'm saying this but Newt is correct.

    April 13, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. Gary

    Newt's got that right, but he better be careful. Palin is on a Rino hunt.

    April 13, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. no name calling

    Hey, Newt.

    Are you not worried that Sarah and Rush will be angry with you?

    As an independent, it is refreshing to hear someone in the Republican party say that they are at least thinking of positive ideas rather than the same old sarcastic sound bites, some of which are half truths and/or out right lies.

    Don't tell us what is wrong. Tell us how you would fix it.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to say that I know several teabaggers collecting unemployment. Isn't that socialism?

    April 13, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. sonny chapman

    But it's such an easy word. Most two year olds can say it.

    April 13, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. Debbie

    Are we sure Newt isn't thinking about changing parties? "creating jobs, balancing the federal budget, developing an energy policy that reduces dependence on foreign suppliers, and reforming the educational system," sounds a lot like part the Obama agenda. But maybe not since the Obama agenda also includes some major foreign policy objectives designed to make the world a safer place, something missing from Newt's agenda.

    April 13, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. Robert

    It is heartening to hear some GOP members saying things that make a little sense lately. They must see that their reputation as a party is on the line if they merge with the Tea Party (crazy) movement. Colburn of Oklahoma a week or so ago said that you can't trust everything you hear on FOX News because they are frequently biased! This is great. I would love it if we had two decent parties to choose from someday instead of one that is incompetent (usually) and one that is evil (usually). I always go with the incompetent party, but I'm not made of stone. If the GOP would stop being so in favor of corporations over the wellfare of the people and would stop looking so anti-minority, I might give them a chance to woo me.

    April 13, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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