Newt Gingrich is Not a Tea Party Guy

By: May 13, 2011

Wednesday, in the least suspenseful press conference of the political season, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich announced that he is running for President. Gingrich’s announcement, which was greeted across the country with a loud yawn, points again to the need for a Voices of the Tea Party e-book that rates the 2012 Presidential contenders, as Jon Friesch and Conrad Larson have suggested in this space previously.

Lacking such a guide currently, I’ll offer my own view of Gingrich’s candidacy from a tea party perspective. Despite his best efforts to associate with the movement for well over two years, Gingrich is not a tea party guy.  He deserves credit for volunteering early on to co-sponsor the April 15, 2009 Tax Day Tea Party through his group, American Solutions.  But from a tea party perspective, it’s been all down hill since then for the former Speaker.

Who can forget his insistent and unapologetic endorsement of the famous RINO candidate, Dede Scozzafava, in New York’s 23rd Congressional District in the 2009 special election? Then, of course, there’s his continued support for ethanol subsidies, which even in Iowa does not ring true with tea party supporters who oppose giving tax subsidies to politically connected industries. And who can forget his unusual proclivity to join hands with such liberal icons as Nancy Pelosi and Al Sharpton in those dreadful “We Are the World” television commercials that promote the notions of man-caused global warming and advocate more Big Government in education?

Newt’s biggest problem with the Tea Party movement, however, is Newt Gingrich himself.

His natural style of speaking is the one-sided monologue, reflecting his training as a Phd. in History. The track record of the only president in American history to have a Phd.–Woodrow Wilson–was one of promoting Big Government and ignoring the Constitution. This does not recommend that particular professional background to those of us who support the limited government ethos.

Newt’s problem with us stylistically is that he wants everyone to know he’s the smartest guy in the room. When he appears before tea party groups, he simply doesn’t listen to views other than his own. He’ll temporarily stop talking while the other person speaks, but he doesn’t listen to what they’re saying. He’s merely tolerating their use of his time until he can demonstrate, when he reclaims the microphone, why the audience needs to hear his brilliant and unique “vision” for America.

I’ve seen Gingrich’s vision, and I’ve got some news for him. Many of us in the Tea Party movement are not all that interested in hearing it again, because it lacks consistency. We’ve heard enough lectures from Speaker Gingrich over the past decade. As for me, I can go well beyond November, 2012 without hearing another one. Others may have different views, but from this corner of the Tea Party movement, the message is loud and clear:

No thanks, Newt.


Michael Patrick Leahy is the editor of the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series, co-founder of Top Conservatives on Twitter and the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, and the author of an upcoming book on the ideological origins of the Tea Party movement. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .






5 Responses to Newt Gingrich is Not a Tea Party Guy

  1. Felicia says:

    I think there’s a natural layer between Gingrich and his audiences that he can’t overcome. He speaks, people react, sure, but there seems to be a lot of lag time between when, say, a blog post responds to him and when he starts moving his message to react. It’s licking a finger and sticking it in the wind, but at several removes.

    Rhetorical gifts are nice, but I’m not sure all one has to do is show up and say things. One must do them as well.

  2. Mark Kevin Lloyd says:

    The founders set up a Representative Republic, NOT a collegiate faculty. The Phd’s have managed to “theorize” this nation to the brink of economic and social collapse. Newt needs to offer the explanations that Leahy requests. We already have a POTUS that claims academic credentials who has surrounded himself with “experts” and we can see what that has done.

    No one disputes Newt’s intellectual capacity. But, knowing a list of facts, chronologies, cause and effect from the historical perspective does not indicate wisdom, nor the recognition of truth. A man such as Newt can sell his rationale to those he is able to captivate with his spellbinding oratory talents and presentation of history. However, his “sales presentation” to the public seldom, IF EVER, addresses the actuality of his actions which speak to his character.

    Newt has MUCH to explain away, and he needs to step out of his perch in the faculty lounge and begin communicating with the folks who are looking for someone to represent them on the world stage, and not sit in class and be lectured to.

    • Philip Lewis says:

      Gingrich isn’t going to motivate me … I’m a libertarian … he’s a quasi-progressive, statist, pseudo-elitist. He’s done some things right … but, he’s essentially a warmongering international threat to freedom. Perhaps Newt should move to Pakistan … they need some leadership (ha). I’ll take Ron Paul … sane, intelligent and has a straight story. Paul is not a corrupt con artist. A bit old … but, so am I. I’d rather have an old Ron Paul than a young BHO.

      • GCM says:

        Not to minimize your observations, sir, but do we really have to spend yet another election season sifting through responses from Ron Paul supporters whose answer to every issue and article is Ron Paul?

  3. ONTIME says:

    So far the field is pretty bare of substance with the exception of West and Caine, two solid conservative thinkers with skills who are ready to duke it out with the Mystery Man and his teleprompter. The problem is a lot of them have tried to gain the publics ear in the past and come up short and expectations so far for these repeats is not high.

    In Newt’s case, I saw him back down when he had the gun to do the job, Ron Paul is going to have explain himself better on the war issue, Santorum although a smart savvy guy lacks gravitas, Pawlenty needs to pick up the pace and act like he wants to do battle..We all want a leader who will be upfront and lead from the front and his conservatism is going to have to be his pass.

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