by Kevin Tharp, American Thinker
In her book Slander, conservative commentator and pundit Ann Coulter called Newt Gingrich one of the most consequential politicians in the last century. Why would she make such a claim? What did he do that had such consequence?
In 1993, the Republican Party was the minority party. It had been in the minority since 1955. Even President Reagan had to deal with a Democrat Congress in the 80s and was limited in his ability to change Washington as a result. Newt Gingrich had seen this up close and personal. He had tried to help Reagan with the Conservative Opportunity Society. By 1993 he had become the Republican whip in the house. With his leadership the Republicans crafted a proposal called the Contract With America (CWA). It was designed so that Republican candidates could campaign on conservative principles in order to win their congressional seats and then govern in a conservative manner. The electorate responded. It handed the House and Senate over to the Republicans. This was a revolution unheard of in the times they occurred. Gingrich became the Speaker of the House as a result.
The CWA was a conservative proposition. It held that the electorate could hold their representatives responsible and could remove them if they didn’t perform. The representatives would be responsible to their constituents. But it also implied that they should perform like they would under a business contract.
Did Gingrich write the contract himself? No. But he led the effort for congressional candidates to sign up. And most did. He led educational efforts for those potential conservative congressmen to help them campaign. Since then Gingrich has lead other congressional education efforts. He has been a constant source of education for congressional representatives.
What did the Contract propose to do? There were two parts to the CWA. The first part was a series of reforms to Congressional activity itself. These were proposed changes to the way it would operate. The proposals were: require that Congress be held to all laws that apply to the rest of the country; audit Congress for fraud and waste; reduce the number of House committees and committee staff; set term limits for committee chairmen; disallow proxy votes; require public committee meetings; require a three-fifths majority for tax increases; and implement zero base-line budgeting.
These are all conservative proposals. Did Pelosi enforce these types of rules? No way. Should they be implemented again? You betcha. Let’s audit Congress again. Let’s reduce their budgets, staff, and terms etc. But we need to change the presidency too.
Read the article here for the 2nd part of the CWA.