[See earlier by Peter Bradley: “Racial Ratio” Shifting Against Slavery Tax—But GOP Silent Anyway]
Affirmative Action—anti-white quotas—will almost certainly not figure in the November 22 GOP Presidential Candidates debate. That’s despite the fact that polls show Affirmative Action is overwhelmingly unpopular with the Republican base and would be a perfect issue to win back the Reagan Democrats—white blue collar workers who are the party’s only real path to a sustainable majority. Ironically, the man most responsible for this suicidal self-denial seems also to be emerging as the front-runner: Newt Gingrich.
At the time of this writing, Gingrich has moved to the top of the polls, a few points ahead of Mitt Romney and a fading Herman Cain. Ron Paul still has a solid core of supporters but lost some of them (including me) when he came out for amnesty. Michelle Bachman has an excellent record on illegal immigration but has not emphasized the issue and has completely avoided legal immigration. Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman remain flat liners in the polls. Rick Perry remains a flat liner in his encephalograms.
Into this void has stepped Gingrich. He has supposedly shone in the debates, though his strategy seems to consist of criticizing his questioners and spouting a never-ending supply of Big Ideas you will hear once and then never again.
Most Americans probably remember Gingrich for his brief (1995-1998) but memorable stint as Speaker of the House. While he started strong, and did have some success with welfare reform, he ended up paddling in the wrong direction from a conservative point of view. A typical conservative who “grew while in office,” Gingrich would go on to partner on various initiatives with Nancy Pelosi and Al Sharpton. When he criticized the Paul Ryan Medicare plan on Meet the Press earlier this year, conservative suspicions about Newt seemed to be confirmed.
But to me, these suspicions had long been confirmed. Gingrich will always be defined by the first time I saw him speak in person: in February 1995.
I was a young stripling conservative newly arrived in Washington D.C. for grad school. Though I am ashamed to say it now, I truly believed that Newt and his “Republican Revolution” would bring about real change.
Excited about being in the nation’s capital to see this revolution firsthand, I ventured to the 1995 CPAC conference. This was a time of Republican ascendancy and there was a lot of talk about how the GOP would smite the Liberal Establishment hip and thigh.
But the biggest buzz of all was caused by Gingrich`s speech. A standing-room-only crowd cheered Newt as he verbally battered the liberals. The biggest applause line of all: when he attacked Affirmative Action. “I want to promise here tonight that we are going to pursue an all out effort to end affirmative racism in America.”
Not much more than a year later, Gingrich had completely changed his mind and joined with J.C. Watts, the then-current Great Conservative Black Hope, at the time a GOP congressman from Oklahoma, to beat back Ward Connerly`s efforts to push a national anti-quota initiative modeled on California`s victorious Proposition 209.
Appearing on Meet the Press in May 1996 Gingrich intoned:
“We have to have an affirmative outreach which communicates our commitment that opportunity is really available to every American. The fact is, in America today, if you`re a poor black child, you don`t have a very good future compared to somebody who is born into an upper-class family or an upper-middle class family. We want to make sure everybody has the same opportunity.”[Why Newt Gingrich`s Affirmative Action Position Is Moderated By The Threat Of Black Voters, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Autumn, 1997]
A month later, Gingrich released one of his innumerable and forgettable “10 Point Plans,” this time for racial equality. It was the usual jumble of tax cuts, school vouchers, reduced government regulations and the like. Not mentioned on the list: ending Affirmative Action.
Republican voters might want to reflect on the value of a Newt Gingrich promise.
Gingrich’s support for quotas had begun to emerge almost a year earlier. In the summer of 1995, at a Washington D.C. dinner thrown in his honor by The American Spectator, Gingrich ripped into Robert Novak for a column criticizing the Speaker’s inaction on his promise to end racial preferences. Writing in the Los Angeles Times about the dinner (August 8, 1995), Lew Rockwell described the scene:
“Glaring at Novak, Gingrich went into a tirade against the column. His voice even louder, more shrill and higher pitched than usual, Gingrich claimed that a chapter of his book did criticize affirmative action (not true) and warned against a “race-based campaign” in 1996–that is, any negative discussion of the government`s preferential race policies.
“Aides said they had never seen Gingrich as out of control for as long as he was at this dinner. His face red, he wailed that his real problem is conservatives in his own party.”
Peter Brimelow, who came off his Alien Nation book tour to attend this dinner, tells me that Gingrich explicitly eschewed the idea of ending quotas, arguing it would upset “soccer moms”—and J.C. Watts. Gingrich insisted the quota issue was not helpful to his plan to build a “modern” party.
Remember, this was at a time when the GOP had majorities in both houses of Congress, enjoyed overwhelming public support to end preferences—and even had a black man, Ward Connerly, walking point on the issue. Connerly’s Prop 209 in California was well ahead in the polls and was to pass overwhelmingly in November 1996.
If there was any time to end the curse of quotas, it was 1995. And Gingrich made sure it never happened. He and Watts worked hard to kill the Civil Rights Act of 1997, co-sponsored by Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Charles Canady.
More than any other person, Newt Gingrich is responsible for the continuation of anti-white racial preferences in America.
Of course, this may not hurt his chances of winning the Republican nomination. Several conservatives, including Katrina Trinko of National Review, have documented Gingrich’s other foibles, including support for TARP, amnesty, ethanol subsidies and acceptance of global warming as fact. But none have criticized Gingrich for his role in saving Affirmative Action.
Republicans and conservatives have long since fallen silent on anti-white quotas. The issue has, once again, all but disappeared from American politics—just as quotas were rarely discussed as they appeared and metastasized after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, with the result that Frederick R. Lynch was able to name his 1991 study of their impact on white males Invisible Victims. No-one has brought affirmative action up in the GOP debates. And the issue will almost certainly not be mentioned—at least by Republicans—in the general election.
But if Gingrich will so quickly and easily break his promises on what he himself termed “affirmative racism,” what guarantee is there that he will not break his promises on taxes, spending, abortion, gun control, gay marriage, global warming etc.? When will he decide that these issues upset soccer moms and are not becoming of a modern party?
Perhaps Gingrich is just a typical Republican who knows how he has to hoodwink right-wing voters to gain power.
But if that were the case, he would be no more objectionable that George Bush, John McCain or Mitt Romney.
The horrible truth: Gingrich has yet another quality that is best summed up by Lawrence Auster. Writing on his View From the Right blog, Auster observes:
“Gingrich is a whack job, a man who says interesting things each day but keeps uncontrollably changing what he says each day. There is zero solidity and reality in the man, and thus he would be a disaster in any high leadership position.”
Gingrich may well fool enough Republican hayseeds to win the nomination. And given what has become of Establishment “conservatism”, Gingrich would indeed be a perfect representative for this moribund ideology.
But Republicans and conservatives may also want to reflect on how quickly Gingrich can do a 180 degree political turn—and consider how much they can trust Gingrich not to become their biggest enemy on the issues they do still claim to care about.
Peter Bradley [email him] writes from Washington D.C.