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Newt Gingrich: The Aspiring Americano President
There is now little doubt that Newt Gingrich is running for President in 2012. It is only appropriate, then, that we ask where he stands on the National Question. Last week, it looks like we got our answer.
On December 2-3, Newt Gingrich hosted The Americano's First Hispanic Forum and Gala in Washington, D.C.
The Americano is the bilingual "conservative" webzine that Gingrich founded in 2009. The self-proclaimed purpose is to advance the "Hispanics are conservative Republicans who just don't know it yet" theory—and to provide an outlet for Hispanic identity politics within the Republican Party.
In his opening remarks, Gingrich claimed that it is impossible to deport 11 million illegal immigrants. He also claimed that:
"We have to find policies that extend to every American, and that includes people who are not yet legal . . . In the next five to ten years everyone living and working the United States will be legal." [Video]
In the same speech, Gingrich even called for "automatic visas" for foreign students who graduate from American universities.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
Just what is Newt Gingrich up to? In order to answer that question, we have to consider The Americano more closely.
Finding Hispanic "conservative Republicans" is an ambitious project for Gingrich, especially since there is little that is recognizably conservative—or American—about The Americano.
- One recent story in The Americano applauds the manner in which the National Council of La Raza strongarmed Ken Burns into exaggerating the contributions of Hispanics in his World War II documentary.
- On immigration, The Americano typically supports amnesty and mass Hispanic immigration.
Some articles exaggerate the contributions Hispanics have made to American society (See Gingrich's The Hispanic Legacy in the Independence of the United States); others suggest that Hispanicization is nothing new; we just haven't stopped to appreciate it yet (See Washington Irving And All Things Spanish). The webzine carried without comment Ruben Navarrette's recent syndicated piece, Straight Shooting on Immigration which, again, regurgitates the cliché that Republicans must woo Hispanics in order to win elections.
Last April in The Americano, Gingrich interviewed Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño on one of Gingrich's highest, but rarely discussed, priorities: Puerto Rican statehood.
In the interview, Gingrich describes Puerto Ricans as
"very religious in background, very work ethic oriented, very pro family . . . with all those values you would think [supporting Puerto Rican statehood] would be a no-brainer."
Gingrich has apparently never attended the New York City Puerto Rican Day Parade, where the real no-brainer for whites, particularly white women, is to either leave town or lock yourself inside your apartment for the entire day.
Granted, achieving Puerto Rican statehood has been a part of the GOP platform since 1964. Most Republican voters just don't know it, because few GOP candidates dare mention it on the campaign trail
The much-celebrated Contract with America contained not a word about immigration. Nevertheless, as Speaker of the House, Gingrich worked hard, very hard, on behalf of Puerto Rican statehood—and he nearly succeeded.
In 1998, Gingrich cooperated closely with President Bill Clinton to push Puerto Rican statehood through the House of Representatives with little debate.
Gingrich's Puerto Rican statehood bill was especially mendacious because it required Puerto Rico to vote repeatedly on the question of statehood until they "got it right."
Moreover, when Rep. Gerald Solomon (R-NY) tried to install a condition that English become the official language of Puerto Rico before it could be admitted as a state, Gingrich and other Open Borders Republicans killed the proposal.
Miraculously, the Senate refused to hold a vote on Gibgrich's statehood bill. And it hasn't been taken up since.
It is hard to imagine how someone can call for making English the official language of the United States, while simultaneously trying to admit a Spanish-speaking island into the Union.
However, such duplicity on the National Question is typical of Gingrich. Newt Gingrich, like most of our elites, speaks one way to American audiences, and an entirely different way to Hispanic audiences. In 2007, for example, he once told a gathering of the National Federation of Republican Women. that bilingual education encourages the use of the "language of living in a ghetto."
Hispanic activists howled. Gingrich then delivered a groveling mea culpa in Spanish unbefitting any grown man [See the video here]
Perhaps the experience of being humbled before Hispanic activists convinced Gingrich that he had to further ingratiate himself to them in order to remain politically viable. Hence, two years later, The Americano was launched.
Last week's Americano Forum hosted panel debates on many subjects, from national security to healthcare, and featured many Hispanics from the Bush Circle, like former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, and Jeb Bush, Jr.
However, the central theme of the event was immigration.
Unfortunately, the immigration panel resembled less a debate than an open borders cheerleading routine. There was simply no disagreement among the participants about anything.
The debate was not an exchange of ideas, but a repetition of well-refuted clichés.
- "Immigrants come here to do the jobs Americans won't do.
- "Immigration will save Social Security."
- "The DREAM Act will only amnesty young children"[Video]
Newt Gingrich rigged this immigration debate in order to get this desired result. Obviously, he approved every individual panel member at his own forum. If Gingrich wanted an actual debate on immigration, he could have invited economist George Borjas to the forum. He's Cuban-born—and he does teach at Harvard University, after all.
However, Borjas's findings contradict the claims of virtually every attendee at the forum.
I guess some Hispanics are more equal than others.
Indeed, it is clear that Helen Krieble has had an enormous influence on Gingrich, and will help to shape immigration policy if Gingrich is elected president.
Gingrich specifically credits Helen Krieble's influence in his book Real Change, where he also calls for tripling the number of H1B Visas allotted per year. Given that in the last decade, we have given out as many as 150,000 H1B Visas in a single year, that would amount to as many as 450,000 H1B worker visas annually.
How is any of this possibly going to benefit American workers? Answer: Gingrich doesn't care. He cares about major donors, like Krieble.
If reading about Newt Gingrich's Hispandering makes your eyes roll, I'm sorry to remind you that he does not confine his racial groveling to Hispanics. His periodic outreach to the black political class is even more delusional.
In 2009, Gingrich began working closely with the Rev. Al Sharpton on the Equality in Education Project, which aspires to close the racial "achievement gap." He has also been working with Janet Murguia of the National Council of La Raza on the same project.
Should we be surprised that a Republican who actually believes he can win over such anti-white race hustlers (let alone close the "racial achievement gap") still believes that Hispanics are going to vote Republican in large numbers?
Right around this time, Rep. J.C. Watts called Rev. Jackson and then Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry "race-hustling poverty pimps." Many conservatives cheered. Finally, someone said it!
But Watts' comments interfered with Gingrich's attempt at black outreach, and he demanded that Watts apologize to both Jackson and Barry for stating the obvious.
Nevertheless, Newt Gingrich surely knows that the Republican Party's real base remains white voters. At some point, he has to approach that base and try to win it over.
Mel Steely, a close friend and biographer of Newt Gingrich, says that one of Gingrich's greatest strengths is his ability to sell his policies by convincing a targeted constituency that his ideas really came from them—and that all he has been doing is responding to their input:
"You meet with them beforehand, get their dreams and ideas. Then come back with your solution—it may be the same solution you would have had anyway, but it is phrased in such way that they feel that this is what they were talking about." [The Gentleman from Georgia: The Biography Of Newt Gingrich]
Doesn't this explain a lot about Newt Gingrich?
Many patriotic immigration reformers might hear such rhetoric and think, "Hey, Newt's on our side." But Gingrich has never actually called for an end to Mexican or Muslim immigration.
In fact, I have been unable to find a record of Newt Gingrich ever calling for limits of any kind on immigration.
It's obvious that, as a former academic, Newt Gingrich likes to think of himself as a more cerebral politician. Forums and conferences are his natural milieu. As Speaker of the House, Gingrich even gave reading assignments to congressmen from the House floor.
However, answering the National Question does not require great intelligence. To most of us, the National Question is an obvious one, and so to a great extent, are the answers to it.
The National Question is one of loyalty and personal attachment to the place we call home—our state, our hometown, our neighborhood; an attachment to what Edmund Burke called "the little platoon we belong to in society."
If we actually had leaders whose loyalties were truly with the historical American nation, then they wouldn't have to be very bright. There wouldn't be a need for any forums. The right course of action on immigration and similar matters would be obvious.
The simple truth is that Gingrich has no such loyalties to the historic American nation. He is nothing but a post-American Davos Man who wishes to further transform the country into something we no longer recognize as our own. So absolute is his commitment that you have to wonder how bright Gingrich himself really is—certainly he behaves as if he's never heard any counter-arguments.
Newt Gingrich, using the tactic Mel Steely describes, will eventually approach patriotic immigration reformers and attempt to start speaking our language in order to feign sympathy with our cause.
But one thing will be certain: Gingrich won't mean a word of it.
Matthew Richer (email him) is a writer living in Massachusetts. He is the former American Editor of Right NOW magazine.