Ever since I declared myself a Newt Gingrich supporter, the one criticism I keep hearing from supporters of his opponents (who think I didn’t read their first ten tweets) was the infamous “Meet The Press” interview where he referred to Paul Ryan’s plan entitlement reform plan as “right-wing social engineering.”
It was a total bungle on Newt’s part, and as a Paul Ryan Republican I nearly took out my television with a bazooka when I first heard it. Gingrich has walked it back a little bit, and while people keep trying to fuel a Gingrich/Ryan feud, I think that what we’re mainly arguing over isn’t specific policy as much as it messaging.
In an interview with Coffee & Markets, Gingrich said that Republicans should not “impose” solutions that are “very, very unpopular.” Ronald Reagan, he noted, “ran to be a popular president, not to maximize suicide.”
In order to “govern over the long run,” leaders need “the American people [to] think you’re doing a good job and think you’re doing what they want,” he continued.
And now here’s Ryan:
Ryan, in an interview with National Review Online, says that he disagrees with Gingrich, and urges Republicans to confront fiscal problems, irrespective of political risk. Worrying about electoral “suicide,” he says, is a disservice to voters, “who don’t want to be pandered to like children.”
“This is not the 1990s,” Ryan says. “The ‘Mediscare’ is not working and we should not back down from this fight. I, for one, believe the country is ready, they’re hungry for it. They are ready to hear real solutions. We shouldn’t wait around for the status quo to become popular.”
I agree with both (though moreso with Ryan). I want my leaders to be bold and make the tough choices, and tell us what we need to hear instead of what we want to hear. The flip side is that it’s hard to lead when you’ve been voted out of office for going too far too fast. There are pluses and negatives to what both are saying.
THIS is what a Lincoln/Douglas style debate would be good for. Not two guys sitting next to each other agreeing on everything (though I have been enjoying the dialogues), but two leaders respectfully disagree on a particular thought or concept.
Personally, instead of hearing supporters of each other’s throwing elbows, I’d love to hear both Paul Ryan and Newt Gingrich discussing and debating with each other the difference’s between the two.
I can also imagine that any of the center right/conservative publications and news outlets would feel the same way, and probably be able to throw something like that together.