Memo to Newt Gingrich
Jude Wanniski
January 8, 1997


Memo To: Newt Gingrich
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Fresh Start

Your acceptance speech of the Speakership was excellent, in tone and content. If you can maintain that frame of mind and temperament in the next several weeks, you will have regained your bearings. The outcome of the November elections as well as the vote yesterday I believe confirms that the national electorate does not want to lose you, no matter what the polls say. They see in you an agent of change, a rare creature in the political universe, which tends toward the status quo. The nation could not afford to retain you unless it saw that you were capable of becoming wise enough to serve in this Congress. Remember, the electorate does understand that you and your fellow GOP House members were learning on the job, not one among you with the institutional memory of the Majority. If the voters really wanted to get rid of you, they could easily have cut you a little less slack on November 5. We could see in the special election for Tom Campbell in California last year that the voters were not buying a campaign against Newt Gingrich that would send the GOP in a different direction. They like the direction you set in the 1994 elections. They just didn't like your imperiousness, your pace, your priorities. It took 40 years for power to corrupt the Democrats to the point where they didn't realize how corrupt they had become. It was the right thing to drum Jim Wright and Dan Rostenkowski out of the Congress, because they had become politically corrupt in a way they did not recognize It was happening to you, and in the nick of time you were rescued. You should thank David Bonior for having rescued you. He loves the country and the American people and the House of Representatives as much as you do, and he had to exert himself on behalf of his party, especially in its minority status, to throw all his energies against you. Read the Federalist #1 by Hamilton and you will see how the Founding Fathers arranged the Constitution in a way that has brought you and Bonior back into balance, and paved the way for the kind of harmony the people must have in this divided government.

It was especially good for you to have put the nation's race problem at the center of your remarks. Do you remember that I urged you to call Charlie Rangel right after the '94 elections, to extend a hand of cooperation? Charlie was thrilled when you called, having assumed that with the GOP finally back in control, the interests of black Americans would be shoved even further onto the back burner than they were in the 103rd Congress. Alas, the imperatives of the "Contract" and the determination of your revolutionaries to engage in a domestic form of Shock Therapy drove you into the trap that Dick Morris had planned for you. You got what you deserved, but you didn't deserve to be driven from office or the Speakership. You needed only to be checked, so you would have time to stand back and think through the process by which power corrupts. Your friends and supporters are running around saying this is just "payback time" for Jim Wright, etc., and you really didn't do anything wrong. Well, of course, but if you allow yourself to think that what David Bonior was doing was out of a blind hunger for vengeance, you will not appreciate that he is your mirror image. You were lost, Newt, and now you are found. At least you seemed so today.