Posts Tagged ‘Newt Gingrich’
December 5th, 2011 at 3:56 pm
Fact Checking Gingrich’s Ethics

Newt Gingrich thinks that Nancy Pelosi just gave him a great Christmas gift. She is so despised by conservatives, he thinks, that having her threaten to unleash dirt on him will make conservatives rally to his cause. But let’s think this out a little further: Nancy Pelosi knows the same thing. She WANTS it known that she wants to go after Gingrich, because she WANTS conservatives to rally to his cause, because she KNOWS he is so incredibly beatable — in part because of all the dirt that she and so many others have stored up about the guy.

So she’s playing smart politics by helping Gingrich now — because helping Gingrich now helps Obama later.

Meanwhile, there’s a problem with Gingrich’s complaint, here:

Gingrich said that Pelosi’s suggestion that she would reveal information from that investigation underscored that the ethics charges were politically motivated. “It tells you how capriciously political that committee was,” Gingrich said.

The problem is that Gingrich actually admitted having prevaricated to investigators for two solid years about the charges. Moreover, it wasn’t just Democrats who found him flagrantly guilty; it was his fellow Republicans, or at least three of the four of them, who joined the conclusion.

So how, pray tell, was it politically motivated?

All of which is just by way of acting as a fact checker….. Politically, of course, Gingrich is an effective salesman, in a way, of the Gingrich cause, which is the cause of Gingrich. World historical definers of and savers of civilization can’t be bothered with petty facts…..

December 2nd, 2011 at 6:11 pm
Trump to Moderate GOP Debate in Iowa

Earlier today Newsmax invited the main Republican candidates to a December 27th debate in Des Moines, IA.  One catch: it will be moderated by Donald Trump.  Somehow a “moderate” Donald Trump doesn’t seem possible.

In a way it’s fitting that Trump, erstwhile Republican presidential candidate, will be preside over what may be the final GOP debate before the January 3, 2012 Iowa caucuses.  Trump started the anti-Romney conservative popularity surges that later carried Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and now Newt Gingrich to prominence.

But for all his popularity, the choice of Trump is a bit curious since he’s recently admitted to thinking about running for president again – this time on a third party ticket.  While the venue and media exposure may preclude candidates from staying away, I would be wary of taking questions from a guy who could use his moderator’s role to pin down potential rivals.

December 1st, 2011 at 9:47 pm
Will Romney Outsource Attacks on Gingrich?
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A piece in Politico today looks at the efforts by Mitt Romney’s campaign team to ward off the growing challenge from the Newt Gingrich boomlet. While the author, Reid J. Epstein, spends a fair amount of time examining the lines of attack that are being planned for both Romney and his surrogates, one aspect of their strategy is undersold in the piece. Epstein writes of the Romney campaign:

… They’re also ready to sit back and wait for the other candidates who are more dependent on strong showings in Iowa to do the dirty work.

Cue all-purpose gadfly Ron Paul. Paul is out with a devastating new anti-Gingrich ad that plays right into Romney’s hands. In fact, the ad — with its focus on questioning Newt’s conservative credentials — plays a lot better coming from the undiluted Paul than the notoriously squishy Romney. The reality, though, is that it probably does much more to help the latter than the former. See for yourself:


November 29th, 2011 at 6:18 pm
Obama’s Campaign Geniuses Don’t Understand the Basics of Republican Politics
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Everything you need to know about the Obama political team’s total ignorance of Republican politics can be summed up with one fact: when Obama chose then-Utah Governor Jon Huntsman to serve as his Ambassador to China in 2009, he did so thinking that he was removing a formidable opponent for the presidency. Huntsman’s tepid performance as a 2012 candidate — and his total inability to connect with the conservative base — have comprehensively given the lie to that notion, an outcome that the president’s political team could have envisioned if they had actually talked to any Republicans.

Now, the best minds in the Democratic Party are at it again. With Newt Gingrich leading in the polls in Iowa and South Carolina — and closing the gap in New Hampshire — they’re issuing a new television ad targeting … Mitt Romney?


Reports indicate that the White House is convinced Romney will be the nominee and wants to soften him up early. That’s silly for a couple of reasons. First, it shows (as did the Huntsman calculation) that these strategists don’t realize that being the Democrats’ favorite Republican doesn’t automatically launch you to the front of the field. Second, Romney’s continued inability to get above about 25 percent in the polls (his favorability has actually been dropping of late) and Gingrich’s surge make it extremely premature to assume a nominee. And third, even if the White House’s hunch is right, what difference is a general election ad airing a month before the primaries going to make?

The alternative, more Machiavellian interpretation is that the White House wants to weaken Romney in order to bolster Gingrich, who they view as the more beatable candidate. If that’s true, watch this video and ask yourself if this is a man you’d be spoiling for a fight with:

If this is how Team Obama plays offense, they better hope they have a hell of a defense in 2012.

November 29th, 2011 at 5:09 pm
Gingrich, AGAIN for the Individual Mandate

This video of Gingrich from 2005 shows his true ideological colors, methinks.

November 8th, 2011 at 9:00 pm
Watch Newt
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As Ashton notes below, I’ve been peddling a theory for the last several weeks that Newt Gingrich is poised to end up in a one-on-one showdown with Mitt Romney for the Republican Presidential nomination. The reason is simple: despite his seeming meltdown early in the campaign, Newt has been playing the long game, eschewing attacks on the other Republican candidates, and using the debates as a cost-free method to display his intellectual mastery of the issues and his ample abilities as a communicator.

It’s a savvy strategy, though like all “great in hindsight” moves it has benefited a lot from luck. If Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, or Herman Cain had been able to to convince the primary electorate that they had presidential deliverables, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Even the leaden Tim Pawlenty campaign may have been getting a second look if the former Minnesota governor had stayed in the race. But they haven’t, and Newt (who probably enjoys a five-point premium in the polls just because of the number of Republicans who’d love to watch him debate President Obama) is now riding high: a new poll out of Iowa yesterday had him second, only four points behind Herman Cain, who is likely to start taking a serious nosedive any day now.

One note of caution: as Ashton mentions, I have my doubts on whether Newt can overtake Romney in the final tally, as two factors will come into play once the former speaker is seen as a formidable threat. First, his intemperance while leading the House of Representatives will be brought back to the fore. Newt can reasonably argue that he’s even better equipped to lead the nation having learned the lessons of those years. Fair enough, as such things go. The other issue will be his messy personal life, which is the factor most likely to torpedo the campaign. If Gingrich has learned anything from the Herman Cain debacle, hopefully it’s that he should be candid about his past — and do so as quickly as possible. That will allow him to better control the story and adequately separate fact from fiction. Expect to hear a lot about Newt’s new-found religious convictions when those issues take center stage.

As for Romney, he should hope that Newt stumbles on one of these issues, but be prepared for him not to. The front runner has had it easy thus far, with most of his major opponents taking themselves out of contention without the former Massachusetts governor having to so much as lay a finger on them. Ask any Democrat from the last few decades: Newt will not be nearly so easy a target.

November 8th, 2011 at 8:07 pm
Gingrich Has Largest Campaign Operation in South Carolina

Granted, Newt has 9 staff members in the Palmetto State while Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry each have 7, but hey, he’s still #1!

Troy wrote an insightful entry analyzing Gingrich’s somewhat discussed boomlet as perhaps not enough to overtake the unfathomable Mitt Romney.  Still, if there’s anyone in this race who knows how to galvanize a movement, it’s the author of the Contract with America.

Quin, I await another onslaught on why Gingrich would not be (to put it nicely) your choice for POTUS.

October 27th, 2011 at 9:57 pm
Re: Businesses Are Scared to Death
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Quin writes below, quite sensibly, that, when it comes to reforming the tax code, changing corporate rates should take precedence over reforming individual rates, reasoning that the economic anemia in private sector business is one of the largest obstacles to renewed growth. I find that analysis completely salutary, although I differ with him on a few particulars in the post.

First, Cain, Perry, and Gingrich all have corporate tax reform as a part of their plans. Cain, of course, would reduce it to 9 percent (although his addition of a federal sales tax would offset some of those savings). Perry would drop it to 20 percent, while Gingrich would take it down to 12.5 percent. As Quin notes, Santorum’s plan is quite good too, although I recoil a little at the fact that he eliminates the tax only for the manufacturing sector. There’s not a particularly good economic rationale for such differential treatment of industries under the tax code (not to mention that it’s a kissing cousin to the “picking winners and losers” criticism that the right has correctly embraced of late — although at least in this case it’s about who gets rewarded the most, not punished).  This leads me to believe that this section of the plan is politically motivated, aimed at boosting Santorum with blue-collar voters of the type that are essential to winning elections in labor-heavy states like his native Pennsylvania.

I’m also not convinced that passing personal income tax reform would be a heavier legislative lift than corporate tax reform, for reasons that Quin lays out. Personal rates are visceral and instantly understandable. Because there are several intellectual steps one has to go through to understand the effect of corporate rates on personal income, I think that may be the harder sell.

These are extraordinarily minor differences in the big picture, however. We all agree on the broad thrust of the argument: without flatter, fairer, more transparent taxes, America will be unnecessarily suppressing the ingenuity that could lead to an economic renaissance. But that change won’t come unless the keys to the White House change hands in January 2013. That’s just one more reason why next year’s election is so vitally important.

October 25th, 2011 at 3:28 pm
Like It or Not, This is Your Presidential Field
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I’m in agreement with Quin’s sentiment, expressed below, that the Republican presidential field could have benefited from a few more entrants, especially if it was accompanied by getting rid of some of the dead weight currently in the field (at this point, I’d be happy for the debates to be four-man affairs with Romney, Perry, Gingrich, and Cain). For some perspective, imagine the lineup on stage for a debate between those who passed on the race: John Thune, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, Mike Pence, Mitch Daniels, Bobby Jindal, Haley Barbour, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie. That’s a group that is depressingly more presidential than our current crop.

I don’t share Quin’s optimism, however that the field is going to change. Mike Pence has pretty safe odds to become the next Governor of Indiana, a prospect that’s not worth sacrificing for a long shot presidential bid out of the House of Representatives. Bobby Jindal would have engaged in something just short of electoral fraud if he jumped in the race only days after winning a second term as governor (the Iowa Caucuses will actually be held before he is even sworn in for his next term).

One factor, however, is nearly dispositive: timing. Next Monday is the filing deadline for the Florida Primary. Tuesday is the deadline in South Carolina. If we’re going to see anyone else in the field, it’s going to have to happen in the next few days. Putting together a campaign on that timeframe — particularly when most of the big donors and premium staffers have already been snatched up — is next to impossible, which means this field is almost certainly set. Like it or not, the next time you the see the candidates take the stage at a GOP debate, you’ll be looking at the future Republican presidential nominee.

June 10th, 2011 at 3:20 pm
Jon Huntsman to Replicate Giuliani’s Losing Presidential Strategy?
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In recent weeks, CFIF’s own Ashton Ellis has been a one-man truth machine, making sure that conservatives are aware of the moderate-to-liberal record of former Utah Governor — and soon-to-be presidential candidate — Jon Huntsman. Well, if the former chief executive of the Beehive State has his way, the day may soon come when Ashton Ellis doesn’t have Jon Huntsman to kick around any more. The reason: Huntsman now appears to be embracing the same political strategy that doomed Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential bid.

Huntsman has already taken a pass on contesting Iowa, where he’s unlikely to play well with social conservatives (as of today, it appears that Mitt Romney may be making the same calculation). That means that the New Hampshire primary (where undeclared voters more sympathetic to his views) will be of critical importance to his campaign.

This is much the same position that Giuliani found himself in during the 2008 race. But Hizzoner’s aversion to retail politics led him to run a drive-by campaign in New Hampshire and focus on larger states where the race would primarily be run in the media. We all know how that turned out.

Now comes news that Huntsman can’t be bothered with some of the vagaries of Granite State politics either. From Politico:

Jon Huntsman’s decision to skip the first New Hampshire presidential debate on Monday has Republicans in the state confused — and predicting that he’ll suffer politically for it.

“As a guy who has said publicly he’s going to skip Iowa, it seems like he’d want to be here for that debate,” said Fergus Cullen, a former New Hampshire GOP chairman who met Huntsman at one of his early events in Durham. “It’s the first real debate and for a guy who seems to be all-in in New Hampshire.”

Cullen was one of a half-dozen local GOP players raising concerns about Huntsman’s absence from a debate that will feature both Tim Pawlenty and, for the first time, Mitt Romney.

“I think skipping the first debate is very serious,” said Mike Dennehy, a longtime New Hampshire consultant who helped lead John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008. “I think it shows either you’re afraid to join the others on stage for the first time or you’re unwilling to — both of which don’t give voters a lot of confidence in a candidate.”

What is it about this election cycle that produces such lethargic work ethics?

June 9th, 2011 at 9:17 pm
Update on the Gingrich/Perry Shift
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As Ashton noted earlier, Newt Gingrich is having one of the worst days of an already bad campaign. As of this evening, it’s now looking increasingly clear that the injury of his staff’s departure is going to be augmented by the insult of most of them lining up behind Texas Governor Rick Perry. It was just a rumor when Ashton posted earlier, but now it’s looking more like a sure thing. Over at the Daily Caller, Matt Lewis reports:

Two separate and reliable sources in Texas tell me serious preparations are being made for Governor Rick Perry, 61, to seek the Republican nomination for president.

Dave Carney and Rob Johnson — the former top Perry aides who on Thursday left Newt Gingrich’s floundering campaign — are said to be heading to Texas soon to join in on preparations for the run. I am told this is now “ninety percent likely to occur.” Additionally, Perry allies have begun holding meetings in the state and have been instructed to quietly reach out to contacts in early primary states.

All of this drama six months before the first votes are cast. Get ready for a long and exciting primary season.

June 9th, 2011 at 6:03 pm
Gingrich Campaign on Life Support

Wow.  With the news that Newt Gingrich’s entire senior campaign staff resigned en masse this morning, some are speculating that the fallout – and newly freed staff – will benefit the rumored Rick Perry for President campaign.

Prognostications about the future aside, Gingrich’s present is spectacularly unclear.  Where does he go from here?  So far, the most memorable moments from Newt’s 2012 odyssey are calling a sensible Medicare reform “right wing social engineering,” an epic press release, a half-a-million-dollar credit line at Tiffany’s, and now this.  Amazing.

One thing’s for sure: Newt needs to find some way to bounce back, if only for his personal future as a pundit, speaker, and idea factory.  If this mass resignation is the final entry of his presidential campaign, it will be awhile before anyone wants to pony up big bucks to get advice from a guy who couldn’t manage a single week of sustained success.

May 20th, 2011 at 1:58 pm
John Lithgow Performs Newt Gingrich

Actor John Lithgow, courtesy of The Colbert Report, performs Newt Gingrich’s now-(in)famous press release defending his campaign after the former speaker knocked Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget proposal.

Gingrich’s press release has been called “epic” and “florid.”  Lithgow’s reading is priceless.

May 19th, 2011 at 9:37 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Gingrich’s Foot In Mouth
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

May 16th, 2011 at 1:38 pm
Gingrich’s “Voodoo Economics” Moment?

During the 1980 presidential campaign, Republican candidate George H. W. Bush decried Ronald Reagan’s supply-side tax cuts as “voodoo economics” because the policy promised to lower tax rates and generate more production, and thus more tax revenues.  Bush’s denunciation of Reagan’s economic vision was a proxy for Keynesian thinkers in both parties, who thought (and think) that tax reductions spur consumption (demand), not production (supply).

Of course, Bush lost to Reagan in the Republican primary that year, in part because Reagan had a more compelling message: let’s cut taxes to get the economy growing instead of cutting them simply to reduce spending.  Moreover, Bush was wrong because Reagan’s policies worked.

This weekend, 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich slammed Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the latter’s “Path to Prosperity” budget proposal as “right-wing social engineering.”  Why?  Because Gingrich thinks changing the way Medicare operates – from straight government subsidy to vouchers – is too “radical.”

But that isn’t stopping Gingrich from continuing to support an individual mandate to buy health insurance.  (Like fellow contender Mitt Romney (R-MA), but unlike President Barack Obama, Gingrich wants the individual mandate at the state, not federal, level.)  So, in Gingrich’s mind, transforming Medicare from a defined benefit into a defined voucher is “radical,” but mandating individuals to buy health insurance is not?

When Reagan adopted the mantra of economic growth through across-the-board tax cuts in 1980, he gave voters a clear alternative to the shared scarcity narrative being peddled by politicians in both parties.  Ryan’s budget proposal is based on Reagan’s insight that less taxes and more growth sells; less choice and more government mandates do not.

Like Reagan, whoever wins the Republican presidential nomination next year will have to make some accommodation with Ryan’s economic vision.  Downsizing – whether it’s freedom, opportunity, taxes, or spending – isn’t enough of a message to create the kind of majority needed to enact the kind of policy changes that spur real private sector growth.  With positions supporting ethanol subsidies and state level individual mandates, it sounds like Newt Gingrich is more comfortable playing the elder Bush’s role in this campaign.

May 14th, 2011 at 5:39 pm
Gingrich: “Obama Most Successful Food Stamp President”

If nothing else, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (R-GA) will almost always give the 2012 campaign cycle its most colorful one-liners.  Along with saying that the 2012 contest is the most important election since Abraham Lincoln’s in 1860, Gingrich said in a speech to Georgia Republicans that Barack Obama is “the most successful food stamp president in modern American history.”

Leaving aside who would be Obama’s competition in the pre-modern American era, Gingrich said that Obama’s economic policies have thrown more people onto the government dole as jobs have dried up.  To Gingrich, cutting corporate tax rates from 35% to 12.5% would drop the compliance cost for businesses, giving them an incentive to redirect money from loophole-loving lawyers to frontline job creation.  Believing that, “The most important social welfare program in America is a job,” Gingrich said, “I would like to be the most successful paycheck president in American history.”

With the nationwide unemployment rate holding steady at 9%, Gingrich’s jobs mantra could catch on.

February 25th, 2011 at 2:10 pm
Media Announces Start of GOP 2012 Campaign

Like emaciated jackals hungry for fresh meat MSNBC’s political staff announced today that the GOP 2012 campaign is now underway.  The reason?  Mike Huckabee (R-AR) made the rather unsurprising link between Massachusetts’ individual mandate law passed under then-Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) and the almost identical requirement in ObamaCare.  Mitt’s “RomneyCare” problem has been so well documented it’s not worth a verifying hyperlink.

That said, the fact that Huckabee’s identifying of the main obstacle in Romney’s path to the GOP nomination is being treated like a campaign salvo is too much; especially since neither man has formally announced a candidacy.  At the earliest, it looks like Newt Gingrich might be the first to take the plunge sometime next month.  For now, MSNBC’s announcement is just the latest attempt to goad the pack of likely candidates into justifying a political reporter’s salary.

January 31st, 2011 at 12:01 pm
Feisty Start to 2012 Race: Newt Picks Fight with Wall Street Journal
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Newt versus The Wall Street Journal editorial board – the unofficial 2012 Republican campaign is off to a very lively start.

On January 22, the Journal ran a commentary entitled “Amber Waves of Ethanol” in which it criticized federal ethanol subsidies.  It noted that, “Four of every 10 rows of corn now go to produce fuel for American cars or trucks, not food or feed,” which does nothing to improve the environment or our reliance on foreign oil, but wastes billions in taxpayer dollars and drives food price inflation.  Likely 2012 candidate Newt Gingrich responded in Iowa last Tuesday, repeatedly referring to himself “as an historian” and accusing the Journal as part of a sinister cabal, saying, “Obviously big urban newspapers want to kill it because it’s working, and you wonder, ‘What are their values?'”

This morning, the Journal responds in its lead commentary entitled “Professor Cornpone.” This dispute, it says, symbolizes the larger fight “between the House Republicans now trying to rationalize the federal fisc and the kind of corporate welfare that President Obama advanced in his State of the Union”:

Given that Mr. Gingrich aspires to be President, his ethanol lobbying raises larger questions about his convictions and judgment.  The Georgian has been campaigning in the Tea Party age as a fierce critic of spending and government, but his record on that score is, well, mixed…  Now Republicans have another chance to reform government, and a limited window of opportunity in which to do it…  So along comes Mr. Gingrich to offer his support for Mr. Obama’s brand of green-energy welfare, undermining House Republicans in the process.”

Regardless of one’s views toward Mr. Gingrich as a potential candidate, the fact that the race is already lively with substantive policy debate is a healthy sign.

January 14th, 2011 at 6:41 pm
Gingrich Lays Down the Gauntlet for Restoring America’s Greatness

Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Newt Gingrich is the conservative movement’s best policy entrepreneur / political consultant / motivational speaker.  At today’s House Republican retreat, the former speaker laid down the gauntlet for restoring America’s greatness.

His speech before the new House majority framed the multiple crises facing the country in positive terms; calling for every full and sub-committee to designate 1/3 of their hearings to the theme of “Hope and Opportunity.”  The idea is to focus on solutions to America’s problems, such as inviting job creators to speak before committees on what they need government to do – or not do – to get America working again.

Most interesting to this writer is Gingrich’s call to redirect the 99 weeks of unemployment payments into a human capital program.  It would require recipients to enroll and complete job training programs, effectively turning welfare into workfare.  Moreover, the explosion of online education makes finding the right program easy to find and flexible to complete.  In today’s tech-heavy, certification-obsessed economy, tying the $133 billion spent on unemployment payments to job training is a great way to get out-of-work Americans on and off the welfare rolls as quickly as possible.

As a former radio spot writer for Gingrich Communications, I’ll admit I’m partial to Newt’s way of thinking.  The former speaker’s speech to the House GOP shows why.  With conservatives unlikely to move any major legislation due to Democratic control of the White House and Senate, Gingrich is proposing – I believe – the next best thing: changing the discussion from “the party of no” to “the party that restores American Exceptionalism.”

Let’s get to it.

November 4th, 2010 at 10:29 pm
Newt Gingrich Leads the Charge out of the Midterm Elections
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Whether or not you think he’s a viable presidential candidate in 2012, there can be little doubt that — on his best days — former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is one of the most intelligent, articulate defenders of conservative thought around (full disclosure: I used to write radio spots for the Speaker). Last night Newt delivered a tour de force performance on Fox News’ On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, analyzing the midterm elections and their effects on President Obama. Some video highlights can be seen below. Newt’s best line of the night, however, didn’t make it into the highlights reel. Scroll down beyond the video for the line that had the Fox camera crews cracking up on air:

VAN SUSTEREN: But I just don’t get it, I mean, because he did run on change. And he delivered change. And now the American people — and they told him almost from day one they didn’t like his change, and he didn’t even notice it, and he’s still (INAUDIBLE) and so now he comes (INAUDIBLE) today — I don’t get it!

GINGRICH: Greta, Greta, Greta, Greta, if somebody offers you a chance to go to Disney World and you get all excited, and they promise to take you to Disney World, and then they didn’t quite tell you that, by the way, the way they’re going to get there is they’re going to crash the plane into the park…(LAUGHTER)

GINGRICH: The fact that they were going to take you to Disney World may not have been quite as attractive as you thought. Nobody in America thought we were going to elect a president who would be this far to the left, pass this much spending, build up this big a deficit, try to impose Washington on every doctor’s office, every hospital, every medical decision in America. And the American people now said, Got it. If that’s the change you meant, we’re going to send you a signal that that’s the wrong change.It’s all right to be for change, but you ought to be for the right change, and he didn’t get. Now, what worries me is with two more years, I wonder what it’s going to take for him to begin to realize it’s not about us, the American people, it’s about him.

If ever anyone deserved the title “the speaker” …