A member of the Reagan Administration has written an article for National Review Online, in which he claims that Newt Gingrich, a candidate for that party’s Presidential Nomination “often spewed insulting rhetoric at Reagan, his top aides, and his policies to defeat Communism”.
Who is this “insider”? I’m glad you asked.
Elliot Abrams was born on January 24, 1948. In 1973 he earned a master’s in international relations from the London School of Economics and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School. At Harvard, Abrams considered himself a socialist and was a member of the Young People’s Socialist League. He practiced in New York and Washington, D.C., and spent four years in the 1970s working for the U.S. Senate as special counsel and then as chief of staff to Senator Daniel Moynihan.
In 1980, Abrams first came to national prominence when he served as Ronald Reagan’s assistant secretary of state for human rights in the early 1980s and later as assistant secretary for inter-American affairs.
So, KJ, what did he say? A lot. Read this:
In the increasingly rough Republican campaign, no candidate has wrapped himself in the mantle of Ronald Reagan more often than Newt Gingrich. “I worked with President Reagan to change things in Washington,” “we helped defeat the Soviet empire,” and “I helped lead the effort to defeat Communism in the Congress” are typical claims by the former speaker of the House.
The claims are misleading at best. As a new member of Congress in the Reagan years — and I was an assistant secretary of state — Mr. Gingrich voted with the president regularly, but equally often spewed insulting rhetoric at Reagan, his top aides, and his policies to defeat Communism. Gingrich was voluble and certain in predicting that Reagan’s policies would fail, and in all of this he was dead wrong.
…Gingrich scorned Reagan’s speeches, which moved a party and then a nation, because “the president of the United States cannot discipline himself to use the correct language.” In Afghanistan, Reagan’s policy was marked by “impotence [and] incompetence.” Thus Gingrich concluded as he surveyed five years of Reagan in power that “we have been losing the struggle with the Soviet empire.” Reagan did not know what he was doing, and “it is precisely at the vision and strategy levels that the Soviet empire today is superior to the free world.”
…There are two things to be said about these remarks. The first is that as a visionary, Gingrich does not have a very impressive record. The Soviet Union was beginning to collapse, just as Reagan had believed it must. The expansion of its empire had been thwarted. The policies Gingrich thought so weak and indeed “pathetic” worked, and Ronald Reagan turned out to be a far better student of history and politics than Gingrich.
The second point to make is that Gingrich made these assaults on the Reagan administration just as Democratic attacks were heating up unmercifully. Far from becoming a reliable voice for Reagan policy and the struggle against the Soviets, Gingrich took on Reagan and his administration.
It is very interesting how, now that Newt Gingrich is running neck and neck with the GOP Elite’s favorite, Mitt “the Legacy” Romney, an article is published concerning how shabbily (supposedly) he treated the greatest Republican President in our lifetime. Where was Abram when Mitt was the “inevitable victor” in the Republican Primary race?
As I highlighted earlier, Abram worked for Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democratic Senator representing New York, who served from 1977-2001, and, before that, held cabinet or sub-cabinet positions under Presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford from 1961-1976.
Reaching across the aisle, indeed.
So, what is Abram’s purpose in writing this article so many years after the incidents took place?
And, if Newt had so much contempt for President Reagan and treated him so badly, why would his sane son, Conservative Radio Talk Show Host and Author, Michael Reagan, release this statement 6 days ago?
“I am endorsing Newt Gingrich for President and here’s why:
Newt understands that we must reject and fundamentally change the course that Barack Obama has set for America.
Newt is our only chance in 2012 to contrast a Reagan conservative with Obama’s European’ styled socialism.
Newt exemplifies the conservative principles my father championed.
Strong national defense, lower taxes and smaller government.
In the 90’s Newt’s leadership brought us the Contract with America which changed Washington.
I’m confident Newt can do it again.
We cannot afford a candidate backed by the same Washington insiders who repeatedly tried to undermine my father and the Reagan revolution.
It’s time to choose.
Do we go forward with bold ideas or continue with failed policies?
So I ask my fellow Republicans and conservatives to join me in supporting Newt Gingrich for president.”
Those same Washington Insiders who tried so desperately to block The Reagan Revolution are now trying to sabotage America’s current “vox populi”, Newt Gingrich.
Now, I have no illusions. Newt’s not a perfect candidate, nor is he Conservative on every single issue.
However, right now, he’s speaking what average Americans are thinking. And, at least he has a spine.