The fascinatingly duplicitous path that Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is navigating to revive the Republican Party took another turn today as Gingrich announced that he supports President Barack Obama on health care reform. Is Gingrich trying to steer Republicans away from becoming the party of no?
Gingrich said, “President Obama is right: we cannot wait any longer to fix the problems we face in health – they are beyond critical. We waste billions of dollars every day and people die unnecessarily every day at the hands of a broken, fragmented healthcare system.”
Gingrich called for a health care reform plan that focuses on four priorities, adoption of the practices that work best, modernization of health information technology, the rooting out and prevention of health care fraud, and elimination of the broken models of budgeting and scoring.
He also stressed that both parties need to work together on health care reform, “There is a time for Republicans and Democrats to stand their ground when they must; but it is equally as important to have the courage to collaborate when they should. Health reform is one of those moments. With these priorities, the president will find eager and energetic Republican partners if he truly seeks them.”
Mother Jones has a great article about Gingrich in their new issue. Gingrich is part post-partisan policy wonk, and part wedge issue politician who is looking to lead another Republican revolution. Gingrich’s post partisan behavior also has included an odd couple pairing with Hillary Clinton on health care, and bashing his own party for trying to link Obama to Blagojevich. The $50,000 question is what is Gingrich trying to do here?
In my estimation, the answer is that Gingrich is once again ahead of the rest of his party. He senses that the GOP can be helped by cooperating with Obama on an issue like health care, especially when Obama is proposing moderate reforms, instead of a single payer system. I think Newt is trying to change the perception his party as the representatives of the rich. However, no one should mistake these actions as a kinder, gentler Newt. At heart, his beliefs are still as conservative as ever, and his overriding goal is to see the Republican Party back into power.