Newt Gingrich and the Start of an Era

The Book Review


This feels like an episode out of like not just a recent. It's not the recent past. Past the distant past I mean newt is still with us, but this is a very different time for newt, and I think that for many people he started to really appear on People's radars outside of Georgia in the early ninety s with a contract for America, but your book predates that so the book starts in the Nineteen Eighties when you Gingrich. Is this young? Young Congressman who comes from Georgia. He's elected in Nineteen, seventy eight, and any comes to Washington ready to just tear everything down to shake things up to do whatever necessary to help. Republicans become a majority in the House of Representatives which they had not been since nineteen fifty four, and he's intent on a not listening to senior members of the Party and to really. Really taking on the Democrats in ways that they had not been comfortable with, and so he makes a name for himself very quickly, even though he's not part of the leadership in the early eighties. Okay, so you're a history. Professor Newt Gingrich Thought of himself as a history professor and was a history professor, but what exactly did he teach? How did his academic career? Career fit in with his political career well, he received his PhD until Lane. After attending undergraduate school in Emory and Gingrich wrote his dissertation on Belgian colonialism, and he wrote about how and why colonial government had failed to modernize local education and nurture an elite that was capable of sustaining economic growth, and what was remarkable about the dissertation in retrospect, which is what he spent. Spent his academic time on was that he was critical of the design of Belgian policies, rather than on the merits of colonialism, which were much less interest to him, but but that wasn't really his his main focus. I mean as soon as he gets to West Georgia College. That's his first job as a professor. He's deeply uninterested in the academic life I think in. In his first year as a professor, he applies to be the president of the university. He then wants to be share the department and he's impatient with the slowness of academia He quickly gains a thirst for the life of politics, and that's really what engages him, and in one, thousand, nine, hundred, seventy four. He decides to run against the incumbent in his district. District John Flint who's an old southern Democrat. What are nudes politics like growing up? Because he conservative early on, and did his conservative ideology remained consistent throughout his life. Yeah, he comes from a working class family. The family's originally from Harrisburg. His father left his mother while she was pregnant with him, so he didn't have much of a relationship with him. He is raised. primarily by his stepfather, who's in the military, so Gingrich spends a lot of his youth travelling around. He's what we call an Army Brat, and lives in different places in Europe before the family finally settles in Georgia, which is the final stop? He's a Rockefeller Republican during the nineteen sixties. He he is conservative, but he is interested in Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller and then Richard Nixon who had ambitions of building a big Republican coalition as FDR had done for Democrats in the Nineteen Thirties. He doesn't really make a hard right. Right, turn until about nineteen seventy five I'm what prompts that well. He ran for the first time unsuccessfully in nineteen, seventy, four against flint. Then he's getting ready to run against Flint again in nineteen seventy six, and he meets some people associated with the conservative movement like Paul Way Rick. Who's running these camps for up and coming Republicans and he like many young Republicans starts to become enamored with what's this conservative movement that's bubbling up in America and talking about the need to dismantle government to be much more aggressive on national. National Security and this is when he starts to shift to what will eventually be the Reagan Revolution? Would you say that his guiding principles were firmly aligned with Reagan conservatism, or were there differences there? There were differences. Gingrich for example is much more concerned about environmental issues even in the early nineteen eighties than a lot of Reagan Nights, are he? He actually takes those kinds of policies much more seriously, but generally he lines up by the time he's in the house. He believes in tax cuts. He believes in deregulation. Deregulation, he believes importantly in a very muscular approach to fighting the Soviet Union and to fighting allies in places like Central America so though there are differences between him, and and some of the hard core inner circle of the Reagan administration. Generally they line up pretty well

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