Newt Gingrich: 2010 Election Is About Paychecks v. Food Stamps

The midterms are a referendum on Barack Obama’s first two years in the White House.

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The upcoming election is about choices.

Big choices. About the size and scope of government. About the reach of the federal government’s authority. About whether or not the choices the voters made in 2008 should be confirmed or whether they made a mistake.

Right now things don’t look good for the Democrats. The venerable Gallup organization released data Monday that suggests a pro-GOP wave is coming. “Republicans,” Gallup said, “have a double-digit advantage under two separate turnout scenarios.”

[Read more about the Republican Party.]

In the first, which measures the potential outcome of a high turnout election, the GOP enjoys a 53 to 40 advantage over the Democrats. In the second, which measures the “low turnout” scenario, the Republicans lead 56 percent to 38 percent.

Either way, the prospects for the Democrats this November are bleak.

There is no way to escape the fact that this is a change election. Moreover it’s a referendum on Barack Obama’s first two years in the White House--not on the future under the Republicans. The voters are unhappy about the coming tax hike, federal spending that is out of control, the high level of unemployment, and, perhaps most importantly, about Obama’s failure to govern as the post-partisan centrist he promised to be.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in a memo he recently sent to GOP candidates across the nation, defines the election as a choice between two futures. “The House Republicans’ ‘Pledge to America’ has set the stage” he says, “for a powerful, symbolic closing argument for candidates seeking to unseat the left-wing, big spending, job killing Democrats: paychecks versus food stamps.”

Though some might find it harsh, it is an emotionally powerful choice that cuts to the core of what many Americans are thinking: Will I be able to provide for my family in the coming year? Will I be able to keep a roof over their heads? Will I be able to put decent meals on the table--or will my children go to bed hungry?

In June of 2010 more foods stamps were distributed by the government than ever before in American history, which shows how far we have fallen. In January 2007, when Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the House and Harry Reid took over the leadership of the U.S. Senate, Gingrich says, “unemployment was 4.6 percent and food stamp usage was around 26.5 million Americans. Today, the unemployment rate is 9.6 percent and over 40 million Americans are on food stamps.”

[See where Reid gets his campaign money.]

Liberal partisans will no doubt respond to this idea by perpetuating the fallacious argument that the GOP wants to cut food stamps--that they want the poor and needy to fend for themselves. It’s a shopworn critique that really doesn’t provide any answers, and, more importantly, doesn’t offer a way out of the economic troubles the nation is now experiencing. Voters not already inclined to reject the GOP will almost certainly see this for what it is and reject it--especially when confronted with the facts.

In the four years after the GOP took control of Congress in 1994, unemployment fell from 5.6 percent to 4.2 percent, and, Gingrich reminds, because the economy began to grow and jobs were being created, the number of Americans on food stamps dropped by about 8 million.

It’s an argument the voters are ready for. The era of relief is giving way to an era of self-reliance. And, while this argument will not prevail in every case, the reality is that candidates are having success talking about tough issues and questioning whether the federal government should be as big as it is, cost as much as it does, and have its nose in everybody’s business all the time.

  • Check out our editorial cartoons on the GOP.
  • See which industries give the most to Congress.
  • See a slide show of the 10 keys to an Obama comeback.