Newt Gingrich: Republicans Won 1995 Government Shutdown

He was wrong in 1995 and he's wrong now.

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By Scott Galupo, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Argh! What’s that awful sound I’m hearing? So familiar, so grating, so egomaniacal, so ... Newt.

According to Dave Weigel’s fine new blog at the Washington Post, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich bridled at the suggestion that the 1995 budget showdown between the congressional Republican majorities and President Clinton redounded in the favor the Democratic party.

“Wait a second,” said Gingrich. “This is the standard, elite, inside-the-Beltway worldview. Tell me in what way we didn’t win. After that, we got to a balanced budget. And what happened to the Republican majority?” The answer, of course, is that Republicans held the majority in 1996, while President Bill Clinton was reelected.

They’re too young to remember it directly, but Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam, in their book Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream, get it right:

After the disastrous government showdown gambit, the Republicans lost all the battleground states in the Dole-Clinton presidential race and began to shed congressional seats in the Rust Belt and the Pacific Northwest, where white working-class supermajorities had been crucial to Reaganite and Gingrichian success...

“Then,” Douthat and Salam write, “came the impeachment debacle.”

And how.

I don’t care how smart he was (is). Newt Gingrich helped run his party into the ground. Why anyone still listens to him is an impenetrable mystery.