You may have heard by now that last night in New Orleans Newt Gingrich said the GOP should focus its 2010 message on bringing about "the end of Obamaism." His strategy: the GOP should shut down Federal government until 2013, when it will repeal every piece of legislation passed under President Obama.
When we win control of the House and Senate this fall, Stage One of the end of Obamaism will be a new Republican Congress in January that simply refuses to fund any of the radical efforts. ... Once upon a time, I used to be Speaker of the House and I actually understand the legislative process. And the truth is, under our Constitution, the Congress doesn’t have to pass the money. ... A Republican President and a Republican Congress in February and March of 2013 will repeal every radical bill passed by this machine.
Gingrich would probably try to dispute the notion that his plan is to shut down the Federal government. He'd say that the GOP wants to pick and choose which programs it will fund and won't fund. Unfortunately for Newt, we've been through this before -- in 1995, after he became Speaker of the House. And his "pick and choose" theory isn't how it works in reality. In reality, the only way for the GOP to execute his plan is to simply shut everything down.
Because this is essentially a replay of 1995, we've got a pretty clear guide on how this would all play out -- and it ain't pretty for the GOP. Even Newt himself admitted this strategy failed. In case he needs a refresher, take a trip back in time to January 21, 1996 when the New York Times reported on Gingrich's admission:
The first Republican Congress since the 1950's arrived on Jan. 4, 1995, with a grand agenda of spending cuts, tax cuts and constitutional amendments and, like most newcomers to Washington, a promise to do things differently.
A year later, despite a lot of action in the House, the constitutional amendments have been defeated and the tax cuts vetoed. Some serious domestic spending cuts have been enacted, although more than offset by an increase in military spending. And the failure to enact other routine appropriations bills has twice shuttered Government offices.
By late fall, Republicans had put their hoped-for policy changes into a plan to balance the budget by 2002, and the shutdowns were a weapon. But, Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged in a recent interview, "our strategy failed" because Mr. Clinton and his allies, instead of surrendering and making a budget deal, "were tougher than I thought they would be."
On policy grounds, Gingrich's strategy ended in abject failure. Politically, the GOP did manage to hang onto its majority in the House in the 1996 elections, but went from a 38 seat majority to a 22 seat margin. And President Clinton won the big prize, beating Bob Dole by 8.5% and winning an electoral college landslide. And now Newt is promising a replay...before the GOP has even managed to reclaim the Congress. First things first, buddy.