About 200 miles southwest of where lawmakers in Washington, D.C., still haven’t comprised on a continued spending bill for fiscal year 2011, potential 2012 Republican presidential contender and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told more than 100 faith-based leaders that House Republicans should not compromise on fundamentals because the budget is a “moral battle.”
Gingrich was speaking at an exclusive luncheon at The Awakening 2011, a conference held at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and sponsored by the Freedom Federation, a consortium of faith-based conservative groups whose membership ranges from the Family Research Council Action to WallBuilders.
Relating the budget debate to the Cold War, and consistently referring to Democrats as “the elites,” Gingrich simplified his position on how the the budget crisis should be solved in Washington with a quote from the late President Ronald Reagan: “We win, they lose.”
“Obviously you have to compromise,” Gingrich said. “You have to negotiate, you have to be reasonable, but you cannot compromise on fundamentals. You can say we’ll write 2+2=4 in blue ink or we can write 2+2=4 in green ink, that’s fine, but we’re not going to write 2+2=5. It’s very important to understand how these fights are evolving. What’s happening is the elites can’t tell the truth because they’ll lose every single issue by 80/20 or better (regarding public opinion), and they can’t stand it if we insist on doing what we promised we’ll do.”
The theme “2+2=4″ permeated throughout Gingrich’s speech, implying that Democrats twist reality and that it’s the conservative agenda to restore truth to public policy.
“One of my pieces of advice is that you take [idea of 2+2=4] around to your neighborhood, and everybody who agrees with this, register them to vote — and the ones who don’t agree, tell them not to worry about it. They’re not ready for citizenship yet,” he said.
Gingrich praised controversial Republican Govs. Scott Walker, Wis., Rick Scott, Fla., and Chris Christie, N.J., for their attempts to bust unions in their states and called Christie “more fiscally responsible than President Obama.” He censured the president for not agreeing to the current GOP compromise on the table: to cut $12 billion and fund the military for the rest of the fiscal year.
“As a military brat, I find that offensive,” he said.
Gingrich also claimed the president’s interests were not with the American people, referring to his recent trip to Brazil and his position on fiscal policy as key indicators.
“The American people believe we ought to have an American energy policy producing American energy keeping American money at home to create American jobs,” Gingrich said. “The president goes to Brazil to congratulate them on going overseas with money we loaned them for a company George Soros invested in and then says we would like to be your best customer. Well, that’s enough — most Americans would like Brazil to be our best customer, but that would be somehow inappropriate; it would imply that you would actually drill in the gulf and actually find American oil.”
Though Gingrich still did not announce whether or not he will run in 2012, when asked how he would resolve the budget if he were in the president’s shoes, he told reporters he would have worked out a compromise two months ago. He also suggested the Obama could pass portions of the budget intermittently while the House and Senate continue to fight over individual amendments.
Asked why Republican leaders should refuse to back down on policy riders when Democrats also hold their own ideological principles, Gingrich told reporters following the event, “Well, that’s why it’s a difficult debate.”
Liberty University dean Matthew Staver made a point to say twice that Liberty University does not endorse political candidates.
“But we do endorse values,” Staver said after Gingrich’s speech.
Gingrich is currently working on a project with the university, developing a curriculum for a course called “American Exceptionalism.”