Gingrich shows his political smarts — with tactics and rhetoric

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich overrode the Minnesota Republican Party and insisted that the media be allowed into today’s $1,000-a-plate Tom Emmer fund raiser where he was the featured speaker. Smart move.

Gingrich is one of the more compelling speakers of any political stripe and certainly an eloquent defender of conservative causes. With Emmer at his side, the effect was tag-team political theater.

Gingrich does not give standard stump rhetoric. Where else would you hear a political speech with references to Albert Camus and George Orwell?

He takes the conservative mantras of smaller government, lower taxes and personal responsibility and wraps them in nothing less than indicators of the future of American civilization.

“What we are faced with is a cultural crisis with a financial consequence,” he told the crowd.  The housing collapse and the Wall Street collapse are cultural mileposts that indicate the need for “very dramatic changes if we want our children to live in the freest and safest and most prosperous future.”

National speakers of Gingrich’s caliber are hard acts to follow, and that was Emmer’s task before the group of 150.  He didn’t get much of a launch. Gingrich referred only briefly to Emmer, paying most of his local respects to Emmer’s running mate, Annette Meeks, a former Gingrich staffer, and Vin Weber, a congressional colleague.

But as one silver-haired speaker replaced another, the audience stayed largely attentive, some listening carefully. Emmer’s call for action — “boots on the ground,” as he put it — was striking home.

“Help us with your time, with your money, with your vote,” he implored, sounding like a man who does want to be the next governor of the state. “He has more confidence,” observed one attendee. “There’s a clear distinction.”

Later, at a news conference, Emmer was gathering momentum. He elbowed Gingrich aside to take the first question from MinnPost colleague Doug Grow. He dismissed Republican supporters of Independence Party candidate Tom Horner as “people who can’t imagine re-thinking government.”

He wholly rejected any contention that the GOP base was divided.  “It’s not about what jersey you’re wearing, it’s not about what party,” he said.  It’s about “a pretty easy choice to make,” referring to his tax-and-spend position versus his two opponents.

“We share a message for Minnesota,” Emmer said of Gingrich as the pair wrapped up events.

 In fact, there was only one discordant note of the afternoon. Gingrich, who during lunch predicted a 50- to 60-seat gain for Republicans in the U.S. House, seemed genuinely puzzled at MinnesotaPoll numbers showing support for candidates who support tax increases. “Actually, I’m surprised,” he said.

His only explanation: “This is a state where it’s not yet real and personal.”

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Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/06/2010 - 05:51 pm.

    Mr. Gingrich IS a compelling and sometimes eloquent speaker. Demagogues pretty much have to have those skills if they hope to keep the lecture and appearance fees coming in. Ethically and intellectually bankrupt, he also serves as a poster child for much of what’s wrong with the current version of the Republican Party.

  2. Submitted by Daryl Hanson on 10/06/2010 - 05:52 pm.

    I really wish Gingrich would just go away. His conservative speech is appealing but knowing his personnel past history (treatment of his former wife) just makes me sick. So please Newt just go away (along with your crap and tax RINO-isms). Good bye please!!!!

  3. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/06/2010 - 06:21 pm.

    Would this be the same Newt Gingrich who on January 21, 1997, the House voted overwhelmingly (395 to 28) to reprimand for ethics violations dating back to September 1994. The house ordered Gingrich to pay an unprecedented $300,000 penalty, the first time in the House’s 208-year history it had disciplined a speaker for ethical wrongdoing.

    Aren’t Gingrich and Weber two of the people who are generally held up to be in the intellectual forefront of American conservatism? If that’s the case, then the movement has sunk far lower than I had previously suspected—more’s the pity.

  4. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/06/2010 - 06:59 pm.

    Very amusing. Cyndy Brucato is very good at her job.

    I’m sure old family values Emmer would just as soon have had the Newt give his talk in private, take the money, and silently escort the Newt out of the state.

    The Newt – humorously – had other thing on his mind. The same things as our about to be former governor Pawlenty.

    Given Newt’s past history and well known unethical behavior, it is pitiful that such a man would be considered presidential material. This just shows how low the GOP has sunk.

    As for his endorsement of Emmer, that pretty much says all I need to hear.

  5. Submitted by Stephan Flister on 10/06/2010 - 11:02 pm.

    Note to MinnPost click counters: I followed the story link to see the comments, not to read Ms. Brucato’s press release.
    If you are paying her, it may save you money (and us time) to just run a headline – GOP flak assembles talking points – and cut straight to the comments.

  6. Submitted by Roy Everson on 10/07/2010 - 02:23 am.

    He referred a couple years ago to World War III — the West v. Islam. Recently he derided Obama’s ideology as “Kenyan anti-colonialism”. I’d say his demogogery is far more disturbing than his ethical lapses or his personal cruelty.

  7. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 10/07/2010 - 06:30 am.

    Ditto to # 5. Saw the headline, straight to the comments.

  8. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 10/07/2010 - 07:18 am.

    The candidates’ words rustle like dead leaves; brown words, dead words, scattered in the wind…words heard so many times they are rendered lifeless; meaningless now in the autumn season?

    There is a repetitive solidarity among falling leaves gathering in fading shades of yellow, dulling red; brown fringes curling…all in their season descending? Falling when they think they are rising?

    Candidates’ words carefully, arrogantly, skillfully create boundaries; borders to wall us in or wall us out?

    You, Me, Us…not “them’ again? They don’t matter?

    It has not been a good year for leaf nor politician; words rustling, hustling to a gullible few who may not even be listening?

    Show me the truth in their clapping…

    But then, does it even matter now?…it has not been a good year for leaf nor politician.

  9. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/07/2010 - 08:48 am.

    Denial…

    Denial…

    It sounds to me as if the fabulously wealthy who have underwritten this traveling medicine show of which the Emmer/Gingrich event was a prime example, and profited massively from the proceeds of it (much lower taxes for themselves, the freedom to pollute as much as they want, tax advantages for sending off shore the well paying jobs that used to be held by the middle class, among many others),…

    That the fabulously wealthy and their spokesmodels (Gingrich and Emmer, Bachmann and Palin, among many others) and their sycophants (Brodkorb and Sutton, for example) are trying desperately not to notice that the public has awakened to the cause of our current economic hangover and the reality that the snake oil those fabulously wealthy people have been selling us didn’t bring us anything resembling a better WORK climate (which is, after all, SUPPOSED to be the effect of a better BUSINESS climate),…

    That their snake oil, which we’ve been drinking so avidly since the days of Satanic Ronnie Raygun is what has made us so sick?

    I can only hope that November 3rd will find them curled up in cozy corner at home (dogs that they are) licking their wounds.

  10. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/07/2010 - 11:35 am.

    Moral outrage expressed from Al Franken supporters is always quite amusing, however the observation that Newt was “genuinely puzzled at MinnesotaPoll numbers” occasioned in me the sort of deep, genuine laughter medical professionals assure us is very healthy.

    “Actually, I’m surprised,” he said.”

    You have no idea, Newt!

  11. Submitted by Joseph Fleischman on 10/07/2010 - 02:12 pm.

    Your effort to achieve some political balance need not go so far as to enlist the former spokesperson for the GOP. Or are the other Republicans not eager to be seen with Newt and with Emmer?

  12. Submitted by Arito Moerair on 10/07/2010 - 02:35 pm.

    Ditto #5 and #7. Reading an article in which the author simply fawns over rich, white GOP men (is there any other kind?) is the dietary equivalent of eating asphalt for dinner.

  13. Submitted by Tommy Johnson on 10/08/2010 - 02:05 pm.

    “Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich overrode the Minnesota Republican Party and insisted that the media be allowed into today’s $1,000-a-plate Tom Emmer fund raiser where he was the featured speaker. Smart move.”

    Say, Ms. Brucato?

    There’s a certain Credentialed Member Organization of the Capitol Press Corps that might disagree with that assertion….

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