tv After Words Craig Shirley Citizen Newt CSPAN October 14, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
or the times we would forget. to use bill back its -- baskets we used to have a saying that the file cabinet were his ideas in the fourth tour was newt's good ideas. [laughter] he was the idea guy. and to be a part of the organization that is now a permanent part of the republican party that is not up permanent fixture.
but you were up part of that. was gingrich j. and extension of that?. >> absolutely. the contract with america was portrayed into the reagan principles. but ronald reagan inverses bill clinton to feel confident in the context but the results prove that. >> that is one way but i think how he got into politics with the people that were in power. >> it was not a conventionally conservative race. >> key called itself a conservative but he wrote in
1970 for one of the first articles advocating governor reagan as president general ford in the primaries. everybody had a chance with the eyelashes and a the whisker to defeat in kansas city in 76 so thinking of politics and revolutionary politics but in 1974 for the first time republicans were wiped out across the country with the governorship and down the voting booth. and came within 6,000 votes of though long-term
incumbent against the of southern democrat good old boy in georgia and it was quite remarkable because more ne recognition and he went to school in new orleans but he had his roots in politics. >> the district living in atlanta?. >> yes. he had a balance. with that urban white caller business interests. >> they were a one-party state never had a republican governor or senator at that
time. in the good old boy. >> but then found in washington. agent is with deep roots and they were there as long as he wanted to be there. >> there is a new nomination problem?. >> but it was the token opposition. >> tel plus how did he come to win this seat. >> guest: it happened twice before with a good
established name recognition but in 1974 he this is in watergate by 6,000 votes but then two years later carter and popular former governor of georgia is the nominee and goes across the finish line. and it was an enormous victory. of course, they were in that uphill fight as well so this has to be maddening first watergate then the nomination it stops them. that would drive anybody bonkers.
and that it would be problematic. so then he finally resigns and the democrats dominate you had a good campaign. but it was not the overwhelming feeling. as the republicans picked up three seats in the house or of the senate and about 20 in the house. but flint retires because he had to close calls. but then the republicans did
then newt gingrich was the first serious challenger they ever had. been talking about the strategy to have the endorsements. with parts of labor and jack flynn was democratic leadership. there was a local congressman and at the time with a prominent leader in the black community. >> with the adjoining districts?. >> sitting down at the same table but meanwhile with the happy support of the land
ted daily world and meeting with them all the time and campaigning in the churches with widespread support in the black community. nobody thought a republican could possibly do that very much welcomed into the black community. >> he also had some labor endorsements?. >> that was exactly the way that they specified it. >> so that coalition changed ?. >> but it was interesting with the reagan coalition in with that endorsement but
that was what reagan had in 1988 and '84 as a precursor. he did not get the amount of support that gingrich got but not for lack of trying the he was endorsed and other african-american leaders. >> so he comes to washington in those groups that supported him if you talking in the book what he did to try to keep these groups in line? or mac. >> that was a an interesting coalition because there is no conservative organization to use because of it even with the republican party to muster a money order
resources basically just a letterhead organization. you cannot depend on the local party. >> so those environmentalist was with environmental studies so the legislation of hearings and meetings to keep the door open. >> compared to his predecessor. >> yes. he supported. >> one of the first ones to call for the martin luther king, jr. holiday and the reagan administration was
slow to go along with that idea. in seoul were republicans. but that was part of his base. >> that was more jack kemp. >> also he introduced a bill for a medical marijuana. >> [laughter] yes. way before his time. >> people looking today with the image he has today is that the newt gingrich that he became?. >> i think he reached a point no doubt as a rockefeller republican and did 1968 but they see the
liberals are not working. but it doesn't work practically in the governmental since with conservatism in the free market. so always anti-establishment. >> to stand up against the south african apartheid government he voted for the 85 civil rights act and got a lot of grief for that and it was a pretty white district that happily taking his name off the jimmy swaggart mass ted but this - - masthead but this is the newt gingrich they would recognize. >> this is the image of today. of course he would say yes
side did those things of course, i would take my name off or of course, i would oppose apartheid or is in nicaragua or to support the government but there is a lot of history to see what politics was like talking how donald trott met with the russians that been a number of democrats like daniel ortega in nicaragua to undermine reagan's foreign policy. they're all in complete violation of the act. so gingrich comes to the house he was on the back bench it was called redneck
row with the seven republicans and democrats. >> was the spotted as a vicious leader?. >> people saw that potential for a leadership. much more get along and belonged to a the revolutionaries more than even after watergate. >> it is much more worse. >> that is not the of republicans fall. and then it is a lot of other factors.
>> that could be '30's or 40's or 50's or 60's with conservative democrats. so they could compromise more easily. as they were all conservative firm mostly conservative. but the political parties operated and when they were at the national convention they nominated a liberal to put that together. to produce unified convention. to lodge a the moderate.
and then if you talk about imagery, of both parties operate. when they were the nominee of the republican party to say he should pick nelson rockefeller to unify the party to win the election against lbj. but to be very conservative and from buffalo york. so now with is all conservative to drive liberal republicans out of the party that is like john
lindsay leaving the party. also the process sarah john conley a conservative democrat serve that begins to process of the voting rights act by introducing new voters. but you saw that in virginia. so as a democrat? and then to start the process continuing up through today there are very few liberal republicans in the party anymore. >> but newt gingrich's saw
the opportunity to be the majority. >> yes. analog are democrats intend in its essence with the anti-big corporations and big government to be anti-wall street is to be anti-government. >> how does the of leadership to this?. >> but he is uncontrollable in the bush white house. and then to support from illinois who was a moderate
in deadbeat's him by a blind vote and then the bush white house because gingrich's very much as 0 million. >> fried chicken inverses filet mignon? is that the cultural difference?. >> to be quickly assimilated to see how easily he moves within that culture down there. but bush was of a different era and culture. so with that party and everything. from what you represent. >> soda to be reelected and
then that was a tough year for republicans. in then gets a following of people then webber alien benedictine the as they grow in the house. tirade -- tired to be in the minority. also after 28 years were in the minority. with the chairmanship san the house and with a the house post office. but it wasn't the ideological purpose.
>> pcs the first opening? so talk about that. >> a longtime democrat from detroit taking kickbacks from the staff with the certain pay scale to give cash out of their own pay and gingrich started to go after him is a national platform to establish himself as a candidate and congressmen of the future. he can be very charismatic.
but "i love lucy." there is no talk radio to speak of. so he quickly realized of potency of special orders every afternoon to give a five minute speech that it would be carried over cable in to 100,000 homes around the country. former congressman dick armey would say would you go give a speech to 100,000 people? he said of course, and that is what you were doing with c-span with special orders. so quickly that is a cult leader getting 700 letters a week.
to a the backbench of the junior member from georgia this is the abolition of the fairness doctrine? and one of the first members with the e-mail account. and to have a good relationship. but he had the relationship with the way that things were going. >> and with future ideas and then to go round on tangents. >> but most members will
talk on a global perspective. and how we utilize this? democrats did not understand until it was too late. with that deep appreciation. but at the end of the revolution because the framers wrote a letter. but the war goes on. it means that the government is a challenge. but he knew exactly what that meant when i quoted that to him. but that biggest fish of
also talk about the speaker pro to be vindictive. then people were generally afraid of them. up to a lot of no good in texas. he was doing shady oil deals and was beginning of -- he had this book deal, he got unbelievable amounts of money in loyalty for a book that nobody wanted and nobody purchased.
>> interest groups -- >> exactly. yeah . this is what first kind of opened up and the first wound which gave the opening to go in and then using the investigation that he had to find out all the other shady things that he was involved in. of course, this took -- was over a period of months. this just wasn't one-day event or one-week event. this took place over, you know, six to nine months. >> he didn't have a gavel or investigative staff or anything like that? >> no, own staff. >> and people leaking stuff too. >> exactly, political enemies of wright who were leaking stuff to him, a lot of people like that from texas that were happy --
no, but after shady cadillac deals and shady oil deals, shady cattle deals and shady book deals, i mean, now -- democrats vote of investigation. and remembers the time. his resignation was live in all three networks. second aligned to the presidency of the united states. this is big medicine and, of course, he resigns but it's all due to gringrich's unrelenting pursuit of him. >> but memories are long in this business, but he -- >> revenge is long. >> he becomes speakers and
writing books and literally hundreds of complaints filed by democrats and they end up getting him on one. >> on one which is really kind of silly to be quite honest. he made elusion to fundraising appeal in letter to henry kissinger, kissinger was going to be down in georgia giving a speech and gringrich wrote him a letter and asked him to meet with some high-dollar rollers down there. that was the one violation of house ethics rules. >> you can throw him out of the house for something like that. >> end up paying a fine and, of course, lawyer fees and everything else. that was the only thing they ever got on. >> he stayed in but clearly the point man and taking a lot of hits for all of this -- >> yeah. >> how difficult was it to get other members to go along after -- going after bright?
>> everybody is scared and but he gains momentums -- >> more facts come out. >> facts are leaked out and political enemies in texas released material or leaked material, then, you know, like everything in washington, everybody is a coward until the end and then they are standing there on top of the mountain to point the flag. >> let's talk a little bit, gringrich, bush comes in and raises signs a bill to raise taxes. >> it was more than that because his signature issue in 1988 was read my lips, no new taxes. his violating his own new pledge and he did not get most republicans to go along with him on that. most republicans went with gringrich, the vote went down to defeat. bush runs in '88, read my lips,
no new taxes, by 1981 he's proposing new taxes and now reagan republicans like ed rollins who is at the senatorial committee and your friend and gringrich and others, then weber and jack camp and others, they're basically urging bush, you have to find another way to find sources of revenue but you can't violate campaign -- >> openly. >> very openly. he holds a press conference and then he goes jogging and all the national media is there capturing him jogging and a reporter asked him, the whole gaggle of the press corp. was there and the reporter asked the president, what about read my lips and he runs by and points
hips, he's making a mockery to the pledge to the american people. you think what perspective -- >> divided republican party that never healed and parrow took advantage of that. >> i think the best biography i've seen written about newt. very historical in context. i -- and an easy read, by the way, we talked about newt and bush. newt sees when dick cheney, was it dick cheney that gets appointed to secretary of defense, that opens up -- >> exactly. >> this is what made gringrich -- >> yeah. >> outsider trying to make. tell us about that. >> paul who was leader, becomes
secretary of defense, and cheney would have stayed and gringrich would have stayed because of fate and it's voted down in the senate to be secretary of defense and bush looks around and cheney is very qualified and a good nominee and good antidote and so he nominates dick cheney which opens up the wip position. he always thought about being speaker of the house but cheney was very popular, cheney was very well thought of. >> he wouldn't have beaten cheney. he worked with him well. >> right. exactly. the question whether or not cheney would have become speaker
in 1994, would he have created the political conditions that gringrich did which led to the contract which led 104th republican congress. >> like all historical figures, persistence, third time, how many people run three times before they win a seat after getting caught and a little bit of luck. >> luck, persistence, intelligence and, you know, belief in his own abilities to lead. >> what did the bush white house, the last thing they want counting votes for them is newt gringrich. >> specially gringrich says i'm not going to be george bush's whip. there's never good relations gringrich and the bush white house anyway and john who was then bush's chief of staff and dick, budget director made it
even worse. they didn't help bush's cause on capitol hill, in the house and as a matter of fact at one point, relations were badly that they were ban from going to capitol hill because seemed like every time they went up to capitol hill, new enemies were created. >> interesting. newt, ph.d which is very well respected, very selective school in the south. >> thesis was on economic policy in the congo. >> i never read it. [laughter] >> it's one of the few books he didn't published, i guess. >> exactly. when i pointed that out to him, he did say i did have an offer to have it published. >> but it seemed like ivy leagues, they look down on him, did that create within newt -- you have to feel that to some
extent? >> i'm sure that there was some sort of -- to tell you, you mentioned tommy, debating skills, i realized he went before the oxford debate society in the 80's to debate u.s. policy toward nicaragua and debated to the nicaraguan foreign minister and the liberal students voted gringrich the winner of the debate and that tells you about gringrich's debate skills. >> he wasn't hart of that intellectual group as it comes out. >> no. >> he challenged that every segment. they did everything they could to knock him down. >> i think he looked at them with mirth, he could carry on a conversation about wellington but also talk about atlanta braves and their chances of
winning. >> he had a different world view. at the end of the day, politics become a clash of -- >> yes. >> when you look ahead of the republican party today, clearly newt saw that the presidential coalition could become a congressional coalition. >> absolutely. he was the first one to do it. as you know, after election are local concerns, he's the first one to actually nationalize and make it a referenced of of the republican party, reagan republican party and bush's presidency and lays out specific issues that they're going to -- they're going to pass if 104th congress goes to the republican party. corruption with term limiting speakers, committee
chairmanships, closing offices. >> a race against a democratic incumbent in fairfax county. >> it was a good race. >> i will never forgot the ad they had against me, my pollsters said you won because that was the wrong issue. >> everybody understood the contract. but it was so disruptive of the norm for congress. >> right. >> democrats and washington felt, look what they are going after changing this, it's going to be a winner and in fact, it was not. >> right. >> so the party today as you look ahead to donald -- post donald trump is it still reagan party or trump party? >> i think it's still ronald reagan's party, the issues are
still before although the debt, you know, is interesting how the -- >> casualty. >> the trump white house has come out and said the debt doesn't matter. the republican philosophy is that the debt does matter and mattered very much to ronald reagan. ronald reagan wrote in dairies the two things he regretted not doing more about were was the pro-life issue and the debt. those are the two things he regret about doing in eight years. so it's always been a matter of concern to the republican party. >> but he had a democratic congress and there's only so much you can do. >> exactly. >> bush also felt about the debt and that's why he we wanted to tax increases and clinton also saw they had to do something about the debt and made his members take a tough vote that helped them lose the house. >> that's right, '91.
>> but since that time with bush and obama and now trump, the debt has taken a sideline, am i wrong on that? >> you're absolutely right. who knows where this is going to lead. but if both parties are in favor of deficit spending, who is going to look out for the budget, who is going to look out for the payroll, you know, the revenue, who is going to look out for the bottom line of the national government and the american people, you know, and newt was very -- and newt was conscious. >> four years in a row. >> sitting with clinton. >> and 104th, 105th congress made payments to reduce the national debt. >> that's exactly right. >> yeah. >> the debt doesn't matter until it does and one day you wake up and doesn't end well. >> reagan use today joke, it's big enough to take care of itself.
[laughter] >> the coalition that elected gringrich as the whip. >> it's interesting because he had congresswoman from maine, she supported him but jim leitch who was another moderate from iowa also supported gringrich. he got supported of obviously all of the conservatives and most of the conservatives. >> he didn't get tom -- >> yes, exactly. he got virtually all of the conservatives but establishment types too who add mirrored his tactics and who were sick of being kicked around by the majority of democrats for all those years and they wanted their chance at power themselves. he got a healthy number of -- it
was more about his tactics an relentlessness and unwilling to surrender at any point. right. >> that was part of the equation. >> sure, absolutely. part of the establishment and after he lost, he went right into the bush cabinet as secretary of agriculture. >> right. he got selected whip and has tough reelects. people have to understand that it wasn't all gravy after he got reelected. talk about his 1990 and 1992. two different races --
>> different reasons. scandal emerged in 1990 with a lot of members bouncing checks and having them covered without ever having to reimburse the house bank or delaying the reimbursement. there were some members who bounced hundreds of checks, is that virtually everybody was involved and -- >> anybody who had an account there. >> anybody who had an account. one member, democratic member from arkansas who bounced 275 checks. newt bounced 20, but he got caught up in it too. kind of the mini populist antiestablishment way, somewhat antibush too but he almost lost his -- his nomination in 1990 and almost lost the election in
1990. same thing in '92 -- >> in ' 92 the legislature -- >> he would run in 1990 and 1998 and he's out in a district that people don't know him. he has to reintroduce himself to 60% of the voters. >> in fact, i don't think any of his current district was in that district, he had to move to the south and reintroduce himself which was fine which you had another republican who had -- >> your point is well taken. >> state legislator who had his own race. tell us about that race.
>> it got very ugly. smart political operators. >> from the area. >> he ran, you know, a very, very tough, tough campaign against gringrich and gave him a scare. newt was already probably used to these things but the election took six weeks to actually go through recount before it actually declared gringrich the winner. >> can you imagine the guy being speaker of the house years later? >> yes a -- astonishing. >> carries georgia. >> that's right. >> the back pressure against him even though he almost loses primary, he still has a tough general election too. >> yeah. >> he comes back here.
'92 republicans pick up some seat, basically redistricting. the voting rights act, they amended it at that point and you had a lot of new african americans coming to congress. >> that's right. >> it brings in more republicans as well. >> right. >> and the republican strength increases and clinton elected as president. first few months of trump and we see the difficulties they've had in getting things in clear. clinton had similar problems. >> sure. he obviously had democratic house and democratic senate but he never won a majority of the vote from the american people and i've had pollsters tell me ross perrot, he took 19% and a lot of pollsters, some say that he took most of the folks from
bush and others say that proportionately bush and clinton. clinton has no mandate. he wins with 43% of the vote. 39% against dole in '96 but again doesn't get the majority of the vote. democrats don't feel particularly loyal to clinton because he doesn't have much to hold over them since he won elections and so -- the republicans have enough votes in the senate for filibuster which bob dole does before clinton's big tax increase in '93. things are forming and coalition growing of anticlinton americans and the republicans --
>> one group after another. >> exactly. >> if citizen newt, an excellent read, we have been through a lot of the history of newt's rise. new falls a couple of times, persistence in moving ahead even with adversity and we get to 1994 and republicans know something a little different, this could be the year but they've been out of power for 40 years, what are they thinking about the republican conference, what is newt thinking, newt came out and did an event for me that year, i'm challenging the democratic incumbent in fairfax. >> we could pick up 20 seats or 70. >> what is he talking about? i will never forget, i won my seat that night in when you shall and virginia district which ended up, the top of the ticket -- >> right. >> the top of the ticket, but i won it and i thought, wow, i was lucky to get through this. i won by 8 points and as i'm
leaving leaving leaving the hotel, i have no idea. >> it's never been unified before and tax increase and the other initiatives that divided the republican party. pretty much unified around the issues and unified against bill clinton and the democratic is divided. what -- one of the things, of course, hillarycare which was introduced in the spring of '93 and is still an issue as of '94 dividing the american people because they saw it as managed care, government mandates and saw it as just government interference in the private and even cross pressure some liberal democrats because it looks like government is going to interfere with doctor and his or her
patient. so really unifies the republican party. i try to cover this, tom, as best as i could in the book, really proved to be the death for democrats to keep control. tough on crime and crime is the number one issue in 1994. all the polls had crime as number one issue and the republicans did a masterful job as doing juujitsu. exactly.
congressman from texas, it was just stuff with all sorts of pork, very little of it having to actually do with crime prevention and the republicans did a good job of recasting it as just nothing more than more wasteful spending so the democrats are left defending a bill that nobody thinks is going -- >> we had gun control in that bill that was a killer. >> that is true. that took a backseat. it was all about the pork that had been stuck in the bill. they've got nothing to campaign on. there's no signature issue for them to campaign on. i voted for the crime bill or so and the republicans are completely on offense, they are running commercials of democratic challengers morphing into the image of bill clinton. >> i remember it well. my own race, i remember washington post which ended up endorsing me but having a
headline on congress probably the worst congress in history. >> right. bad congress. >> it was. up to that point, could not get their act together and when they did -- it was. >> that's right, perfect storm is coming and republicans have a contract. >> exactly. democrats can't get hillarycare passed, they look like the keystone cops, clinton white house bumblg and stumbling and can't get anything done there and you have the nation scandals bubbling up for bill clinton. everything is bad for the democrats and everything is good for the republicans,
anticorruption, all of the things are working to the republicans' benefit and what's interesting too is that the economy was in good shape in 1994. >> it was a in good shape. growth rate over 3%. >> that's right. this should have been the saving grace for clinton white house but nobody was focused on it. everybody was focused on the incompetence of washington, the incompetence of congress and the general rejection of all the stumbling and embracing as you pointed out, everything that's popular in the contract of america. >> your chapters are insightful. i say to readers who want to read to that and the thought that went into that but having unified republican party -- >> even today. >> and more importantly when they won the house, instead of the house coming in and different -- >> it's remarkable time, the
republican party only has been unified two or three times in our lifetime in a meaningful sort of way, 1994. perrot affected and took votes from bob dole. there are a few times, certainly even today you can't argue that the republican party is unified. >> but newt with the power of personality really brought the party together for the first time in history and -- >> exactly. that's probably most if not all due to gringrich. >> the book is citizen newt by craig shirley. >> yeah, eventually i will do a
sequel. >> there was plenty to write here that i didn't know about and i considered myself a history buff. it's a great read, congratulations on a great book. >> thank you very much. thank you for watching. >> you've been watching after words, weekly interview program, this week craig shirley was interviewed by tom davis on the life and political career of newt gringrich. if this was of interest to you, here are some suggestions of some other programs, craig shirley is the author of several books on ronald reagan including his most recent reagan rising, newt gringrich has also authored many books including understanding trump and tom davis is the coauthor of a book on congress entitled the partisan divide. all three of these books can be
watched at any time on our website booktv.org. simply type in the author's name and the word book in search bar and you can view the programs online. >> brook tv tapes hundreds of author programs throughout the country all year long. here is a look at some of the events we will be covering this week. founder and ceo of success academy charter schools, discuss her experiences with the u.s. education system. later that night will be at word bookstore in new jersey where diana enríquez, monday october 19th, 1987. on tuesday it's back to manhattan at the personal and political life of herbert huber.
on thursday will be at the jewish museum for francine on the life of israel's fourth prime minister and on sunday we are on the west coast at the jazz center in san francisco for the 2017 american book awards. that's a look at some of the events book tv will be covering this wining, many of the events are open to the public, look for them to air in the near future on book tv on c-span2. [applause] >> good evening. how is everybody doing? this is my kind of crowd. everybody is excited to be here and excited to talk to each other.