Newt Gingrich's place in congressional history is assured. But before he passes off the scene, it would be good to recount his contribution.
Newt Gingrich came to Congress is 1978 in what was the exact middle of the 40-year reign of the Democratic majority. Consider that this was before Ronald Reagan became president, and before anyone would have thought of a conservative Speaker of the House. Yet Newt Gingrich could see success on the distant horizon. By 1984 he was convinced that conservative ideas would win the day and held to that belief for the following ten years until a Republican majority was elected in 1994 for the first time in 40 years.
Margaret Thatcher said after meeting him that "he knows where he wants to go." But she also added, "Bit of a frisky puppy, though." And that is often what got Newt Gingrich in trouble. He liked to stir up trouble and say things that created a reaction. It wasn't long before he was a lightning rod for criticism.
At a time when the message should have been "the Contract with America," the media was more interested in the messenger: Newt Gingrich. And he always managed to give them something to focus on. While managing the Contract with America, he was also working out a book deal that drew sharp criticism. While trying to manage the Congress, he was also under attack for the use of his GOPAC funds. And at times when it might have been good to hide and avoid the cameras for a day or two, he was holding daily press conferences and battling with the media.
But whatever you may think of Newt Gingrich, he changed congressional history. He made things happen and brought about some remarkable changes in Congress. He understood the power of ideas and the power of persistence.
I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.
© 1998 Probe Ministries International