In his new book, Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World that Works (Regnery, January 2008), former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich argues that America is at an important crossroads. Advances in technology, science, engineering, and medicine hold forth the promise of a golden age of enduring American economic success. If the right choices are made, America will enjoy a level of prosperity, safety, and freedom unknown to previous generations. But if the wrong choices are made, America will turn toward a path of inexorable decay.
Speaker Gingrich believes that it is impossible to address America’s challenges with the current structure of government and politics because both are broken. He believes that there is little hope for real change and a successful presidency if the winning presidential candidate in 2008, whether Democratic or Republican, accepts the status quo and looks for solutions within the existing framework. Reform can only be achieved through the creation of a citizens’ movement dedicated to transforming both American politics and government--anything less than fundamental change will lead ultimately to a weaker and more vulnerable America.
In Real Change, Speaker Gingrich diagnoses the challenges that Americans face today and offers fresh policy ideas for the post-Bush era. He explains why Democrats cannot deliver real change and why Republicans so far have failed. This New York Times--bestselling book is meant to initiate new discussions among Americans and lead to citizen-led demands on politicians, bureaucrats, and the news media to achieve real change that will lead to a safer, freer, and more prosperous America.
| || || |
Christopher DeMuth, AEI
| || || |
| || |
Newt Gingrich, AEI
| || || |
Gingrich: America Is on the Edge of Real Change
WASHINGTON, FEBRUARY 7, 2008 -- Americans have a "desperate desire for change," said Newt Gingrich in a speech today at the American Enterprise Institute. All the candidates for president are campaigning for "change," majorities of Americans think the country is going in the wrong direction, and U.S. leadership is being challenged around the world--all signs that change is an inevitable political fact. But Americans want more than sloganeering, he said. They are ready for "real change." Drawing on his bestselling new book, Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works (Regnery, 2008), Gingrich explored how real change can happen and what it will look like.
"Real change" in American history begins with the Founding Fathers and their war for independence. The drafting of the Constitution, the rise of Jeffersonian democracy, the populist groundswell that brought Andrew Jackson to power, the Civil War, the progressive movement, the New Deal, and Ronald Reagan's "fundamental disruption of the elite approach to foreign policy" all constitute real change, Gingrich said. And today? "You had better understand that we are on the edge of 'real change.'" What will the change look like? Gingrich said that the American public is going to coalesce in a center-right coalition that will embrace choice, individualism, and entrepreneurship and reject further government interference in the economy and people's lives.
Gingrich offered several principles for real change: "First, there is a world that works and a world that fails." He used his well-known FedEx illustration, viewed 1.2 million times on YouTube, contrasting shipping companies' ability to track packages with the federal government's inability to track illegal immigrants, eliciting smiles with his suggestion that the government find illegals by sending each of them a package via FedEx. He urged conservatives to embrace technology as a tool in the "war" on entrenched bureaucracies, which are all too easy to create but extremely hard to reform.
His second principle is that policies can make the difference between success and failure. Gingrich spoke of how Ireland--a depressed economy whose chief export was once Irishmen looking for work--has cut taxes, stimulated investment, invested in infrastructure, and attracted human capital. "Today," he said, "Ireland has a higher per-capita income that Germany. . . . The policies worked because they were 'real change.'" Policies can also breed failure. In America's inner cities, decades of bureaucratic turf wars and anti-growth economic policies have bred poverty, destroyed property values, and allowed crime to fester.
The third principle of real change is that it must be broad-based--that is, reforms must be supported by majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents. Eighty-seven percent of Americans support making English the official language of government, he said, and 84 percent would like the option of paying a flat tax with a single-page tax form. In Real Change, Gingrich also proposes a real-time verification system for immigration status and an expanded role for alternative energy sources, including nuclear power. In the vigorous question-and-answer session following his remarks, Gingrich emphasized the importance of the broad-based coalition: "We have to get past red and blue. You can't be a successful governing majority while writing off some Americans."
And as for the role of change in the 2008 election? Running on "change" is not enough, he said. "The successful party will be the party of real change."
To buy a copy of Real Change, click here.
For media inquiries, contact Véronique Rodman at email@example.com or 202.862.4870.
- Gingrich on Barack Obama's call for change: "Obama's rallying cry for change is a rather shallow device . . . but so was Franklin Roosevelt's."
- Gingrich on conservatism and government: "You can't be just an anti-government movement unless you're determined never to win."
- Gingrich on the next U.S. trade representative: "I think our next USTR should be a really, really successful trial lawyer. I think you need to get away from the diplomatic model of USTR and you need to move into a very aggressive, very confrontational litigation model."
- Gingrich on putting budget information on an easily accessible website: "The right to know is one of the most powerful American beliefs."