Newt Gingrich served as the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. In 1995, Time magazine selected him as their Person of the Year for his role in leading the Republican Revolution in the House, ending a 40-year Democratic Party majority. A Ph.D. in Modern European History, he is the author of the non-fiction works "To Renew America" and "A Contract with the Earth," among others, as well as a variety of works of historical fiction. He is currently a senior fellow at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute—where he focuses on health care, information technology, the military, and politics—and the founder of the Center for Health Transformation. He lives in McLean, Virginia.
Question: What will the election of Scott Brown mean for Democrats in Washington?
Newt Gingrich: If Teddy Kennedy’s Senate Seat in the middle of – at the peak of a healthcare debate is won by a Republican populace insurgent, I believe that will be psychologically as powerful as the Republican victory of 1994. It won’t be at a practical level as powerful because in 1994 we took over the House and Senate, but I think the effect in this city will be stunning. And I will be fascinated to see whether the Obama/Pelosi/Reed machine stops, takes a deep breath and decides to listen to the American People and modify what they are doing. Or whether they decide that they have to actually have to increase their toughness and increase their arbitrary authoritarian behavior because it will be clear that they don’t ram things through quickly that everything’s going to collapse. Remember, the results in Massachusetts are simply a part of a pattern that includes a Democratic incumbent in Arkansas being 17 points behind, a Democratic incumbent in Cincinnati being 17 points behind, a Democratic incumbent in Michigan being 7 points behind, Harry Reed himself being 10 points behind in Nevada. I mean, there is a potential tidal wave building that could shatter the Democratic Party for a generation.
Well, if the people of Massachusetts vote for a Republican populace Senator, then I don’t see how the healthcare bill can pass the Senate. If by healthcare bill you mean the Obama/Pelosi/Reed left-wing model. Could you pass a bi-partisan, transparent reasonably achieved health reform bill? Sure, but not this bill. You’d have to go back and start over. And I think that’s the first big test the Democrats are going to be faced with is, if the people of Massachusetts speak clearly and decisively and we’re not in some kind of Minnesota recount problem, then how do the Democrats avoid recognizing that the people of the United States – I mean if a state like Massachusetts votes like this, can you imagine where the rest of the country is?