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: Is the southern presence in Republicanism isolating the party from the rest of the country?
Newt Gingrich: Well, I mean, first of all, I don’t think it was accurate in the ‘90’s. We worked very hard to sustain the New England and New York parts of the party and we were pretty successful at it. We were the first reelected majority since 1928 and that was in part because across the industrial Midwest and in the Northeast and the Pacific Coast, we fought very aggressively to sustain Republican victories.
I do think that the party became tone deaf and I think that tone deafness made it much harder to hold seats in the New England area and in places like New York and parts of the Pacific Coast. But I also think that there’s a natural cycle here. The Republicans were punished in 2006 and 2008 largely for performance failures. They now are not the issue. The issue now has become much faster than I thought it would, whether or not you really want a left-wing, what I would call a secular socialist movement running Washington. And it’s pretty clear that as the Republican failures fade, people are no longer focused on them, they’re not focused on a referendum on whether or not we need higher taxes and bigger bureaucracy and more left-wing values.