Fa­ther knows best on elec­tion

Barack Obama is much more po­lar­iz­ing than Bill Clin­ton and likely to re­main much nosier and more dom­i­nant in pub­lic ac­tiv­i­ties. - Newt Gin­grich

The Covington News - - Opinion - Jackie Gin­grich Cush­man Colum­nist To find out more about Jackie Gin­grich Cush­man, see www.cre­ators.com.

My first elec­tion me­mory is from 1974, when I was 7. Pres­i­dent Nixon had re­cently re­signed, suc­ceeded by Ger­ald Ford. The Demo­cratic Party picked up 49 seats in the House for a to­tal of 291. In the Se­nate, the Democra ts picked up four seats for 61 to­tal. But for me, my mem­o­ries are more per­sonal. My fa­ther, Newt Gin­grich, lost his first run for the Sixth Con­gres­sional District in Ge­or­gia.

In 1978, Dad won the elec­tion and went on to serve the Sixth District for 20 years.

Twenty years af­ter his 1974 loss, he led the Repub­li­cans push to take the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

When think­ing through who might be able to pro­vide a his­toric per­spec­tive of the 2010 elec­tion, the re­tak­ing of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive by the Repub­li­can Party, the leader of the Con­tract With Amer­ica tops the list for any­one, in­clud­ing for me, his daugh­ter.

Fol­low­ing are my ques­tions and the an­swers he e-mailed me the morn­ing af­ter the 2010 elec­tion.

Based on your ex­pe­ri­ence in tak­ing over the House in 1994 and be­com- ing vil­i­fied by the press, what ad­vice would you give the next speaker, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio?

“Boehner has four big ad­van­tages over our 1994 ex­pe­ri­ence.

“1) He is a calmer, more man­age­rial team leader and less of an out-front, com­bat­ive, ide­o­log­i­cal spokesman than I was.

“2) Barack Obama is much more po­lar­iz­ing than Bill Clin­ton and likely to re­main much nois­ier and more dom­i­nant in pub­lic ac­tiv­i­ties.

“3) FOX News has cre­ated an al­ter­na­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tions chan­nel of enor­mous power, which dom­i­nates Boehner’s base.

“4) The Democrats are now used to los­ing and will ac­cept the au­then­tic­ity of Boehner’s ma­jor­ity. When we won in 1994, it was the first time in 40 years and the Democrats and the lib­eral me­dia be­lieved we were il­le­git­i­mate and had some­how cheated to be­come a ma­jor­ity.”

In ret­ro­spect, should you have han­dled in a dif­fer­ent man­ner the govern­ment shut­down that oc­curred while you were serv­ing as speaker?

“The govern­ment shut- down was a key to our sur­vival. No Repub­li­can House had been re-elected in 68 years, since 1928. The shut­down con­vinced our vot­ers we were se­ri­ous and con­vinced Clin­ton he had to deal with us.”

Should Boehner force a govern­ment shut­down if the Repub­li­cans can­not reach a bud­get agree­ment with Pres­i­dent Barack Obama?

“No. Boehner should force show­downs not shut­downs. If Obama wants to force a shut­down, Boehner should not flinch, but he shouldn’t seek it.”

What does it mean that Sen. Bar­bara Boxer, DCalif., was re-elected and Jerry Brown won the Cal­i­for­nia gover­nor’s race?

“Cal­i­for­nia and New York re­main bas­tions of lib­er­al­ism de­spite the eco­nomic de­cay brought about by bad govern­ment and high taxes. Learn­ing to win in those two states is one of the great­est chal­lenges fac­ing Repub­li­cans.”

If you were an ad­viser to Pres­i­dent Obama, what would you rec­om­mend he do in the next two years?

“He should fo­cus on job cre­ation and use the Eisen­hower style of co-opt­ing the op­po­si­tion. He should ap­pear rea­son­able and share the stage with Boehner and (Mitch) McCon­nell so they come to share the re­spon­si­bil­ity.” (McCon­nell is the Repub­li­can Se­nate mi­nor­ity leader from Ken­tucky.)

Does this elec­tion re­sult make it more or less likely that you will run in 2012?

“This elec­tion proves there is a po­ten­tial to re­pu­di­ate the left, but now we have to think through how to re­place it with a cen­ter­right gov­ern­ing ma­jor­ity. The chal­lenge of think­ing through, ex­plain­ing and im­ple­ment­ing a re­place­ment strat­egy as na­tional pol­icy is very in­trigu­ing.”

A few words and phrases in his an­swers struck me as par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing.

His note that “Boehner to­day” is a more man­age­rial leader than Speaker Gin­grich was 16 years ago.

Re­in­force­ment that there was no al­ter­na­tive to the govern­ment shut­down dur­ing his speak­er­ship, as it “con­vinced our vot­ers we were se­ri­ous and con­vinced Clin­ton he had to deal with us.”

His com­ment that “the chal­lenge of think­ing through, ex­plain­ing, and im­ple­ment­ing a re­place­ment strat­egy as na­tional pol­icy is very in­trigu­ing.”

I can al­most see the gleam in his eye.

As for run­ning in 2012, we’ll have to wait to see if the tip­ping point for his can­di­dacy is reached.

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