The Newt Deal is upon us the have-nots have had it

November 16, 1994|By ROGER SIMON

WASHINGTON -- The room was too small to hold Newt Gingrich.

Photographers elbowed reporters, reporters elbowed TV crews, and TV crews elbowed whomever they pleased, including two members of Congress who were supposed to be up on the stage with Newt.

A larger room in the Capitol was available for this press conference, but the Democrats still control those rooms and they were not going to give one to Newt Gingrich.

Which is just another example of how the Democrats don't get it.

By making the press cram into a tiny room, the Democrats made it a story and, sure enough, CBS began its piece that way: Newt so popular that his events are now Standing Room Only.

Gingrich -- his parents named him Newton LeRoy, which explains why he likes Newt -- now personifies the end of the Clinton era (didn't last long, did it?).

Currently the Republican whip and representing the Atlanta suburbs, he will be the next speaker of the House of Representatives.

But he will be more than that. He will be the spokesman for the new discontented. The old discontented was made up largely of the poor and minorities. But the new discontented are those who are tired of lavishing programs on the poor and minorities.

And Gingrich's job will be to get through the House what already is being called the Newt Deal.

"Middle-class Americans want a neighborhood where their children are safe, a school where they actually learn, an opportunity to work, a chance to save much of what they earn, and the right to spend it themselves," he says.

He has the face of a choirboy -- the kind of choirboy who keeps a blackjack under his robes -- and when he stands listening to others he likes to link his fingers in front of an ample belly and slowly twiddle his thumbs.

But his mind is always going full speed. He knows what he wants and, more importantly, what he does not want. And he does not want any more "Great Society, counterculture, McGovern-niks" and other "left-wing elitists" like Bill and Hillary Clinton sucking this country dry to fund their social agenda.

Newt is going to end all that. He is going to usher in an era in which angry and exhausted Americans no longer fund big government programs, especially those that take from the haves to give to the have-nots.

In Newt's America, the have-nots have had it.

Asked Sunday about welfare reform, Newt outlined a plan in which all who are "able-bodied, under the age of retirement" must find work in 60 days or else be cut off from welfare.

But what about their children? What about the possibility of starvation?

"Private charities," Gingrich said. Orphanages. Soup kitchens. Let the private sector shoulder the burden if it has so bleeding a heart. Not the federal government. Not the citizens. Not the middle class, who should be left free to spend its money on itself.

"This is a time to be open to bold, dramatic changes," Gingrich said. "It's very important to understand this country has sent a very powerful signal for change."

And in making that change, he is not about to worry over what is politically correct. Asked if he would remove the limited voting rights of delegates from Washington, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico in the House of Representatives, Newt replied flatly: "Those are gone."

And if those delegates just happen to represent mainly people of color, well, who cares? That's for the liberals to cry over.

Newt has bigger things to worry about. Like the future of Western civilization.

"It is impossible to maintain a civilization with 12-year-olds having babies, with 15-year-olds killing each other, with 17-year-olds dying of AIDS, with 18-year-olds ending up with diplomas they can't even read," he said.

And can government actually do something about all that?

"Absolutely," Gingrich said.

In many profiles, the same thing is said about Newt: The old Newt Gingrich was a "bomb-thrower."

But won't the new Newt have to mellow, to compromise a little, in order to get what he wants through Congress?

Naw.

"I was a truth-thrower," Newt says, "and in this town, the truth was a bomb."

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.

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