I love me some Sarah Palin. She is the one true voice of the Tea Party among politicians. She started in the PTA and eventually because the governor of Alaska. She fought corruption in her own party and beat the party machine. One thing she didn’t do was go up against Democrats. Newt Gingrich started his career in enemy territory. Unlike Mitt Romney, he didn’t become more liberal to win elections, he became more conservative and won Congress.
In the last century, Republicans have had both houses of Congress for only 24 years. Until 1994, they last had both houses in 1954 (for one term). Gingrich, who was known for crazy ideas, had one just crazy enough to work. He ran a national Congressional campaign based on conservative principles and government reform. There was a proposed balanced budget amendment, welfare reform, tax cuts and term limits. All went up for a vote in 1995. The amendments failed and much of the legislation died in the Senate.
Democrats eroded the Republican majority in 1996 and 1998, causing Republicans to lose faith in Gingrich’s leadership. After Gingrich left, a basically rudderless Republican Congress had weak gains in 2000 and small gains after the Afghanistan and Iraq wars in 2002 and 2004.
12 years after the Contract with America, (the original term limit proposal was for 12 years, which many pledged to at the time) the Republican Congress had become as corrupt and profligate as the Democrats. Democrats ran in 2006 on a platform of ending the wars (which they failed to deliver) and won back Congress. Voters were tired of Republican inaction.
If you believe that Gingrich was a master tactician who came up with the Contract as a way to gain power, he was a genius with an inability to lead. But if Gingrich truly believed the elements of the Contract were the way to fix government, he would have been very disappointed by the results and may not have even wanted to fight for the leadership by 1998.
The Obot media has gone to great pains to paint government reform and balanced budgets as ultra right-wing craziness. They want the Republican Party to be seen as far out of the mainstream. At the same time, they stupidly promote the stories of dissension in the ranks that proves the opposite. There is a Mitt Romney wing of the party where winning means you’re right. Then there’s the Tea Party wing, made up of actual citizens, who think that if you have to lose to uphold your principles, you’re done the right thing. What they believe in sounds a lot like the Contract with America.