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Through the eyes of Newt

Politics | Newt Gingrich offers his perspective on the lead-up to the 2010 and 2012 elections

CAL THOMAS: Is repeal of the healthcare law the best strategy for Republicans given the long trajectory between now and the November election, and the even longer one before the 2012 presidential election?

NEWT GINGRICH: I think we need to be honest about the American constitutional process. Republicans should promise that a Republican president and a Republican Congress in February 2013 would repeal and replace Obamacare. That's pretty straightforward and it's doable. It's real. If they're right-and the more we learn about Obamacare, the more destructive it is; the more it kills jobs, the more it puts us in debt, the more it cripples us with bureaucracy-this will become a more and more popular position. If they're wrong, the Democrats will have won their great gamble to create a socialist country.

CT: Supporters of the law say when people become used to the new benefits they won't want to let go of them.

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NG: We hooked inner-city poor people on bureaucratic schools, which are now destroyed. I think that's a pretty bad deal. I think you can win fights in the inner city on parental choice when you can't win fights in the suburbs. If you say to the average poor parent in Washington, D.C., "Do you think this has been a good bargain? . . ."

CT: But they're not ending it.

NG: That's because of the power structure. The gap in America between the secular-socialist machine, dominated by an elite, and the rest of us is breathtaking. Arthur Brooks has a book coming out this spring called The Battle in which he uses Gallup data to prove conclusively that there is a 70-30 or better center-right majority in the country. And it is a tribute to the power and capability of the Democratic Party and the incompetence of the Republican Party-it's a dual effort-that you end up with 70 percent of the country being misgoverned by a militant minority.

CT: Why do African-Americans continue to vote for the people who continue to deny them school choice?

NG: In part there are very few conservatives willing to campaign for their votes. Why didn't President [George W.] Bush go to the NAACP convention for eight consecutive years and say, "We need your help liberating people"? I went around the country with Al Sharpton, who actually says the right things, and the reaction on the right is "how can you be associated with Al Sharpton?" I had a guy walk up to me after church-an African-American. He said, "I notice you and Rev. Sharpton care about children." He didn't notice me. We have to decide whether we are prepared to go into every neighborhood in America, every precinct, knock on every door and say, "There is a better future than a bureaucratic-welfare state-socialist model that is secular and will destroy our country and destroy your children's future."

CT: With what will you replace the healthcare law that will still allow the uninsured to have something?

NG: This Center for Health Transformation has spent the last decade building a series of center-right options. [Indiana Gov.] Mitch Daniels had a high-deductible insurance plan for people without insurance, which was getting off the ground. It had 30,000 to 40,000 signed up for it. Obamacare will now replace it. Georgia has a similar project under way.

There are many solutions from association plans that would allow people to organize their own insurance policies. Interestingly, there is an exemption in the law for the Amish. If you have a religious reason for not being insured, or you self-insure as a community, you don't have to buy insurance. Why couldn't you extend that to groups that actively want to self-insure?

Every small business could get together; every Rotarian could get together. What you have today is an obsolete model that protects lots of interest groups-from insurance companies, to hospitals, to doctors, to government-which makes health insurance artificially expensive.

CT: What about the tone of this debate? Some on the left claim the rhetoric is overheated, even hateful.

NG: For people who are angry, the correct response is to beat them. Take all your energy, reach out and attract everybody you can, win the argument, and beat them. The greatest satisfaction should be the retirement of Pelosi, Reid, and Obama. That's the way America should operate.

For the "mugger" to complain that people are objecting vociferously to being mugged, I think that's an act of chutzpah on a grand scale. For any of these people who have deliberately bullied, bribed, and abused the system to impose their will against the country to now be shocked that the country is unhappy with the machine, I think, is just a further act of arrogance. They'd like to mug you routinely while you thank them for the privilege of having been mugged. Look at Henry Waxman's reaction to AT&T and others. The bill that Henry Waxman wrote requires them, under SEC law, to write down the cost of the bill. So now Waxman wants to intimidate the company for obeying the law to avoid [exposing] how destructive he is.

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