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Bill Bennett to Gingrich: You’re Shooting at [Paul Ryan] From Behind! (Testy Radio Interview)
National Review ^ | 05/17/2011 | Jim Geraghty

Posted on 05/17/2011 11:33:47 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

I would contend Newt Gingrich’s interview with Bill Bennett this morning did not go well for the candidate. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Bennett, one of the most patient and courteous hosts in talk radio, so exasperated with a guest:

Bill Bennett: We had some tough comments about you, want to give you a chance to respond. Let me put it this way: Is there anything about this Meet the Press interview that you would like to either take back or clarify today?

Newt Gingrich: Yeah, there’s a lot that I would like to clarify, but let me start by just saying something that I think you will fully understand. I don’t think I realized until after Sunday’s Meet the Press how big a threat my candidacy is to the Washington establishment. Think about that show. I go into the show, and I’m hit first with, ‘if you tell the truth about President Obama having food stamps than any other president in history, you’re a racist.’ Then I’m told later in the panel discussion by E.J. Dionne that if you even mention Detroit, you’re a racist…

Finally they ask me totally loaded question that I probably should have stepped back from and answered totally differently, asking me if you were in a position where you had to vote yes or no, on something the American people did not want, would you ram it through?

Now we had just been through Obama doing precisely that with Obamacare. So I suddenly find myself – having spent two and a half years fighting against Obamacare from the Center for Health Transformation which I founded, to help migrate us to a center-right, personally-oriented, market-oriented system – with everything that I’ve said for two and a half years opposing Obamacare, suddenly by late Sunday afternoon, people are confused about where I stand. I then turn, and with Paul Ryan, who I have praised, I have written newsletters about, I have talked about his budget, I said it was courageous, I said it was a tremendous step in the right direction, suddenly I’m supposed to be, as the Wall Street Journal writes this morning, telling House Republicans to ‘drop dead.’ Now that’s just plain baloney.

… a very narrow question. I am totally for what Paul Ryan is trying to do in general terms. I’m actually for more change over the next ten years. This budget is the beginning stage of the scale of change we need. And yet somehow to the Washington elites, that somehow becomes almost a caricature of what I’ve done throughout my entire career.

Bennett: …When you say you’re totally for what Paul Ryan is for and the Washington elites, that’s not what I heard. Maybe I’m part of the Washington elite. That’s not what the Journal heard. That’s not what Krauthammer heard, that’s not what Rush heard, that’s not what Mark Levin heard. That’s not what the listeners to this show heard.  We heard you equate Paul Ryan’s plan with Obama’s plan. ‘Right-wing social engineering vs. left-wing social engineering.’ Why the hit on Ryan? It was clearly and unambiguously a criticism of Ryan.

Newt: That’s not a criticism of Ryan as a person.

Bennett: Not as a person, as a plan.

Newt: It is a criticism of — what I said was, you shouldn’t impose radical change!

Bennett: He’s not imposing radical change! How’s he imposing it? He can’t impose it. We don’t have the Senate and White House.

Newt: So since we can’t, then you can say we can all relax because he can’t do it. [Crosstalk] I was asked the question, would you do that? I wasn’t asked a question about where I stood on Ryan; I was asked, ‘should Republicans pass a plan that is unpopular’?

Bennett then plays the audio from Sunday:

Gregory: Do you think that Republicans ought to buck the public opposition and really move forward to completely change Medicare, turn it into a voucher program where you give seniors… some premium support and–so that they can go out and buy private insurance?

Gingrich:  I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering.  I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.  I think we need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare system with more choices for seniors. 

Returning to the interview:

Bennett: Why characterize the Ryan plan as right-wing social engineering, and call for a national conversation when we’re in the middle of a national conversion?

Newt: Well, to the degree we are in the middle of a national conversation, and the plan is open to change, and our goal is to move forward and modify and improve the plan, as opposed to either sell it or pass it, I’m for it.

Bennett: No one, Newt, no one took away from your comments on Meet the Press that you’re for it. No one. Left, right, no one.


Newt: Well, I just said I am for the process improving it, I didn’t say I was for the plan as it currently exists. I think that is an important distinction, Bill. I don’t think the job of House Republicans is only to sell the current plan. I think the job of House Republicans is to say, ‘this is the right scale of solution we need for the country, how do we improve this, and how do we get it to be acceptable, what do you American people need to know about this so that when it does pass, you will be glad it passed and you will help implement it?’


A few moments later…

Bennett: You’re equated Ryan’s plan on the right to Obama’s plan on the left. What the Journal said, and what I said yesterday, we’re in the middle of this fight, we’re in the middle of this debate, Ryan’s in the fight of his life, and you’re shooting at him from behind, saying this is just right-wing Obama-ism. This is what I think really rankles people.

Newt: I didn’t say it was right wing Obama-ism.

Bennett: You said it was right-wing social engineering! Even worse!

Newt: Look, if it’s imposed on the country, which was the context of the conversion– which Obamacare is and was!

(audible chuckle from Bennett)

Bennett: It was! But there’s not a chance Ryan’s can be! It can’t be! He’s trying to persuade people!

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: billbennett; fung; gingrich; medicare; newt; newtgingrich; obamacare; paulryan; ryancare
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To: beaversmom

As my father, who was an electrical engineer, used to say, “too much book learning, no common sense”.

41 posted on 05/17/2011 4:08:53 PM PDT by kalee (The offences we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we engrave in marble. J Huett 1658)
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To: jwparkerjr
He was asked if the Republicans should ignore the opposition to a measure and pass it anyway. He responded it was wrong for the Left or the Right to disregard so much opposition and make changes that people didn't understand.

Nobody objected to that part of his answer.

If expecting people to pay for the care they receive is what the public mandate is then I guess I'm for it.

That is not what the public mandate is, and that is not what Gingrich said he wants. I quote him directly in the post preceding this one. Read it, if you don't know what he said.

Say what you want about Newt ... but he is quite correct when he says something as big and monumental as changing Medicare needs to be done with the approval of those who will be affected,

In which case, his characterization of Ryan's plan as "right wing social engineering" must bother you quite a bit, because those most in favor of Ryan's plan (and they are overwhelmingly so) are seniors.

AND somehow we've got to find a way to made certain those who get medical care pay for it and don't dump the cost on the rest of us.

Good for you. That means you can't be very much in favor of Gingrich's plan, because the largest class of people, receiving by far and away the most health care they aren't paying for, are already in government programs called Medicare and Medicaid. And yerboi thinks that trying to make those programs fiscally responsible is, in his words, "radical." This despite the fact that only people under the age of 54 would actually be affected. So Gingrich thinks a proposal that would not affect anyone for TEN YEARS, during which time we can talk and debate our silly little fannies off, is "radical," "right wing social engineering."

If nothing else, consider him the dose of attenuated live virus you give a child to give them protection from the real thing later in life.

Congratulations! You have actually come as close to your mentor as anyone on any thread or program in making the stupidest comment of the week. The only people who're receiving "innoculations" from this inane boulderdash are Democrats. Between now and Judgement Day you will be hearing the attack ads like this: "The Democrats want to save Medicare. But Ryan's plan? Even Ultraconservative Newt Gingrich called it 'radical.'"

Thankfully, he's innoculated a lot of us from further considering him a serious candidate.

42 posted on 05/17/2011 4:11:47 PM PDT by FredZarguna (It looks just like a Telefunken U-47. In leather.)
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To: All

With all politicians trying to come up with an acceptable political solution to our perceived health care problems it is easy to forget that our problem is that the consumer is removed from the decision making process. When health care becomes market driven again then the problem will be solved. When you hear a politician refer to this you’ll know that we are finally on the road to relief.

43 posted on 05/17/2011 4:15:33 PM PDT by pokerone (Live Free or Die is more than a catchy slogan.)
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To: FredZarguna

Granted I’m not as gifted in the intelligence field as you are, but I don’t have to resort to insults to make my points.

If you want a reasonable discussion of the situation, fine. If all you want to do is get on my case because I see something differently from you then you need to find someone else.


44 posted on 05/17/2011 4:21:38 PM PDT by jwparkerjr (I would rather lose with Sarah than win with a RINO!)
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To: jwparkerjr
I've actually answered all of your points, and I didn't call you any names; although I did say that you made a stupid remark. It is stupid. Newt Gingrich has laid down suppressive fire that will be used by our enemies and their willing accomplices in the collaborationist press. There is NOTHING positive about that.
45 posted on 05/17/2011 4:25:26 PM PDT by FredZarguna (It looks just like a Telefunken U-47. In leather.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Newts acting like the kid in the class who put his hand up first and wasn’t called on. He then tries to give an even BETTER answer than everyone who was called on before him.

Now it’s recess and we are taking turns hitting him in the gut.

46 posted on 05/17/2011 5:58:26 PM PDT by MontaniSemperLiberi (Moutaineers are Always Free)
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To: MontaniSemperLiberi

Newts acting like the kid in the class who put his hand up first and wasn’t called on. He then tries to give an even BETTER answer than everyone who was called on before him.

Now it’s recess and we are taking turns hitting him in the gut.

Now that was an outstanding post....perfect!

47 posted on 05/17/2011 6:03:55 PM PDT by chasio649
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To: MontaniSemperLiberi
If "BETTER" is the new "stupider," you are correct.

For an alleged conservative to give the kinds of answers Newt gave to several questions yesterday, I'd be more inclined to believe he'd pulled an all-nighter, fell down the steps on the way off the bus, got beat up at recess, and then was called on for an answer.

48 posted on 05/17/2011 8:48:21 PM PDT by FredZarguna (It looks just like a Telefunken U-47. In leather.)
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To: FredZarguna
"tries to give an even BETTER answer" Get some sleep.
49 posted on 05/17/2011 8:58:55 PM PDT by MontaniSemperLiberi (Moutaineers are Always Free)
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To: MontaniSemperLiberi

Your post makes it sound like a gang of conservative bullies is picking on Newt for an essentially well-intentioned effort . If that wasn’t your message, I’d say somnolence is your issue, not mine.

50 posted on 05/17/2011 9:18:27 PM PDT by FredZarguna (It looks just like a Telefunken U-47. In leather.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Constitutionalists don't DO "Social Engineering." We want to draw down government, and return responsibility to individuals. That is why Gingrich's comments are sooo galling. We have over $200 Trillion in unfunded debts & entitlements coming up. This is not time to continue vague "discussions." We need to get behind a solid fiscal plan for controlling public costs NOW. The whole point of Ryan's plan is to manage massive promised entitlements and reduce them to reasonable levels before we immediately go BK. Newt's also jealous of Ryan because he offers significantly better 'optics.' Hope my husband doesn't catch me writing that... ; )
51 posted on 05/18/2011 5:29:52 AM PDT by 4Liberty (88% of Americans are NON-UNION. We value honest, peaceful Free trade-NOT protectionist CARTELS)
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To: beaversmom

Newt is what happens when you keep trading wives and the current one is not very smart.

52 posted on 05/18/2011 10:10:59 AM PDT by juliej
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To: Tex-Con-Man

Oh my. The man is in need of help. After his personal life, sitting on the couch with Pelosi, and Scozzafava (sic?) and now this...

53 posted on 05/21/2011 4:05:21 AM PDT by PghBaldy
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To: jwparkerjr
Bennett reminded me all morning of a father with a daughter that's dating someone he doesn't care for and regardless of what his daughter says about her date or how the kid comes across it pretty clear dad's not going to be happy.

It honestly sounded to me like Bill Bennett is backing Rick Santorum or Paul Ryan and his beef with Newt was that he felt Newt wasn't giving them the respect Bennett gives them.

I'll commend you for figuring out early on that so much of the "conservative" media was in the tank for a specific candidate and, no different from the liberal media, trying to give the candidates they didn't like a hard time while pretending to be "objective." We didn't know at the time that Bennett was for Romney, but it certainly became clear when he went on to talk down Santorum and so many of his fellow RINO radio hosts like Hewitt and Medved became even more enthusiastic Romney spokespeople.

54 posted on 05/13/2012 5:54:04 PM PDT by JediJones (From the makers of Romney, Bloomberg/Schwarzenegger 2016. Because the GOP can never go too far left.)
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