"Socialist" is an epithet tossed around as promiscuously as "RINO" on FR these days. It no longer conveys meaningful information, because it means something different to each person who uses it.
Socialism is a very real thing, and if you ignore it, it will come back to haunt you. Gingrich believes the government is the solution to all problems. Look at the 1989 environmental bill he cosponsored with Nancy Pelosi. Or the climate change legislation he currently supports that will destroy small business.