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From 1989: Newt Gingrich, Point Man In a House Divided


This article is (mysteriously) missing from the Nexis archives. So it is being reposted here as a public service. Also see Myra MacPherson's December 2011 post, The Real Newt Gingrich Is Only an Archive Search Away.

Newt Gingrich, Point Man In a House Divided
The GOP Whip: Notorious, Defiant, & Glorying in Democrats's Scandals.

By Myra MacPherson
The Washington Post
June 12, 1989

Watching Newt Gingrich in action, one could be forgiven for entertaining the notion that the conservatives' prize pit bull will stop at nothing, particularly in his quest to flatten his Democratic colleagues.

Jim Wright, Tip O'Neill and Tom Foley were a "trio of muggers." The Iran-contra hearings were a "left-wing lynch mob." Wright was "pro-Communist" when the former House speaker tried to negotiate with the Sandinistas. House Democratic leaders were "sick" and possessed by a "Mussolini-like ego." An entire region was characterized as the "loony-left state of Massachusetts." The House of Representatives was in toto institutionally "corrupt."

Over the years, Newtisms have indeed appalled members on both sides of the aisle. Now the new Republican whip is in the catbird seat, besieged by the media he loves to court. The smile is confident as he applauds his own role in the "historic moment" of toppling Wright.

"I spent a year creating that possibility and the second year monitoring it," he said proudly in his office one afternoon as he watched both Wright and House Majority Whip Tony Coelho bite the dust.

Although new House Speaker Tom Foley has sent out a call for conciliation, the Hill buzzed last week with a collective Democratic vow: Conciliation only A.G.-After Gingrich. The House ethics committee may in due course take up a Democratic complaint regarding Gingrich's book promotion deal, and the long knives are out.

Some Republicans are not so sanguine about their Georgia colleague's "victory" and feel that, in a curious way, the Gingrich-orchestrated purge may ultimately lead to a revitalized Democratic House with new leadership. Many are troubled by Gingrich's scorched-earth policy as he boasts that more Democratic heads will roll. Gingrich does not, however, aim his guns at some of his present or former Republican colleagues immersed in scandals.

The Democrats, naturally, have their words for Gingrich and a few of them are printable. Wisconsin Rep. David Obey dismisses him as a "poor imitation of Joe McCarthy" who thinks "anything goes in the pursuit of power" including impugning the "patriotism" of his colleagues, blasting them, for example, as un-American "radicals" for opposing contra aid.

But Republicans also express dismay. Iowa moderate Jim Leach, disturbed by Gingrich's "very divisive statements," says, "I personally will be very apprehensive if we become the party of the jugular."

And a conservative Republican congressional leader, who would not permit his name to be used, said the Democrats cannot be the only party "of sleaze and corruption" when Republicans can claim Ohio's Donald E. Lukens, recently convicted of having sex with a minor, as well as two Gingrich friends: former congressmen Pat Swindall and Joe DioGuardi, defeated last year in the wake of financial scandals. "It's an individual matter, not a collective symptom of a political party," this conservative continued. "You can't bring the temple crashing down around you. I care about the temple."

For the Democrats, nuking Newt is a preeminent desire, and even more so now that a Gingrich staffer, Karen Van Brocklin, has surfaced as one of the promoters of a slur regarding Foley. Other Republican leaders, including President Bush, last week excoriated the Republican National Committee for a "disgusting" memo widely regarded as an attempt to link Foley to homosexuality. Of Van Brocklin's attempts to encourage stories about Foley's private life, Gingrich said, "I make no defense for her. It was unforgivable and destructive."

Back in Georgia, a disillusioned former staffer who turned against Gingrich claims he was the victim of a similar smear by Gingrich's crew several years ago, until he was forced to deny the rumor in print.

All of which prompts another disillusioned Gingrich acquaintance, Bill Doxey, an English professor and former colleague of Gingrich's at West Georgia College, to mutter that "Newt doesn't take the low road-he takes the tunnel."

Two Sides of Gingrich

For years, reporters have written about two Newts: a televised Gingrich of bombast and blast, and a more temperate and intelligent off-camera Gingrich. Both Gingriches are adept at self-promotion.

"Newt's more cynical about how to get attention than most," says one Republican leader. "If I call Bob Dole `the tax collector for the welfare state,' like Newt, I'd get on Page 1 too. He knows that if you're outrageous you get the press."

Gingrich expertly strokes members of the press, a group not exactly strangers to egoism, quoting from their articles and books, nodding appreciatively at even critical questions. Some go away charmed.

The face is familiar far beyond the norm of a five-term congressman, thanks to his relentless use of television: the Donahue-gray shock of hair, eyes that dart impatiently. Gingrich, who is given to pudginess despite his undying energy, sits drinking a Coke, trying to slow down. But soon the left leg, crossed over the right, begins to jiggle in rhythm with the words.

He speaks in aggrieved "me-they" terms about the conventional view of himself. "If they weren't attacking me right now, I'd become a bigger figure. So they have a very high value in trying to slow me down. Beat me around the head and shoulders."

"They" are the "liberals" who, Gingrich contends, compose official Washington-lobbyists, much of the press corps and members of Congress. Gingrich says no one attacks them for the "vicious" things they say about him. "Enough people were saying they wanted to destroy me that I said, `Why am I still doing this and do I really want to endure this level of hostility and pain?' "

Conservative Minnesota congressman Vin Weber, who defends his "brilliant" friend, nonetheless says, "People don't hate you in this town because of your partisanship. They hate you because they think you have neither respect or affection for them as people. That causes Newt problems; the guy does not have a lot of personal friends. He appears to be vilifying people personally-but he truly doesn't understand that. He's a lone soldier-but a damn good one."

Newt Gingrich in fact wants you to know that he is just a regular human being, who can cry.

"You talk about crying! The spring of 1988, I spent a fair length of time trying to come to grips with who I was and the habits I had, and what they did to people that I truly loved. I really spent a period of time where, I suspect, I cried three or four times a week. I read `Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them' and I found frightening pieces that related to ... my own life."

Some of the pieces of Gingrich's own life are now a matter of very public record. The particulars of his 1981 divorce had a longer shelf life than most, thanks to a 1984 Mother Jones article that Tony Coelho happily photocopied for his congressional colleagues. Few have forgotten it-either on Capitol Hill or in Carrollton, Ga., where Gingrich's well-liked first wife still lives. The article reported the breakup in detail-for instance, how Gingrich appeared in the hospital, yellow legal pad in hand, to discuss terms of the divorce as his wife Jackie lay recovering from a second cancer operation. Jackie Gingrich later corroborated the details.

"It did not happen that way from my side," Gingrich says today. "But divorces are painful, difficult. Every person has his own unique story of what happened and it doesn't relate to anyone else's."

He says this easily, and seems to have anticipated the question-knowing the incident will be a staple of any profile. "I'm willing to say, having gone through the last five and six years and having understood that-as an incorrigible bulldozer-it's conceivable I was that insensitive. It was never in any sense deliberate."

Jackie Gingrich, seven years older than Newt, who will turn 46 Saturday, once was his high school math teacher. She declines to talk about her ex-husband except to say thinly, "One could definitely say personal relations are not his long suit."

Gingrich married his second wife, Marianne, in August 1981, shortly after his divorce. Although they recently faced the TV cameras as a team as they discussed their book promotion partnership, this second marriage has been a rocky road as well.

A tall brunette with blue eyes and an easy giggle, Marianne Gingrich is more spontaneous and warm than the image of the frozen-faced woman who stalked out of their press conference in anger and tears.

She candidly conceded during a recent interview that they have been separated-"frankly, it's been off and on for some time, to be honest." She says it is "very difficult" to combine marriage and politics and indicates that her husband was spending a great deal of time on his mission to "change the world." She says, "You marry to get married, not because you want to `change the world.' We can do that without being married." She laughs and says, "Actually, the separation improved our friendship."

Is the marriage going to hold?

"That's a good question," she replies. "You never know. In this business you have to take it day by day-and you really have to work at it." (Asked the same question, Newt Gingrich says, with a laugh, that he gives it a 53-47 shot, on the side of lasting. "It was better this morning, tougher yesterday. But I think that's just reality.")

Meanwhile, Gingrich is trying to get more in touch with all this feeling business himself. "It's taken me almost 46 years to really begin to understand some of this. You have to work every day of every week at having an intimate relationship, have to set time aside, energy aside.

"I don't know that you can climb the greasy pole, as Disraeli called it, without a maniacal focus. Without truly being very intense. And I am a little bit lucky in that I'm sort of on a perch on the pole right now. I'm an incumbent; that has lots of advantages. I'm the whip; that has lots of advantages. I have a reputation, so when I give a speech or make a tape, people are likely to listen to me. So in a sense, it's getting easier for me. It's not quite as brutal."

Gingrich uses the word "battle" a lot to describe the "game" of politics.

"I mean, I train to be dominant in a fight with Jim Wright and then"-referring to Marianne-"I walk into a room with a normal human being who's brilliant and wonderful and that stuff, but she doesn't gear up every morning to be a viking! I mean, that's not her world. When she's pleasant, she points out that I'm incorrigible, which simply means that you knock me on the mat and I get up again, you knock me on the mat and I get up again. And after a while, if you're a normal human being, you get tired of knocking me down and so you give in, but then you're really angry because you just knocked me down nine times and I still won. And they can be things as simple as `What do you want for dinner?' or `What do you want to do this weekend?' "

And it just has to be your way?

"Yeah. And it's not even that it matters to me. It's just the habits of dominance, the habit of being the center of my staff and the center of the news media.

"If I had any single regret, because of my total misunderstanding, I helped cause Marianne her back problem that was almost crippling in 1986 and 1987. By not being there, by not understanding. She was going to school very intently and graduating magna cum laude and I was misunderstanding the stress she was under and adding my own stress to it.

"When you have a game which is this passionate and this intense and this exhausting, it's just very hard to have a personal relationship. It probably attracts people who in part get their ego needs from a larger audience-because they're too frightened to get it from a smaller audience."

The roar of the crowd is an easier form of gratification?

Yes, nods the man who knows how to find a television camera like a heat-seeking missile. "There's a lot of that in my own life."

Master of the Media

A hit-and-run, quick-on-his-feet sloganeer, Gingrich is the perfect politician for the television age: a politician who knows that contradictions between voting records and words, between reality and a hyped version of reality, scarcely matter in the world of the 15-second sound bite. He recently observed, "If you get involved in a controversy, then that becomes the mesmerizing event that people remember you by," and once told a group of Republican colleagues that it was important to learn the art of exaggeration. Democrats suggest that Gingrich has excelled most of all in the art of hypocrisy.

A Gingrich speech railed at the "cynical compassion of the left, which shows it cares about the homeless by sleeping on a grate under TV lights for one night and then goes home to hot showers." And yet Gingrich voted against bills to help the homeless. Gingrich defends his votes, insisting that he's "actively trying to find ways to break out of the welfare state. ... Jack Kemp and I are talking about other ideas-maybe we should get 6,000 used mobile homes and put them in inner-city burned-out lots."

Gingrich, who often takes pride in being thought an intellectual, resorts to anti-intellectual cant when attacking an "extremely liberal Democrat" opponent-who "went to Harvard and graduated magna cum laude from the same school as Mike Dukakis and Ted Kennedy."

The man who calls himself a historian is also the spiritual adviser of the Conservative Opportunity Society PAC, which sent out "God Bless Ollie North!" fund-raising letters, making the peculiar claim that "liberals in Congress abandoned the cause of freedom, leaving Russian gunships to `mop up' the young men and women of the Nicaraguan Resistance."

He once suggested that former Democratic representative Michael Barnes (Md.) could wear an " `I despise America' button" for his Central America stance, and at another time sarcastically suggested that opponents of a bill he favored "honestly believe that the CIA is more dangerous than the KGB." (A fed-up David Obey circulated a letter of protest.)

Gingrich speaks with quiet persuasion about his commitment to black causes-supporting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a federal holiday and sanctions against South Africa-and yet he was quick to use code words that stirred racial fears in the South: "It's going to be a Dukakis-Jackson administration no matter who the vice presidential nominee is. ..."

In his 1984 book, "Window of Opportunity," Gingrich repeats endlessly his litany: the "corrupt, liberal welfare state." He then attacks his conception of that "state." Gingrich says he wants to replace it with conservative ideas of "opportunity." But if there are many attempts at the lofty phrase (the book offers a "vision," says Gingrich), real solutions are rare. And despite such rhetoric, some conservative columnists take him to task for being a traditional spender on many issues. Gingrich admits he doesn't have many answers. "My challenge to all Republicans," argues Gingrich, "is to invent the systems and approaches to help people help themselves."

In his book, Gingrich says "the government could save $277 a day per patient by encouraging home care. ... Shouldn't it be possible to design a system to let that happen?" But Gingrich voted against a home care health bill that could, according to some estimates, save billions. Gingrich says the bill would have created more bureaucracy.

Gingrich blasts labor unions as creatures of the "liberal welfare state. Organized crime has so penetrated labor unions and big city machines that in some of our major cities they're a fundamental threat to the capacity of free people to exercise their rights. In fact they kill people who try to change that!" Gingrich is seemingly untroubled by the fact that the Teamsters, for example, routinely endorse Republicans.

Off the stump, Gingrich says he is often a bipartisan team player and many who witness him in committee meetings agree. "If some of the neo-right knew his positions on labor they'd be very surprised," says a Democratic staffer. "Sometimes he sounds like an AFL-CIO lobbyist!"

Praised by some as a responsible strategist in committees, Gingrich, however, has seldom bothered with the nitty and the gritty of the Hill. In more than a decade he has sponsored no significant legislation.

Gingrich has even managed to position himself as the "outsider," denouncing his incumbent colleagues as scoundrels who steal the country blind with perks and privileges. In a recent National Press Club speech, he was applauded for his interpretation of Capitol Hill "cheating" by incumbents: "They," he says, "spend more money on frank {postage-paid} mail than every challenger in the House and Senate spent on everything. This is an ... insult to the process of free elections."

However, Gingrich spends to the limit on frank mail, is a top spender of office and staff funds in the Georgia delegation, and makes use of all the perks of the whip position, including a car and driver. He rails against PACs-and is fed by them.

Asked about these contradictions, Gingrich responds, "As long as it's legal, I'm going to do it.

"First, any money that is turned back goes to the speaker's contingency fund. I have the least possible interest in wanting to spend less and wanting the speaker to have access to that. Second, imagine I was a basketball coach who thought the three-point shot was wrong. That doesn't mean I would tell my players, `Please don't shoot from beyond the circle.' I go with that analogy."

A Military Childhood

For the first three years of his life, Gingrich was Newt McPherson. When his divorced mother remarried Army career officer R.D. Gingrich, he adopted the toddler.

Today Gingrich throws out tantalizing comments about his childhood-"you could write quite a soap opera"-but does not want to talk about it in detail.

"It's very complicated and very difficult. At this stage of who I am, I'm not ready and the audience isn't ready to get into that question, because it would make me look bizarre. But in fact, I spent probably into my forties coping with the whole process of being adopted and having to sort it out. Marianne helped me come to grips with being human at that level, because I had literally dealt with all sorts of issues by making them mechanical and outside myself."

In describing a childhood that shaped him, a standard anecdote is the impression made by a trip taken with his father to Verdun, the World War II battlefield. "I am an Army brat who honestly believes that I am carrying on my stepfather's profession, and who honestly thinks that the key arena for how we survive is the quality of political leadership."

On a personal level, says Gingrich, "my stepfather taught me all the wrong lessons {for marriage}. Exactly the right lessons for being a good combat officer in the infantry-which may not be as helpful for living with your wife as you might think." Some friends have wondered if there are parallels to "The Great Santini," Pat Conroy's novel about an adolescent's need to prove himself to his domineering military father. Says Gingrich, "I read part of the book and couldn't finish it. It was too frightening."

In a telephone interview, R.D. Gingrich has a no-nonsense toughness. "Try not to get too much out of context," he says witheringly. Adopting Newt "really was no problem once I established myself with him. He was really quite tractable; once he understood there was a man in the family, there was no problem."

The rootlessness of Army life took a toll. "There is probably a part of me that has been lonely in that sense for large parts of my life," says the stepson. "You'd move every 18 months and so would your best friend, so you would have that churning. But I do have a network of personal friends that is very deep and very real."

One such friend is Nando Amabile, who taught the 15-year-old Gingrich in Stuttgart. "It was just before he left for Georgia. Newt told me he was going to get a PhD, teach history and work up through the Republican Party and run for Congress when he was 29." Gingrich, who will be 46 this month, missed by two years; he first ran at age 31 in 1974, losing narrowly, then again in '76 before winning in 1978.

"At 15, Newt had read more history than I had," recalls Amabile. Gingrich "seemed to prefer the company of adults. He was not the most popular boy on campus, but he was not a pariah. He was confident and cocky, yes, but I didn't see any bully in Newt."

Amabile remarks on his pupil's precocious interest in politics. "The year JFK got elected, he was calling all kinds of shots correctly during the primary and he was 4,000 miles away, without TV."

A Georgian by happenstance-his stepfather was stationed at Fort Benning-Gingrich graduated from Emory and then got his PhD at Tulane in 1968. He did not get involved in the great protests of his time-civil rights or the anti-war movement-although he joined a free-speech movement that protested the censoring of a picture of nude statues in the school paper.

Gingrich's avoidance of the Vietnam War has provided "war wimp" fodder for many of his colleagues who smart at his hawkish denunciation of their anti-contra votes, especially since some anti-contra congressmen served in Vietnam. Arkansas Rep. Bill Alexander, who led the Democratic ethics battle against Gingrich, has referred to Gingrich's "seeming reluctance to kill communists personally."

Gingrich has recently refined his response to this issue, stating that he did not enlist because he had two young daughters at the time. A few years ago, Gingrich had this answer: "There was a bigger battle in Congress." When it is suggested that wounded Vietnam veterans might not champion this view, Gingrich nods agreement. "When you ask about things you'd do over again, in retrospect maybe I should have volunteered." Discussing the war's toll, he says, "55,000 of our children died and we lost"-an odd comment from someone who was 22 in 1966.

Explaining his bigger-battle-in-Congress comment, Gingrich says, "The reason I'm seen as outside of the norm is that I start out with the understanding that this building decides that people die or that they're free. I see myself as one of the guys trying to reform the building. I see myself as the person who represents the guy who's in the foxhole, the guy who's out there on the aircraft, making sure the jet fuel gets in the jet."

Getting There

Getting to Congress obsessed Gingrich while he was teaching at West Georgia College. Although he often refers to himself as a professor, college seems a way station. "He applied for and was not granted tenure," says Richard A. Dangle, dean of the West Georgia College arts and science department. "He was thought of as a very good teacher, but you must engage in professional activity in your discipline. Writing, presenting research work was not Newt's forte."

Asked if he had applied for tenure, Gingrich says, "No. I made the decision very early that I was never going to get tenure, that I was going to be a politician." Then he amends the answer slightly: "I was tempted to apply for tenure after I lost {for Congress} twice. I went to see the dean, who was a good friend who always supported me politically, and he said, `Run for office-you're not going to get tenure under any circumstances. You've spent four years campaigning; you can't turn now and say, "Let me get back on the track." ' "

Gingrich has made many friends among the rich and the powerful and the conservative, but also lasting enemies. Some early supporters now see him as an unprincipled opportunist. "If all the people who used to like Newt Gingrich were put together you'd have an unstoppable coalition," jokes Lee Howell, a reporter who once wrote speeches for him.

In those early days, Gingrich was regarded as a reform moderate; one Georgia colleague remembers with a laugh, "He looked like Art Garfunkel, with longish curly hair." Gingrich even smoked marijuana at Tulane ("once," he says).

In 1978, after two losses, Gingrich was determined to beat his opponent, Virginia Shapard. He campaigned on a "return to moral values" and pushed his role as a deacon in the church, at a time when his own personal life was in chaos. Former campaign treasurer L.H. "Kip" Carter, who doesn't try to conceal his fervent dislike of Gingrich, says he helped create ads distorting Shapard's voting record in the Georgia legislature and depicting her as someone who would break up her family if she moved to Washington. "Newt," said one ad, "would keep his family together."

Once Gingrich became a congressman, he left Jackie, who had been his campaign manager. Mother Jones repeated stories that Gingrich was having extramarital affairs during the campaign he had pinned to "moral values." Asked if the reports were true, Gingrich sidesteps. "I'm not saying all my life was lived totally as a saint," he said. "When you marry your high school math teacher and grow in different directions, there is an evolutionary process. I've tried to be as open as I can about this, but in this city if you are honest, you get destroyed from another angle."

Says Carter today, "We created a monster and I'll never be able to do enough good things in my lifetime to balance the scale." Says Ray Abernathy, who ran Shapard's campaign: "Newt smeared us left and right and we decided to ignore it. He put down `deacon' for himself and `communicant' for Virginia-which is what the Episcopalians do say. But everywhere we went, people said, `What kind of weirdo is she? Communicant? Is she a Catholic?' Newt is willing to do absolutely anything to get elected and had absolutely no political beliefs at all."

Gingrich dismisses the Georgia comments as vendettas from losers, or aides he fired, who have in the past participated in "hatchet job, fictionalized" articles. But strong remarks also come from the former minister who once considered Gingrich a close friend.

"I'm fearful for him," says the Rev. Brentley Harwell, with a degree of sadness in his voice. "His extremist statements are going to catch up with him. He was elected by many Democrats who thought he would be a progressive Republican. ... I don't know whether it was ambition or he saw the handwriting on the wall, but he moved more and more to the right. He's got a lot of power now. In those days he was kind, and concerned about the family during the divorce, even though it was a callous move. He's estranged from so many folks who once supported him. I think he's always been a loner-had to fight for everything he's got."

Harwell says he is disturbed by the "manner in which he detaches and the hard, hard right rhetoric. If you're not for contra aid you're a communist. I guess the exaggeration bothers me. The all-or-nothing tone. As a professor you'd think he would know better."

The minister, who counseled the Gingriches in their long-troubled marriage, eventually sided with Jackie. It was the manner in which Gingrich left her that so bothered Harwell. "You're looking at an amoral person. That's what you're looking at."

Being There

During his first years in Congress, Gingrich was ridiculed as a loose cannon who advocated colonizing the moon. He regularly offered up harangues for the C-Span cameras, attacking absent colleagues on the House floor during "special orders" (when the House is not in regular session). Then, in the spring of 1984, during one such monologue, then-Speaker Tip O'Neill ordered the cameras to pan the empty floor.

Instead of hurting Gingrich's career, that gesture made it. "The minute Tip O'Neill attacked me, he and I got 90 seconds at the close of all three network news shows," Gingrich once remarked.

By that summer's Republican convention, Gingrich had positioned himself as the main GOP sniper in Reagan's conservative brigade.

This spring, many on both sides of the aisle were surprised when the Republicans gave Gingrich his leadership break, electing him minority whip by two votes. The moderates made the difference. One of them, Claudine Schneider (R.I.), says: "We were sending a signal. Basically there is an abuse of power by the Democrats in the House-{GOP} staff allotment for committees is a joke, for example. Newt will fight for changes."

Now that there seems to be a sea change in global affairs, Gingrich is the first to admit that some of the wind is out of the sails of right-wing rhetoric; Red-bashing is sounding more and more feeble. "All of us, frankly, are actively rethinking," he says. "We're just staring in amazement" at the changes in communist countries. "You can't stand over here and say, `This is business as usual.' " Gingrich gives Ronald Reagan the credit for "us winning on the planet"-and then names himself and like-minded Republican conservatives as helping "in tiny ways" to "change direction."

Gingrich's method of pursuing political change is to blast the Democrats. "I use strong words because I believe they are accurate reflections of reality," he says. He shows no chagrin at having wounded someone like Kitty Dukakis by calling her a "drug addict" in a conversation that the press overheard and printed during last year's presidential campaign. He does say "I was wrong. I did not realize a reporter was standing behind me." He also says he "wasn't attacking her" but asking how sensitive was Michael Dukakis if he had not realized she had problems with prescription drugs.

But for all the hard-line campaigning, three Republican House seats were lost in 1988, during George Bush's rout-the GOP is now down by 83 seats.

And there are times when Gingrich's partisan fury backfires. He hounded Wyche Fowler to debate him as a stand-in for Mack Mattingly during their 1986 Georgia senatorial campaign. When an unannounced Gingrich broke into a radio program that Fowler had paid for, Fowler wearily dismissed him. "Oh, Newt, I've been trying all over this state to debate the organ grinder-I'm sure not going to debate his monkey." That squelched Gingrich.

"He was squirrelly enough to come into my district," says David Obey, "and say I didn't live there and didn't have a home there-which was of some interest to the press who were sitting in my home, interviewing me at the time."

For all his attacks on the House, Gingrich says he really has no desire to move on to the Senate or higher office. What he wants to do, he insists, is change the balance of power-Gingrich is shooting against extraordinary odds for a Republican majority and the speakership by 1992.

His target of attack is the "sick corrupt liberal welfare society," says Gingrich, going into his speech shtick, "which is just doomed to failure and doomed to sicken"-he spits out the word-"America. We have to a build a team with guts to tell the truth of how sick the welfare state has become and we need new reform ideas, we've got to attract everyone who is dissatisfied with the status quo.

"My hope is to be active as a player and a teacher-teach my colleagues, teach political candidates, try to formulate what we're doing in a way the press will cover.

"I joined a Republican Party that was used to losing, used to being passive, being browbeaten by the Democrats," he now expounds. "They felt morally inferior. I represent a totally different style."

A final comment on the subject before he barrels into the next confrontation. "I like the game, the rhythm of the game over here," he says.

"We're sort of the truck stop of American politics." 

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