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The Gazette KCRG
Posted November 17, 2010
Gingrich calls for ‘replacement conservativism’ in Cedar Rapids

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich talks with Mark Vonderohe, right, at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

CEDAR RAPIDS – Newt Gingrich prefers to see the 2010 mid-term election results not simply as the culmination of American voters’ rejection of liberalism, but the initiation of a new form of conservative ideology and leadership – replacement conservativism.

“We rejected the left in 1972, 1980, 1984, 1994 and now in 2010,” Gingrich said Nov. 17 in Cedar Rapids where he’ll be signing copies of his new book, “Valley Forge: George Washington and the Crucible of Victory,” at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, Northland Square SC, 333 Collins Rd NE.

“But it’s not enough to reject it, you have to replace it. You have to have a new model,” Gingrich said.

His new model is government that is smaller, less expensive and more agile.

For example, he sees cell phones as the best way to deliver public health information in the future.

Nearly everyone has a cell phone, Gingrich said, “So you can build a cell phone information system for diabetics, arthritics or asthma or whatever and you can reach virtually every person in Iowa — and do it much cheaper than the current bureaucratic systems.

“We live in an age of iPhones, iPad, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, ATMs,” said the former speaker of the U.S. House and leader of the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress based in large part on the Contract with America. “That’s how you’re going to update government.”

Gingrich is making three stops in Iowa to promote his book that chronicles the tribulations of time and place when Washington and the Continental Army were forged into fighting a force that would win a revolution and found a nation.

There’s widespread speculation his visit to Iowa, which hosts the first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses, is also about a 2012 bid for the GOP presidential nomination. Gingrich doesn’t deny interest in the presidency, but simply says he’ll make a decision during the coming winter. If he decides to run, he’ll likely announce in March or April.

In the meantime, the 67-year-old former Georgia congressman is pushing the idea that it’s not enough for conservatives to focus solely on recapturing the presidency.

There are 513,000 elected officials in this country, Gingrich said from his downtown hotel room where he was conducting a series of interviews with local media and working on a speech he will deliver to the Republican Governors Association Nov. 18.

“If you want a wave of transformation, you can’t just focus only on the Oval Office. It’s not big enough. It doesn’t get enough done,” Gingrich said. “You’ve also got to focus on the local school board, the local sheriff, the court system.”

In the next few years, he predicted 90 percent of change will come at the state level, but only 10 percent at the federal level.

“Governors can move. Governors can do things,” he said. Governor and state legislatures likely will provide the leadership replacement conservativism.

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