Editor's note: The following is a speech given by Fox News contributor and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to the Republican Governors Association conference in San Diego on November 18.
Thank you for inviting me. Congratulations to Governor Haley Barbour and Executive Director Nick Ayers for a brilliant two year campaign. Also, thank you Governor Rick Perry for agreeing to serve again as Chairman of the RGA. Congratulations to each of you new governors for earning the right to lead your state in a time of profound transformational change. The great victories of 2009 and 2010 are only the beginning. The elections of 2011 and 2012 must create a Republican majority large enough and durable enough to replace the increasingly leftist political system which has dominated America since 1932.
Last year in Virginia and New Jersey, and this year across the country, the American people rejected the left by decisive margins; however, the American people have rejected the left before.
In 1972 the left was decisively repudiated. In 1980 the left carried as many states for president as Herbert Hoover in 1932. In 1984 the left carried only one state for president. In 1994 the left was rejected as Republicans won control of the House for the first time in 40 years.
Rejection proved to be an inadequate remedy for leftwing ideologies, bureaucracies, judgeships, interest groups, and academics.
After each rejection the left continued to grow in the institutions it dominates. The left grew more radical and more demanding even as the American people rejected it in the electoral arena.
The challenge for us is to turn rejection of the left into replacement of the left. The challenge for us is to have a Republican Party of jobs and paychecks replace a Democratic Party of bureaucracy and food stamps. The first great laboratory for replacing the left will not be in Washington. It will be in the states. Washington is trapped in obsolete policies, regulations and ideologies.
However, in your states, you will have an opportunity to provide creative leadership and to organize innovative, creative citizens in new models of solutions appropriate to the age of the iPhone, iPad, You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, Google and text messaging.
We can regain full employment, have the best jobs in the world, compete successfully with China and India and protect ourselves from those who would destroy our civilization. To do so we need dramatically new policies and institutions.
America stands on the edge of an era of amazing prosperity, health, clean energy, enhanced environmental protection and increased safety from both attacks and drugs.
Furthermore, this new era of achievement should include an extraordinary improvement in the lives and prospects of the poorest Americans.
The explosion of scientific and technological knowledge will be historic with at least 4 to 7 times more new knowledge in the next 25 years than in the last 25. Cancer should cease to be a cause of death. Alzheimer’s should be preventable and treatable. A new model of public health based on the cell phone and mass marketing will lead to breakthroughs in wellness, prevention, and chronic disease management.
New models of lifetime learning that are electronic, 24/7, and demand-focused will enable every American to participate fully in a more productive and more profitable life.
The list of possibilities is enormous, but the problem of Washington-centered, bureaucratic government crippling America and blocking us from this future is also enormous. There is no question the future will be better. There is some question whether the lead in getting to that future will be centered in the United States or will have migrated to China, India, and Germany.
Volvo is now a Chinese Company. Jaguar is now an Indian company. China is introducing a passenger airliner to compete directly with Boeing and Airbus. These are the new 21st century realities.
America will transform much faster in the 50 state laboratories of citizen-led government than in the centralized, bureaucratic, interest group dominated system of Washington.
We need your leadership in creating experiments of modernization and transformation. As governors, you have an opportunity to lead your states in transformational change while Washington is held captive by the reactionary interest groups, ideology and bureaucracies of the past.
In December and January I will lead five webinars on transformational change. Replacing Obamacare by transforming our system of health and healthcare at the state level will be offered by the Center for Health Transformation at HealthTransformation.net Three webinars – on economic growth, on reducing costs while improving outcomes in government, and on an American energy future – will be at AmericanSolutions.com.
One webinar will be at Renewing American Leadership on sustaining and enhancing American Exceptionalism as the foundation of American Civilization and will be at ToRenewAmerica.com.
We hope to develop additional webinars with governors who have succeeded in the past in developing real change in their states.
Finally, at The Americano, a website for center-right Hispanic dialogue, we are continuing to develop policies for the Hispanic American community, and on December 2nd and 3rd, The Americano will host its first annual Hispanic Forum in Washington.
There are at least 12 steps you can take as the leader of your state and the manager of your state government (and they are very different roles).
1. Turn the $132 billion spent on unemployment compensation last year into a human capital development fund by requiring every person who can’t find a job to take a training program in return for their compensation. -- Paying people to do nothing for 99 weeks is as wrong in unemployment compensation as it was in welfare. This is an opportunity to dramatically enhance the working skills of the American people at no new cost.
2. Replace litigation-focused workers compensation with a rehabilitation and capabilities focused program that maximizes the speed of helping people medically, and focuses on retraining and focusing on what they can do rather than on what they can’t do.
3. Review the IBM proposal to take $1 trillion out of the cost of running the federal government over the next decade, and ask IBM and other technology companies to make a similar proposal for state and local government.
4. As a first step toward a tenth amendment project, identify every federal regulation which costs money and minimizes state creativity. Work through the RGA collectively to have Congress either repeal the regulation, abolish the office or agency or defund the activity.
5. As a step toward replacing Obamacare, block grant Medicaid by number of people in poverty per state, and give the states freedom to invent a more effective system of prevention, wellness, and chronic disease management without Washington red tape and bureaucratic dictation.
6. As a step toward more affordable care, eliminate the $70 billion to $120 billion in theft in Medicare and Medicaid created by the administrative incompetence of the federal bureaucracy and the innovative determination of modern criminals.
7. Propose a fifty-state competition to block grant all federal Health Information Technology money and see which state can complete the first paperless health system.
8. As leader of the state (a very different job from manager of the state government), bring together every innovative entrepreneur and CEO in the state to develop a benchmark for helping businesses and entrepreneurs create high paying jobs in competition with China, India, and Germany and to focus on growing your state’s export success to create local jobs through worldwide sales.
9. Emphasize the right of parents to know how their children are doing, know how their school is doing, and have the right to choose a better school if they believe their child is being inadequately prepared for success.
10. Insist on paying great teachers a lot more and releasing bad teachers before they can cripple the future of the children they serve.
11. Benchmark salaries and benefits in your state and insist that government employees be compensated fairly within the framework of the taxpayers’ capabilities. As Governor-elect Scott Walker has said, we are not going to have bureaucratic have’s and taxpayer have-not’s in America.
12. Insist on reasserting American Exceptionalism by having every student in taxpayer-financed schools, whether K through 12 or in the state college and university systems, have a brief course annually on the Declaration of Independence, its assertion of self-evident truths, and its declaration that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The time has come to reassert that we are Americans, and America is a learned civilization.
There are many other opportunities for modernization and transformation, but these give you a sense of the scale of leadership we need. This is an enormous challenge. It is our generation’s rendezvous with destiny.
We must have the courage to complete the job and the persuasiveness to work with the American people so they reward us in the next five elections with the right to continue moving America toward freedom, safety, and prosperity.
Republican Newt Gingrich is a former House Speaker. He is a Fox News contributor.
Newt Gingrich, a Republican, was speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. He is the author of the new novel “Duplicity" and co-author, with his wife Callista Gingrich, of "Rediscovering God in America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in Our Nation's History and Future" (Center Street, May 17, 2016).