Transcript: Newt Gingrich on 'FNS'
The following is a rush transcript of the May 16, 2010, edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: And hello again from Fox News in Washington. We'll take you to Dallas for our interview with Laura Bush in a few minutes. But first, Newt Gingrich and his explosive new book. It's called "To Save America," and we want to get right to it.
Speaker Gingrich, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Good to be here.
WALLACE: You say President Obama and the Democrats are trying to impose a secular socialist machine on this country. What is that?
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, it's clearly a machine. If you can get $757 billion out of the Congress and no elected official has even read the bill, that's the behavior of a Chicago-style machine.
If you have the entire country rejecting health care, you lose Teddy Kennedy's seat over health care, and your attitude is, "Who cares, we're going to run over you and we're going to pass it —" so today for the first time, I think, in my lifetime you have a bill which passed which 58 percent of the country wants to repeal. That's the behavior of a machine.
WALLACE: All right. Now the secular socialist part.
GINGRICH: Well, let's — the socialist part, working backwards for a second, when you have a pay czar in the White House who thinks that they have enough power and knowledge to set the salaries for hundreds of people in dozens of companies, in an industry they've never been in — I mean, if that's not socialist — if the government is the largest owner of General Motors and Chrysler, the largest funder of AIG — they just nationalized student loans so they're now all 100 percent government program.
They're trying to find a back-door way to get to a government-run health system. And if you look at the recent reports that — in 2014 many major corporations are going to dump their health insurance.
WALLACE: All right. Now the secular part?
GINGRICH: Well, the secular part is if you look at his appointments, if you look at an equal employment opportunity commission appointee who says basically religious liberty has to be subordinated to identity politics, meaning the gay agenda, you look at a Democratic candidate for the Senate in Massachusetts who says, "You know, if you're a practicing Catholic maybe you shouldn't work in emergency rooms," you look at two state legislators in Connecticut, Democrats, who introduced a bill which would have literally abolished the Catholic Church in Connecticut, I mean, there's a continuous, relentless anti-religious bias.
The recent judge's decision that a day of prayer is unconstitutional - - which if it weren't so serious it would be laughable.
WALLACE: You also write this, and let's put it up on the screen. "The secular-socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did." Mr. Speaker, respectfully, isn't that wildly over the top?
GINGRICH: No, not if by America you mean the historic contract we've had which says your rights come from your creator, they're unalienable, you're allowed to pursue happiness. I mean, just listen to President Obama's language. He gets to decide who earns how much. He gets to decide what is...
WALLACE: Well, but, I mean...
GINGRICH: ... too much.
WALLACE: ... in fairness, we're talking not just about any company, we're talking about companies that the — that the government has put...
GINGRICH: No, but...
WALLACE: ... billions of dollars in...
GINGRICH: No, no. No, no.
WALLACE: ... with his pay czar.
GINGRICH: But he has said publicly, generically, "You know, some Americans earn too much," so he's now going to decide that?
WALLACE: No, he — well, he has said that, I agree, that some Americans make too much.
GINGRICH: So you want a politician to become the arbiter of your dreams. A politician gets to say, "We're going to raise — we're going to — we're going to have a tax —" and they proposed this at one point — "We're going to have a punitive tax on those we don't like. We're going to decide that you have too much money so we're going to take it from you."
WALLACE: So — but you compare that to the Nazis and the Communists?
GINGRICH: I compare that as a threat, not in terms of the moral — look, there is no comparison to Nazi Germany as a moral — or, by the way, to Mao's China or the Soviet Union, all three of which were evil.
But as a threat to our way of life, the degree to which the secular- socialist left represents a fundamental replacement of America, a very different world view, a very different outcome, I think is a very serious threat to our way of life.
WALLACE: Your proposals are as dramatic as your analysis of the situation. You say, "Don't reform, replace. Replace the Environmental Protection Agency. Replace the Department of Education." Replace with what?
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, in the case of the Environmental Protection Agency, you have a — you have a bureaucracy which is self- selected of people who believe they have the right to make the most amazing micro-management judgments around the whole country.
And if you look at the degree to which they now issue rules, believe they can regulate the entire carbon economy — and again, you want to talk about socialism. How about having a government agency of unelected people who decide they can literally rewrite the entire economy based on carbon?
And I think it's very hard to reform an agency which has spent two generations recruiting people who are more and more anti-business, more and more anti-commercial activity, and who represent a value system that's very hard to deal with.
WALLACE: You also talk about replacing entitlements like Social Security.
GINGRICH: I think that you have to migrate to a system that is Social Security based on personal contributions. And I think that if you're a young person today and you do the math, you are much better off to have a Social Security system where you control your money. You put it in. It builds up for your entire working life. When you retire, you get the money.
WALLACE: Would you really have wanted that when the stock market dropped by 50 percent over the course of the last couple of months?
GINGRICH: Well, if you're — if you had been putting it in your whole lifetime, the amount it would build up over the last 30 years, you'd still be way ahead compared to a transfer system.
Remember, when Social Security paid its first check, there were 42 taxpayers for every recipient. When my grandchildren, who are eight and 10, get to be Social Security recipients, there may well be two taxpayers for every recipient. You can't sustain that.
The whole lesson of Greece, of Spain, of the crisis in Europe, the lesson of Sacramento, the lesson of Albany — we can't sustain having government as the fourth bubble where we are spending more than we can possibly maintain.
WALLACE: Not surprisingly, your book has drawn some strong criticism. You praise the Tea Party. And when they ousted Utah senator Robert Bennett last week you said this, "It's a sign of the anger of the American people."
But speaker, just three months ago you endorsed Bennett for re- election.
GINGRICH: I did. And I — and I — and I think Bennett's a very nice man. But I — my comment wasn't anti-Bennett. I think Bennett would agree with me. He went back home. I went out — I went to Utah for him.
And what he found was, first of all, that his vote on TARP really signaled people that — it gave them an explanation of their anger. And second, Bennett is a very reasonable person. I think they wanted somebody to come and fight, and I think they were saying, "We're unhappy with Washington. We want people who are going to fight to change Washington."
And I believe that's going to be a characteristic all across the country.
WALLACE: Your critics also point out that you, as you've seen here, attack President Obama for a socialist intrusion into the private sector. But, Speaker, the fact is that back in 2008, you supported the $700 billion...
GINGRICH: That's right.
WALLACE: ... Wall Street bailout.
GINGRICH: That's right. And I — what I said at the time — no, it was actually 400, but what I said at...
WALLACE: No, 700.
GINGRICH: OK. What I said at the time I would repeat. If the chairman of the Federal Reserve and the secretary of Treasury both look you in the eye and say, "In the absence of doing this, we're going to collapse into a great depression," I don't have the confidence as a historian to say, "I think my judgment is so much superior. I'm going to — let's take the gamble. Let's see if we have a great depression."
But I also said that — at the very same week that I thought it was wrong for Paulson to be secretary of the Treasury, because I do — I do not think you ought to have a chairman of Goldman Sachs in the process of transferring wealth to Wall Street.
WALLACE: Let's talk some of the big issues now. What do you think of the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court?
GINGRICH: I think the president should withdraw it. I think the — you don't need a whole lot of hearings. The very fact that she led the effort, which was repudiated unanimously by the Supreme Court, to block the American military from Harvard Law School — we're in two wars, and I see no reason why you would appoint an antimilitary Supreme Court justice or why the Senate would confirm an antimilitary Supreme Court justice.
WALLACE: Well, I mean, in fairness, she says, and a lot of her supporters say, she's not antimilitary. She was specifically opposed to the fact that the military had the "don't ask, don't tell —" and forgive me, sir. The fact is that she supports a lot of policies that I suspect you do.
She has spoken supportively as solicitor general about the Bush detainee policies. She has spoken about an expansive view of executive power. Do you really think you're going to get a better nominee out of Barack Obama?
GINGRICH: Look, I think the president has every right to nominate a liberal. He's the president and that's his value system. I think the fact is if you — if you look at the brief they filed, if you look at what she wrote at the time, it's a very myopic view.
On the one hand, Harvard accepts money from Saudis. Saudi Arabia, by the way, executes homosexuals. Saudi Arabia represses women. Saudi Arabia does not allow Christians or Jews to practice their religion. But Saudi money is fine.
The American military didn't have a policy. The Congress of the United States and the Clinton administration she served in had a policy. And for her to single out the military was an extraordinarily myopic position.
And if you read what they said at the time, it was consistently focused on the military. And I just think that at a time when we have two wars that's a very inappropriate behavior for somebody to end up as justice of the Supreme Court.
WALLACE: We've got about a minute left. There are big primary elections this Tuesday. Arlen Specter, running now as a Democrat in Pennsylvania, is in trouble in the Democratic primary. In Kentucky, the establishment candidate, Secretary of State Trey Grayson is running behind Tea Party favorite Rand Paul. Speaker, what's going on with voters?
GINGRICH: I think voters are very upset, and should be. I mean, at almost 10 percent unemployment, at massive debt in Washington, and a government that doesn't function very well, I think people have every right to be very upset. And I think they're looking for ways to signal that.
I suspect Arlen Specter, who, by the way, I did one of his last Republican fundraisers for — always wished he'd return the money. You know, I think Specter has a very high likelihood of losing.
I think Tim Burns is probably going to win in Pennsylvania as a Republican, which is a very important special election.
We have a friend of ours, Princella Smith, running in a primary in Arkansas and we certainly hope she wins.
But I think what voters are looking for is somebody who communicates a determination to fight for very dramatic change. And I think that tonal thing is very, very important. I think that's why John Kasich will become governor in Ohio this fall and I think it's why Meg Whitman will probably become governor in California.
WALLACE: Mr. Gingrich, we want to thank you so much for coming in...
GINGRICH: Thank you.
WALLACE: ... and discussing your book. I've got to say, it's always interesting.
GINGRICH: Thank you.
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