Gingrich: Obama Administration 'Far and Away the Most Radical' in American History

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 12, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is here to explain this.


NEWT GINGRICH, R-GA, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The President of the United States, the most radical president in American history, has now thrown down the gauntlet to the American people. He has said, I run a machine, I own Washington, and there's nothing you can do about it. Now, that's where we are.


VAN SUSTEREN: Speaker Gingrich joins us live right here in Washington. Mr. Speaker, "the most radical president in American history."

GINGRICH: I think that's clearly true. Look at what they did with General Motors and Chrysler and taking money away from the stockholders and the bond holders and giving it to the unions. Look what they did in ramming through the trillion-dollar health bill. Look what they're doing with a pay czar in the White House, which is an unconstitutional office that now has an individual person who decides what banks should be able to earn.

You go down list by list, you've never seen this left-wing, this interventionist, this big-government, and in foreign policy, I think this misleading an administration. So I think that by any reasonable standard, this is far and away the most radical administration in American history.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, it's sort of interesting that the president has -- is going to have another appointment to the United States Supreme Court very soon. And when he was in the United States Senate and Justice Alito was up to be confirmed by the United States Senate, he -- he said that he thought that Alito was intellectually smart enough for the job but that his job was to take it beyond that, look at the Justice's philosophy, because he thought that the president had assumed too much power. He didn't like the unchecked power of the president.

GINGRICH: Well, I think what he was (INAUDIBLE) he doesn't like George W. Bush and he didn't like conservatives. I've found that so far, at least, President Obama has been willing to cheerfully give up virtually any campaign promise he ever made. We didn't get transparency. We didn't get C-SPAN covering the rewriting of the health bill. He's clearly raising taxes on the middle class. I mean, go down item by item.

So I think that he -- now that he's president, he will think that his choices are totally appropriate, and my guess is he will attack Republicans if they try to slow down his choice. And the truth is, we don't know what kind of a judge he'll choose and whether it'll be somebody who is very radical, whether it'll be somebody who's reasonable. The fact that this is the most radical administration in history doesn't mean that every single thing they do is radical. It just means that on a number of very big areas, they are for -- they are for dramatic change towards a bigger government, higher tax, more bureaucracy, more politicians controlling your life.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are the changes pretty much over?


VAN SUSTEREN: Except for -- I mean, I realize that taxes are -- I mean, taxes are likely to rise because we've got such an enormous economic situation. We got to pay for something somehow. And I assume he's going to raise taxes.

GINGRICH: Well, he could control spending. I mean, there are two options here. You can either...

VAN SUSTEREN: No, but I -- but I don't anticipate -- I mean, with the stimulus bill, even if we were to control spending now, we've already spent a lot.

GINGRICH: In this kind of economy, competing with China and India, raising taxes is suicidal. I mean, it makes America less competitive, less productive, less capable of attracting investment, less capable of building new factories. It is literally suicidal.

So I would start from the opposite end. I would say that the -- first of all, it's very clear that the president made a decision -- and this is part of why I moved to a much more decisive critique in describing a secular socialist machine and in describing the most radical administration in history. They had a chance after Scott Brown won in Massachusetts to back up and say, You know, the polls are against the health bill, the town hall meetings are against the health bill, the tea parties are against the health bill. Now we've lost Teddy Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts over the health bill. Maybe we ought to go slower.

Instead, they did just the opposite. It took them about a week to figure it out, and they said, You know, we're going to ram this through, no matter what the American people think. There's no question from every source I know of, from Gallup to Rasmussen to a dozen other -- Zogby -- that the health bill is unpopular by at least a 20 or 25-point margin. They just don't care.

Next they're going to come back, I think, and try to pass cap-and-trade, even though it's a gigantic energy tax and weakens America in energy production. Then they're going to come back, I think, and try to pass an immigration bill that most Americans will oppose.

I mean, I just think you should expect to see them ever week they can between now and the election passing more big government, more Washington- centered activities, and then they're going to tell us that we have an obligation to raise our taxes to pay for their spending.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the -- the whole -- what you started to talk about is how, you know, all these different events happened that they have not been listening to. The one thing that always struck me was that when Senator Scott Brown was elected, I heard from a number of Democrats who said, Well, you know, now we realize that people are unhappy, when there had been all these town hall meetings, you know, last summer and tea party movements.

Why aren't -- why aren't they responding? Is it a sense that they know better, or is it because they truly aren't listening or they think that the American people will come around to that viewpoint? And some Americans do agree with them, I should add, but the ones who disagree with them.

GINGRICH: Well, I'm -- you know, I'm going to be in Austin, Texas, on Thursday with a tea party group, unveiling their version of a "Contract From (SIC) America." I've been meeting with tea party groups in 10 or 12 cities now. It's very clear that this -- two things are going on. First of all, the Henry Waxmans of the world have genuine contempt for the American people. I mean, you look at Waxman's reaction to AT&T unveiling how much the health bill will cost -- I mean, it was really almost a Hugo Chavez demagogic...

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it contempt or they disagree? I mean, there's -- I mean, you could...



GINGRICH: ... contempt.

VAN SUSTEREN: You could be contemptuous and think someone -- you know -- you know, that you don't like them and you don't -- you don't think you should have any -- give any credit to their thought, or you can just so disagree and think, Look, the American people sent me to Washington and they sent me to Washington to exercise my judgment.

GINGRICH: I think if you look at the language they use, if you look at the hostility they showed to town hall meetings -- I mean, you know, there's a town hall meeting where -- where a Democratic congressman asked somebody to prove that they were a citizen of that district! Now, this is from a party that normally doesn't care whether you're here legally or not. This is from a party that normally doesn't care whether you're registered to vote or not. I mean, suddenly, they were under such enormous pressure, they just quit holding town hall meetings! Now, there's some -- when your elected officials can't go back home, you know, there's something wrong with the model of what they're doing.

And I -- but I think what they decided was that they were going to pass -- this was the high water mark of modern left-wing thought, that they're not going to have this many Senate seats, this many House seats again in the near future, and they're going to drive everything they can through this year, take a beating this fall, if that's what is involved, but try to leave so much wreckage behind that they will have accomplished their goal of moving the country towards a European-style socialist welfare state model.

VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of the Tea Party movement, during sort of an informal poll (INAUDIBLE) people you spoke to, are they disgruntled Republicans who are disappointed with the party, and so they're sort of, you know, moving off to a different direction or different organization, or are they independents suddenly getting active or are they even Democrats?

GINGRICH: I actually think -- first of all, they remind me a lot of the Perot voters. They tend to be fairly well-educated. They tend to very often be self-employed. A number of the mothers were home schoolers. They're very sincere people. Every place I've been, they talk about studying the Constitution, having reading clubs, holding classes.

I would say they're probably 60 percent Republican, Republican and Independent, 40 percent Democrat. The Democrats tend to be what we would once have called Reagan Democrats. They tend to be more conservative, very alienated, very sensitive on economic issues. And I have not heard in my lifetime as much talk about the Constitution as I have in meetings with tea party leaders around the country.

We had 55 people in Louisiana from the Louisiana tea parties who met with me on Thursday, and the number of people who talked about, what are our constitutional rights, what is the limit on government, what did the Founding Fathers say -- I mean, in one way, what the left is doing is forcing the country into an education on a scale that I wouldn't have thought likely.

VAN SUSTEREN: But isn't that -- if you say that so many of them are like Perot, isn't that fatal to the Republican Party? Because look what happened with Perot...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... and former vice president -- or former president, I should say, George H.W. Bush. Look what happened with him with the Perot vote.

GINGRICH: Look, I think if Republican leaders do not listen carefully and do not try to absorb and be involved with the tea parties, then there's a big problem. But if you look at the -- you know, Michele Bachmann and Governor Palin had 11,000 people last week in Minneapolis. They had an enormous -- they raised $700,000 in one evening. Governor Pawlenty was there. I mean, the whole congressional delegation on the Republican side. They clearly understood that they needed to bring tea partiers and Republicans under the same movement.

And I think if you're willing to work at it, you can do that because I think that there's a genuine feeling on the part of most of the tea party people -- they're sophisticated enough to know that splitting the vote guarantees that Pelosi stays as Speaker and Obama stays as president and Reid stays as majority leader, and they're willing to look over minor differences in order to make sure that they beat those three.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why aren't Republicans -- the ones who are not in the Tea Party, why aren't those Republicans going over to the Tea Party?

GINGRICH: Well, I think part of it's a matter of style. Part of it's a matter of -- of what people are already actively involved in. If you're a Republican precinct leader, you probably don't become a tea partier. But there are a lot of Republicans who do go to the tea party events. And I think part of that's because under our constitutional structure, where you have elections on a certain cycle, people got so agitated starting with the stimulus package -- the stimulus package was the beginning of this whole mess because the fact that Obama could drive through $787 billion of spending with no elected official having read it, which is why I describe it as a machine -- I mean, if you can get $787 billion out of the Congress and nobody's read the bill, that's a machine. That's not representative self-government.

I think that really for an amazing number of people was a jarring event. And then since then, it's just gotten steadily worse. And interestingly, I find more people now are paying attention to process. You know, how are these bills written? Why are they in secret? Why do they introduce 300 pages as an amendment at 4:00 in the morning and vote on it at 3:00 the next afternoon? I mean, there's a lot more awareness out there about how Pelosi and Reid and Obama are trying to manipulate the system than I would have thought likely a year ago.

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