Newt Gingrich In 1986: Reagan’s Anti-Soviet Policies Are ‘Pathetically Incompetent’

Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich

[credit provider=”White House photo, Reagan Library”]

Newt Gingrich cloaks himself in Reagan’s mantle in almost every public utterance.Nate Silver of the New York Times has actually charted how often Gingrich uses Reagan’s names in debates. It turns out Gingrich mentions him on average 3.2 times per debate.

Gingrich often says that together he and Reagan  “helped defeat the Soviet empire” 

But as Elliot Abrams points out in National Review Online today, Newt Gingrich wasn’t exactly a fan of Reagan’s. In fact Gingrich hated Reagan’s policies against the Soviet Union. Here is the key paragraph from Abrams: 

The best examples come from a famous floor statement Gingrich made on March 21, 1986. This was right in the middle of the fight over funding for the Nicaraguan contras; the money had been cut off by Congress in 1985, though Reagan got $100 million for this cause in 1986. Here is Gingrich: “Measured against the scale and momentum of the Soviet empire’s challenge, the Reagan administration has failed, is failing, and without a dramatic change in strategy will continue to fail. . . . President Reagan is clearly failing.” Why? This was due partly to “his administration’s weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail”; partly to CIA, State, and defence, which “have no strategies to defeat the empire.” But of course “the burden of this failure frankly must be placed first on President Reagan.” Our efforts against the Communists in the Third World were “pathetically incompetent,” so those anti-Communist members of Congress who questioned the $100 million Reagan sought for the Nicaraguan “contra” rebels “are fundamentally right.” Such was Gingrich’s faith in President Reagan that in 1985, he called Reagan’s meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev “the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with Neville Chamberlain in 1938 in Munich.”

 So Gingrich didn’t exactly feel that in 1986 he was working together with Reagan to defeat the Soviets, instead he was comparing Reagan to the appeasing British P.M. Chamberlain. For all of Gingrich’s “vision” he obviously wasn’t anticipating the collapse of the Soviet regime a few short years later. He was thumping from the House floor, that during Reagan’s five years in office “we have been losing the struggle with the Soviet empire.”

Unsurprisingly Reagan wasn’t a of Gingrich’s either. In the only mention of Gingrich ever in Reagan’s diary, the president wrote that  Gingrich’s ideas would “cripple our defence program.” 

Of course, the SuperPAC aligned ith Mitt Romney’s has turned that aside into an attack ad. Here below: