Newt’s Renegotiated Contract with America

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
October 24, 2022

As House Republicans get closer to reclaiming the House, some D.C. armchair strategists are looking back to the ur-culture warrior of the Clinton era: Newt Gingrich. Yes, Gingrich, the 79-year-old former Speaker of the House and leader of the so-called “Republican Revolution”—not to mention former presidential candidate, and prolific amateur historian—is having a moment. Steve Kornacki’s new podcast, The Revolution, essentially posits that Newt was the consequential link in the G.O.P.’s evolution from Reagan’s dewy-eyed patriotism to the combative and paranoid style that predominates today. He was, in many ways, the progenitor of Trump, himself.

Gingrich still wields considerable juice in this town. He now has the ear of the likely future House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, whose “Commitment to America” evokes Gingrich’s own, more policy-specific, “Contract with America” from 1994. McCarthy has even invited him to House Conference Meetings to speak to the caucus. But Gingrich is an equal opportunity advisor to multiple wings of the G.O.P.: He’s spoken to the ultra conservative Republican Study Committee and is also being courted by potential presidential nominees, like Glenn Youngkin. (He recently attended Youngkin’s donor retreat.) Indeed, the next two years could present a second coming for Gingrich, still a big thinker in the party, as he imparts his vision for G.O.P. leadership after the midterms and beyond.