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Books by and about 2012 presidential nominees
Do Not Ask What Good We Do
about Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
The Path to Prosperity
by Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
Ten Letters
about Pres. Barack Obama (2011)
A Life of Trial and Redemption
about V.P. Joe Biden (2010)
No Apology
by Gov. Mitt Romney (2010)
Young Guns
by Rep. Paul Ryan et al (2010)
The Path to Prosperity
by Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
Promises to Keep
by Vice Pres. Joe Biden (2007)
The Audacity of Hope
by Pres. Barack Obama (2006)
Turnaround
by Gov. Mitt Romney (2004)
Dreams from My Father
by Pres. Barack Obama (1996)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

To Save America
Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine,

by Newt Gingrich



(Click for Amazon book review)

BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:

This book provides Newt Gingrich's early rationale for running for president in 2012. This book was published in May 2010; he published a later book in June 2011, after formally announcing. His later rationale more specifically targeted President Obama; this earlier rationale is more philosophical, about how he came to his decision to run. The later rationale, A Nation Like No Other, is separately reviewed and excerpted.

This book explains, in Speaker Gingrich's view, why he left Congress in 1999 and why he decided to run for president in 2012. Let's start with why he's running for president. Gingrich claims that the "secular-socialists" have taken over America, and that America's very existence is threatened if the Left stays in power:

The left-wing Democrats who currently control the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and many state capitols are committed to a secular-socialist ideology that is alien to America's history and traditions.

Traditional America values hard work, entrepreneurship, innovation, and merit-based upward mobility. But the secular-socialist machine rewards its members, punishes 'overachievers,' kills job by over-taxing small businesses, and even exploits your death to tax the savings you hope to pass on to your children and grandchildren." (p. 2)

That term "secular-socialist" is new to most voters (and to most pundits, including me!). But it's no accident; Gingrich explains, "The term 'secular-socialist machine' is the only honest way to describe the Left's ideology and the way they operate today" (p. 4). And he devotes the titles of six chapters (and most of their contents) to explaining what exactly he means by "secular-socialist machine" (basically, he means "Obama", as in the title of chapter 5, "The Secular-Socialist Machine's Heath Bill Disaster"). Happily, Gingrich has discontinued use of this term on the presidential campaign trail, and has limited that theme to bashing Saul Alinsky, whom Gingrich describes as the founder of secular-socialism, and Obama's mentor.

Let's return now to Gingrich's explanation of his departure from power. Gingrich opens the book with his explanation of why he departed Congress, citing that he had finished Saving America (as the title of this book indicates):

"After the victory of freedom over Communist tyranny... and of American pride over the malaise and cynicism of the 1970s, I fully expected America to follow an upward curve of consistent improvement. I did not expect the Left to ignore the lessons of history and move further into ideological extremism.

"After leaving Congress in 1999 with a balanced budget and a booming economy, I certainly did not foresee Republican failure so vast that it allowed left-wing radicals to take over the House, Senate, and Presidency. America as we know it is now facing a mortal threat." (pp. 1-2)

Well! Gingrich is a professor of history and regularly chides his audience to study history. Anyone studying the history of Gingrich's descent from the Speakership and resignation from Congress might have a different opinion than the one Gingrich cites. Yes, Gingrich was responsible for the Republican House victory of 1994, and participated, with President Bill Clinton, in balancing the budget and setting the framework for a booming economy. But he implies that he left Congress in 1999 at the top of his game -- and that's just not historically accurate. He left amid scandal and failure, and he resigned rather than retired. All three of those are ignored by Gingrich's opening statement above, and are further ignored for the entirety of this book. So we'll elaborate:

  1. Scandal: In 1997, Gingrich was charged by the House Ethics Committee with 84 counts of ethics violations. After an investigation, Gingrich was reprimanded on one count -- the first time in the history of the U. S. House that a Speaker had been reprimanded -- and fined $300,000 for misuse of tax-exempt donations. The ethics vote in the House was 395-28, meaning that many Republicans voted for the reprimand.

  2. Failure: Gingrich's popularity fell dramatically after the House impeached President Clinton (Dec. 1998) but the Senate failed to convict Clinton of wrongdoing (Feb. 1999). Pres. Clinton was seen as a victim of a witch hunt with Gingrich as one of the leading hunters; Clinton gained popularity as a result, and Gingrich and the Republicans lost popularity. The loss of Republican popularity was widely seen as the reason for the House Republican electoral loss in November 1998 (the GOP lost seats but maintained a majority). Gingrich took responsibility for the electoral loss and announced his resignation shortly after the election.

  3. Resignation: Gingrich resigned not only from the Speakership but also from his House seat. The political pressure at the time forced him to resign the Speakership, but he had just won re-election as the Representative from Georgia's 6th House district. Because he resigned his House seat as well, the state of Georgia had to run a special election (which was held in Feb. 2008 and won by Johnny Isakson, now a Senator). Gingrich forced Georgia to waste millions of dollars running the special election, and also left his district without representation for the intervening period. In general, resigning from an elected office is considered immoral -- recall the furor over Sarah Palin's resignation as Governor after losing the Vice Presidential election.

Those are not actions which should be summarized as "leaving Congress in 1999 with a balanced budget and a booming economy". They are better summarized as "unexpectedly leaving Congress in 1999 with a failed impeachment and a history of scandal." The only reason that Gingrich is not more severely chided with these historical facts is that enough years have passed in between that people forget the details. We should listen to Gingrich chiding us and remember history -- specifically, we should remember HIS history!

-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, Sept. 2011

 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
Abortion
    Martha Coakley: Pro-life Catholics shouldn't serve in emergency rooms.
Budget & Economy
    Newt Gingrich: Microlending efficiently gets money to local entrepreneurs.
    Newt Gingrich: Putting people in houses they can't afford invites disaster.
    Ronald Reagan: 1981: abandoned Keynesian interventionist policies.
    Steve Forbes: We lived in an economic Golden Age from 1980s to 2007.
Civil Rights
    Newt Gingrich: Repeal hate speech legislation including campus speech codes.
Corporations
    John Hoeven: 2003: overhauled corporate tax from 10.5% to 7%.
    Newt Gingrich: Chrysler bankruptcy bailout was politically rigged.
    Newt Gingrich: Big business uses government to protect itself from rivals.
    Newt Gingrich: Cut corporate taxes to 12.5%.
Education
    Arnold Schwarzenegger: 2005: slow the rate of increase of education spending.
    Newt Gingrich: School prayer ban shows secular socialists oppose God.
    Newt Gingrich: Since 1963 school prayer ban, teen pregnancy & drugs are up.
    Newt Gingrich: Don't ban Bibles from public schools.
Energy & Oil
    Barack Obama: OpEd: Fast-tracking green energy projects took two years.
    Barack Obama: New coal plants ok if they pay for greenhouse gas emission.
    Henry Waxman: Moratorium on all proposed coal plants.
    Newt Gingrich: Doomsday climate theory pushes massive wealth transfer.
    Ronald Reagan: 1981: Eliminated price controls on oil & natural gas.
Environment
    Barack Obama: Stimulus bill earmark for LA-Vegas mag-lev railway.
    Barack Obama: Greenhouse gases declared dangerous to public health.
    Newt Gingrich: Tragic Kelo case confiscated private property.
    Newt Gingrich: Correct use of DDT doesn't harm humans nor environment.
    Newt Gingrich: Green conservatism: market-oriented, incentive-led.
Families & Children
    Newt Gingrich: Stop funding China's mandatory one-child policy.
Foreign Policy
    Newt Gingrich: UN is corrupt bureaucracy that protects dictators.
    Ronald Reagan: 1976: passionately advocated for retention of Panama Canal.
Government Reform
    Arnold Schwarzenegger: 2005: Four ballot propositions all lost by wide margins.
    Barack Obama: Used signing statements, like Bush, 17 times in 2009.
    Charles Rangel: Leave of absence as committee chair for ethics investigation.
    Newt Gingrich: Replace Washington controls with American ideals.
    Newt Gingrich: Passing massive debt to next generation is immoral.
Health Care
    Barack Obama: Promised time for Congress to read ObamaCare bill.
    Ben Nelson: "Cornhusker Kickback": $100M Medicare funding in ObamaCare.
    Bill Nelson: "Gator Aid": $2.5B Medicare funding in ObamaCare.
    Howard Dean: 2009: Trial lawyers kept tort reform out of ObamaCare.
    Jim Bunning: Amend ObamaCare to require 72-hour public review.
    John Conyers: Can't read 1,000-page ObamaCare bill without lawyers.
    Lisa Jackson: Greenhouse gases declared dangerous to public health.
    Mary Landrieu: "Louisiana Purchase": $300M in Medicare funding in ObamaCare.
    Newt Gingrich: $151B wasted annually to avoid malpractice lawsuits.
    Newt Gingrich: Focus on Availability, Affordability, and Appropriateness.
    Newt Gingrich: $600B to $850B in healthcare waste every year.
    Tom Carper: I don't expect to read confusing ObamaCare bill.
Homeland Security
    Newt Gingrich: Enemy combatants not entitled to Miranda rights.
    Newt Gingrich: Gitmo lawyers threaten to identify our CIA officers.
Jobs
    Newt Gingrich: Union power games the system to minimize work.
    Newt Gingrich: Card Check strips workers of right to secret ballot.
    Newt Gingrich: Jobs plan: lower taxes; lower spending; domestic energy.
Principles & Values
    Newt Gingrich: America is now facing a mortal threat.
    Newt Gingrich: Saul Alinsky is clear: Left needs to be dishonest.
    Pat Moynihan: 1993 article "Defining Deviancy Down": pattern of decline.
    Ronald Reagan: 1975: conservative banners of bold colors, not pale pastels.
Social Security
    Newt Gingrich: Capital markets return more that Social Security promises.
    Paul Ryan: Comprehensive model to restructure retirement accounts.
War & Peace
    Ronald Reagan: 1981: Strategy against Soviet Union: We win; they lose.
Welfare & Poverty
    Barney Frank: 2003: I want to roll the dice more on subsidized housing.


The above quotations are from To Save America
Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine,

by Newt Gingrich.

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