Assistant Secretary of State in the Reagan years, Elliot Abrams puts the lie to Newt's claims of being Reagan's twin back in the day. (Newt: “I worked with President Reagan to change things in Washington,” “we helped defeat the Soviet empire,” and “I helped lead the effort to defeat Communism in the Congress” to name a few.)
According to Abrams, Newt was always questioning Reagan's policies, and predicting they would fail--and doing so at the most damaging times. (Sound familiar?)
Newt: “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 Defense, 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.”
Gingrich scorned Reagan’s speeches, which moved a party and then a nation, because “the president of the United States cannot discipline himself to use the correct language.” In Afghanistan, Reagan’s policy was marked by “impotence [and] incompetence.” Thus Gingrich concluded as he surveyed five years of Reagan in power that “we have been losing the struggle with the Soviet empire.” Reagan did not know what he was doing, and “it is precisely at the vision and strategy levels that the Soviet empire today is superior to the free world.”
Abrams writes that far from becoming a reliable voice for Reagan policy and the struggle against the Soviets, Gingrich took on Reagan and his administration.
Quite frankly this sounds more like the Newt we all know. Back then, as now, Newt was full of himself, and not exactly the great thinker / leader of civilization he fancied himself to be. Apparently, he was dead wrong on Reagan policy. Thank heaven Reagan was in control and not Newt (hint hint), and that there were members of Congress who were behind Reagan and giving him the support he needed at a critical time. (Henry Hyde, Dick Cheney, Connie Mack, Dan Burton, and Tom DeLay)
It seems to me that Reagan would have a problem with the way Newt is re-writing history. Newt just can't seem to tell the truth a lot of the time.