By Newt Gingrich
In this week's historic elections, the American people decisively repudiated the policies of the President and the Democratic-controlled Congress. But more than a Republican victory, the real winners last night were the American people who reasserted the core American principle found in the Declaration of Independence that government derives its "just powers from the consent of the governed."
America saw the largest swing in the U.S. House of Representatives since the 1948 election when Democrats picked up 75 seats and majority control of the 81st Congress.
Now, with 11 races yet to be called, the GOP is projected to win control of the House with a 64 seat gain. That's ten seats greater than what Republicans gained in 1994. The Democrats, by contrast, have not held so few seats since 1947 when they had 188.
In the U.S. Senate, Republicans are projected to pick up six seats.
Republican State House Gains Reach Record Levels
Congress wasn't the only thing Republicans gained in last night's election.
The Republican State Leadership Committee reports that the GOP also took control of nineteen state legislatures with the election of over 500 new Republicans to state houses across the country -- the largest GOP gain in state house seats in history.
The GOP will control the Minnesota Senate for the first time in the state's history and the Republican Party will hold majorities in the Alabama and North Carolina legislatures for the first time since the 1800s.
Republican gains were particularly strong in the south where the GOP now controls 18 of the 28 legislative chambers and a majority of all southern legislative seats for the first time since Reconstruction.
At the same time, Republican Gubernatorial challengers earned victories in ten states, including the key swing states of Ohio, Florida, and Iowa that play such an important role in presidential elections. The results in Minnesota, Illinois and Oregon were too close to call at the time I write this newsletter.
Voters Remove Activist Judges in Iowa
In an unprecedented and largely unreported victory, the people of Iowa removed all three Supreme Court activist judges who were on the ballot in retention elections. Last year, these three judges, along with four of their colleagues, ruled that a law passed by the Iowa legislature that defined marriage between one man and one woman was unconstitutional under the Iowa constitution.
Bob Vander Plaats and Iowa for Freedom led the successful and unprecedented campaign to remove the judges. This was the first time that any Iowa judges have been defeated in a retention election since Iowa voters were first given the option of voting to remove or retain judges in 1962. Iowa voters chose not to extend the terms of Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit.
Can You Hear Us Now?
Americans have sent a clear message to Washington.
It will be a very sobering experience, but the President and his party must now accept that the American people want them to stop their big government approach and respect our constitutional principles of limited federal power.
Even after the Left was rebuked last year, first in the Virginia and New Jersey Governors races, then in Massachusetts when Republican Scott Brown won the Senate seat held by the late Democrat Ted Kennedy, they still did not get the message. Last night, the voters could not have been any clearer. Americans want a new direction for their country.
For nearly two years, the Tea Party has been leading the way. Millions of patriotic Americans concerned about the future of their country created a movement that went from protest to participation to full engagement in the political process. Now we will see if the politicians, including the newly elected Republicans, will get the message.
American Solutions was proud to have participated in this historic election with our Power of 10 effort urging our members to commit to bring ten people who support job-creating policies to the polls. For all who participated, we are grateful.
American Solutions held an election party last night to watch the votes come in. Governors Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and Tim Pawlenty all participated. Texas Senator and NSRC Chairman John Cornyn stopped by along with NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions. Kellyanne Conway from the polling company, inc. was on hand and Rich Galen of Mullings.com was our host. It goes without saying, we had a great time.
Now that the election is over, we need to get back to work by helping the Republicans who won to undo what needs to be undone, and then do what needs to be done. We need to help ensure the adoption of the right economic policies to encourage economic growth and job creation so people can get back to work.
When Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, we did exactly what we promised to do during the campaign. We made government more accountable; we reduced spending; cut taxes; balanced the budget; and reformed welfare.
Many on the Left are hoping gridlock prevails. They want to label the next Congress the "do nothing" Congress. To keep that from happening, the Republicans can start by becoming the "Undo" Congress.
* Undo the record tax increases that go into effect January 1 by passing a simple bill that ensures no tax increase on any American, any business, anywhere .
* Undo Obamacare by defunding the President's healthcare legislation that creates government run healthcare and will increase health costs $1 trillion by 2020.
* Undo the onerous rules, regulations and disincentives to job creation.
* Undo the Democrats' plan to restore the Death Tax.
* Undo President Obama's czar system by defunding all the czar positions created by this administration. This action will send a message to the American people that there will be no more wasteful spending.
Then the 112th Congress should seize the opportunity to pass proven job-creating policies:
* Get spending under control and immediately follow presumptive Speaker John Boehner's leadership and go back to the 2008 budget level, which would save about a trillion dollars over ten years. This will send a clear signal that Congress is serious about righting our nation's finances, and set the stage to move toward a balanced budget -- just like we did in the 1990's.
* Act swiftly to create incentives for investment and job creation. A good place to start is the Economic Freedom Act introduced by Congressmen Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jason Chaffetz (R-ID), which will:
* Reduce the payroll tax by half for one year to provide immediate liquidity for companies and employees;
* Eliminate the capital gains tax to encourage investment in new companies;
* Reduce the corporate tax rate to 12.5%, to make us competitive globally;
* Permanently eliminate the death tax so small businesses and family farms can continue creating jobs for future generations;
* Provide immediate business expensing so American workers have the best equipment and are the most productive.
* Lay the foundations for long term economic growth by promoting an American energy plan that will lower our energy costs.
o Develop offshore energy: The American Energy Alliance estimates that increasing domestic energy production offshore would add $2.7 trillion in economic activity over the next ten years, as well as create 1.7 million new jobs.
o Promote clean natural gas: Encouraging development of the Marcellus Shale formation in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York would make us dramatically less dependent on foreign energy and, according to a recent study from Penn State University, create over 200,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania alone. There are similar natural gas formations in Texas and Louisiana, meaning the potential for expanding affordable energy and creating new jobs is possible throughout the country.
o Encourage oil shale development: There is an estimated 800 billion barrels of oil locked away in shale in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, which is three times as large as the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. Current regulations, however, make it economically impossible for companies to develop this resource. Allowing American companies to develop this resource would create jobs, lower the cost of energy, and reduce our reliance on OPEC.
o Create prizes for innovation: Congress should award prizes for innovation in clean energy technologies, from wind and solar to carbon capture technology for coal plants. Instead of taxing affordable energy, America should provide incentives for its entrepreneurs and scientists to develop the next generation of energy technology. This will expand American energy without increasing energy costs and killing jobs, as plans like cap and trade would do.
* Assert control over the EPA by passing a law that prevents the EPA from regulating carbon emissions so businesses do not have to deal with unknowable future costs imposed by regulatory fiat.
Feet to the Fire
Elections are conversations, and for the past year the American people have been asking their elected officials to lead the country to a future of jobs and prosperity. However, our economic challenges will not be solved with one election; there must be accountability from the people to ensure politicians produce results.
A major change in the country is the rise of the Tea Party movement in response to the big spending Congresses of the last five years. If we are to be successful as a country, these tens of thousands of citizen-leaders must redouble their efforts and continue to engage their communities and elected officials.
By holding the newly elected Republicans in the House accountable, Tea Party citizen-leaders will make them better legislators who will have a better chance of re-election. In turn, this ongoing process of accountability-results-reelection is what is necessary if we are to have in this country a sustainable, conservative governing majority. So, the healthy attitude to take toward the newly elected representatives is to consider them all "on probation."
The 2010 election was a shattering rejection of the Left, its ideology, and its governing policies. But the responsibility now lies with the newly-elected officials across the country, and their supporters, to come through with solution-oriented leadership. There will be no second chances, the country demands real change.
P.S. My new novel, Valley Forge, which I co-authored with Bill Forstchen, will be released on November 8th and is now available for pre-sale. It is the sequel to our bestselling book To Try Men's Souls and reminds us of the courage, faith and commitment George Washington and his Continental Army displayed throughout the harsh winter of 1777 at Valley Forge.
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