As concerned Georgians watch gas prices rise throughout the state, I recall a scene from the past and the farsighted words of a fellow Georgian. Long before prices at the pump hit $3.65 in Georgia and well over $4 in many states, it was Newt Gingrich who coined the phrase “Drill here, drill now, pay less.”
Time has proven that those who ignored his message as prices soared in 2008 did so at the peril of every American filling their tank to get to work or to get a child to the ball field. Speaker Gingrich understood the energy challenge we face. He understood that dependence on foreign supply undercuts America’s national security; that high energy prices pinch consumers and strangle our economy; and that we have effectively hamstrung an American energy industry that would otherwise serve as a growing source of investment and jobs.
HAVING WORKED alongside Gingrich for years, I came to know him as an “ideas guy,” a visionary and a leader with a knack for understanding the big picture and how government policies affect everyday Americans.
That type of vision is rare, but frankly it often comes paired with a pie-in-the-sky idealism that renders the good ideas of little practical use. On this score Gingrich has again proved the exception to the rule. While speaker, he spearheaded generational welfare reform and worked across the aisle to have those transformative changes passed into law, even in the face of two vetoes from the desk of then-President Clinton. The welfare reform of 1996 symbolizes his rare ability and perseverance. More to the point, it illustrates his ability to take an idea and transform it into reality.
Beyond that track record, Speaker Gingrich has a forward-looking plan for our nation that will restore our global competitiveness. His conservative ideals would foster the pro-growth environment this country needs to stimulate real, sustained job growth throughout the private sector. From regulatory reform to tax reform, he understands what is needed to unleash the entrepreneurial spirits that have propelled this nation’s economy since its inception.
Speaker Gingrich shares none of the Keynesian sentiment that posits economic growth depends on federal bailouts and stimulus. His call for a balanced budget at the federal level – the same thing I’ve delivered two out of two times here at the state level – will usher in a long-overdue era of fiscal adulthood in Washington.
AS GEORGIA conservatives, we owe Newt Gingrich – who in 1994 led the Republican Party to victory for the first time in 40 years – a debt of gratitude. Without this man giving voice to the practical conservatism the majority of Georgians now hold dear, the Republican Party in our state would not be where it is today.
Having witnessed his passion and work firsthand, I know that he wins people over, not simply because his ideas are smart, but because his ideas pass the common sense test. His vision for this country rings true. He understands the challenges Georgians face. He understands how policy affects everyday life. He understands what this country needs to fire up the jobs engine again.
And I believe his deep and unshakable faith in the greatness of America provides just the right fuel to power those reforms and to draw in others so that, together, we can create the bright future for our nation we all desire.
On Super Tuesday, Georgia is the biggest state to hold a primary, and as such, our 76 delegates are the day’s biggest prize. I encourage you to join me in casting your vote for one of our own, Newt Gingrich, and give our favorite son a resounding victory.
(The writer is governor of the state of Georgia.)