Friday, December 2, 2011

How Conservative is Newt's Actual Voting Record?

The folks at Club for Growth has white papers on all the GOP candidates summarizing their public records and does a pretty objective job.  Looking at Newt's I really was struck by how conservative Newt's actual voting record was (which of course was mischaracterized by Jennifer Rubin, who I think must have been offered a post in a Romney administration.  How else do you explain her going full spittle in support of Romney and anti-Newt?), with most of the worrisome aspects of his record coming from speeches AFTER he left public office.  This is pretty much the exact opposite of Romney, who has a very questionable record from his limited time in elected office, with most of his conservatism coming from campaign speeches.  Anyway, let's look at Newt's actual record:

  • Voted YES on the Reagan tax cut of 1981
  • Voted YES on the Reagan tax reform bill of 1986
  • Voted NO on the George H.W. Bush "Read My Lips" tax hike in 1990.
  • Voted NO on the Clinton tax hike in 1993.
  • Voted YES on the capital gains tax cut in 1997.
  • Voted NO on the Chrysler bailout in 1979
  • Voted YES on the Gramm-Rudman balanced budget bill in 1985
  • Voted YES on a balanced budget amendment (as part of the "Contract for America" effort that he led) in 1995
  • Led the effort and voted YES to cut $16.4 billion from the budget in 1995.
  • Voted YES on welfare reform in 1996
I also decided to look myself at how much federal spending increased while Gingrich was Speaker of the House (1995-1999).  By my calculations, Federal spending rose an average of 3.1% a year while he was speaker.  When you compare it to the Presidential terms from Reagan on, this is the lowest rate of spending growth over the last 30 years.  Under Reagan, spending grew an average of 7.6% a year.  Under George H.W. Bush, 6.7%.  Under Clinton, 3.3% (it would have been much more if he got his single payor health care plan through, also he was restrained by Newt later).  Under W., it was 6.6% and under Obama, a whopping 8.6% a year.  Also, under Newt, Federal spending as a % of GDP fell from 21% to 18.5%, a whopping decline in 4 short years.

Is his record perfect?  Nope.  Not even close.  But the point is that on the big issues, he voted Conservative and helped champion balanced budgets and tax reform.  Focusing on that actual voting record really makes me more comfortable with him.  Especially when his main opponent is someone whose main accomplishment is a massive government healthcare program.

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