The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Gingrich: Civil Rights Laws Weren’t Worth the Political Price

March 21, 2010 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Of the many reasons to oppose health care reform, this is probably the worst. From today’s Washington Post:

Former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich said Obama and the Democrats will regret their decision to push for comprehensive reform. Calling the bill “the most radical social experiment . . . in modern times,” Gingrich said: “They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” with the enactment of civil rights legislation in the 1960s.

So by Gingrich’s logic, lawmakers should really just shy away from the toughest issues of the day because changes in the status quo might haunt their political careers. And this guy wants to be president?

Update (March 22): Gingrich has contested the Post’s characterization of his comments, claiming that he never meant to imply that the Civil Rights Act was a bad move on Johnson’s part. That claim led Post reporter Dan Balz to issue this addendum on March 22. (More about that here.) It’s worth noting that Balz did not change the original story, meaning that he stands by his characterization that Gingrich compared the health care vote directly to the civil rights votes of the 1960s.

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