Newt Gingrich Is For The Ryan Plan, Against The Ryan Plan, For The Ryan Plan

Two weeks ago Newt Gingrich was speaking positively about Paul Ryan’s budget plan, yesterday he trashed it on Meet The Press, and today he’s saying there’s no distance between him and the Wisconsin Congressman’s budget plan:

Let the walkback begin! After dismissing Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan as “right-wing social engineering” and “radical” on Meet The Press yesterday, Newt Gingrich looked to downplay their differences on Monday.

Newt’s spokeswoman, Rick Tyler, blamed the media for misinterpreting his boss’ comments, which included comparing Ryan’s plan to President Obama’s health care law. He confirmed that Gingrich favored using a privatized voucher system along the lines of Ryan’s, but wanted to maintain a traditional Medicare system as well.

“There is little daylight between Ryan and Gingrich,” Tyler wrote in an e-mail to the Weekly Standard. “But look how it gets reported. Newt would fully support Ryan if it were not compulsory. We need to design a better system that people will voluntarily move to. That is a major difference in design but not substance.”

Tyler also softened Newt’s condemnation of Ryan’s ideas as “radical change from the right,” a phrase that Democrats are unlikely to forget any time soon in prosecuting their campaign against Medicare privatization.

“Radical means that politically you can’t get to what Ryan wants from where we are,” Tyler said. “It will be demagogued to death. Right wing social engineer refers simply to compelling people to participate without giving them a choice. That is a political mistake.”

Stay tuned, because Newt may change his mind again before the day is out.


FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Deficit and Debt, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. James Joyner says:

    This just confirms that Newt is a man of ideas.

  2. And he seems intent on using every single idea over the course of one week no matter how much they contradict each other.

  3. PD Shaw says:

    Secret decoy to make Romney look stable.

  4. sam says:

    As I said, he is large and he contains multitudes.

  5. Socrates says:

    Good one sam. Made me laugh out loud!

  6. Murray says:

    Maybe he first thought it would please the Tea Party supporters if he endorsed the Ryan plan. Then he read the polls that showed Medicare cuts are as unpopular with Republican voters as with Democrats. Then he had all the Conservative punditocracy coming after him.

    Or is it simply that he has no spine and/or a very short attention span?

  7. Robert Bell says:

    Newt shouldn’t have called it social engineering. He should have described it as changing the set of laws and institutions involved in health to realign incentives towards more desirable outcomes.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    I feel about Newt the same way I feel about the guy driving ahead of me today who seemed to feel that since there was a whole road with three lanes he should just wander into any one of them at any time. Newt seems to feel that there are all these statements that sound forceful and dramatic and so he should just use any of them at any time.