- The Washington Times - Monday, August 28, 2017

As a political brand, Newt Gingrich has had authentic staying power over the decades — fearlessly navigating the news media, Capitol Hill and the crisis du jour with finesse and institutional knowledge. But who the heck is he? The answer might be found in a new authorized biography of Mr. Gingrich, published in an era when some forces seek to rewrite history — particularly Republican and conservative history. Arriving Tuesday, it’s “Citizen Newt: The Making of a Reagan Conservative” by Craig Shirley, a historian and Ronald Reagan biographer who parsed out pivotal decades of Mr. Gingrich’s career, with input from friends and foes alike.

“Newt’s influence on American politics has not waned over the decades. He was instrumental both as an adviser to Donald Trump in 2016 and continues to define the political landscape through his books, op-eds, videos and media appearances. Very few have been as successful as this man from Georgia,” says Mr. Shirley, who notes that his biographer of one Newton Leroy Gingrich shows a real guy who has risen through the ranks.

The author penned the book with full cooperation from Mr. Gingrich, who ultimately became speaker of the house and originated the influential “Contract with America,” a document released in 1994 which employed Reagan’s words, as well as his ideas about smaller government, lower taxes and other matters. The GOP won big that year.

“Part of the reason I chose to write this political biography is because much of what has been written about Gingrich by lefties is false, exaggerated or irrelevant — and also because I’ve come to the conclusion that conservatives cannot allow liberals to write our history. Most modern liberals cannot be trusted to record conservative history accurately anymore. They are too interested in rewriting history to fit their own sequence of events.” says Mr. Shirley.

“There are two games in this country. One is played by the 5,000 insiders in Washington who write the laws and tells the lies, and the other by the rest of us, who pay the price. That’s what we can’t tolerate,” Mr. Gingrich says of the nation’s capital.

The publisher is Thomas Nelson; find the book at CitizenNewtBook.com.

IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

“Just over a third of Americans (37 percent) in 2017 say news organizations generally get the facts straight,” report Gallup poll analysts Andrew Dugan and Zac Auter, who note that this number has remained unchanged since 2003.

“But despite the apparent stability in U.S. adults’ perceptions of news media accuracy, major partisan shifts in beliefs on this topic have emerged over the past 14 years. Republicans’ trust in the media’s accuracy has fallen considerably, while Democrats’ opinions on the matter have swung in the opposite direction,” the analysts say.

Well, yes. Only 14 percent of Republicans now think the press is accurate, compared to 62 percent of Democrats.

BEWARE THE ‘GHOST VOTERS’

“Some 3.5 million more people are registered to vote in the U.S. than are alive among America’s adult citizens. Such staggering inaccuracy is an engraved invitation to voter fraud,” writes National Review contributing editor Deroy Murdock, who pored over some damning U.S. Census Bureau data compiled by Judicial Watch.

The nation has a big population of “ghost voters,” he says.

“My tabulation of Judicial Watch’s state-by-state results yielded 462 counties where the registration rate exceeded 100 percent. There were 3,551,760 more people registered to vote than adult U.S. citizens who inhabit these counties,” says Mr. Murdock.

Some counties had quite a few phantom voters. Washington’s Clark County, for instance, has 166,811. California’s San Diego County, however, has 810,966 over-registrations, while Los Angeles County has 707,4750, Mr. Murdock said, referring to California itself as a “haunted house teeming with 1,736,556 ghost voters.”

Such numbers could sway any election.

“Whether Americans consider voter fraud a Republican hoax, a Democratic tactic, or something in between, everyone should agree that it’s past time to exorcise ghost voters from the polls,” advises Mr. Murdock.

KID ROCK’S CHANCES

The Michigan press is gleefully covering a potential bout between incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow and fedora-wearing Republican and entertainer Kid Rock — AKA Robert Ritchie — who has already established a bodacious campaign website.

Does he have a chance?

“Michigan’s map and demographic contours permit a Republican win, but the map alone doesn’t dictate the outcome of the elections,” writes David Byler, an elections analyst for RealClearPolitics, who says President Trump’s vacillating approval ratings and Ms. Stabenow’s incumbency don’t help matters.

“Kid Rock, if he were to officially announce his candidacy and win the primary, probably wouldn’t run quite like a generic Republican. It’s impossible to know if or how his presumably unconventional candidacy would affect the race. So for now it’s best to sit back, grab some popcorn, remember that Stabenow has some real advantages in this race and watch what might become the craziest U.S. election of 2018,” Mr. Byler concludes.

POLL DU JOUR

• 86 percent of Americans have positive relationships with family members; 89 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of independents and 84 percent of Democrats agree.

• 81 percent of Americans currently say they are “generally happy” with their life; 87 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of independents and 81 percent of Democrats agree.

• 72 percent of Americans overall currently say they are “optimistic about the future”; 84 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of independents and 66 percent of Democrats agree.

• 71 percent overall say their spiritual beliefs are a “positive guiding force”; 84 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of independents and 66 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Harris “Happiness Index” poll of 2,202 U.S. adults conducted May 11-22 and released Friday.

• Chatter, churlish remarks to [email protected]

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