Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says Republicans should quit underestimating President Biden, saying it allows him to go about his business and notch wins while the GOP sees disappointing returns at the ballot box.
The Republican who served as speaker in the mid- to late-1990s said he disapproves of Mr. Biden’s job performance and policies, but the GOP must take a hard look at whether they are winning or losing, given the midterm results.
He said fellow Republicans tend to “pettily focus” on Mr. Biden’s speaking difficulties or lapses in memory, causing them to underestimate the president and his Democratic allies.
“But remember: Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan both preferred to be underestimated. Both wanted people to think of them as pleasant — but not dangerous,” he wrote in a blog post on Gingrich 360. “They found being underestimated was a major asset. While people laughed at them, they were busy achieving their goals and getting their programs implemented. Biden has achieved something similar.”
Mr. Gingrich pointed to Mr. Biden’s ability to turn narrow congressional majorities into trillions of new government spending and the recent passage of a bill protecting same-sex marriage with help from a number of Senate Republicans.
“Biden has carefully and cautiously waged war in Ukraine with no American troops,” Mr. Gingrich wrote. “Although poorly timed and slowly delivered, U.S. weapons and financial aid have helped cripple what most thought would be an easy victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
Mr. Gingrich said despite Republicans’ hopes for a red wave, Mr. Biden and his troops deftly turned the election into a referendum on former President Donald Trump and the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack and “grossly exaggerated the threat to abortion rights.”
“The Biden team had one of the best first term off-year elections in history,” the former House speaker wrote. “They were not repudiated. They did not have to pay for their terrible mismanagement of the economy.”
Republicans did retake the House, though by a smaller-than-expected margin, and they squandered a chance to retake the Senate. Democrats could expand their Senate majority from 50 seats to 51 if Sen. Raphael Warnock defeats Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a Dec. 6 runoff in Georgia.
Mr. Gingrich urged Republicans to think deeply about what went wrong in 2022 and turn it into a sound strategy for 2024.
“Today there is not nearly enough understanding (or acknowledgment) among leading Republicans that our system and approach failed,” he wrote. “We need to rethink from the ground up how we are going to Defeat Big Government Socialism — including almost inevitable second-time Democrat Presidential Nominee Biden. This is a much bigger challenge than I would have guessed before the election.”