Newt Makes the Case for Moderates

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Even politicos sometimes forget how much Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay and the GOP House leadership of the 90s was liked by moderates. They may not have agreed ideologically, but the aggressive conservatives always took care of moderate members, making sure they were protected on their right flanks, not pushing them into too many painful votes. DeLay was known as the Hammer, but he was also a courtier, too. That tendency is on display today as Newt Gingrich makes the case for his support of the GOP nominee, Dede Scozzafava, in that contested congressional race in New York state where the likes of Sarah Palin and Dick Armey (an exception, perhaps, to the DeLay-Gingrich reign) and other prominent conservatives have endorsed the Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman, over the Republican. Gingrich makes the case that moderates were key to the House Republican successes of 1994 and shouldn't be shunned. He makes the argument here. The seat is vacant because Barack Obama tapped John McHugh, a Republican congressman, to be secretary of the Army. For what it's worth, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois, told me last month that he reassured the White House that McHugh would be a great "team player"--which is what LaHood himself has turned out to be.

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Matthew Cooper is a managing editor (White House) for National Journal.

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