WELL, GINGRICH DID PAL AROUND WITH THAT "LEFT-LEANING PRESSURE GROUP," AARP
Yeah, this was a bit of a surprise:
Newt Gingrich's appearance on "Meet the Press" today could leave some wondering which party's nomination he is running for. The former speaker had some harsh words for Paul Ryan's (and by extension, nearly every House Republican's) plan to reform Medicare, calling it "radical."
"I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering," he said when asked about Ryan's plan to transition to a "premium support" model for Medicare. "I don't think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate."
...He even went so far as to compare it the Obama health-care plan."I'm against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change." ...
Well, over the years Gingrich has actually tried to ally himself with a few non-wingnuts on health care, and he's espoused some ideas that, these days, look rather moderate -- as Sam Stein noted a few days ago, he's strongly advocated an individual mandate in the past, and he worked with Hillary Clinton on health care overhaul ideas.
And before that, he allied himself with the AARP to support the Medicare Plus-Choice program, which gave seniors the option of rejecting traditional Medicare for plans sponsored by private insurers. AARP's decision to ally itself with Gingrich on this GOP plan infuriated liberals -- and it seemed like a real love match, as AARP's then-CEO, William Novelli, wrote an introduction to a Gingrich book on health care. Gingrich and AARP still seem to have a pretty good relationship to this day.
Paul Ryan, of course, calls AARP a "left-leaning pressure group." Whatever else may be wrong with Gingrich, he seems to be acting at least in part out of loyalty to old friends. Who woulda thunk?