By Robert S. Walker
The Washington Post
December 22, 2011
Robert S. Walker, executive chairman of the public policy firm Wexler & Walker, represented Pennsylvania’s 16th District in the U.S. House from 1977 to 1996. He is an unpaid adviser to the Gingrich campaign.
After Newt Gingrich rose in the polls, criticism of the former House speaker began grabbing headlines. But Republican establishment attacks on Newt are not new. Newt’s political career has been devoted to mounting a conservative challenge to the establishment’s desire to play the Washington power game of go along to get along.
As a junior congressman, Newt founded the Conservative Opportunity Society (COS), a group of activist members of Congress whose goal was to challenge the liberal welfare state but whose first target was the Republican establishment in the House of Representatives. The “old bulls” who dominated the party in the House had become quite comfortable in their minority status and saw little chance they would ever become a majority. Newt and the COS knew that, to create a true conservative agenda, the party needed to focus on becoming a majority. We used the House floor and C-SPAN to promote our ideas. We attacked spending bills and efforts to expand government, some of which the establishment had endorsed. It reacted by telling newly elected members to stay away from those COS guys because they are trouble.
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