Matt Drudge and others have been digging up instances over the years when Newt Gingrich has criticized Ronald Reagan. (Nowadays, of course, Newt takes credit for pretty much everything the Reagan administration accomplished.) Pete Wehner has unearthed another one, that was recorded by our own Steven Hayward. I wonder whether Steve forgot about it:
One Gingrich quote is particularly revealing and hasn’t, to my knowledge, yet been highlighted. But in Steven Hayward’s wonderful book, The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution, Hayward quotes Gingrich as telling the Wall Street Journal that Reagan was “in some danger of becoming another Jimmy Carter.” That is about as wicked a rhetorical blow as one Republican could level against another. And this statement came after Reagan’s first term, in which he achieved historically important reforms.
Hayward recounts one White House meeting late in the second term, after Gingrich laid out complaints about important things the administration had left undone. President Reagan put his arm around the young Georgia congressman, according to Hayward, and said in his typically gentle fashion, “Well, some things you’re just going to have to do after I’m gone.”
The story is, as Pete says, an illuminating one. It illustrates the contrast between a man who has the right temperament to be president, and a man who doesn’t.
STEVE adds: No, I hadn’t forgotten about this, and I’ve been meaning to write a post here all day about this, and responding also in part to Elliott Abrams’ National Review Online article yesterday about Newt’s criticisms of Reagan. There’s more to this story it seems to me, but I need to look some things up; stay tuned.