Skip to main content

Republicans, don't cave on shutdown

By Newt Gingrich, CNN Contributor
September 30, 2013 -- Updated 2107 GMT (0507 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Newt Gingrich: Worst possible outcome on budget showdown would be if GOP backed down
  • He notes Obama willing to negotiate with Iran, Russia and Syria but not with GOP
  • He says getting elected does not give Obama free rein to enforce his agenda on the unwilling
  • Gingrich: If House caves, it will confirm contempt Obama and Harry Reid hold for Republicans

Editor's note: Newt Gingrich is a co-cost of CNN's new "Crossfire," which airs at 6:30 p.m. ET weekdays. A former speaker of the House, he was a candidate in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries.

(CNN) -- The worst possible outcome for the country from the impasse over the continuing resolution that would prevent a government shutdown would be for House Republicans to cave.

This is a pivotal conflict that will define the relationship between Congress and the executive branch for the next three years. The country will be much better off if Congress does not abdicate its constitutional role and if the president cannot ignore that role.

When President Barack Obama is willing to negotiate with Russian, Syrian and Iranian leaders but unwilling to negotiate with the U.S. House of Representatives, it is time for the House to stand firm.

Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich

When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says, according to unnamed sources quoted in Politico, that he will refuse to attend a negotiation at the White House because House Republicans have to cave and surrender to his terms, it is time to stand firm.

When a senior, unnamed Democratic official is quoted Monday morning calling for no negotiations and saying "it's time to punch the bully in the nose," it is time to stand firm.

Begala: Bet on Obama in shutdown showdown

When Obama spends a week making three partisan speeches attacking Republicans and then calls House Speaker John Boehner to tell him, "I will not negotiate," it is time to stand firm.

The finances of a shutdown
Judd Gregg on U.S. shutdown
Government shutdown and you

It is a sad commentary on Obama's attitude toward the elected majority of the House of Representatives that he could have a more pleasant conversation with the head of the Iranian dictatorship than with the elected leader of the U.S. House.

The left has sold itself on a false history of the 2012 election. According to the left, Obama won the election and therefore we should do whatever he wants.

This ignores that there was also an election for the "People's House" in 435 congressional districts, and the Republicans won. It also ignores the 63 million Americans who voted against his re-election and his agenda. Winning 52% does not mean he gets 100% of what he wants.

Zelizer: Government shutdown threat is getting very old, very fast

The president has decided to seek to bully and bluff his way to get what he wants. House Republicans must not abdicate their responsibilities now.

Any surrender on the continuing resolution would confirm the contempt with which Obama and Reid already hold Boehner and his Republican colleagues. This fight is about something much bigger than the Republican Party and the future of Obamacare.

It is about whether the president dictates to America's elected representatives or negotiates with them when they disagree. It will be very bad for America if a president whose hubris is astounding is reinforced in the belief that he can bully his way into getting everything he wants by making demagogic attack speeches.

The next few weeks might be painful if House Republicans insist on getting to a compromise and refuse to surrender. But the next three years will be frightening if House Republicans cave and the president learns that nothing stands between him and his ability to use overweening power outside the Constitution to advance his ideology.

This is a big moment of decision for America. Don't give in now.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter.

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Newt Gingrich.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 2203 GMT (0603 HKT)
It used to be billy clubs, fire hoses and snarling German shepherds. Now it's armored personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades, writes Kara Dansky.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1727 GMT (0127 HKT)
Maria Haberfeld: People who are unfamiliar with police work can reasonably ask, why was an unarmed man shot so many times, and why was deadly force used at all?
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 2152 GMT (0552 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette notes that this fall, minority students will outnumber white students at America's public schools.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 2121 GMT (0521 HKT)
Humans have driven to extinction four marine mammal species in modern times. As you read this, we are on the brink of losing the fifth, write three experts.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1158 GMT (1958 HKT)
It's been ten days since Michael Brown was killed, and his family is still waiting for information from investigators about what happened to their young man, writes Mel Robbins
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
Sally Kohn says the Ferguson protests reflect broader patterns of racial injustice across the country, from chronic police violence and abuse against black men to the persistent economic and social exclusion of communities of color.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1242 GMT (2042 HKT)
The former U.K. prime minister and current U.N. envoy says there are 500 days left to fulfill the Millennium Goals' promise to children.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says the left mistrusts Clinton but there are ways she can win support from liberals in 2016
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
Peter Bergen says the terror group is a huge threat in Iraq but only a potential one in the U.S.
August 16, 2014 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
Mark O'Mara says the way cops, media, politicians and protesters have behaved since Michael Brown's shooting shows not all the right people have learned the right lessons
August 17, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says the American military advisers in Iraq are sizing up what needs to be done and recommending accordingly
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1941 GMT (0341 HKT)
Marc Lamont Hill says the President's comments on the Michael Brown shooting ignored its racial implications
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 2146 GMT (0546 HKT)
Joe Stork says the catastrophe in northern Iraq continues, even though many religious minorities have fled to safety: ISIS forces -- intent on purging them -- still control the area where they lived
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 2226 GMT (0626 HKT)
Tim Lynch says Pentagon's policy of doling out military weapons to police forces is misguided and dangerous.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
S.E. Cupp says millennials want big ideas and rapid change; she talks to one of their number who serves in Congress
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
Dorothy Brown says the power structure is dominated by whites in a town that is 68% black. Elected officials who sat by silently as chaos erupted after Michael Brown shooting should be voted out of office
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
Bill Schmitz says the media and other adults should never explain suicide as a means of escaping pain. Robin Williams' tragic death offers a chance to educate about prevention
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1505 GMT (2305 HKT)
Nafees Syed says President Obama should renew the quest to eliminate bias in the criminal justice system
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 2024 GMT (0424 HKT)
Eric Liu says what's unfolded in the Missouri town is a shocking violation of American constitutional rights and should be a wake-up call to all
August 13, 2014 -- Updated 1922 GMT (0322 HKT)
Neal Gabler says Lauren Bacall, a talent in her own right, will be defined by her marriage with the great actor Humphrey Bogart
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Bob Butler says the arrest of two journalists covering the Ferguson story is alarming
August 13, 2014 -- Updated 2035 GMT (0435 HKT)
Mark O'Mara says we all need to work together to make sure the tension between police and African-Americans doesn't result in more tragedies
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
Pepper Schwartz asks why young women are so entranced with Kardashian, who's putting together a 352-page book of selfies
August 13, 2014 -- Updated 2308 GMT (0708 HKT)
Michael Friedman says depression does not discriminate, cannot be bargained with and shows no mercy.
August 12, 2014 -- Updated 1525 GMT (2325 HKT)
LZ Granderson says we must not surrender to apathy about the injustice faced by African Americans
ADVERTISEMENT