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
December 25, 2014 -- Updated 0633 GMT (1433 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says the legislature didn't have to get involved in regulating how people greet each other
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2312 GMT (0712 HKT)
Marc Harrold suggests a way to move forward after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Simon Moya-Smith says Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, who was killed by law enforcement officers, deserves justice.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
Val Lauder says that for 1,700 years, people have been debating when, and how, to celebrate Christmas
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
Raphael Sperry says architects should change their ethics code to ban involvement in designing torture chambers
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0335 GMT (1135 HKT)
Paul Callan says Sony is right to call for blocking the tweeting of private emails stolen by hackers
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1257 GMT (2057 HKT)
As Christmas arrives, eyes turn naturally toward Bethlehem. But have we got our history of Christmas right? Jay Parini explores.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
The late Joe Cocker somehow found himself among the rock 'n' roll aristocracy who showed up in Woodstock to help administer a collective blessing upon a generation.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2115 GMT (0515 HKT)
History may not judge Obama kindly on Syria or even Iraq. But for a lame duck president, he seems to have quacking left to do, says Aaron Miller.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1811 GMT (0211 HKT)
Terrorism and WMD -- it's easy to understand why these consistently make the headlines. But small arms can be devastating too, says Rachel Stohl.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Ever since "Bridge-gate" threatened to derail Chris Christie's chances for 2016, Jeb Bush has been hinting he might run. Julian Zelizer looks at why he could win.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1853 GMT (0253 HKT)
New York's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was more about politics than good environmental policy, argues Jeremy Carl.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 2019 GMT (0419 HKT)
On perhaps this year's most compelling drama, the credits have yet to roll. But we still need to learn some cyber lessons to protect America, suggest John McCain.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2239 GMT (0639 HKT)
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2345 GMT (0745 HKT)
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 2134 GMT (0534 HKT)
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Jeff Yang says the film industry's surrender will have lasting implications.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2113 GMT (0513 HKT)
Newt Gingrich: No one should underestimate the historic importance of the collapse of American defenses in the Sony Pictures attack.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah asks how the genuine Stephen Colbert will do, compared to "Stephen Colbert"
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
Some GOP politicians want drug tests for welfare recipients; Eric Liu says bailed-out execs should get equal treatment
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Louis Perez: Obama introduced a long-absent element of lucidity into U.S. policy on Cuba.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1740 GMT (0140 HKT)
The slaughter of more than 130 children by the Pakistani Taliban may prove as pivotal to Pakistan's security policy as the 9/11 attacks were for the U.S., says Peter Bergen.
ADVERTISEMENT