(Photo: Reuters / Mario Anzuoni)
Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, noted for engineering the infamous “Contract with America” that led to GOP control of Congress in 1994, updated the strategy with a 21st century approach Thursday, at a town hall meeting in Des Moines, Iowa.
Gingrich, whose poll numbers have slightly risen to around 11 percent, is struggling to break out of the lower tier of candidates so he can compete with the front-running trio of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Texas Governor Rick Perry and now, businessman Herman Cain.
The 10-point, 26-page plan, titled, “21st Century Contract with America,” offers Americans a choice in how they select healthcare options and pay taxes.
“Newt has always been known as a big thinker,” said Mike Bayham, a Republican political strategist and blogger. “He needs something that will lift him out of the bottom of the canyon.”
Gingrich, who has long been thought of as an “idea man,” is seeking to bring life to a campaign many have said has been on “life support.”
His plan would allow taxpayers to select one of two methods of paying taxes: the current tax system or an optional flat tax, first made popular by former GOP presidential candidate and publisher, Steve Forbes.
Two additional parts of plan will most likely appeal to Tea Party voters. First, Gingrich advocates an overhaul of Social Security by giving young workers an opportunity to put a portion of their contributions into personal savings plans. Also, he would establish English as the official language of the U.S. government.
“The primary purpose of the 21st Century Contract with America is to lay out the scale of change that is necessary and give the American people profound reasons to believe that with courageous, systematic effort we can get America back on the right track,” Gingrich wrote on his website.
Gingrich makes the case for major changes in the judicial system, vowing to “restore the proper role of the judicial branch by using the clearly delineated powers available to the president and Congress to correct, limit, or replace judges who violate the Constitution.”
The new plan appears to be a more ambitious update of the original 1994 version and would take a GOP majority in both the House and the Senate to implement.
Additional parts of the plan include allowing for more domestic oil and gas drilling, reducing the corporate tax rate to 12.5 percent and balancing the federal budget.