Newt says “values politics” are done for

The fact that I agree with Newt is either a sign that the Bush era is over, or that the End is nigh. And according to the WaPo’s David Ignatius he is telling his GOP colleages that what they are calling the “blame game” is exactly what a frightened and angry populace expects to play for a long time. I might say that any “party of performance” needs to have values behind it– values like equality, justice, fairness, accountability, transparency–what he really means is that the GOP can’t keep blaming wars and hurricanes on fags. Here, here!

Now listen to what Gingrich has to say about “changing the playbook” after Katrina. His comments are drawn from two memos he has circulated to Republican leaders since the storm hit and from a conversation we had this week exploring some of his ideas.

Gingrich argues that the values debate that has divided America so sharply during the past decade is over. There’s a broad consensus about most issues, and anyway people realize that the country’s big problems aren’t about morality but performance. “We’re not in a values fight now but over whether the system is working,” Gingrich told me. “The issue is delivery.” And that’s true at every level — city, state and federal.

Gingrich’s critique of the federal response is as devastating as that of any Democrat. “For the last week the federal government and its state and local counterparts have consistently been behind the curve,” he wrote fellow Republicans this week. “The American people overwhelmingly know that the current situation is totally unacceptable,” and for that reason, “it is a mistake to get trapped into defending the systems and processes which clearly failed.” He observes in another memo, “While the destruction was unprecedented, it was entirely predictable.”

Read the whole thing.

Oh, and just to show what kind of values won’t work, don’t miss reading about the GOP congressman from Baton Rouge who was overheard telling lobbyists this:

“We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.”