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Gingrich on the “Age of Austerity”

Talking Points Memo flags this “austerity” criticism from Newt Gingrich as a sign the speaker is out of touch with the rest of the Republican Party:

The 2012 Republican presidential candidate was asked by NBC’s David Gregory on “Meet The Press” whether his hopes for a U.S. colony on the moon fly in the face of the GOP’s fiscal responsibility mantra. Gingrich responded with some choice words about austerity itself before defending his lunar ambitions.

“First of all, David, I don’t think you’ll ever find me talking about an age of austerity. I don’t think that’s the right solution,” Gingrich said. “I am a pro-growth Republican. I’m a pro-growth conservative. I think the answer is to grow the economy, not to punish the American people with austerity.”

Writes TPM reporter Sahil Kapur:

His comments are remarkable in that they appear to contradict the core economic belief of the modern Republican Party that Gingrich hopes to lead. In this era of high deficits, austerity is routinely heralded by conservatives and GOP lawmakers as the path to economic prosperity, and the party was successful last year in keeping the issue atop the 2011 legislative agenda.

It’s a little simplistic to say austerity is the “core economic belief” of the Republican Party. Pro-growth policies should go hand-in-hand with necessary budget cuts. But that has little to do with Gingrich’s moon program, which comes off as wildly out-of-touch with what the conservative movement – and independent voters – think is necessary for the country’s future. In fact, according to a poll by The Hill today, just one out of five voters support Gingrich’s permanent moon colony proposal. As the public watches the default disaster unfolding in Greece, and our country’s own debt piles up, the appetite for a moon colony is understandably small.