Salon Series: "Newt Gingrich The Rise and Fall of a Party Entrepreneur"
October 19, 2022
This evening Salon Series conversation featured Matthew Green, Co-Author of, Newt Gingrich: The Rise and Fall of a Party Entrepreneur; Professor and Chair, Department of Politics, The Catholic University of America and The Honorable Ron Christie, Founder & President, Christie Strategies LLC; Instructor, NYU Washington, DC.
The discussion focused on Green’s work: Newt Gingrich is one of the most polarizing and consequential figures in US politics. First elected to the House of Representatives in 1978, he rose from a minority party backbencher to become the first Republican Speaker of the House in forty years. Though much has been written about Gingrich, accounts of his time in Congress are incomplete and often skewed. In their book Newt Gingrich: The Rise and Fall of a Party Entrepreneur, political scientists Matthew N. Green and Jeffrey Crouch draw from newly uncovered archival material, original interviews, and other data to provide a fresh and insightful look at Gingrich’s entire congressional career. Green and Crouch argue that Gingrich is best understood as a “party entrepreneur,” someone who works primarily to achieve their congressional party’s collective goals. From the moment he entered Congress, Gingrich was laser-focused on achieving two party-related objectives—a Republican majority in the House and a more conservative society—as well as greater influence for himself.
This program was open to everyone. Registration was required in order to receive the Zoom log-in details.
Ron Christie, The Honorable Ron Christie, Founder & President, Christie Strategies LLC; Instructor, NYU Washington, DC
Ron Christie is founder and President of Christie Strategies LLC—an independent media and political strategy firm providing government relations, communications, and diversity consulting for a wide range of companies and organizations. A former special assistant to President George W. Bush and deputy assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney, he is the author of three books—Acting White: The Curious History of a Racial Slur (St. Martin's Press), Black in the White House: Life Inside George W. Bush's West Wing (Nelson Current), and his most recent book Blackwards: How Black Leadership is Returning America to the Days of Separate But Equal (Thomas Dunne Books).
Christie has served as an Instructor at the NYU Washington, D.C. Campus since 2017 where he teaches courses on the American Presidency and Private Influence in Public Policy. Christie also serves on the Advisory Board to the Brademas Center at NYU. He is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy as well as a Senior Practitioner Fellow at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. He previously served as a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University as well as the Center for the Political Future at the University of Southern California..
He has been the North American Political Analyst for the BBC since 2014. In 2020, Christie was awarded the bronze medal for best documentary/editorial viewpoint in the world for his BBC Radio Documentary "The Trumped Republicans." Christie is a Life Member to the Council on Foreign Relations and received his B.A. from Haverford College and his J.D. from The George Washington University National Law Center.
Matthew Green, Professor and Chair, Department of Politics, The Catholic University of America; Co-Author, Newt Gingrich: The Rise and Fall of a Party Entrepreneur; Co-editor, Congressional Leaders Series, University Press of Kansas
Matthew Green is a professor of politics and has taught at Catholic University since 2005. He teaches a variety of courses in American politics, focusing in particular on political institutions, state and local politics, federalism, and methodology. He developed a course on recent political events called Politics in the Age of Trump, and also helped develop and co-teach the class Washington Past and Present, an interdisciplinary introduction to the city of Washington, D.C. that is unique to Catholic University.
Green has written a number of books and articles about American politics. His articles have appeared in American Politics Research, Electoral Studies, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, and other journals. Green's most recent book, Newt Gingrich: The Rise and Fall of a Party Entrepreneur (University Press of Kansas, 2022), coauthored with Jeff Crouch, uses media accounts, original interviews, and newly-uncovered archival material to explain the motivations and influence of former Congressman and Speaker Newt Gingrich. He is co-editor of the Congressional Leadership series with University Press of Kansas and is also a staff writer for Mischiefs of Faction, a blog about political parties.
Using a conceptual framework taken from theories of military strategy, the authors explain how Gingrich initially struggled because of a mismatch between his lofty goals and the resources available to him. After years of patiently cultivating allies, tempering his immediate objectives, and waiting for favorable circumstances to emerge, Gingrich finally claimed victory in 1994, with Republicans winning control of the House and electing Gingrich as Speaker. Yet while Gingrich had been creative, patient, and ultimately successful at gaining power for himself and his party, he proved ineffective at balancing his goals with the demands of the Speakership, and he resigned from Congress just four years later.
Newt Gingrich: The Rise and Fall of a Party Entrepreneur, the latest contribution to the Congressional Leaders series, sheds new light on a historically important congressional leader whose complicated legacy is still debated today by scholars, journalists, and politicians.