How the mighty have fallen. Although Newt Gingrich has never been the top candidate for the GOP nomination in my book, I have always had respect for the guy.  He is brilliant and he does an incredible job in arguing his points. But lately the former Speaker of the House has been exhibiting an embarrassing diminished mental capacity. Gingrich is having some real short-term memory problems.

Yesterday, the now declared Presidential candidate appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press and seemed to totally contradict positions he took just a few weeks  ago.

White House hopeful Newt Gingrich called the House Republican plan for Medicare “right-wing social engineering,” injecting a discordant GOP voice into the party’s efforts to reshape both entitlements and the broader budget debate.

Just a month ago, Newt praised the plan:

So, I asked if he would advocate replacing it with Paul Ryan’s plan.

The former speaker sang Ryan’s praises for being a “brave” “man of ideas,” like Gingrich himself.

“But would you have voted for Ryan’s plan?” I pressed.

“Sure,” Gingrich replied.

“Do you think it would actually save the health care system?”

“No, I think it’s the first step,” Gingrich said. “You need an entirely new set of solutions.”

It gets even crazier, in 1995 Newt proposed a medicare plan that was very similar to the Ryan plan.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) promised Friday that congressional Republicans would devote all future savings from Medicare to assure the solvency of the imperiled health care program rather than to balance the federal budget.

And he challenged President Clinton to offer proposals “to save Medicare for a generation.”

Gingrich predicted that Congress would undertake a major reform of Medicare, offering other options to the current fee-for-service system. One alternative would be a voucher program, in which beneficiaries would choose among several competing private health plans. However, he pledged that “anyone who wants to” would be permitted to stay in the present system, which allows unrestricted choice of doctors and hospitals.

Another point made by Gingrich was that he supports some form of the Obamacare individual mandate:

Mr. Gingrich also said he would like to see the mandate implemented at the state level, with states experimenting with alternative approaches. But he said he should apply to all Americans.

Yet in January in a story announcing Newt’s anti-Obamacare website, Real Clear Politics reported:

Like the other potential Republican presidential candidates, Gingrich has been a longtime critic of the health care reform law. Last month, he lauded the Virginia court ruling that declared the individual mandate included in the law to be unconstitutional, calling it a “huge victory” in what was shaping up to be a “very long, difficult fight.”

 See what I mean? Its very sad to see how quickly a brilliant guy like Newt is forgetting things.  Maybe he should start taking some ginkgo biloba, or something.

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