Moving Toward Real Change: A Thank You to My Readers

Dear Friend,

It’s the time of year when many of us are taking some time off from our busy schedules and spending more time with family and friends. I’m currently on a tour of Europe with the NRA and Col. Oliver North’s Freedom Alliance, speaking to conservatives about, among other things, the lessons for our party and our country from President Nicholas Sarkozy’s victory in France.

And as the summer of 2007 begins to draw to a close, I have the opportunity to do something that I’ve been meaning to do for some time now: To thank you, the readers, e-mail writers, activists and leaders of the Winning the Future movement.

Our motto, of course, is "Real Change Requires Real Change." It has been a summer of real progress and real change. And the credit goes to you. I’ve always said that change doesn’t come from within Washington — it starts outside the beltway and then makes itself forcefully known among the Capital’s governing elite. That’s what happened in 1994, and that’s what I’m beginning to sense happening today.

On issue after issue, the American people are beginning to triumph over the power elite. No doubt, we have a lot more to do. But for the real change that we’ve accomplished so far, let me be the first to say simply "thank you" for making it all possible.

We Helped Win an Immigration Victory for the American People

The first sign that the Washington elite are hopelessly out of touch with the American people on the issue of immigration and our national identity came late last winter, when I wrote to you about the need to make English the official language of government. Despite polls showing that 85 percent of Americans support English as our official language, Washington refused to act. On the contrary, it was even working hard to undermine English.

So it came as no surprise that, when immigration finally took center stage in Washington, a bill that proposed amnesty was negotiated in secret and then rushed through Congress with little debate and even less scrutiny.

I called it an "immigration shipwreck" and asked you to contact Washington with the message that enforcing our laws has to come first in any immigration legislation.

I know that Americans care deeply about preserving our welcoming tradition by controlling the flow of illegal immigrants across our borders. So I expected a strong response. But what came next surprised even me.

Computer servers were crashed by the onslaught of e-mail. Phone lines were jammed. Talk radio was swamped with callers. And in the end, because people like you rose up, the disastrous immigration bill went down in defeat.

But the Winning the Future movement isn’t just about saying no to bad ideas. It’s about proposing real solutions. That’s why, after listening to your comments and reading your e-mails, in June, while the Senate bill was being debated, I proposed 10 simple, direct steps to a legal American immigration system. Step one: Control the border.

We Launched a Movement to Find and Develop American Solutions for Winning the Future

I founded American Solutions to give the American people a way to rise above traditional, gridlocked partisan politics to develop real solutions to the most important issues facing our country.

If you haven’t already, take a second to view this video, which gives a good flavor of what we are trying to accomplish at American Solutions. Thanks to those of you who have already seen this video and passed it along to friends and family, more than a million Americans have seen this introduction to the scale of change we are trying to accomplish.

On June 8, I gave a speech at the American Enterprise Institute that expanded on the mission of American Solutions to transform government through all the 500,000-plus elected offices that comprise our political system.

On July 23, we had a six-hour briefing at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce titled "Returning Government From the World That Fails to the World That Works." Hundreds participated in person and thousands more attended via the Internet.

And most recently, at the Republican gathering in Ames, Iowa, August 11, American Solutions conducted a series of workshops on finding solutions to the greatest challenges facing our nation. We covered "green conservatism," Social Security, national security and health.

All of this activity is leading up to the inaugural "Solutions Day" events on September 27 and 29. On September 27, the 13th anniversary of the Contract with America, American Solutions will hold the opening presentation outlining the need for fundamental transformational change.

Then, on "Solutions Day," September 29, at West Georgia University in Carrolton, Ga., American Solutions will host a series of workshops on how to transform all levels of government. So far, more than 7,000 Americans have signed up to participate. What’s more, nearly 2,000 citizen leaders have agreed to host a workshop.

Once again, thanks to you, real change is on the march. Please visit to be a part of it.

We Began to Restore Sanity and Substance to the Presidential Election Process

Another goal we accomplished together this summer was to begin the process of bringing substance and dialogue back to our presidential campaign process.

I began 2007 by asking the Winning the Future community if we really wanted to spend the next two years being bombarded with negative ads and cynical news coverage given our current system of electing presidents.

This endless, negative process has to change, and in February, many of you joined me, in person and online, to do just that. On February 28, former New York Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo and I met at historic Cooper Union in New York City to model a new kind of presidential debate, one that is devoted to creating solutions rather then destroying opponents.

At Cooper Union, I first announced the "Nine Nineties in Nine" pledge — challenging presidential candidates to commit to nine, 90-minute, substance-focused debates in the nine weeks leading up to the general election in 2008.

Just a couple weeks ago, American Solutions joined with award-winning journalist Marvin Kalb in sending letters to all the presidential candidates urging them to take the "Nine Nineties in Nine" pledge. I gave a speech at the National Press Club about the pledge, and thirteen news cameras along with ABC News, USA Today, Newsweek, CNN, and The Washington Post all covered the event and offered favorable commentary.

So far, former Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee has formally agreed to the challenge and former New York City Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani has informally agreed to participate. We look forward to hearing from the others.

We Started a Conversation About Schools in the World That Fails

Last year, Winning the Future readers learned about the crisis in our big city schools, as exemplified by the Detroit public school system.

To recap: A Gates Foundation-funded report found that Detroit schools fail three out of every four students. A full 75 percent of Detroit ninth graders fail to graduate on time or fail to graduate at all from Detroit public high schools.

When I talk about the difference between the world that works and the world that fails, Detroit schools are example number one.

I mentioned this failure on Fox News Sunday recently and got a tremendous reaction. Some people were defensive, particularly those who are profiting from the current failing system. But many others in Detroit are grateful that the problem is being talked about openly and honestly.

Ultimately, it’s up to Detroiters to take primary responsibility to solve the crisis in their public schools. But we can be proud that, at the very least, we got the conversation started.

We Alerted America to Our ‘Phoney War’ on Radical Islam

During a summer that’s seen terrorist attacks and planned terrorist attacks from New Jersey to London to Glasgow and Baghdad, the security of our nation and the safety of our children and grandchildren has been a central concern of all Winning the Future readers.

As a former history teacher, I look at the threats America faces today through the prism of the threats we have faced — and overcome — in the past.

In May, I published, along with historian Bill Forstchen, my new novel, Pearl Harbor. Thanks to your support and word of mouth, Pearl Harbor made it all the way to number seven on the New York Times fiction bestseller list.

Later in the summer, Callista and I traveled to Russia, and I told you about Tanya Savicheva. It was there, reading the diary of a young girl who watched her entire family die, one by one, and then died herself, because her leaders failed to heed the evil words of evil men, that I realized that the United States is doing the same thing today. We are failing to heed the evil words of evil men.

For the last six years we’ve been engaged in a "phoney war," not taking the words and the clear intentions of our enemies seriously enough.

I use this term deliberately to echo the lessons from the period during World War II from September 1939 to May 1940 that became known as the "phoney war." After Hitler had attacked and occupied Poland, the evil Nazi men had made their evil intentions clear, but the Allies did little to respond to Hitler’s aggression. In this period of "phoney war," the British people eventually came to believe that they could avoid war. Children who had been evacuated from the cities began to return to their families, and British leaders continued to urge the British media to not print news stories that would upset the Nazis.

And then, in May 1940, Hitler attacked France. The "phoney war" was over. The real war for the survival of Great Britain would soon begin.

The idea that we are not doing enough to protect ourselves from the irreconcilable wing of Islam has clearly struck a chord with the American people. Because good people like you have refused to remain silent, today’s Tanyas — all the young children such as my granddaughter and grandson who are threatened by the irreconcilable wing of Islam — have greater hope of seeing their own grandchildren some day.

We Established a New American Patriotic Tradition

It’s not possible to list all that we’ve accomplished this summer in a single edition of Winning the Future. But I want to conclude today with an achievement that I think captures the spirit of what this movement is about.

Last May, as the anniversary of D-Day (June 6) approached, we began a project to have Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s D-Day prayer rebroadcast on as many radio stations as possible. FDR’s prayer was first broadcast to the nation on the evening of June 6, 1944 — the day the Greatest Generation launched its greatest battle of World War II.

This prayer is a beautiful and powerful appeal to God on behalf of young Americans who were landing in Normandy to liberate Europe from the Nazi totalitarian evil that had overwhelmed it. As FDR said, it was truly a crusade for freedom and civilization.

Our hope was to create an annual tradition of reading the prayer on the anniversary of D-Day, as a tribute to our troops and a reminder of the role of faith and prayer in American public life.

And once again, thanks to you, we were more successful than we could have hoped.

The prayer was also read aloud in the House of Representatives by Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Phil English and in the Senate by South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint. Click here for video of Sen. DeMint. They both introduced resolutions calling for June 6 to be declared a National Day of Prayer for our Troops.

And most importantly, thanks to your persistence, the prayer was heard on more than 1,500 radio stations June 6.

Real change is reminding the establishment elite of the foundation of faith on which America was built.

Real change is not losing sight of what our troops are sacrificing for overseas.

Real change is creating a new American patriotic tradition.

Update on the Center for Health Transformation

The Center for Health Transformation has had an amazingly busy and productive summer.

As a part of our Healthy Georgia Diabetes & Obesity Project, NBA Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins and the center have teamed up to fight diabetes in Georgia and beyond. Called "‘Nique and Newt’s Full-Court Press on Diabetes," the initiative is designed to increase awareness, detection and prevention of diabetes and its complications, with a special focus on preventing children and high-risk populations from developing the disease and its complications. Please click here to watch a video clip of a recent event we did together.

On July 24, the Center for Health Transformation (CHT) hosted a roundtable on electronic epidemiology: the routine, evidence-driven leveraging of large health-record datasets for pre-clinical and clinical research, outcome analysis, quality and safety management and public health. Thirty thought leaders from government and private-sector organizations participated in the day-long discussion held at the Center, laying an important foundation for further work at CHT on this key component of a 21st Century Intelligent Health System.

Also this summer, CHT hosted a meeting with the president of the State Policy Network and 12 CEOs of state-based, free-market think tanks. We shared ideas to promote more consumerism, competition and transparency in healthcare. We also invited each CEO to be an on-line host of our 3rd annual, "Creating a 21st Century Medicaid System" event September 18 and distributed copies of "The Art of Transformation and Making Medicaid Work" to all attendees.

Finally, CHT CEO Nancy Desmond and I recently released a new workbook titled Implementing the Art of Transformation. The workbook, adapted from our recent book The Art of Transformation, is designed to serve as a guide for citizens and government leaders committed to leading large scale change. Information about ordering the book — and all my activities related to health and healthcare — can be found at the center’s website at

Thank you for making it all happen.

Newt Gingrich