On April 20, Newt Gingrich said he would have voted for Paul Ryan's Medicare reform and praised it as just a "first step" toward fixing our health care system. In a Facebook post hours later, he edged away from his full embrace of Ryan's plan.
On May 15, Gingrich ripped Ryan's plan as "radical change," "right-wing social engineering," and just “too big a jump.” Hours later, his spokesman acknowledged there's "not much daylight between Ryan and Gingrich" in the substance of Medicare reforms they each support.
This isn't the first time this year that the former speaker of the House has changed his position on a big issue in a matter of weeks. Around the same time that Gingrich was on NBC blasting the Medicare plan he supported three weeks ago, George Will was on ABC's This Week criticizing Gingrich for flip-flopping on war against the Libyan regime.
"Newt Gingrich’s problems are so far beyond just his multiple marriages and all that," Will said. "His ethanol love affair right now. On the 7th of March he said, 'Let’s go get Qaddafi.' On the 23rd of he says, 'I never favored intervention.' He did it on television. … He’s one of these people who says that to understand Barack Obama you need to understand his 'Kenyan anti-colonial mentality.' This is just not a serious candidate."
Will was (accurately) paraphrasing Gingrich. Here's the video of the flip-flop on Libya:
Of course, not all of Gingrich's flip-flops take place over a matter of weeks--sometimes he's waited months, or even years, to change his position. Gingrich fully backed liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava in the 2009 upstate New York congressional race until she dropped out of the race and endorsed the Democrat. Gingrich laid low for a while and then coneded in February 2010 it was wrong of him to endorse Scozzafava.
"She had some positions that were far more radical than I realized at the time," he said. But Scozzafava's liberal record was out there for all to see, as I reported at the time.
But in 2007 Gingrich favored "mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system." In 2008, he even produced a video with Nancy Pelosi on the urgent need to stop global warming:
The good news for Gingrich is that almost the entire 2012 field has flip-flopped on cap and trade. The bad news is that he can't say the same about his flip-flops on Medicare reform, Dede Scozzafava, and the Libyan war.