Negotiate With a Democratic President

Newt Gingrich

As told to Joshua Green

Listen | Learn | Help | Lead

PHOTOGRAPH BY NATHAN PERKEL FOR BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK

You have to establish a position of strength. Before Bill Clinton and I negotiated a balanced-budget agreement in 1996, we closed the government twice. By the time we were done with the second shutdown, there was a grudging sense of respect. At the same time, we realized that if you don’t get Clinton’s signature, you’re not getting anything done. We negotiated face to face for 35 days. We learned how to do a dance that involved hitting each other pretty hard but then backing off and finding a way to work together. How do you do that? By paying attention. My motto is listen, learn, help, and lead. First thing you want to do is listen. What are they trying to accomplish? Figure out if there’s some common ground. But you have to know what you absolutely can’t give up. It’s a process of exploration, of trying to figure out if we can get to this place. You go through a cycle of dialogues, trying to get in position to be able to do the right thing. If you’re patient and you have what Clinton and I described as “cheerful persistence,” it’s amazing how much you can get done. My sense is that Obama is a very bad negotiator. Obama doesn’t listen. Clinton listened. Clinton understood the art of getting to a deal because he’d been Arkansas governor. He’d dealt with legislatures. He was used to talking it out, paying attention. Obama is a college professor. He gives a lecture and then he grades you on your ability to understand his lecture. There’s no practical way that a RepublicanObama negotiation is going to work, because they want radically different things. • Gingrich is former House Speaker.

Welcome!

Magazines Review offers you a broad range of popular American magazines online. Browse an extensive directory of magazines, covering most important aspects of your life. Find the most recent issues of your favourite magazine, or check out the oldest ones.

About content

All the articles are taken from the official magazine websites and other open web resources.

Please send your complains and suggestions through our feedback form. Thank you.