Former Speaker Newt Gingrich lit up CPAC on its third and final day of convention, opening with bold criticisms against the Republican establishment and its consultant culture.

“The Republican establishment is just plain wrong about how it approaches politics,” he said, adding that the RNC’s effort to produce a report on initial changes was a good first step in the right direction. It was essential, he said, that conservatives “disenthrall” themselves from the establishment’s “anti-idea approach” and its “consultant culture”, which only perpetuated the process of raising money to run attack ads.

Gingrich also emphasized the importance of new ideas, not new principles. “We need lots of new ideas on how to implement those principles in the twenty-first century,” he said. Additionally, he highlighted the need of finding ways to empower people to leave poverty, empower small businesses to create jobs and get government out of the way.

Calling the establishment “prisoners of the past” and “trapped in the age of candles,” Gingrich quoted President Ronald Reagan and stated there was “no such thing as left or right” but only an “up or down.”

“We stand today on the edge of a great future, but Washington is blind to it in both parties,” he said, underlining the necessity to push past partisanship.

Gingrich also produced a stark contrast between conservatives that believe they have a “capacity for self-government” or a people that “abandon the American revolution.” Citizens, he said, must be empowered to solve things for themselves by getting rid of government and replacing the institutions with citizen activism. He then praised ‘Citizensville,’ a book by California’s very own Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.

“It is sobering to me, to be standing here as a senior member of this party telling you that from 1976 to 2013, we have the dominant wing of this party which has learned nothing,” said Gingrich. Republicans, he said, should be in the business of “reshaping the budget” to liberate the American people and create a better future with a smaller government and balanced budget. “It is much more than a fight over numbers,” he added. “It’s a fight over values.”

The former speaker also quoted Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, asking Republicans to stop “dumbing down” conservative ideas and reducing their ideals to “campaign slogans and taglines.”

“We are not the anti-Obama movement,” said Gingrich. “We are for a better American future.”

He pointed to both parties in Washington, D.C., saying they were “blind to the potential in this country.” But there was hope, he said, if the conservative message focused on “the right to rise,” as well as its predicate, “the right to life.”

Crossposted on CalWatchdog