Skip to comments.Don't underestimate Newt Gingrich
Posted on 03/03/2011 11:04:50 AM PST by 6ft2inhighheelshoes
Contrary to some inside-the-beltway sentiment, Newt Gingrich should be taken seriously not only as a GOP candidate for president but as someone who could actually win the White House in 2012. While no one potential Republican candidate has a lock on the GOP nomination, many party members are beginning to seriously consider Newt Gingrich this week as he announces his presidential exploratory committee and are contemplating whether he can defeat Barack Obama.
In any presidential primary, party members traditionally look for someone not only who can carry the party mantle but who can potentially win. Many feel that Gingrichs time has passed and cant win because of certain perceived weaknesses. Yet these people have either forgotten his previous accomplishments or have clearly underestimated the man himself.
Newt Gingrich is by far one of the most important and brilliant pubic officials America has ever produced. He had a 20-year career in the US House of Representatives rising through the Republican ranks to become one of the most powerful Speakers of the House in US history. He is credited for the 1994 Republican Revolution taking over both houses of congress the first time in 40 years, writing the Contracts with America, balancing the federal budget, passing monumental welfare reform, and was able to unify the fractious post-Reagan conservative movement to usher in a new generation of conservative leaders and activists.
For a Republican to win the GOP presidential nomination they typically must appeal and win over the three primary groups of the conservative movement fiscal, social, and national security conservatives. On a policy level, there is no doubt Gingrich has much appeal to all three and could potentially unify them, even if loosely held together.
While some might have forgotten, Newt has a strong fiscal record leading the battle to balance the federal budget and reform welfare in the mid-90s probably the two greatest achievements of the 1994 Republican Revolution. Out of all the potential candidates, other than Sarah Palin, Newt has been a prolific Tea Party supporter and could appeal to those voters, contrary to some other candidates whove shied away from publicly being linked to them. This would most certainly give him a leg up over the competition as these voters were the engine behind the GOP wins last year
When it comes to national security, Newt has more credibility than most of his counterparts. He has been a vociferous leader in the War on Terror, presently teaches at the National Defense University, serves on the Terrorism Task Force on the Council on Foreign Relations, and has published extensively on American foreign policy and military affairs.
No doubt that Gingrichs greatest obstacle will be to win over the social conservatives. He will have to explain his personal foibles and perceived fumbling of the Republican Revolution in the late-90s, detailed in the Esquire hit-piece that ran last August. Yet throughout his public career he has supported conservative positions on social issues, has vociferously spoken about the need for Rediscovering God in America, and recently converted to Catholicism. While these actions on his part may not fully satiate this crowd, his congressional voting record, published works, and public statements of personal remorse may help convince enough social conservatives, however imperfect, Gingrich is on their side.
Since his departure from congress twelve years ago, Gingrich has reinvented himself as a modern conservative sage of sorts. Newt would no doubt have a personal arsenal of grassroots activists, think tanks, and donors cultivated over the years at his disposal, jokingly dubbed Newt Inc. The indefatigable Gingrich has also travelled across the country over the years giving hundreds of speeches displaying his dizzying intellect and endless idea-factory of public policy prescriptions. Inspiring and exciting thousands of conservative activists Newt can legitimately claim a national following something many of the other candidates cannot.
At a minimum, most believe he would raise the level of debate in the GOP primary race, if not run circles around Barack Obama in a head-to-head contest. While the country tried its hand with a fresh face in 2008, the country may be inclined to support an elder statesman this time around.
What might really separate Gingrich though from the other GOP hopefuls is that out of all the candidates hes the one who best articulates the conservative message in a time of American drift. When America is in need of clarity of purpose and confident and experienced leadership, Newt has spent the better part of a decade thoughtfully prescribing solutions for Americas ills and has articulately argued for an American renewal of its First Principles a sentiment whose time has come after recent years.
As a history professor, Newt is well aware of American history, including his own. In 1962, no one thought Richard Nixon would ever win public office again. In 1976, many thought Reagan was done with. In 2000, no one thought Al Gore would amount to much after the 2000 presidential election. Is it possible that Gingrich has analyzed his own history, learned the lessons from the 1990s, and can have his own political comeback in 2012? Perhaps the wiser more disciplined Gingrich of today can do what he once miraculously did unite a fractious conservative movement and fulfill a new contract with America.
Christopher N. Malagisi is the Lead Administrator of the Draft Newt Gingrich for President (2012) Facebook fan page (http://tinyurl.com/draftnewt), is President of the Young Conservatives Coalition, a National Review Institute Washington Fellow, and an Adjunct Professor at American University teaching conservative movement history.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/opinion-zone/2011/03/dont-underestimate-newt-gingrich#ixzz1FZ3TyTGp
I agree with that.
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