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Time to Give Newt a Second Look?

Alone among the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination Newt Gingrich, like Ronald Reagan in 1980 (and 1976 for that matter), has already made a significant contribution to the conservative movement.  As the Gipper helped articulate an upbeat conservative vision long before launching a bid for the White House, so did Gingrich make the 1994 mid-term elections turn, in large part on that small-government ideal, helping elect the first Republican Congress in forty years.

Not just that, he became in the 105th Congress the first Republican Speaker to serve consecutive terms since Theodore Roosevelt’s Cincinnati son-in-law relinquished the gavel to Democrat John Nance Garner in 1931.

Having once interned for Newt, I didn’t take him too seriously as a presidential candidate.  He seems more a man of ideas than a leader of men.  And more often than not, he’ll articulate any idea which pops into his head, even those to which he has given little thought.  He didn’t often seem to have the focus necesary to serve as chief executive.  He didn’t have a desk in office when I worked for him .  Sometimes, he seemed he couldn’t sit still.

Maybe age has mellowed him.

I haven’t been following the debates, but have read (in posts by bloggers and pundits I respect) that he has acquitted himself quite well.  Well, last night, as I was preparing to watch Captain America (should have seen it on the big screen), I caught the former Speaker on Greta van Susteren’s On the Record.  I found him so compelling, I delayed staring the movie.

True to what I’d read in the blogs, he didn’t attack his fellow competitors for the party’s nod, critiquing Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, to be sure, but praising the businessman for his boldness in penning such a proposal.  And he faulted Romney’s plan for not being bold enough.  (In fact, I’m pretty sure I heard him praise the quality of the debate he and his fellows were conducting, raising real issues of substance related to the current crisis.)

What impressed me the most was the same thing which impressed me when, as a college freshman, I first heard Newt speak.  Like the Gipper, this guy can see the big picture.

The former Speaker couldn’t imagine the economy recovering until the Obama Democrats are defeated; “everything they’re doing is destructive.”  They just don’t know what it takes to get the economy moving again.

Greta asked him if his plans would work any differently.  How did he know this would work.  He replied that “I’ve done this before” and mentioned working with both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, reminding his audience of the job growth the country experienced in both administrations.  Referencing those two presidents, both at present enjoying high approval ratings, with the Gipper’s particularly high among Republicans, he seemed to be playing both to a Republican primary audience and to the general election.

And he reminds voters that he has experience working with successful domestic policy presidents.  His ideas are based on past experience, not academic theories.

The “purpose of leadership,” he said, is to live in the real world.”

With that line, he offered perhaps the perfect rebuke to the faith so many put in an untested charismatic man from Illinois and said charmer’s record in office.

NB:  I’m going from notes when I quote the former Speaker and will tweak the post as soon as a transcript is up.  And I had not been expecting to take notes  – much less pay attention to a presidential candidate last night — I may have missed a few of Gingrich’s words.

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15 Comments

  1. Not enough time left to overcome the past two decades of lies and propaganda democrats have steeped the country in I’m afraid.

    Comment by Richard Bell — November 5, 2011 @ 8:21 am - November 5, 2011

  2. I hope tonight’s Newt-Herman debate lifts both men and brings the rest of the field, esp. Romney, downward.
    What we really need is to have one of them move to another state by Dec. 31 so they could run as a ticket.
    The carnage from a Newt-Obama debate would be rivaled by the carnage from a Herman-Biden debate. Both would be quite messy.

    Comment by bob — November 5, 2011 @ 11:58 am - November 5, 2011

  3. Newt for President, I’m not sure. But as a special Cabinet-level Minister-without-Portfolio for National Revitalization he’d be a natural. He’s exactly the sort of person who just spouts ideas like puppies. Put him in-charge of a special small Skunks Works style non-military DARPA-like agency to get things kick-started into the new 21st-century economy.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — November 5, 2011 @ 12:35 pm - November 5, 2011

  4. No. I’ve enjoyed some of his fiction books and have listened to some of his history lectures, which were all great. Newt is a good ideas man but is not IMO presidential material at all. Most folks are not which includes him. I have no wish to trade one flub for another.

    Comment by JohnAGJ — November 5, 2011 @ 12:43 pm - November 5, 2011

  5. I agree with #3 that Gingrich would make a terrific participant in a Republican administration. In fact, I’m not against the idea of Newt as VP. Just imagine the chaos he’d generate debating with Joltin’ Joe Biden! I’d pay money to see that!

    Comment by Dottie Laird — November 5, 2011 @ 2:29 pm - November 5, 2011

  6. Pros: Rather bright for a politician, recognizing (unlike Mittens) that the challenges we face are major, and requiring more than just a few minor adjustments. Extremely effective debater. Can put Democrats on defense.

    Cons: More personal baggage than Diana Ross on World Tour; a tendency to sit on the couch with Democrats in a capacity other than psychoanalyst.

    Comment by V the K — November 5, 2011 @ 5:16 pm - November 5, 2011

  7. Oh lordy…are y’all still trying to figure out the least crazy out of that bunch?

    Comment by Kevin — November 6, 2011 @ 12:50 am - November 6, 2011

  8. The least crazy out of our bunch, Kevin, beats the only one in your bunch, the failed incumbent. Heck, even Fred Flintstone could do a better job than he.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — November 6, 2011 @ 1:01 am - November 6, 2011

  9. Yeah, our candidates actually want to save our country from fiscal oblivion. They must be crazy.

    Comment by V the K — November 6, 2011 @ 9:17 am - November 6, 2011

  10. [...] last, but not least, Gay Patriot wonders if it is time to give Newt a second [...]

    Pingback by Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup » Pirate's Cove — November 6, 2011 @ 11:37 am - November 6, 2011

  11. After watching Newt yesterday at the discussion with Hermain Cain, I’m giving him a good look! He’s very articulate and has many of the ideas that I’m looking for! I can see him as president.

    Comment by GailM — November 6, 2011 @ 1:14 pm - November 6, 2011

  12. @ Bob – wouldn’t it be better to pit Cain against Obama, so the race card could not be played? That would leave Gingrich to, if I’m reading it right, annihilate Biden.

    As I see it, much of what is wrong with Obama’s record is economic – which, because of his career background, is Cain’s strength.

    Comment by perturbed — November 6, 2011 @ 7:24 pm - November 6, 2011

  13. No way in hell. Newt has pretty much made it clear he is only in it for Newt. He’s also owned body and soul by the GOP elite. No f-ing way.

    Comment by Kevin — November 6, 2011 @ 9:25 pm - November 6, 2011

  14. I’m liking Newt…. he handles himself very well and seems very able to take on the opposition. As for the “baggage” people are always referencing, Clinton and Obama both had far more than he does. I think he deserves chance. I’d take him over RHINO Romney

    Comment by Mark — November 6, 2011 @ 10:41 pm - November 6, 2011

  15. [...] last, though not least, Gay Patriot wonders if it is time to give Newt a second [...]

    Pingback by Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup | My Blog — November 7, 2011 @ 8:36 am - November 7, 2011

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