Top staff members in the presidential campaign of former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich have mutinied, leaving Gingrich’s 2012 White House aspirations in question.
Gingrich had confidently entered the race, telling one commentator that he would likely be the nominee.
Newt rose to political prominence in the 1994 Republican sweep into congressional power with the famous ‘Contract with America’. But the Media Left immediately targeted him, and have targeted him ever since.
Gingrich was forced out as speaker in 1998 after Republican congressional losses, and was dogged with a minor ethics charge and with accusations of marital infidelity. He is currently is in his third marriage.
But Gingrich harmed himself terribly when, after announcing his White House bid recently, he called congressman Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform plan “right wing social engineering” and “radical”. Republicans from across the spectrum were furious that Gingrich was giving ammunition to Democrats to attack the Ryan plan, and Gingrich apologized. But the damage was done.
So a terrible thing has happened to the man who long has been considered perhaps the most thought-provoking theorist on the conservative right. The question is: How?
And the answer is because he is Newt Gingrich, and that while Newt appeals to us conservatives and is very, very smart, he never has been a skilled political figure. His statement about the Ryan plan is a case in point. It was unnecessary and provocative, angering many of his conservative admirers just for starters. This was a bad beginning and harmed his campaign greatly.
In fact Gingrich always has had a rough edge politically – too conservative, too Republican, too direct and abrasive, and not folksy or voter-friendly like a Ronald Reagan. With constant media assaults on him, Gingrich often seemed like the caricature of a Republican – a stingy, older white male, not physically attractive, who has had three wives (in 1962, at age 19, Gingrich married his 26-year-old high school geometry teacher). He recently was reported to have spent tens of thousands of dollars on jewelry for #3 at Tiffany’s in New York.
In short, Gingrich is no JFK and the Media Left have taken advantage of that image, while Gingrich harmed himself greatly with his statement about Ryan.
We conservatives all should be saddened by Gingrich’s setback because Newt has been our steadfast champion for many years. He is truly a great thinker and strategist and he would make a superb president. And we can be sure that he will continue as an active participant in our coming conservative ascendancy. Perhaps he will continue on in the presidential race, perhaps not.
Now there is debate about what caused him to make such a statement about Ryan’s plan in the first place. Rush Limbaugh conjectured that Gingrich was “positioning” himself in the Republican field, i.e., Newt decided to go moderate, which seems odd since he has spent his life advocating the conservative cause. Little did he know that he was positioning himself into a corner.
How such a seasoned public figure made such a major blunder is hard to fathom. But then again, perhaps that is why Gingrich always has been considered more significant as a theorist than as an elected politician, more Samuel Adams or Tom Paine than Thomas Jefferson. And perhaps his gaffe was fate intervening and directing his life toward productive ends outside of elective office.
Newt was first elected to Congress from Georgia in 1978 and served the 6th congressional district until his resignation. He became House minority whip in 1989, and speaker in 1995.
Gingrich played a key role in balancing the federal budget under Bill Clinton and legislating a cut in the capital gains rate.
As speaker, he faced 84 trumped-up ethics charges, 83 of which eventually were dropped. He finally was reprimanded by Congress on one charge. But Gingrich was seen even by fellow Republicans as a liability and they plotted against him. Gingrich finally resigned his speakership and his congressional seat even after being re-elected for the 10th time.
Don’t feel sorry for Newt, however. He has many interests on the conservative side and will continue to be a force in American politics for many years to come.
Here are some of his many projects and associations:
*In 2003 he founded the Center for Health Transformation to develop a system focused on the individual and on prevention.
*For more than 20 years, Gingrich has taught at the Air Force’s Air University where he is the longest-serving teacher of the Joint Flag Officer Warfighting Course.
*He is a visiting scholar and professor at the National Defense University.
*In September 2007, Gingrich founded American Solutions for Winning the Future a “grassroots movement to recruit, educate, and empower citizen activists and elected officials to develop solutions to transform all levels of government”.
*Gingrich is a fellow at two conservative ‘think tanks’ – the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution.
*He is frequently a commentator, guest or panel member on cable TV news shows.
*His most recent book was To Save America of 2010 in which he described Democrats, including Obama, as “left-wing radicals” who lead a “secular socialist machine”.
*Gingrich has authored or co-authored 16 non-fiction books since 1982, several of them bestsellers.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can read excerpts from my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.