Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is surging in the polls, and may win the upcoming New Hampshire GOP Presidential Primary. Gingrich’s surge is sensible on some levels – he obliterates the GOP stereotype of an ill-spoken hick who backslaps his way to office; he would surely beat Pres. Obama in a debate; he is an idea man in a time when the old ideas seem to be failing. Gingrich is knowledgeable, a nimble orator, and supremely confident. Compared to many recent pol scandals, his divorces and penchant for expensive jewelry are mild baggage. Indeed, through today’s prism, his ’90s book scandal looks trivial, even virtuous considering his eventual IRS exoneration. Still, Gingrich is a risk, and GOP voters should think hard before betting on this horse, when the wager is the chance of a second Obama term. When the nation desperately needs to reverse its socialist ways, an insider technocrat like Gingrich may be the wrong choice.
Gingrich’s gaff, sitting on a bench with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is embarrassing, but also a window into his psyche. First off, Gingrich exposed himself as a global warming true believer. Gingrich stated that global warming is real, is a threat, and requires immediate action – a set of beliefs inconsistent with the views of the GOP base. More importantly, Gingrich states that government action can spur innovation to solve global warming. Well, Mr. Gingrich, even if global warming is a real threat, there is no evidence that there is any solution short of returning to a pre-industrial standard of living.
Gingrich is free to believe in global warming. After all, the issue is dead, and the world is poised to turn away from carbon caps. The real threat is that Gingrich is a problem solver, and he is not afraid to use the government as a problem solving tool. Would Gingrich repeal Obamacare or Dodd-Frank, or would he try to ‘fix’ them? Would Gingrich reverse the FCC’s net-neutrality power grab or would he adjust its misguided policies? Gingrich is a classic beltway insider, even decades removed from office. His connections and careers all point toward a leader that will not cut government, but simply try to run it better. The only path toward saving the US from collapse involves a permanent reduction in the scope of the Federal Government, and Gingrich is not the man for that challenge.
Another peek at the inner Gingrich is his quick apology for the Pelosi bench ad – he did not even try to defend himself. Consider his former colleague Rep. Frank. He used the US banking system as his sandbox where he engineered social justice by demanding home loans for unqualified buyers. More than any single person, Frank caused the housing bubble and ultimate collapse that crippled the US economy and ruined countless lives. Frank’s policies and general arrogance proved that he was a despicable abusive tyrant, yet when he was forced to retire to avoid a tough reelection, he apologized for nothing. While Frank’s stomach and chins may be jelly, his heart is stone. Gingrich, by comparison, routinely apologizes, reverses himself and carries on. Frank’s convictions may be evil, but they are fixed. Gingrich twists and turns based on whims few can fathom.
Gingrich is smart, articulate, and a master of the political knowledgebase. If the goal were to run the Executive Branch better than Obama, Gingrich would be a fine choice, but slowing the march to hell is no longer an option. The US needs a more serious man, a true reformer, and someone with no love for the beltway.
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