Newt Gingrichâ€“If only ideas and solutions mattered
By: Eric Golub
There is an unwritten law that any powerful conservative has to be portrayed as either unintelligent or evil. Ronald Reagan was referred to as â€an amiable dunce.â€ Dan Quayle was forever linked to a spelling bee error. George W. Bush is somehow dumb and evil, a fact only his intelligent, saintly critics can reconcile. To avoid being labeled dumb or evil, a conservative must be seen as weak or malleable (George Herbert Walker Bush) or ineffective (Dennis Hastert). In some cases even those initially seen as liberal republicans can be seen as evil if they are effective enough without being liberal (Rudy Guliani). John McCain has escaped so far, but if he wins the nomination, stories of him being a war hero will all of a sudden become the tales of a murdering babykiller.
The most intelligent conservatives are even more evil. Dick Cheney is the face behind Darth Vader, only not as warm and fuzzy. However, in recent memory, no conservative has been skewered like former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
Like Dan Quayle before him, Newt Gingrich grew up during the social unrest and upheaval (translationâ€¦spoiled brats who refused to put down their drugs and go to class and learn something) of the 1960s. Given that the 1960s brought us the beginnings of the drugs, disease and crime sprees that America is still paying for today, it is astounding that the decade of disaster is still being romanticized. The reason the hippie savages were called the counterculture is because they did not represent mainstream America. They were about 20% of the population. The other 80% represented people who did things the counterculture could not fathom, such as going to work and school, and actually being productive. The historical revision of the 1960s is still relevant today because anyone who tries to lead America who grew up in the 1960s without sharing the belief in the nobility of the decade is an enemy in need of being destroyed. With Dan Quayle, the intelligence card was played. If he is brainless, he cannot influence people. With Newt Gingrich, it is the evil card, simply because even his detractors grudgingly respect his intellect. That is why he needed to be brought down. He was not just conservative. He was also effective.
Newt Gingrich envisioned Republicans taking over the majority in the House of Representatives. He saw the climate in 1994 and read the political terrain better than anyone. He and Former RNC Chairman Haley Barbour refused to believe ousting the democrats was a pipe dream. Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House. Then he did something that most politicians are scared to death to do. He governed. He proposed policies. He did not want to just be a symbolic figurehead like the President at that time. He wanted to actually do things.
Newt Gingrich made plenty of mistakes. He could be short-tempered, and he was no public relations master. The election was a rejection of Bill Clinton and of liberalism, but not an embrace of conservatism. Some say he overreached. What is not said is that no matter what he did, he was not going to get a fair shake. Attempts to slow the rate of growth of Medicare was seen as cutting Medicare, and outright falsehood. He was accused of helping to cut school lunches so children would starve. He was accused of shutting the government down (not a bad idea, given who was running it), when it was the President who was totally responsible for the shutdown. So why did Bill Clinton repeatedly run circles around Newt Gingrich? Because Bill Clinton was likeable. New Gingrich was perceived as evil.
This matters because as Newt Gingrich weighs a presidential run, the climate is more hostile to conservatives than ever. Being warm and fuzzy is more important than being effective. Oprah Winfrey had better like you, or you will be accused of trying to outlaw Clorox and forcing women to do laundry by hand like in the days of slavery. Actually, if you are effective and conservative enough, Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton might accuse you of trying to bring back slavery. Then the move on.org crowd with the help of some brilliant celebrities will burn you in effigy while insisting at the top of their lungs that you are trying to censor their right to free hate speech.
The more substance you have, the more you can be hated. Barack Obama is beloved at the moment despite the fact that if he was 100% caucasian he would be called an empty suit. He is likeable, because he says nothing of consequence. Hillary Clinton bends over backwards not to talk about actual policy proposals because the one time she did, with health care, she was pilloried. She now wants to have a chat with America, which may make her seem inane, but then again, have you seen the audience that watches â€œThe View?â€ They may not be the best and brightest, but they vote.
Newt Gingrich, whether he runs or not, deserves to be taken seriously. His ideas are not always right, but at least he has ideas. He discusses them. People who debate him on policy and not personality only promote a richer and more intelligent discussion of the issues.
There are two directions can go. We can continue well on our way to becoming a nation of imbeciles, where â€œThe Viewâ€ is seen as a legitmate view on anything, or we can have real honest discussions about serious issues facing this country and this world, and how we go about solving them. Islamofacists are trying to kill us. Rosie Oâ€™Donnell might have an opinion on the subject, but then again, an expert on everything is an expert on nothing. I have no idea how to decorate a baby girlâ€™s bedroom. She does. She has a daughter, and I donâ€™t (despite the milk cartons that show kids I cannot discuss or disclose at this time). Newt Gingrich has an opinion on the subject of Islamofacism, and he can legitimately articulate the problem and the solution, as with most issues. It is not because either is simple, but because he is exceptionally bright and experienced.
Newt Gingrich should be a serious person in any administration with a powerful title and power to go with it, whether it be as President or a cabinet member. If ideas and solutions and substance ever trump style, Newt Gingrich will be heard loud and clear. America will benefit.
So please put down the remote, turn off the soap operas and daytime giggle-gaggle fests, and listen to him. As Bill Cosby used to say on Fat Albert, â€œIf youâ€™re not careful, you might learn something.â€
THE TYGRRRR EXPRESS