No Newt in 2012?
By: Dean Johnson
by David Bozeman
The word is that New Gingrich, whose media appearances are bordering on overexposure, is laying the groundwork for a 2012 presidential run. Dennis Miller on Fox News, bowled over by the speaker’s brilliant mind, recently endorsed a Gingrich/Palin ticket. Yes, Palin for VP. Apparently, intelligence has become the new benchmark for Republican leadership. Even Ann Coulter, who supported McCain/Palin last year, has repeatedly said that Palin should skip 2012 and “take a little time to become older and wiser.” Singing to the left’s chorus, are we Ann? Did any Democrat say that about John Edwards in 2008?
Conservatives cite Gingrich more for his intelligence than for any other trait. Indeed, the author and teacher, with a Ph.D. in history, deserves accolades for his mind, his patriotism and leadership in 1994′s Republican revolution. But in seeking to avoid another target of ‘dumb Republican’ jokes, conservatives are, nonetheless, playing into the liberal playbook.
Gingrich, along with Al Sharpton, recently discussed education at the White House, calling it “the first civil right of the 21st Century.” One can easily write off such rhetoric to the spirit of the moment, but he continued, saying that President Obama had shown “courage” during the primaries in supporting charter schools. Courage? Give me a break. Obama’s base was and is so taken with his vague, flowery platitudes, they couldn’t have cared less about such mundane specifics as charter schools. Gingrich stated his hope that, to improve education, America can “reach beyond Democrat and Republican, beyond liberal and conservative.” Gee, where have I heard that one before?
Does anyone recall his April ’07 global warming debate where he not only conceded that climate change is a problem, but that he and the Republican Party have “failed to lead on issues of the environment?” Kerry’s website was giddy, noting Gingrich’s concession of human responsibility for global warming.
Gingrich has noted, according to Robert Higgs of the Mises Institute, that “FDR did bring us out of the Depression and that makes him the greatest figure of the 20th Century.” And here we thought Ronald Reagan might get high marks for trying to dismantle some of the FDR welfare state.
I will cite the former speaker’s mild chiding of Rush Limbaugh for hoping Obama (as opposed to our country) fails and leave it at that. Once could argue that such words are minor concessions made for the sake of political decorum, but does the conservative movement, now at its lowest point since the post-Watergate 70s, really demand lip-smacking tributes to far-leftists? Do we on the right really need to forge alliances with Al Sharpton? Is this a preview of a Gingrich administration?
The left has set the standard yet again, and while conservatives will never match their level of intellectual snobbery, many are bowled over by Newt’s brainpower, bragging that he can hold his own in a debate with President Obama. On the facts, he most certainly can, but will he dilute his airtime by — again — lauding Obama ‘courage?’ Intellectual mastery is certainly a desirable trait in a leader, but it need not trump fire, passion and an ideologically cohesive message.
Note to Newt: If you are the Republican nominee, be aware that your attempts to placate the left with your graciousness will backfire. Your deep intellect and personal experience as speaker should remind you how Democrats and the media treated such previous Mr. Nice Guys as George W. Bush and John McCain. You will be savaged (again) for divorcing your wife. You will be accused (again) of cutting entitlements to the needy while in Congress. The media in 2012 will make the infamous ‘How the Gingrich Stole Christmas’ magazine cover look like a Hallmark card. I will not waste any space detailing the futility of ‘reaching across the aisle,’ though, sadly, too many Republicans still don’t get it.
If Newt Gingrich is the nominee in 2012, he has this writer’s full support. I deeply respect his record of public service. Nonetheless, I am not looking for a leader who owns or is trying to win the media’s seal of approval for his intellect or anything else. In fact, the first candidate dubbed a jerk by conventional wisdom, the one Democrats are just itching to take on, will probably win my vote to be the nominee.