I just finished reading Winning the Future by Newt Gingrich, and I found the book quite interesting. Coincidentally, today Gingrich announced an interest in seeking the Republican Party’s presidential nomination (here).
Published in 2005, Winning the Future is essentially the campaign platform of either a presidential candidate or a national political party. This is a platform well worth reading. Consider the table of contents (see here). In 191 pages, Gingrich provides a detailed explanation of how he feels about each these subjects.
Gingrich has thought long and hard about the presidency. He has told us what he would do if given the job. Now he has asked for a financial commitment from us. Should we pledge our support? There are several factors to consider.
What are Gingrich’s positions on the issues?
After reading his book, my impression of Newt Gingrich actually improved. In many respects, Gingrich’s views are similar our current president’s, George W. Bush. Like Bush, Gingrich provides strong statements on national defense and winning the war on terror. Gingrich is socially conservative and favors a strong role for religion in public life. Gingrich would also privatize Social Security, and he would create guest worker program.
Where Gingrich differs from Bush is in his appreciation of history. Gingrich is a historian. In fact, Winning the Future is a history book. Gingrich frames each issue within its historical context. Because of that, I suspect Gingrich will fight for two things with greater ferocity than Bush has shown: maintaining the historic role of religion in public life and reducing the size of government.
Note that Gingrich has quite a bit of material on his views available on his web site (here). Even if all you do is check out this web page (here), visiting Gingrich’s web site is well worth your trouble (View the video.).
What does Gingrich’s record and qualifications say about his fitness for the job?
Ideally, we want our candidate for president to have executive experience. As a former Speaker of the House, Gingrich has executive experience, albeit not the usual type. Instead, Gingrich has managed a herd of uppity cats and found the task rather difficult.
What are the alternatives?
Currently, conservatives lack a strong conservative candidate. Gingrich offers a conservative alternative. The problem is that the news media Gingrich has successfully painted Gingrich as a negative figure. Given what we have learned about the news media over the last several years, we might want to reassess what the news media has told us about Gingrich.
We are not going to get perfection out of any human being. The best we can hope for is that the people we elect to public office will exercise the power we give them with discretion. Whatever you want to say about Gingrich, he did make some straight forward promises (The Contract With America), and he kept those promises.
Can Gingrich Win?
The short answer to this question is that I do not know. If Gingrich believes he can get the money he needs (from us), I think he will run.
That is not enough. Even though Gingrich is a familiar public figure, many have trouble seeing him as a presidential contender. Gingrich’s fellow Republicans considered him a liability and drove him from the House of Representatives. Nonetheless, Republican politicians are notoriously spineless. These people tend too often to bend whichever way the news media blows. So it will be interesting to see how the People react.
What helps Gingrich is that his opponents have just as many imperfections. Because I have a relative preference for Gingrich on the issues, I plan to send Newt Gingrich a check.
X Curmedgeon (here) senses Newt won’t run.
Save The GOP (here) says Newt wants $30 million to be competitive with Romney
The Virginian Federalist has added Newt to its straw poll