Monday, December 5, 2011

More Measuring: Newt Gingrich Part I

Friday’s post was barely in time to make the relevant points before Herman Cain’s suspension of his campaign seemed to make them irrelevant. But the main points are still true: if we want civilization, we require a civilized leader—a religious believer who lives the basics of the Ten Commandments (including faithfulness in marriage). And it would be helpful to have someone who can communicate the message of constitutional freedom and free enterprise, despite the efforts of media to distort. 

Before we get into concerns about today’s candidate, let me say—yet again—that any of the GOP candidates would be a huge improvement over what we have now. All of them are far more likely to take the conservative actions that will lead toward better economic times. And most know enough about foreign policy to make good headway back from the weakening Obama has caused. 

So, while I have concerns about every candidate—and some are serious concerns—I expect to vote for the GOP candidate, whoever it is. The measuring I’m doing here is to differentiate among them, to find the best candidate, if possible. There isn’t anyone as distasteful as McCain was last time, and even then it was clear he would have been preferable to the mess of corruption, cronyism, racism, class envy, economic mayhem, and international weakness that we got. 

Newt Gingrich, photo from
Newt Gingrich Part I
Let’s take a historical look at Newt Gingrich’s very long career. He started back in the late 70s, in the House of Representatives. He had a belief, an obsession, really, that Republicans could regain control of the House. He pushed toward that dream all the way through the 80s, and finally saw it come to fruition in 1994, nearly two decades after beginning that journey—and 40 years since the GOP had last held the House majority. At that point he had worked his way up to leadership, as Speaker of the House, the position held by Nancy Pelosi from 2006-2010. He and his fellow House conservatives put forth the “Contract with America,” a set of conservative reforms they promised to bring up for a vote within the first 100 days of office.  

Newt helped author the Contract and make it a priority, once he had power to set the House voting agenda. But almost everything died in the Senate, so nearly all of the reforms remain on any conservative’s to-do list for Congress (Wikipedia article here). 

The House is where spending bills originate. In late 1995 there was a standoff. Republicans put forth a budget that decreased the rate of growth—which Pres. Clinton vetoed. Democrats, with willing cohorts in the media, portrayed slower growth as draconian cuts that would starve children and the elderly. Pres. Clinton shut down government for a number of days, and blamed Republicans for the impasse. Newt Gingrich gave in. Maybe the pressure was too great to win; but I was disappointed. If I was capable of understanding the situation, then there must have been a way to get the word out. Even Tiananmen Square got the word out.  

The media used Gingrich as a target—as if all the woes of the poor and less fortunate were caused by this one man. There was an infamous magazine cover where he was portrayed as “The Gingrich Who Stole Christmas.” He took a lot of negative and pressed forward. However much reaching across the aisle he may have offered, there is sincere hatred toward him from the liberal side. And, no matter how much hype there is for him as the non-Romney candidate of the week/month, there is a strong probability that, if he were the GOP candidate, the media would dredge up every old hatred.  

Then there is the fact that he did not, in fact, succeed in bringing about the much needed changes voters had hoped for in the sweep of 1994. 

It is almost without question that he would attract only the most disappointed Obama voters. But my real concern is how conservatives feel about him. We’ll go into that tomorrow.

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