Is Newt Gingrich Too Smart to be President?
By Alan Caruba
Say what you will about the
former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, demonized by the Democrats when
Clinton was in office, the man’s intellectual powers are impressive. It was,
of course, Gingrich, along with former Rep. Dick Armey, who wrote the Contract
with America that put the Republican Party in control of Congress in 1994.
The Contract, which virtually
all of the then-GOP candidates signed, proposed some concrete solutions to
problems. With Republicans in the majority, the welfare system was reformed,
balanced budgets followed, and so did the first tax cuts in memory. There were
rule changes in the way Congress conducted business. In sum, it was a dramatic
response to the lethargy that characterized what forty years of Democrat control
Today, there is a major debate over the Democrat-inspired program, Social Security, with the realists telling us that this pay-as-you-go program will be bankrupt in the years ahead and calling for a revision that will allow workers to retain more of their own money for their retirement years. Gingrich says personal accounts will plow money back into the financial marketplace giving it a needed boost while insuring a higher retirement payoff.
In January, Gingrich’s new
book, “Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract With America”
($27.95, Regnery) was published. It’s the kind of book that policy wonks and
political junkies like to read. It’s also the kind of book that anyone
entering the workplace, raising a family with kids in school, or concerned about
the nation’s moral decline should read.
Indeed, just about anyone of
any age would benefit because Gingrich has applied his knowledge of history (he
is a historian) and the way the federal government functions to identify what he
believes are the five greatest challenges this nation now faces. It is a supreme
irony that the Republican Revolution of 1994 is now dead. However, we need to
recall that Gingrich’s political compass failed him when he tried to deal with
Bill Clinton and these days he’s even saying nice things about Hillary.
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What is it about conservatives
that actual political power seems to neuter them? Neither Bush41, nor Bush 43
seems to have absorbed anything other than the rhetoric of fiscal conservatism.
If the Democrats can ever come up with something other than rejection and
obstruction as a political platform, voters grown weary of flat economic growth
might decide to give control of Congress back to them in 2006, just to insure a
divided government again. We tend to forget just how narrow political victories
have been in recent years.
In his book, Gingrich reminds
us that this nation—that’s you and I—must commit to a long war in order to
defeat the Islamic fundamentalists determined to drag the world back to the
seventh century. This single conflict will determine what life in the 2lst
century will be like. It is the first of the challenges Gingrich addresses and
demonstrates his historic understanding of how fascism has always threatened
liberty. “The greatest generation” defeated the Nazis and the Empire of
Japan in the last century. The world must be led by the United States to defeat
this new threat.
Gingrich identifies the need
for Americans to defeat the secularism that acknowledges God as the source of
all the rights we take for granted. One cannot read the Declaration of
Independence without grasping the fact that the Founders believed that all men
were created equal by virtue of “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”
This does not mean requiring
anyone to pray or attend a church, synagogue or mosque. It means that those who
wish to call upon the power of the Creator can do so in a classroom or anywhere
else we gather together to celebrate our heritage. Even the Supreme Court opens
with an appeal to God to protect it. The President lays his hand on a Bible to
take his oath of office. Yet, today, schools are banning the singing of
Christmas Carols and a display of the Ten Commandments on public property is
deemed improper. Little wonder the Democrats do not want to have a vote on
judicial appointments that might permit these practices that have been part of
our national life from its beginning. “When a handful of judges decide they
can overrule the culture of 91% of America, how can the Court maintain its moral
authority?” asks Gingrich. Good question.
Gingrich wants a renewal of
“patriotic” education in the schools to replace the globalist indoctrination
that has been taking place in our schools for forty years. Too many
graduate—if they graduate at all—from our schools thinking the highest
authority is the United Nations, not the Constitution. He wants this kind of
instruction to be applied as well to immigrants to the United States, based on
classic American history and values, so we don’t end up with a population that
clings to the belief they are still citizens of some foreign nation, merely
“We must transform our
domestic institutions in order to harness modern science and technology to
create jobs, wealth, and lead the world economy into the 21st
century,” says Gingrich and, of course, he’s right. And he calls for Social
Security reform pointing out that “Social Security is the single largest
federal program and bigger than the entire budget of most countries.”
Gingrich may have his eyes on
the 2008 national election when the GOP will have to look to its ranks to find a
new candidate for President. As I read his book, I could not help but wonder if
he’s too smart to be elected by a generation of voters who have been
consistently dumbed down in our schools? And would he have a Republican majority
in Congress if he were elected?
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These are not inconsequential
questions, but the real issue with Gingrich for me is that intellectuals do not
often make good political leaders. Winning the future, though, remains a very
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, “Warning Signs”, posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com.
Alan Caruba, March 2005
expressed do not necessarily reflect those of PoliticalUSA.com.