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Understanding Newt Gingrich

Understanding Newt Gingrich

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Published by Jack Pitney
A paper presented at the 1996 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, "Understanding Newt Gingrich analyzes the writings and public statements of Speaker Newt Gingrich, from his doctoral dissertation, "Belgian Education Policy in the Congo 1945-1960," to his 1995 book, To Renew America. It explains that he has drawn ideas from diverse sources, and that no single label suffices to characterize his thought. All at once, Gingrich is an unconventional conservative, futurist, warrior, executive, lecturer, institutional transformer, and pragmatist.
A paper presented at the 1996 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, "Understanding Newt Gingrich analyzes the writings and public statements of Speaker Newt Gingrich, from his doctoral dissertation, "Belgian Education Policy in the Congo 1945-1960," to his 1995 book, To Renew America. It explains that he has drawn ideas from diverse sources, and that no single label suffices to characterize his thought. All at once, Gingrich is an unconventional conservative, futurist, warrior, executive, lecturer, institutional transformer, and pragmatist.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Jack Pitney on May 15, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/04/2011

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Understanding
l\ewt
Gingrich
JohnJ.
Pitney,
Jr.
Department
of
GovernmentClaremontMcKennaCollege
850
ColumbiaAvenueClaremont,
CA
9L7
LI-&20
jpitney@mckenna.edu
Prepared
fordelivery
at
the'1996
Annual
Meeting
of
the
American
Political
Science
Association,The
San
Francisco
Hilton
and
Towers, August 29
-
September
I,1996.
Copyright
bythe
AmericanPolitical
Science
Association.
 
Understanding
Newt Gingrich
This
paperanalyzes
the
writings
and
public
statements
of
Speaker
NewtGingrich,from
hisdoctoraldissertation,
"Belgian
Education
Policy
inthe Congo 1945-1960,"
to
his
1995
book,
ToRenew
America.
It
explains that
hehas
drawn
ideas
from
diverse
sources,and
thatnosingle labelsuffices
to
characterizehis
thought.
All
at
once,
Gingrich
is
an
unconventionalconservative,
futurist, warrior,
executive, lecturer,
institutional
ffansformer,
and
pragmatist.
ooo
 
Understanding
NewtGingrich
I
knowperfectly
well
myown
egotismo
Andknowmy
omnivorous
wordso
andcannot say any
less,
Andwould
fetchyouwhoeveryou
are
flush
with
myself.
Walt
Whitnan,
Leaves
of
Grass
Newt Gingrich
likesto
present
his
audiences
with
a
well-wornpazzle:
draw
three
parallelrowsof
three dots,
and
without
lifting
pencilfrom
paper,
draw
four
linesthat cover
all
nine
dots.
This
problem
oftenbaffles
people.
They
try to
solve
it
by drawing thelines
within
the
perimeter
of
thenine
dots,
but that
approach
never
works.
After
they
quitin
frustration,they
are
surprised
to
learnthat
one can
solve
thepuzzle
easily--
by
goingoutside
the
box.
In
a
House
floor
speech,
Gingrich
once
explained that
the exercise
drives
homethe
need
to
change habits
of
mind: "[Y]ou
say
to them,
pointing
backto
the
original
nine
dots,
you
say,
'What
box? What
perimeter?What
limits?
Suddenly theybegintorealize
that
in
hundreds
of
ways intheir ownlives
almost
everydaywetrap ourselves
in
thenine
dots
. .
.
"1
NewtGingrich
isalways
trying
to
go
outside the
dots.
When
other
politicians
respond
to
a
problem
bychoosing among
a
fixed
set
of
alternatives,
Gingrich
ffies
to
rethink
the
issue,
redefinethequestion,
and
rearange
the
choices.
For
him,
every
job
means
a
set
of
opportunities,not
a
set
of
constraints. During
his
first
year(1970-71)on the
facultyof
WestGeorgia College,
hescorned
the customary
activitiesof
noviceprofessors:scholarly
research
and
circumspect
silence.
Instead,
he
sent
the college'spresidential
search
committee
a
memo
with
"some
general
thoughtsonthe
nature
of our
changing
world
and
a
waywe
might
deal
with
it."
In
this memo,
he
said:
"[S]ince
thekeyproblem
in
facingthefuture
is
turning
awayfrom
thepast,
couldweseriouslychallenge every
single
thing
wedo
traditionally?"2
A
quarter-centurylater,
heshowed
the
same
expansive
attitudetoward the
speakership.
Previous
occupants
had
usually
focused
their
energies
within
the chamber,
and
even
whenthey
*went
public,"
they
still
regardedthemselves
mainly
as
legislators
seeking
to influence
floor
votes.
Accordingly,
Tip
O'Neill
called his autobiography
Manof
the
House. Gingrich,by
contrast,called
his
1995
book To
Renew
America.
As
the
title
suggests,
Gingrich
came
tothe speaker's
1
Congressional Record
(daily),
November
3,
1983,
H92Al.
2
NewtGingrich,
"SomeProjectionson West Georgia
College's Next
30
Years," February
7,1971,
on:
Hotwired
Web
site:
hup://www.hotwired.com/wind/3.08/speciaVnewtknew.html
(accessed
August
4,
1996).

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mfb1949 added this note
Allatonce,Gingrich is an unconventional conservative,f uturist, warrior,executive, lecturer,institutional transformker, and pragmatist. You forgot "mendacious, heartless SOB." How can you be so easily fooled? Shows the value of many PhD.'s, I guess, like Newt's.
Barry Hilll liked this

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