Newt Gingrich

In the tumultuous world of politics, Newt Gingrich is a survivor. In 1994, he engineered the stunning comeback of the Republican Party to break 40 years of Democratic control of the legislative branch. During that era, he advocated smaller government, tax cuts, welfare reform, and a balanced budget. Soon after, a series of scandals broke out concerning his ethics and wavering morals and in 1999, Newt Gingrich was ousted as the Speaker of the House in disgrace. In recent years, Newt Gingrich has gained a lot more attention by publishing a book, “Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America by Newt Gingrich” and fueling speculation of a possible presidential run in 2008. It is surprising to see how people from both the left and the right regard Newt Gingrich as a source of inspiration. The conservative movement still admires Gingrich for his ability to push through conservative legislation, such as welfare reform and a balanced budget, that before was only possible in a dream. His rock solid belief of a smaller government and a cleaner Congress is also becoming attractive to a party that has been labeled with a “culture of corruption” and wants to go back to its roots. The left is in the same position Gingrich was in 10 years ago and has a lot to learn from the man. Gingrich vocally criticized every single wrongdoing of the opposite party to bring them down. This time around, the Democrats believe they can use the same tactic and focus on the corruption of the Republicans. Newt Gingrich has not officially filed to run for president, yet he is still part of the Washington Post 2007 Presidential Field because of his musings about the presidency,

“I'm not going to think about the presidential campaign until the 30th of September”, and the fact that he consistently places third in polls behind Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. If he were to run for president, he would have a lot of baggage that could be ammunition for the opposition. First of all, his 20 plus years in the House of Representatives gives him a long rap sheet of votes, some of which could be seen as controversial or hypocritical. Barrack Obama does not have this problem because he is currently only serving his second term. Second, Gingrich’s dishonorable ousting in 1999 was the result of many scandals, anyone of which could hurt his chances. Yet, he does have leadership, experience, and the conservative principles going for him. His campaign should be Contract with America 2.0. He has to rally the support of the fundamental conservative base who felt betrayed by President Bush’s big spending. And then Gingrich has to campaign on a platform of new ideas for a better America. It should include concrete solutions to healthcare, immigration, and the war in Iraq. For him to appeal to the Republican base of family and moral values, he has to come clean and publicly apologize for his affair with a staffer in 1999, otherwise, it would be a serious hindrance to his campaign. Gingrich’s recent reversal of fortunes shows how smart of a politician he is. His experience and leadership helps but there is just too much political baggage from the 1990s that can come back and haunt his campaign. I don’t see him pursuing the presidency any further but he will still be an important influence in terms of policy making to whoever is running.

Sources "Newt Gingrich." Washington Post 12 Mar. 2007. 12 Mar. 2007 <http://projects.washingtonpost.com/2008-presidential-candidates/newt-gingrich/>. "Newt's Congressional Career: The Legacy of the Contract with America." Newt Gingrich: Winning the Future. 12 Mar. 2007 <http://www.newt.org/backpage.asp?art=31>. "The Return of the Newt." The Economist 20 Jan. 2005. 12 Mar. 2007 <http://economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_PVSSTST>. "The Spirit of '94." The Economist 9 Feb. 2006. 12 Mar. 2007 <http://economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_VQJGJRP>.