Some First Thoughts on Newt

My, how the times change. Who would have believed even a couple months ago that Newt Gingrich would sweep CatholicVote’s Thanksgiving straw poll by a whopping 44%?!

What’s propelling the Newt surge? My take is that many GOP primary voters are looking for someone who understands how the heck Washington works (or doesn’t) and who can explain to them in a believable way how he plans to fix it. In 2008 America elected a President with only a couple years experience as a junior Senator from Illinois and look where that got us.

Newt has his baggage, to be sure, but most GOP voters tuning into the debates this year don’t follow politics very closely (they are understandably busy with living their own lives) and, at first glance, Newt is impressive. He’s been involved in these issues now under debate for literally decades, and his memory and experience serves him well. It’s not surprising that in these unsettling times GOP voters are turning to the candidate who looks like the grandfather who has seen it all and, even more importantly, understands this particular American moment in terms of the history that got us to this moment and how historical challenges similar to this one were eventually solved and overcome.

In terms of substance, Newt far exceeds the monotonous droning of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 mantra, and the Texan “let’s shoot all the bureaucrats” solutions proposed by Rick Perry. He’s got a real grasp of all the issues, as opposed to Ron Paul’s tunnel-vision. And people view Newt as a cheerful warrior who can crack jokes and point out the absurdity of the left, in many of the ways that Rick Santorum does not or chooses not to. Michele Bachmann has had her day, Jon Hunstman will never have his because he’s done precisely nothing to earn it. Mitt Romney, as polished as he is, has managed to turn off more voters in running for the nomination than he has won. There’s more reasons to explain why Romney hasn’t caught on and why it’s still doubtful to me that he ever will.

So where does that leave us? With Newt.

At least, for now. I forget where I read this but someone pointed out that these next few weeks will tell us a lot about how much Newt has learned from his time out of politics. If he has learned greater humility, for instance. If he grows into the role that is possibly opening for him as the Republican nominee or if he takes it as a boost to his ego.

As I’ve written before, I haven’t decided who I support in this primary and I certainly haven’t endorsed anyone. I doubt, at this point, I will endorse anyone. The question for me is who will take on President Obama in the general election.

I would say that the ruminations of Mark about Newt’s wealth and lifestyle don’t seem on-point. Much of what is criticized about Newt’s affluent lifestyle could be equally applied to Mitt Romney. Senator Obama was no pauper but people seemed to believe that he could empathize with their plight (wrongly, I would argue, but that’s not because of Obama’s current affluence, it’s because of his worldview). The unfortunate fact of national politics these days is that you typically don’t have what is required to run for President unless you have significant personal resources, period.

No, instead I think we should be focusing on Newt’s character. The mainstream media and the left have had decades to develop personal attacks on Newt, some of them founded, many of them overblown and some of them outright false. We owe it to ourselves to examine this man’s record as we would any serious candidate for President, and not simply rely on the media-driven narrative which has so often poisoned our political discourse.

Anyway, those are my first thoughts on Newt. With less than a month to go until the Iowa caucuses, this interminable primary season is at last bounding into the final chapter. Who writes that final chapter and wins the nomination is anyone’s guess.



  • Theresa

    Newt, althoug has recently converted to Catholicism and may continue to grow in his faith, is still a progressive at heart. This means that it is not good news for the country. Big government means that we will not be changing the direction that the country has been going in, it just means that it is going to go in a slower pace, but if you vote for a progressive, you are voting for a socialist government who will eventually take away all of our rights. Please reconsider people of merit like Michele Bachman and Rick Santorum.

    Oh, just another comment about Newt, he DOESN’T believe life begins at conception.

  • Cheryl Jones

    “The unfortunate fact of national politics these days is that you typically don’t have what is required to run for President unless you have significant personal resources, period.” Yes, if someone showed up at the other end of the scale, with ragged jeans and a t-shirt, it would be criticized as well.

  • teresa

    I agree with Kelly from 6 days ago….Satan did more than a happy dance when P. Obama was elected….what happened to experience, what has happened to all our values….there are qualified candidates who won’t run for office because we pick at their entire lives and never forgive nor forget…when are we going to take the planks out of our own eyes…who is so perfect that they can throw that first stone?
    I want to take back our America from those that are taking away what we stand for…if we have freedom of speech and religion, why are we criticized for saying Merry Christmas, for flying our American flags, for wanting English as our spoken language,etc…my Jewish
    boss wishes me a “Merry Christmas” …if we look for the “Perfect Candidate”, we are going to have another 4 yrs of the present administration…I don’t hate Mr. O, but he is taking us away fara away from we know our “Founding Father’s” wanted for us …..

  • Miss

    I thought this article was of interest to this topic by Kathryn Jean Lopez I didn’t know Mitt Romney would be for overturning Roe vs. Wade which I completely agree with

  • Phil

    It is quite surprising to see that conservatives are actually reconsidering Gingrich again. How short our memories are. Or maybe if not short, perhaps we are wanting to unify behind this sorry excuse for conservatism because everyone in the mainstream conservative media is starting to form a line behind Gingrich.

    If we get Gingrich. We will deserve to lose our sovereignty to internationalists and their Corporate Marxism.

    Gingrich is an opportunist. We like to see that with Romney, but we don’t want to point it out in Gingrich.

    If we turned off Fox News and picked up books (especially ones written by Gingrich) we will get to know the real person behind the campaign.

    Here’s to hoping we do our research before we jump into slavery of mind:

    The real Gingrich:!



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