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The Presidential Campaign and Newt Gingrich
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, August 03, 2007

I attended an American Spectator/Americans for Tax Reform Newsmakers Breakfast with Newt Gingrich a couple weeks back. Jim Geraghty, of National Review's Campaign Spot wrote about it at the time, arguing that Gingrich "certainly sounds like a guy inclined to run."

I didn't really agree with that assessment, though I do think Gingrich is perfectly happy to leave the question open for the news coverage it will get him - the media will pay more attention to a potential Presidential candidate than to a former Speaker of the House.

Ultimately, I believe that Newt Gingrich understands himself as more of a Goldwater than a Reagan figure. Goldwater shook up the Republican Party with his message, recreating the Right and moving it in a new, more vigorous direction. But it took many years before Reagan was able to put that new movement into office.

Gingrich, I think, sees himself as the person whose ideas could initiate a new Movement...but, being a smart fellow, I think he also understands that he's not the candidate who can turn the Movement into the Establishment, like Reagan.

Unfortunately, Gingrich's ideas are not the stuff of a new Movement. Where Goldwater was reacting against an intrusive New Deal government with a simple, idealist message of individual rights, Gingrich is attempting to fix complicated problems with the ideas of a policy wonk. Where Goldwater said "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice", Gingrich offers complex policy papers - certainly important, but hardly inspirational.

Newt Gingrich will only run if he believes he can achieve that kind of Quixotic Goldwater candidacy – a chance not to win, but to reorient the GOP around his ideas...and I just don't think a dedicated policy wonk can achieve what an idealist did achieve.

[Disclosure: I work with another potential candidate, Fred Thompson]
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Previous Comments to this Post 

[Disclosure: I work with another potential candidate, Fred Thompson]
About that...

He going to announce soon, or should I start actively supporting someone who’s going to actually run?
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Gingrich is attempting to fix complicated problems with the ideas of a policy wonk.
I’m not sure I agree with this Jon - A lot of the things I’ve seen and read from Newt these days focus on what he calls ’The world that works...’ - and for whatever cheese associated with his ’world’ it is a compelling argument.

Just sayin’...
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
I think that Newt has always been more comfortable in a staff function than in a line funtion. IOW, he is better formulating strategy and tactics than he is executing either.

Nothing wrong with that; Newt has an exquisite political mind. But I think he would not be a winning candidate for President.

I also think he knows that deep in his bones.
Written By: vnjagvet
I’m not sure I agree with this Jon - A lot of the things I’ve seen and read from Newt these days focus on what he calls ’The world that works...’ - and for whatever cheese associated with his ’world’ it is a compelling argument.
Perhaps there are elements that I have missed. I’d like to read them.

However, everything I’ve read by him, or heard from him was either policy wonkery, or banalities. For instance, at the breakfast he was touting a poll he’d done that indicated that something like 89% of people believed it was important to defend America and her allies, and that this was a sentiment that should be tapped.

Well...yeah. Good luck finding somebody to run against who will disagree with you on that. This is hardly the stuff of inspiration.

Newt has some very interesting ideas and policies, but I don’t see him capturing a specific zeitgeist - a majority frustration that can be directed into a new movement. Indeed, beyond "tired of the war, tired of Bush", I don’t see a capturable, directable majority frustration out there. And the Left has already worked to capture that frustration.

Written By: Jon Henke
I tend to agree with your comments to Meagan.
I would further them by suggesting that he’s only got in the press he has gotten because what he’s mouthing right now happens to go along with the Liberal narrative about Iraq. And, of course, anti Bush narratives in general.

But what happens when he starts getting some traction with these arguments? I think we’ll find that the mainstream media will drop him, as they have others in the past. That way lies John McCain, for example.
Written By: Bithead
On Newt,

I agree that newt is more of a policy wonk and that would make a great addition to a presidential ticket. Gingrich said on Fox News Sunday a few months ago that he was working closely with Guliani on formulating new ideas. I could see a Guliani/Gingrich ticket. As far as Newt running and getting the nomination, it’s quite possible because we republicans are fed up with establishment Washington and congress and there is not a flood of ideas comming from any of the candidates. We are looking for someone to inspire us, to give us real plausible solutions to real problems, to tell us the cold hard truth and not hold back, to be completely honest with us, to not give us the Washington political spin and I believe that Newt is the only person that can do that. Despite his past, I want a candidate who can inspire me with new ideas and positive real solutions. I want Newt.
Written By: codey
URL: http://

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