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Why Should I Love (or hate) Newt Gingrich?

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Friday’s National Press Club on NPR featured former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. I had heard that he was going to be on, and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Here is a man who lurks in my brain as one of the evil bastards that badgered the Clinton Administration during the late 90’s, was aligned with the religious right, and stood out as someone I wished would disappear from the Washington scene. But that was years ago, and I may be “mis-remembering” how things actually were back then.

However, I have never heard a presentation as clear, thoughtful, frank, and in my opinion – spot on, as Newt gave in addressing the issues of Medicare, Immigration, Terrorism, and Healthcare. I was floored, and started wondering, why I should hate this man?

Is it that anyone who can string more than two words together intelligently sounds good to me? Is it that I want to have a CIC that sounds like he made it past the third grade?

It’s so hard to remain hopeful when it appears that our country is getting raped and pillaged by the current administration and their big business backers. Am I a simpleton in thinking that words could actually become deeds? That there is someone in politics who really cares about where this country is going? That we could once again have a President that understood how to be more than a puppet to big business?

Are there any politicians whose primary goal is more than just creating enormous wealth for his/her family by robbing our nation blind?

Is there anyone out there who will actually act for “the good of the country”?

It’s starting to look like Newt might be a contender for the ’08 Presidential Race, and based on the proposed solutions he laid out yesterday, I’d vote for him. That is, IF I was made to believe that he could actually accomplish any of his well-presented solutions to the problems of Health Care and Immigration.

So I ask you, with complete sincerity. Why should I love, or hate, Newt Gingrich?

Also posted at VERMONT SPACE
(What do I know from politics?)

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About Bennett Dawson

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    You are indeed misremembering Newt. He was never one of the ‘evil fucks’ at least not in the sense that they exist today. He’s more of a traditional Republican, fiscally conservative but at least socially moderate or pragmatic. Of course, now that he’s out of office he can afford to be a lot more frank about his beliefs, but when he was in office he certainly wasn’t hand in hand with the religious right – that’s something you’re projecting backwards. Although that alliance exists now, it was much more one-sided back then, with the religious right sort of tagging along hopefully behind more rationall Republicans.

    And as for badgering Clinton, that was more the doing of Kenneth Starr, and beyond that even you have to admit that Clinton sort of deserved a certain amount of harassment for his power-drunk behavior throughout his political career – not that he was alone in such behavior, of course.

    Dave

  • Bennett

    Thanks Dave. But what do you think of The Man? What sort of ethics violations drove him from office? And what was the Contract With America all about?

    You’ll have to forgive me, I was up to my neck in some pretty sticky business (plus teenage step kids) during those years, and missed out on a lot of what was happening in politics.

    Would YOU vote for Newt?

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Newt has no chance of being President.

    But he’s an interesting character and has some interesting things to say.

    I like his newfound honesty and willingness to criticize the GOP.

    That is all.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Here’s just one reason why Newt is unfit to handle the pressures of political office.

    Here is some background on Newt and Tom DeLay’s joint Contract On America. According to wikipedia, it was primarily responsible for putting Clinton on the ‘defensive’, which to me, would have meant disabling the Commander-in-Chief, while doing a systematic takeover of Congress.

    I wouldn’t vote for him.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I doubt I would have voted for Newt then or that I would vote for him now. He just doesn’t inspire the kind of confidence in his leadership that I’d want in a president. Kind of like Al Gore.

    What drove Newt from office wasn’t exactly an ethics issue, it was a matter of personal problems and frustration with politics. He survived his ethics problems, after a reprimand and a fine, and won reelection, but then decided not to serve another turn and resigned. There’s no indication that he was forced from office. I think he’d just had enough of it.

    Dave

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    The problem with both is that they both fancy themselves intellectuals. Dave may have some personal reason to disagree with Gore being an intellectual, but everything I’ve read (like Maraniss’s biography) indicate that Gore is very interested in ideas and explaining them (often painfully) to people despite his mixed academic history. Newt was a college history professor and it shows in his demeanor and personality.

    Americans don’t want intellectuals for Presidents anymore. Woodrow Wilson would never win a primary today. Clinton was very smart, but the essential pragmatist and always a politician at heart looking to use ideas for their instrumental value. Kerry was a pseudo-intellectual jock/prep school type who struck America as inauthentic or pretentious.

    That is all.

  • Bennett

    Thanks Steve. The wikipedia link is appreciated!

    Gad, it’s always tax cuts for businesses with the GOP. I’d love to see a list of the companies that recieved the tax cuts under The Contract With America – cross referrenced with a list of companies that have closed production here in the USA while sending jobs overseas…

    It’s all starting to come back to me (as well as the reasons why I effectively blocked most of it out…)

    ech!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>The problem with both is that they both fancy themselves intellectuals. Dave may have some personal reason to disagree with Gore being an intellectual, but everything I’ve read (like Maraniss’s biography) indicate that Gore is very interested in ideas and explaining them (often painfully) to people despite his mixed academic history. Newt was a college history professor and it shows in his demeanor and personality.< <

    As someone who actually knows or at least knew Gore personally, I'd agree that he definitely thinks of himself as an intellectual. The job I had under his auspices many years ago was part of a pure and ambitious exercise in intellectualism. However, I also think that he overestimates his own intellectual prowess. He seems to lack the imaginative spark necessary to be an original thinker, plus like most of them he has an ego the size of a whale.

    >>Americans don’t want intellectuals for Presidents anymore. Woodrow Wilson would never win a primary today.< <

    And a good thing too. He was a disastrous president.

    >> Clinton was very smart, but the essential pragmatist and always a politician at heart looking to use ideas for their instrumental value. Kerry was a pseudo-intellectual jock/prep school type who struck America as inauthentic or pretentious.<<

    I think you’ve got this just right. We much prefer good managers to good thinkers in the white house. I think this is the result of experience. The more erudite and theoretical the thinking processes the less successful the president, starting with Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams and carrying on through Wilson and Jimmy Carter. All three were brilliant men and laudable in many, many ways. But they just didn’t have the management skilsl to run the country.

    On the other hand, Teddy Roosevelt and Bill Clinton are arguably just as bright or brighter than the others I mentioned, but their intelligence was focused in more practical directions, and the results were much better.

    Dave

  • Bennett

    Bob – Was doing several things at once and by the time I hit “send” on my last comment, you and Dave had already commented again. I appreciate both of your comments on this matter. Thanks!

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Out of curiosity, Dave, what was your job under Gore and how did you get it?

    That is all.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I wrote for and helped edited the newsletter for his Congressional Clearinghouse on the Future, as well as helping with events and other stuff for that organization. I don’t remember exactly how I got the job – we did go to the same highschool, but not at the same time – as I recall it started out as an unpaid internship and then turned into a paid job for a while. this was over 20 years ago when he was still in the house.

    BTW, the CCF was quite a cool idea. It was an information gathering group, designed to inform members of congress about new technology and breaking ideas. I imagine it’s part of where he got the idea he was instrumental in the early days of the internet.

    Dave

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Bennett, Gingrich is fairly pro-space according to some of the materials I’ve read. You might want to research how the space advocacy community and the space industry view him if you’re looking for the broadest possible understanding of his positions on all of your interest areas.

  • Bennett

    Victor – Pretty much everybody is pro-space right now. With China actively pursuing a landing on the moon, with the ESA and Russia actively expanding the horizons, it’s a matter of pushing ahead and reaping the benifits, or being left behind.

    With the new programs in place, and an overwhelming mandate from both houses for NASA to push ahead and be a leading part of manned exploration, it would be difficult for any new President to harpoon what’s already underway.

    I am looking at who among the potential candidates would be best for America on a wide range of issues.

    If the Repulocrats field someone who seems likely to take a different direction than Bush on domestic policy, he/she could very well get my vote.

    Someone on a different thread speculated about a Hillary/Gingrich ticket with McCain as Sec of Def…..

    Imagine.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Gingrich was pro-space back when he was in office, according to what I’ve read.

    Generally you’re right to look at a broad range of issues. I wish more people would do that, rather than just watching one debate and saying “Eh, he looks a tiny bit more honest than the other guy.”

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>If the Repulocrats field someone who seems likely to take a different direction than Bush on domestic policy, he/she could very well get my vote.< <

    God I hope that doesn't happen. What we need is someone who'll take Bush's basic ideas and actually think them through and implement them, which Bush hasn't been able to do.

    >>Someone on a different thread speculated about a Hillary/Gingrich ticket with McCain as Sec of Def…..<<

    Will never, never, ever happen.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    the Newt?

    check out how he divorced his first wife, when, where and for whom…a much younger lady that had been his intern….then he divorced that one …for….awww, you guessed!

    another younger lady that had been his intern…these bits were just gettnig around as the House was smacking around Slick Willie ( the Dems version of Nixon-lite…IMO, but a total positive on the Job Done points, while i think Tricky Dick hit just negative)…so he left his job as Speaker of the House…

    not only was he responsible for the Contract ON America…but he wrote a nice book..”The Republican Revoloution”(if memory serves on the title..i no longer have a copy)..in which he designs and sits as Architect of what we know as the GOP today…

    i couldn’t say for certain without lookin ginto his eyes, shaking his hand ..and talking for a few minutes…but my primal reaction would probably hover around, feet first into a woodchipper(i’m Jesting here…maybe)

    but perhaps only an odyssey to the abbatoir for a date with the vivisectionist

    a bit harsh, …..perhaps….

    your mileage may vary

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>not only was he responsible for the Contract ON America…but he wrote a nice book..”The Republican Revoloution”(if memory serves on the title..i no longer have a copy)..in which he designs and sits as Architect of what we know as the GOP today…<<

    If you read his book, what you learn is that the one thing he’s not is a Neocon or a religious nut, and I bet he’s pissed that those wankers took the Republican party he guided to success and are trying to twist it to their twisted ends.

    Dave

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    His wife had cancer at the time too, by the way. Class act.

    That is all.

  • gonzo marx

    “all you know about me’s
    what i’ve sold ya”

    Tool

    you believe things that politicians tell you, Mr Nalle?

    how about the Tooth Fairy?

    how about i show ya a really nice bridge
    in Brooklyn…
    that i can let ya have real cheap…

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Gonzo, I listen to what they tell me and pick and choose the things to believe. I’m sure that like everyone Newt likes to present himself in the best light possible, and he certainly doesn’t want us to dwell on his personal life. But the fact remains that he’s still more moderate and sensible politically than the guy filling his seat in the capital today. You don’t agree?

    Dave

  • http://www.ryanclarkholiday.com ryan

    i say like him because he one of the few well spoken republicans out there.

    RyanClarkHoliday.com

  • Bennett

    Newt’s personal life is of little concern to me. I’d rather that we stop looking into the bedrooms of our lawmakers by and large.

    This has to start WITH the lawmakers of course, but it should really be something off limits unless a lawmaker is advocating laws against sodomy or some such and is a well know patron of The Sodomy Playground.

    Seriously, divorce? Affairs? Speeding tickets?

    We can completely eliminate productive and rational debate in Washington if we choose to focus on these superficial things. Yeah, let’s do that for the next twenty years!

    We are all so freakin weak at times. Lawmakers have more opportunities to succumb to temptation as their power attracts those who would snuggle up to power. It’s tough for anyone going through a rough time in a marriage to ignore the sexy, eyelash batting 25 year old, lip licking intern. Speculating here of course…

    ====================================================

    That Newt was one of the architects of the Republican rise to power is what?

    A negative?

    Only if you are philosophically anti-Repub, otherwise it IS a great accomplishment.

    An amazing accomplishment that half of America will never give him credit for, but we Americans have such short memories…

    ====================================================

    Dave – “God I hope that doesn’t happen. What we need is someone who’ll take Bush’s basic ideas and actually think them through and implement them, which Bush hasn’t been able to do.”

    Naw, I’ll way disagree with you here. Bush’s environmental policies, his energy bill written by Big Energy Committee, All Children Left Behind, Corporate Pharmaceutical shenanigans……

    180 degrees the other way, thank you very much!

    (with the exception being NASA funding, of course…)

  • JK

    One problem for Newt is he supports putting God into public life (including creationism in schools) while at the same time supporting increased math and science courses.

  • http://ezsgblog.com/vtdawson/index.php Bennett

    Thanks JK, After posting this piece I looked through his website quite a bit, and my initial impressiong of Newt from back in the day was pretty close.

    Damn though, that man can deliver a great speech.

  • MCH

    I don’t hate Newt Gingrich, but I certainly have no respect for the guy. I do believe his bellicose, macho military rhetoric (like his phoney “Men are meant to crawl around in foxholes” statement) is pretty hypocritical, considering that when he had a chance to actually serve his country, he chose instead to use every deferment in the book to dodge the draft during the Vietnam War.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Naw, I’ll way disagree with you here. Bush’s environmental policies, his energy bill written by Big Energy Committee, All Children Left Behind, Corporate Pharmaceutical shenanigans…… <<

    I was referring to the things Bush promised and didn’t deliver on, like tax reform, social security privatization and medicare reform. The things you mention are all ones which he basically let the congress run wild with and then signed off on all the pork. Though he did manage to keep some good stuff in the energy bill, which is about 50% payoffs to big oil so that he could put some nice alternative energy incentives in there without them raising too much fuss.

    Dave

  • Steve

    Bennett, you’ve read the 21st Contract for America and are obviously impressed by it. Why must you look for reasons to hate Newt instead of simply supporting him?

    He’s laid out his platform for what he would do as President, and if there’s anyone in this country with the ability to actually reform this government, it’s Newt. Why do I say that? Because he’s the only one alive today that’s proven himself capable of doing it before.

    You almost became a very noble person in rising above the partisan divide thats infected our country. Today, Republicans can’t support anything that comes from Democrats and vice versa, regardless of the idea’s value. Newt presents a vision that transcends normal partisan issues, why try and bring him (and his progressive, while conservative ideas) down?

    And of all places to ask an opinion of Newt? Why ask obvious Newt haters.

    Bottom line: I was proud to read your article because it gave me hope that Newt actually could bridge the divide with good government and big ideas, but I can’t tell you how dissapointed I am to read you buying these slanderous attacks on him.

    It’s especially upsetting since the usual comment about Newt is some sort of personal attack, while its Newt who’s pledged to run a campaign based solely on issues and zero attacks (including condemning 527 attack ads like the Swift Boat for Veterans.)

    Newt haters can craft countless reasons why you should hate Newt Gingrich, but at the end of the day, there really is only one politician in the entire country that actually stands for better government through innovative big ideas. That’s why you supported him, and exactly why you should support him.

  • CDF

    The guy’s an amoral hypocrite who would say or do anything to make himself look, or be, important.

  • http://sonosam8.blogspot.com/ Chase Kennedy

    You re not mis-remembering Mr. Newt. He is a horrible person. If you dislike the current administration and disliked bush before it then you will dislike what newt has planned. With his Fanny Freddy money this lobbyist has been dubbed the king of k st. He would probably be even worst than his predecesors combined. Make no mistake he is in all of this for the money. He already took half of americas retirement with his help popping the bubble for his own gain why wouldnt he run us into the ground even more. if you ever want to see REAL capitalism and a FREE america youll vote for ron paul because he is definately not in this for the money. He wants to drop the presidents salary to less than $40000. He is consistent. It is Killing me that america is like a battered woman, she keeps looking for new guys to beat her while ignoring the nice guy that lets her cry on his shoulder and drives her home