Although it’s been a forgone conclusion for some time now, it was being reported over the weekend that Newt Gingrich will officially bow out of the Republican race for president tomorrow.
Reality is reality and it’s now either Romney or BHO, but I’m personally going to miss Gingrich’s presence. Unlike with Romney, there’s never a dull moment with Newt around.
One of the things I’m going to miss is the big ideas that he was often criticized for by not only the press, but by his Republican rivals. I don’t understand what’s wrong with big ideas, especially in times of extreme crisis, but I’ve come to discover that even most Republicans are very comfortable with the status quo.
Although referred to by many as a RINO in recent years, Newt, it seems, was a bit too radical for most Republicans. But as Newt the historian often points out, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and Adams were also extremely radical; and towards a status quo that was not too shabby, for the time.
Gingrich, besides Ron Paul, was the only candidate that seriously spoke of dismantling numerous government agencies; and more forcefully and convincingly than Ron Paul, in my opinion. He even spoke out against sacred cow institutions like the Army Corps of Engineers.
It’s the opinion of this author that they (USACE) got a pass all of these years simply because of the word Army. They are in fact a giant and often inept government bureaucracy that studies the removal of a nail from a two-by-four for ten years before just plucking it out with a hammer. As usual, they are put to shame by their private sector counterparts.
When people, including those on the supposed Right, said that “drill baby drill” was too simplistic of an idea and that it would take decades to see results from a renewed American oil exploration policy, Newt countered that BS by citing historical examples of far greater challenges that were tackled by Americans with far less technology than we have today.
Yeah, Newt was often a bomb-thrower, but his bombs were usually thrown in the right direction. Early in his career he threw many bombs at his own Party, and in particular the institution he was part of, the House of Representatives. He accused House Republicans and their inept leader, Bob Michel, of being too content with the status quo, which happened to be that Republicans were a permanent minority in the House of Representatives. Of course, this eventually led to the Contract With America and the Republican Revolution of 1993/1994 that saw Republicans take back the House for the first time in forty years. The rest is history.
One can perhaps argue against Gingrich in terms of style and personal transgressions, but one can’t dispute the historical fact that he has produced results – often groundbreaking ones.
I’ve always found it a bit amusing when sports fans and media would say things like ‘sure Roger Clemens/Michael Jordan/LeBron James, etc. are scumbags, but they get results – they win.’ General George Patton was also by all accounts a bastard, but few argue with the results he produced. And he’s now a historical American icon. But our political leaders now have to be saints? I find it unfortunate and shortsighted that far too many Republicans, and Americans in general, now have a hard time accepting that it’s rarely the so-called nice guy/gal that manages to get things done – especially in times of great challenge.
Of course, the media has contributed greatly to this phenomenon by creating a glaring double standard where Republicans/Conservatives and Democrats/Leftists are held to totally different standards – especially personal standards. They (media) play by two different sets of rules, and Republicans/Conservatives seem content to participate in this rigged game.
At almost 69 years of age, this was probably Newt’s last hurrah in the political arena. So long Newt. I, for one, will miss your presence in our national dialogue and the boldness of ideas, and yes, even the controversies that come with it.