PROFOUNDLY SIGNIFICANT ENDORSEMENTS FOR NEWT GINGRICH—A MAN FOR OUR TIME

This is the second in a series of posts on key  endorsements.

Thomas Sowell, Senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and long time Creators Syndicate columnist is recognized as one of America’s intellectual and economic giants over the past 50 years. His endorsement of former Speaker Newt Gingrich came in the form of two columns. They can be found here and here at NRO. Dr. Sowell lays out our condition, a broad outline of remedy, and the available talent to meet the challenge. Here are key sections of Dr. Sowell’s important analysis.

Thomas Sowell, Senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and long time Creators Syndicate columnist is recognized as one of America’s intellectual and economic giants over the past 50 years. His endorsement of former Speaker Newt Gingrich came in the form of two columns. They can be found here and here at NRO. Dr. Sowell lays out our condition, a broad outline of remedy, and the available talent to meet the challenge. Here are key sections of Dr. Sowell’s important analysis.

If Newt Gingrich were being nominated for sainthood, many of us would vote very differently from the way we would vote if he were being nominated for a political office.

What the media call Gingrich’s “baggage” concerns largely his personal life and the fact that he made a lot of money running a consulting firm after he left Congress. This kind of stuff makes lots of talking points that we will no doubt hear, again and again, over the coming weeks and months.

But how much weight should we give to this stuff when we are talking about the future of the nation?

This is not just another election, and Barack Obama is not just another president whose policies we may not like. With all of President Obama’s broken promises, glib demagoguery, and cynical political moves, one promise he has kept all too well. That was his boast on the eve of the 2008 election: “We are going to [fundamentally] change the United States of America.”

Many Americans are already saying that they can hardly recognize the country they grew up in. We have already started down the path that has led Western European nations to the brink of financial disaster.

Internationally, it is worse. A President who has pulled the rug out from under our allies, whether in Eastern Europe or the Middle East, tried to cozy up to our enemies, and bowed low from the waist to foreign leaders certainly has not represented either the values or the interests of America. If he continues to do nothing that is likely to stop terrorist-sponsoring Iran from getting nuclear weapons, the consequences may be beyond our worst imagining.

Against this background, how much does Newt Gingrich’s personal life matter, whether we accept his claim that he has now matured or his critics’ claim that he has not? Nor should we sell the public short by saying that they are going to vote on the basis of tabloid stuff or media talking points, when the fate of this nation hangs in the balance. . . .

While the televised debates are what gave Newt Gingrich’s candidacy a big boost, concrete accomplishments when in office are the real test. Gingrich engineered the first Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 40 years — followed by the first balanced budget in 40 years. The media called it “the Clinton surplus” but all spending bills start in the House of Representatives, and Gingrich was speaker of the House.

Speaker Gingrich also produced some long-overdue welfare reforms, despite howls from liberals that the poor would be devastated. But nobody now claims that they were. . . .

Did Gingrich ruffle some feathers when he was speaker of the House? Yes, enough for it to cost him that position. But he also showed that he could produce results.

In a world where we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available, the question is whether Newt Gingrich is better than Barack Obama — and better than Mitt Romney.

Romney is a smooth talker, but what did he actually accomplish as governor of Massachusetts, compared with what Gingrich accomplished as speaker of the House? When you don’t accomplish much, you don’t ruffle many feathers. But is that what we want?

Can you name one important positive thing that Romney accomplished as governor of Massachusetts? Can anyone? Does a candidate who represents the bland leading the bland increase the chances of victory in November 2012? A lot of candidates like that have lost, from Thomas E. Dewey to John McCain.

Those who want to concentrate on the baggage in Newt Gingrich’s past, rather than on the nation’s future, should remember what Winston Churchill said: “If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost.” If that means a second term for Barack Obama, then it means we’ve lost, big time. . . .

In this, as in many other aspects of life, we can only make our choice among the options actually available. So Republican voters who want to be realistic need to understand that they are going to end up with qualms and nagging doubts about whomever they pick this time.

Not all voters want to be realistic, of course. Some voters, whether Democrats, Republicans, or independents, treat elections as occasions to vent their emotions, rather than as a process to pick someone in whose hands to place the fate of the nation.

Barring some astonishing surprise, the contest for the Republican nomination for president boils down to Mitt Romney versus Newt Gingrich. It is doubtful whether either of them is anyone’s idea of an ideal candidate or a model of consistency.

Romney’s talking point that he has been a successful businessman is no reason to put him into a political office, however much it may be a reason for him to become a successful businessman again.

Perhaps the strongest reason for some voters to support Governor Romney is that the smart money says he is more “electable” than the other candidates in general, and Newt Gingrich in particular. But there was a time when even some conservative smart-money types were saying that Ronald Reagan was too old to run for president, and that he should step aside for someone younger.

Washington Post editor Meg Greenfield said that the people in the Carter White House were “ecstatic” when the Republicans nominated Reagan, because they were convinced that they could clobber him.

Much depends on whether you think the voting public is going to be more interested in Newt Gingrich’s personal past than in the country’s future. Most of the things for which Gingrich has been criticized are things he did either in his personal life or when he was out of office. But if we are serious, we are more concerned with his ability to perform when in office. . . .

There are no guarantees, no matter whom the Republicans vote for in the primaries. Why not vote for the candidate who has shown the best track record of accomplishments, both in office and in the debates? That is Newt Gingrich. With all his shortcomings, his record shows that he knows how to get the job done in Washington.

About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson: a mature Christian who understands the sweep of history, the unique role of America and these times clearly and precisely.
This entry was posted in 2012, Reclaiming and Restoring America, Remaking the Republicans. Bookmark the permalink.

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