Why Not Newt?
After watching the debates, looking over his plan, then examining his record, I have a question: Why isn’t Newt Gingrich being taken more seriously?
The answer I get most often is “I love his brain, but he can’t win.” Yet, we forget that Newt HAS won and won BIG time and time again though the 1990s. Let’s take a look at reasons to support Newt Gingrich:
1. A proven record of effective conservative leadership in government: This is Newt’s biggest asset to me. While being Speaker isn’t technically an executive position, I’d argue that in some ways it requires a great deal more leadership skill than being a Governor or even being president. The speaker and his or her team has to rally hundreds of legislators with different opinions around a piece of legislation and get it passed. Newt did this to reform welfare, he did this to balance the budget. Like President Reagan, Newt also worked across party lines to pass conservative solutions (in this case with President Bill Clinton.) While I like the fact that Herman Cain has never served in Government before, knowing how the bureaucracy works as intimately as Newt does could be an asset in dismantling it.
2. A solid, conservative plan. I like Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. But I agree with criticisms of instituting a flat income tax AND a national sales tax. Going off other people’s analysis and not having a lot of time to look at it myself, it looks like someone like me could end up paying more in taxes than I currently do now. I’m already pinched as it is. Newt introduces 21st Century Contract with America which includes an optional flat-tax only plan, which I am much more comfortable with. He also allows people to continue using the current tax code if they so desire. This has it’s own problems: we need to broaden the tax base but I believe this will provide stability in an environment where there currently is none. He would also lower the corporate tax rate to 12.5%, and eliminate capital gains and death taxes. And that’s just one area, Newt’s got plans for national security, energy, judicial, and entitlement reforms, protecting the border, and the budget.
3. An ability and willingness to articulate conservative ideas. The media loves a good political fight, but Newt just outright refuses to engage in them. He insists on talking about policy and take on President Obama rather than engage in the media’s petty game of GOP self-inflicted character destruction. I imagine that where Gov. Perry might get flustered and Gov. Romney would get down in the dirt, Newt would insist President Obama engage him on policy ground. He would insist on an adult conversation. This is exactly what American needs and can only help the conservative movement. Newt has said he will challenge President Obama to a series of seven Lincoln-Douglas style debates with only a time keeper and no moderator. I would LOVE to see President Obama try to challenge Newt on the 90s, wouldn’t you? Meanwhile, in front of a national audience, Newt could ask how the president’s health care plan lowers costs like he said it would. Newt could ask the president how raising taxes on top income earners creates jobs. Newt could ask what exactly the president’s proposal is to dramatically cut spending and balance the budget. THIS is the kind of conversation America needs to have and I would love to see it!
Of course Newt is not without his pitfalls. He’s a brilliant man that can be very undisciplined. That said, I think he is probably the most consistently conservative candidate with a plan and an incredible record of conservative achievement and proven leadership ability. I haven’t decided whether or not to support Newt. I still like Herman Cain, and I await to see the foreign policy debate before I make up my mind. But I will tell you this: Newt has gone from a non-player in my mind to someone who I could seriously support for president. I hope other conservatives might consider taking a second look at him as well.