Counterpoint: This Conservative’s Case for Newt Gingrich

I’ve come to realize something. I thought of it a couple weeks ago…and as time progresses, I become surer of my realization.

We as Palin supporters were spoiled. Spoiled rotten, as a matter of fact.

Many of us had worked extremely hard the last few years, on a local, state and national level to do all we could to prep for a Palin candidacy. I personally got involved with Organize4Palin earlier this year as a state coordinator and assisted the national organization with some of their tech and design needs. I say this not to pat myself on the back…there are a lot of people who put much more skin in the game than I did to be sure…but rather to show that I understand what it means to support the Governor and to give a little insight on how I wanted with all my heart to do anything in my power to get her the nomination and then help her win the general.

Why did I want this?

Because by and large I agreed with her on 99.9% of her positions and had no problem with 99.9% of her record. She is a rare voice in America…and her gifts are equally unique: an effective voice for Constitutional conservatism who can take complex concepts and make them accessible to anyone who hears them plus the ability to connect on a deep, personal level with the masses.

I don’t really know of anyone else in the past 20 years plus who could do this. Do you? Her gifts are Reaganesque and exceedingly rare. Her common sense message resonates with folks regardless of political persuasion.

Which brings me back to my first point. We were spoiled.

We thought that this time…this election cycle…we’d be able to pull the lever for someone with whom we had almost no disagreements with.

And then…on October 5th, Governor Palin announced that this would not be the case.

For most if not all of us, that was quite a blow. I know it was for me.

At first, I wondered, does she want to be wooed as the reluctant candidate? I can do that! I even registered a domain name that could work to that end. But the more I watched…the more I listened…I realized she has chosen a different path for herself than what I would have wanted.

It took me a little time to regroup but after a week or two of anger, frustration and sadness…finally at the end came acceptance.

I know some however are still living with the mindset that we can choose her path for us…that we can go back to the place where we were going to be able to vote without having to think of it strategically or having to think about it pragmatically. Some are still thinking with their hearts.

But I think that it’s clear…we need to start thinking with our heads and recognize that regardless of how much we want something, that doesn’t mean we’re going to get it. We must live in the reality of what is, not what we wish were true.

With that in mind…I had to start my own journey of looking at the candidates. Because I was so spoiled, I forgot that this is what I typically have to do every election cycle. Yes, it is a bit of a bummer to be put back into this place but that’s where I am.  And what place is that? It’s the place where we have to look at the candidates and decide based on a series of factors what pros outweigh what cons and consider the long and short term implications for who we could consider voting for and why.

The first thing I did was to make a mental list of who was running. No that’s not true. Actually the first thing I did was wish that Governor Palin was on the list of candidates. Then I made my list. And then once again, wished her name was among them:

  • Governor Mitt Romney
  • Ambassador Jon Huntsman
  • Congresswoman Michele Bachmann
  • Mr. Herman Cain
  • Senator Rick Santorum
  • Governor Rick Perry
  • Speaker Newt Gingrich
  • Congressman Ron Paul

Let’s start with the candidates I could not support…and that’s Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman. I couldn’t support Mitt Romney for a plethora of reasons…but first and foremost because of MittCare. He’s gone back and forth tearing it down and building it up…but in the end, he’s decided to simply embrace it and not backing down. That and the fact that I see him as being entirely plastic…someone who’s made a career out of running for President. I also take issue with the fact that he has taken polar opposite positions on pretty much every major issue. Now I don’t mind it when people change their views if it’s done because they’ve seen that their original line of thinking was wrong and they reassess this. That’s natural. I know I’ve done this over the course of the last 20 years so I don’t hold it against people who change their position based on new information proving there original position wrong. I do however have a problem with someone changing their positions because of political expediency. And that’s what I see with Mitt.

With the GOP frontloading the primaries to help ensure professional candidate Mitt Romney a quick and decisive win, we are forced into the position of doing what we can to block this maneuver. So now let’s look at the rest of them:

Ron Paul…as smart as he is on certain fiscal issues…is an absolute disaster on anything regarding foreign policy. He believes American policies led to 9/11 and was sympathetic to a terrorist who was killed while plotting against our country. I can expound on this if anyone wants me to…or others here can…but I think his record is self explanatory.

As for Ambassador Huntsman…he worked for the Obama administration and he leans too far to the left on too many issues. Besides…does he strike anyone as a reformer who will take on the system at all?

Then there are the candidates who I suppose if I had to I could pull the lever for, but I don’t think it’s going to happen for them (ie, I think they proved through the course of their campaigns that they aren’t ready for prime time or they simply aren’t getting any traction): Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry.  Some or all might get a boost as various candidates drop out, but I don’t see them rebounding to the point of winning any caucuses or primaries.

Now for the last two…Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.

In truth…I wanted to support Herman Cain and had him as my second choice after Governor Palin for quite a while because of his perceived status as an outsider. I say perceived because he’s really not as outsiderish as I had once thought. Look, I don’t mind that he was a lobbyist or that he worked for the Fed. I do mind that he’s presenting himself as being a citizen candidate when that’s not really the case.

But you know that really isn’t the real issue with Cain. And no, I’m not talking about the allegations by the women who came forward.

The real issue with Cain is twofold:I didn’t feel he had a real grasp on basic issues…basic policy…much less the really complex domestic and international crises and the only evidence of his leadership skills could be seen by how he handled his campaign.

Let’s start with that second point. When I heard that there were going to be women claiming sexual harassment against Herman Cain, I predicted that their first response would be a disaster, and it would be followed up by a second response which would be less than stellar then finally a third try which would be pretty good. Looking back, how could I have called it so accurately? Because that’s what’s happened whenever there was a problem for the campaign. I won’t even go into Mark Block…that speaks for itself. But this actually ties into the other point: Lack of preparedness.

Back this spring, when he didn’t know what the Right of Return was…that was a big red flag to me but I held on thinking okay, he’ll make sure his advisers bring him up to speed. But time and time again throughout the last few months, his response was to dodge and weave. When he’s called out on this lack of knowledge, he’d either go on the attack and say that he was taken out of context or that it was a gotcha question or he’d crack a joke to hide the fact he didn’t know what to say. My sense is that he feels his personality and charisma can make up for a lack of understanding. And I’m afraid I don’t agree.

It was however this clip that really got my attention:

What I saw from Mr. Cain was a pat, standard, substantless and shallow answer. What I saw from Speaker Gingrich was an answer that had depth, a real understanding of the region and American policy that was effective and well thought out.

This is when my eyes turned to start taking a look at the former Speaker of the House.

Those of you who have read this far are probably wondering why it’s taken to this point to really speak about Newt Gingrich, given the title of this piece. Well, the reality is that considering Newt Gingrich has been a process of elimination for me…looking at who we have to work with, taking into account the candidates’ pros and cons and recognizing the logistical realities of this election cycle.

This isn’t something that I jumped onto months ago…this is something I slowly evolved into over the past almost two months.

It took me awhile because I am not on board with chunks of Newt’s record or policy positions. I don’t like things from his personal life experiences. But then, I’m a Palin supporter and thus I was spoiled into hoping I could have it all.

It’s important to recognize the problem areas and not gloss them over. They are real and do need to be taken into consideration. Abie wrote a great piece yesterday and I concur with quite a bit of it…but I depart from him on some of the conclusions he’s drawn and I certainly depart from the sentiment that Newt is unable to carry the conservative banner. I think that overstates things a bit.

That’s not to say that I believe that his record is pristine. It obviously isn’t. Like Abie, I don’t like that he’s worked with and praised folks like Sharpton who I have no regard for. I hate that he sat on the couch with Nancy Pelosi. It’s that Washington mentality of showing that both sides can work together thing that I understand but cringe at in certain cases…and Sharpton and Pelosi are two of them.

I don’t like that he supports ethanol.

I don’t like that he condemned TARP to only later admit that he would have begrudgingly voted for it.

I don’t like that he ever supported the idea of an individual mandate, although I’m glad that he came to realize it was not workable, presented more problems than it solved and created a scenario that was unappealing with regard to what the government could and could not tell you to do. He’s even quipped that if he ad been clever during the debates he could have said to Mitt that he figured out that he was wrong regarding the individual mandate…when would Mitt publicly admit the same thing?

(As an aside…we need more interviews with Newt versus Levin. The Great One does not pull any punches and thus no softballs. It’s good that he be challenged like this from someone who I consider to be a genius.)

I don’t care for Newt’s position on global warming but I do like that he rejects and has fought against cap and trade.

One of the things I do like about Newt is that he is willing to admit when he’s messed up both in policy and in his personal life and turn things around. He doesn’t rigidly hold to an idea because he doesn’t want to loose face. Like I said above…I’d rather have someone change several of their policy positions based on a principled response, ie, they realized they were wrong…than someone changing their position just for expediency’s sake.

There are other issues I have with Newt…but I think you get the drift. Speaker Gingrich himself has noted, “I voted 7200 times, given 15,000 speeches, written 24 books. They’re going to find plenty of things to throw at me.”

While normally I would lean against supporting a legislator for the office of the Presidency, Newt was the Speaker of the House…a leadership role…and 3rd in line for the Presidency.  Further, his career has been filled with fantastic things that shouldn’t be ignored..accomplishments that indicate competence in solving the kind of crises we face today. Let’s take a look:

The Contract With America
Four consecutive balanced budgets
Over $400 billion of debt paid off
Bipartisan welfare reform
11 million new jobs
Unemployment falling to under 4%
Proponent of Drill Here, Drill Now
etcetera

In other words, while sure we can all concede that some of his ideas aren’t something we can get excited about, the reality is he is also a bold visionary and leader who can present solutions to very tough dilemmas. As a leader, he recognizes that if a solution turns out not to be working that it’s best to replace it with an idea that will, rather than hold onto a failed theory.

His love of history and his wholehearted embracing of the Founding Fathers, the Founding documents and the principles that guided them makes him even more appealing, especially his recognition that our battle against the progressives and their agenda is one that can be traced back to the French Revolution:

You may wonder why I posted the above video or why we should care about the French Revolution. It’s because I think it’s key to understanding two things: the basis for the failed progressive movement and that Newt Gingrich recognizes it and believes we need to fight against it with all our hearts.  He by his own life experiences understands the danger of the libertine mindset.

In my journey over the last month to learning more about the former Speaker, I’ve come across things I don’t like of course…that’s a given. But I’ve also come to see someone who has I believe become more centered and grounded and has earnestly sought and found forgiveness for his failings…someone who is more willing to admit to mistakes and correct them and someone who while having a healthy ego is able to say he did something stupid.

His ideas for how to deal with complex issues such as illegal immigration are quickly demagogued by those who think they can get away with it…until people have a chance to actually see what that proposal really is and learn that no, it really isn’t amnesty at all. It is an extremely detailed, stringent policy on how to deal with the illegal population so that most are either deported or leave on their own as the free money from Uncle Sam dries up, sanctuary cities are a thing of the past and the only way they could stay here is after going through a rigorous screening process and pay a hefty fine. Nothing amnestyesque about that.

His approach to dealing with courts who go against Constitutional mandates is to abolish them. His view on how to deal with abortion is to ensure personhood is recognized for those not born yet. (both of these thoughts are included in the Thanksgiving video above)

Take a listen to Steve Bannon’s interview with the former Speaker and get a feel for what he’d do right after getting into office:

Look.

Here’s the thing.

We had hoped that we could get it in one complete package but that doesn’t look to be the case. So we’ll have to reach our goals a little more incrementally than we had planned. But we cannot sit out and hope that things work out.

We are faced with unbelievable challenges in the years to come and we will need someone who has a record of accomplishment. We need someone with bold ideas to tackle complex issues. We need someone who understands the threats abroad and the threats within. We need someone who understands the importance of looking to what’s worked and what hasn’t in the past to see how we can solve the problems we face now here in the 21st century.

We need someone who can stand against Obama and take him apart on live television for the world to see.

Back at the Tea Party convention a couple years ago, Governor Palin made this point: “While I hope you give the candidates that you choose your best effort, please understand they’re human. There’s no perfect candidate. And they’re going to disappoint occasionally. And when they do, let them know, but don’t get discouraged and sit it out, because the stakes are too high. The stakes are too high right now, and your voice is too important, so work hard for these candidates but put your faith in ideas.”

I don’t know of anyone who would argue that Speaker Gingrich is perfect. But the ideas he’s forwarding, the vision he’s presenting, is one that I believe we can support. We would like any political figure have to hold his feet to the fire…moreso given his tendency to go off the reservation every now and again…and ensure that he stays true to the principles and the mission of saving the Republic.

But it comes down to this pragmatic equation: Barring any major upset, things will come down to Newt versus Mitt. One of those two will go against Obama.

Which one of the two has a better record to fall back on? Not a perfect one, but a better one? Which one has shown the ability to fight on tough issues? Which one has made a point of recognizing Governor Palin, her mission and her accomplishments, not only now but months and years before?

Who would we have a better chance with in forwarding Governor Palin’s agenda?

The answer I think is clear. Of the candidates who remain, Newt Gingrich is the only one who comes close to meeting the incredibly high Palin standard. His message of reform, his agenda to help restore Constitutional order, reduce the size and scope of government, energy independence, judicial reform and a strong, Reaganesque approach to national security paired up with his record of accomplishments make him the right choice this election cycle.  I encourage you to read his legislative proposals and his 21st Century Contract with America so you can see for yourself what he’s proposing, rather than letting someone else tell you what to think about it.

And that’s why I am officially announcing my support for Speaker Newt Gingrich to be the next President of the United States. I do so eyes wide open, knowing his record has some blemishes…but in truth they all do as none of them meet the Palin standard all the way. I have issues with all of them.

By the way…let me make sure that I’m clear in stating this is my personal position on the candidates.  I am not speaking for anyone else at  C4P.

But at the end of the day, one of the candidates will be our nominee…and I believe Speaker Gingrich has the best message, the best record, and the best chance of beating Obama than the other candidates do.  We need a fighter who can articulate bold solutions to the problems we face.

His agenda won’t get us all the way there, but it is a start…and I believe we have a long, tough slog ahead of us even if he does win so it is imperative that we continue to find whatever means we can to fight for our Republic and take back our country from the progressives who seek to destroy it.

The battle continues.

May God continue to bless America.



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