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Gingrich’s Past, Our Future
National Review ^ | 12/20/2011 | Thomas Sowell

Posted on 12/20/2011 11:08:45 AM PST by Servant of the Cross

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 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.

Even back in the 19th century, when the scandal came out that Grover Cleveland had fathered a child out of wedlock — and he publicly admitted it — the voters nevertheless sent him to the White House, where he became one of the better presidents.

Do we wish we had another Ronald Reagan? We could certainly use one. But we have to play the hand we were dealt. And the Reagan card is not in the deck.

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.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: future; gingrich; newt; sowell; thomassowell
The wisdom of Dr. Sowell on the 2012 GOP primary.
1 posted on 12/20/2011 11:08:58 AM PST by Servant of the Cross
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To: TitansAFC; TBBT

Newt (and Dr. Sowell) ping.


2 posted on 12/20/2011 11:10:55 AM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: Servant of the Cross

Gingrich is the Devil no doubt about that...
Like Patton or McArthur.. or Sherman during the Civil War..

Do you want somebody “NICE” or a President?..
Make your choice this is no GAME...


3 posted on 12/20/2011 11:14:46 AM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole...)
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To: Servant of the Cross

“how much does Newt Gingrich’s personal life matter”?

Not much. Marrying his high school geometry teach is a bit creepy but I’m not too into the personal matters. They count but they aren’t everything.

“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.”

Yes. Heck, my neighbors dog is a better choice than Obama or Romney.


4 posted on 12/20/2011 11:15:10 AM PST by MontaniSemperLiberi (Moutaineers are Always Free)
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To: Servant of the Cross

I’ve said this before ,so please forgive.
Ted Kennedy killed a woman.
He ran for President and was elected and lionized as a Senator for years.He was a known drunk and womanizer,married,divorced and married again.I know this is not about Ted ,but all eyes averted to the left to let this guy run a public life.
This is not to sanitize Newt in any way.
Dr.T Sowell is wise a wise man indeed.


5 posted on 12/20/2011 11:17:43 AM PST by peteyd (A dog may bite you in the ass,but it will never stab you in the back.)
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To: Servant of the Cross
Gingrich has consistently said that he believes the greatest President of the 20th century was FDR.

He lost me right there.

IF it came to Newt or Obama ...?

6 posted on 12/20/2011 11:19:35 AM PST by Cowman (How can the IRS seize property without a warrant if the 4th amendment still stands?)
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To: Servant of the Cross

There it is & there is our nominee. They’ve all been vetted. Let’s close ranks & get the MoJo go’in.


7 posted on 12/20/2011 11:20:02 AM PST by Digger (If RINO is your selection then failure is your election)
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To: Servant of the Cross

I’m sitting here wondering, if Gingrich is correct and this is “the most important election since 1860”, is Gingrich the best we should do?


8 posted on 12/20/2011 11:20:18 AM PST by MontaniSemperLiberi (Moutaineers are Always Free)
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To: Servant of the Cross

Newt’s personal “baggage” has nothing to do with me.

Have heard the statement “It takes one to know one” or “Fight fire with fire”? Well, Newt was one of them at one time and knows how to deal with Washington. He got a lot done while he was Speaker.

He has more creative ideas than any of the others on the stage. We need someone who is not afraid to make a fool of himself every once in a while.

Screw the media.


9 posted on 12/20/2011 11:22:54 AM PST by donhunt (Certified and proud "Son of a Bitch".)
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To: donhunt
He has more creative ideas than any of the others on the stage.

Yes, but those ideas usually involve the government controlling something NOT the government giving up control of something.

BTW when you fight fire with fire you get more fire

(don't ask me how I know)

10 posted on 12/20/2011 11:30:28 AM PST by Cowman (How can the IRS seize property without a warrant if the 4th amendment still stands?)
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To: Servant of the Cross; Cincinatus' Wife; altura; normy

All due praise to Dr. Sowell...I don’t choose to choose between Mitt and Newt.

He does.

His choice is better than the only other alternative he presented.

Newt isn’t as bad as Romney. Newt is better than Obama.

Doesn’t address the issue of taming Big Daddy Government. Newt has been on the wrong side of that many times. He says otherwise when it suits his purpose, and even acts otherwise at times, but he reverts back to it, and back, and back.


11 posted on 12/20/2011 11:31:59 AM PST by txrangerette ("HOLD TO THE TRUTH...SPEAK WITHOUT FEAR" - Glenn Beck)
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To: Cowman
Gingrich has consistently said that he believes the greatest President of the 20th century was FDR.

You totally missed what Newt was saying. It was the strength of FDR not his policy. Better rethink before looking foolish.

12 posted on 12/20/2011 11:32:58 AM PST by Logical me
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To: donhunt

***We need someone who is not afraid to make a fool of himself every once in a while.

Screw the media.***

I love your observation - that Newt is not afraid to take risks, make mistakes and take the criticism that is sure to follow.

Regarding the media - if they had any sense - they would want Newt in power. Think of all the material he would provide their sorry butts.

A man who sits on his a$$ gets a fat a$$ - God didn’t put men’s brains in their a$$es for a reason.


13 posted on 12/20/2011 11:37:17 AM PST by sodpoodle ( Newt - God has tested him for a reason..)
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To: Servant of the Cross
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.

What results? He was elected on the Contract With America"

Name one of those 10 contract items that have survived. Just one.

His presidency will be likewise promises made while he preaches global warming and amnesty and expanded government programs like he did with Medicare and TARP.

14 posted on 12/20/2011 11:46:07 AM PST by oldbill
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To: txrangerette
I don’t choose to choose between Mitt and Newt.

With only a couple of weeks between now and the Iowa caucus (and the only actual alternative scenario to the above matchup that is being written about involves LRon Paul?!), this would seem to be, imho, denial on your part.

15 posted on 12/20/2011 11:48:15 AM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: oldbill
What results? He was elected on the Contract With America.

I would suggest that a very credible source, Dick Cheney, gives Newt the credit for the Contract With America.

When Newt showed up he said, we can become the majority, we can take back the House of Representatives. We hadn't had the House since the 1940s. And initially, none of us believed it. But he was persistent, he was tenacious. He kept it up, kept it up, and kept it up. Finally by '94 he's the newly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives with a Republican majority. So I wouldn't underestimate him.

16 posted on 12/20/2011 11:54:58 AM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: Servant of the Cross

“and the fact that he made a lot of money running a consulting firm after he left Congress”

I have to disagree with the good Doctor on that point. If you run the numbers the money he made is peanuts in the total scheme of things.


17 posted on 12/20/2011 11:56:52 AM PST by Parley Baer
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To: txrangerette

You are correct.

There are other choices besides the moderates polling highest (not running away with are they either?) and a conservative.


18 posted on 12/20/2011 11:57:26 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
There are other choices besides the moderates polling highest ...

By 'other choices' do you mean the crazy Texan who is trouncing his own Governor?

19 posted on 12/20/2011 12:01:36 PM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: Servant of the Cross
If Newt Gingrich were being nominated for sainthood

Wasting no time, let's just get right to the strawmen.

20 posted on 12/20/2011 12:02:54 PM PST by Huck (No.)
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To: Servant of the Cross

You and Paul are a good match.


21 posted on 12/20/2011 12:03:10 PM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Servant of the Cross
I respect Sowell's views and he's right about some things here.

However, Newt has expressed favor for the health mandate, climate change and he called the Ryan plan "social engineering". His calling FDR the greatest President of the 20th century is what a majority on the left believe.

Are we not caring what a candidate says anymore just because he's not Romney?

22 posted on 12/20/2011 12:04:19 PM PST by Siena Dreaming
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To: Logical me

And FDR’s so-called strength makes him the greatest President? Really?


23 posted on 12/20/2011 12:05:14 PM PST by Siena Dreaming
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To: Servant of the Cross
Another Mea Culpa from the NRO. I like Sowell, but Victor Davis Hanson's piece was much better.

Here are two questions for NRO...

1.) Name significant Conservative accomplishments for Newt Gingrich

Answer- several.. Contract with America, Welfare reform, budget balanced, capital gains cut..

2.) Name one significant accomplishment for Mitt Romney..

................

24 posted on 12/20/2011 12:05:55 PM PST by 11th Commandment (http://www.thirty-thousand.org/)
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To: Cowman

He keeps talking about the welfare reforms he implemented. It was not all a good thing. For example,if your son is identified as the father, for the next 18 years he will pay inordinate amounts of child support. If he is lucky, and DNA tests are performed he will not be responsible for another man’s child. I have seen fathers sleeping in their cars over this, never seeing the child Newt insists they pay for. This definitely does not encourage families, it encourages women to be sure they pick several different men to finger as fathers for a lot of money they did not earn.


25 posted on 12/20/2011 12:26:54 PM PST by momincombatboots (Back to West by G-d Virginia.)
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To: Cowman

Of course he was reffering to the way FDR led the country during the war years and has specified not during the depression years, but I think you know this it’s been brought up enough.


26 posted on 12/20/2011 12:38:39 PM PST by duffee (NEWT 2012)
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To: oldbill

They stripped him of the Speakers post and immediatly started spending more and much more in earmarks and increasing government. Look at the stats and see how spending increased after his departure. Sometimes you can tell if someones your friend by his enemies.


27 posted on 12/20/2011 12:45:52 PM PST by duffee (NEWT 2012)
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To: Cowman

There is a difference between whether one agrees with a person’s politics and their place historically, Newt is a historian.

This point seems to have escaped you.


28 posted on 12/20/2011 12:52:31 PM PST by Leto (Damn shame Palin didn't run, The Presidency was Her's for the taking)
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To: Siena Dreaming; Logical me; Servant of the Cross

When you have Ronald Reagan in the same century, how can you pick FDR? How can you pick FDR anyway?

Newt has said he is more Teddy R than FDR.

Tedddy R...not all bad, no, but a Progressive.


29 posted on 12/20/2011 12:56:19 PM PST by txrangerette ("HOLD TO THE TRUTH...SPEAK WITHOUT FEAR" - Glenn Beck)
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To: Leto; Cowman

I don’t know about Cowman, but no such point escaped me.

I wouldn’t have gone with a politically correct pick of what liberal historians said, and that’s who mostly writes our history.

I would’ve gone with Reagan, because I truly believe he was the greatest. He wasn’t there to try to remake America by Progressivism, but to try to restore what he could of what our Founders meant.


30 posted on 12/20/2011 1:00:45 PM PST by txrangerette ("HOLD TO THE TRUTH...SPEAK WITHOUT FEAR" - Glenn Beck)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
It must drive Gov. Perry nuts eating this Nut's dust.


31 posted on 12/20/2011 1:18:53 PM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Btw, I thought you didn’t like (appropriately so) personal attacks. Or at least when others did so to you.


32 posted on 12/20/2011 1:41:12 PM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: Cowman
Newt also proposed (and tried to make happen) "roll back Tuesdays" whereupon the House would take up old laws and rules on the books that were outdated or overly broad as to be meaningless or had other similar laws like it; none of which were working.

The fact that it didn't come to pass as a result of the Impeachment of Clinton could hardly be the fault of Newt.

33 posted on 12/20/2011 11:03:31 PM PST by zerosix (native sunflower)
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To: Servant of the Cross

Newt is the dream candidate. With one vote we can stick it to the Dumocrats and the elite Republican establishment at the same time. Now that’s what I call efficient government.

Good news today, too, in Gallup both Mitt and Newt poll 48% against Obama’s 50%. So the myth that Newt is not electable goes bust again.

I find it absurd that people think Obama can take Newt down with negative ads on his past personal transgressions. That annoying Tucker Carlson was pushing that idea again on Hannity tonight, but this time he was too scared and didn’t mention Newt by name. The hate mail to FOX must be piling up. I’d like to tell him Obama is not relishing the idea of running against someone with personal baggage, he is terrified of running against someone whose experience, depth of knowledge and political acumen puts his own untested, “affirmative action”-certified credentials to shame.

Who seriously thinks that their negative ads are going to better than OUR negative ads? We’ve got a freakin’ gold mine between the debt, Solyndra, Fast and Furious, Jon Corzine, failed stimulus, unemployment, gays in the military, flip-flop on Gitmo, et al. They’re going to look like idiots if they point to trivial stuff Newt did 2 decades ago in the face of all that. And for exactly how long do they think they can stretch that out before the public gets sick of hearing it and turns on them just out of sheer boredom alone?


34 posted on 12/20/2011 11:21:16 PM PST by JediJones (Newt-er Obama in 2012!)
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To: Leto
There is a difference between whether one agrees with a person’s politics and their place historically, Newt is a historian. This point seems to have escaped you.

The point does not escape me. I realize that Newt has studied history extensively and has specialized in the WW2 period which would be the FDR presidency. I just cannot admire someone who expanded the power of the presidency to dictatorial levels, proposed an income tax of 100%, established work camps, and presided over one of the biggest land grabs in US history. In addition to this he prolonged the depression through his socialist policies and tried to take over the supreme court by packing it with his own stooges.

If Newt wanted to select a strong leader of the 20th century he could have chosen Reagan, Coolidge, or if he wanted a war leader Eisenhower. Even Truman would have been better than FDR.

In my opinion a President needs to expand freedom in order to be great. FDR only expanded government oppression. Newt's other favorite Teddy Roosevelt started the ball rolling on the socialist decline of American Freedom.

This raises numerous alarms with me about Newt's view of governance.

35 posted on 12/21/2011 5:47:08 AM PST by Cowman (How can the IRS seize property without a warrant if the 4th amendment still stands?)
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To: Servant of the Cross

Contrast this article with the nonsense spewed once again by Ann Coulter. I read the first paragraph from her today. The lady is insane. I have no doubt, that given the choice she would vote Obama over Newt.

Romney, is dishonest as they come. I respect his life style, and if he gets the nomination I will vote for him, but Newt is the man. He, like Bebe Netanyahu for Israel, is our Churchill. The more you listen to Newt, the more you like him.


36 posted on 12/22/2011 7:02:12 AM PST by nikos1121
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To: MontaniSemperLiberi

Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-*


37 posted on 12/22/2011 7:03:54 AM PST by nikos1121
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To: Cowman

“BTW when you fight fire with fire you get more fire”
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Not really, setting a back fire is sometimes the only way to stop a forest fire. It burns fuel so that when the main fire reaches the area it dies down for lack of fuel. It may mean more fire for a while but less in the long run.


38 posted on 12/22/2011 1:04:50 PM PST by RipSawyer (This does not end well!)
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To: Servant of the Cross

I guess all those postings about Clinton were just a waste of time...

The only Speaker in History to be removed for ethics.

The wisdom of Afronaut: You people would vote in Satan as long as he was a Republican. You are the fringe of society, soon to be ignored for the mess your generation has bestowed on America. Your Generation has destroyed the hope and dreams of anyone under 30.


39 posted on 12/22/2011 1:14:13 PM PST by Afronaut (It's 1984)
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To: Servant of the Cross
Gingrich did have some great accomplishments as speaker, but he drifted away to pursue his own personal agenda. It started to be more about staying in power for him and less about actually getting things done. At any rate, that's my recollection.

Sowell is certainly an insightful thinker, but I have to wonder if his situation as a professor doesn't color his view. He has a whole world of academia and ideas as well as the political world. It seems like a lot of people who only have Washington politics have found it harder to make their peace with Newt.

40 posted on 12/22/2011 1:28:04 PM PST by x
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To: Afronaut
The only Speaker in History to be removed for ethics.

Ethics Committee Drops Last of 84 Charges Against Gingrich

He was NOT removed for ethics. You need to get out more, and off of those stupid LRon Paul websites and newsletters.

Or lighten up on the ganja ....


41 posted on 12/22/2011 1:30:22 PM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: Servant of the Cross


Even the dinosaurs are amazed! Right here, I saw a saucer land, and out stepped Ron Paul!
42 posted on 12/22/2011 1:46:52 PM PST by BigEdLB (Now there ARE 1,000,000 regrets - but it may be too late.)
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To: Servant of the Cross

A further problem for Gingrich was that during the investigation, he submitted letters from his lawyers for which “the subcommittee was unable to find any factual basis.” Gingrich “should have known” that the information in the letters “was inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable,” the investigation found.

The allegations were largely adjudicated by January 1997, with Gingrich agreeing to pay a sum of $300,000 and admitting that he had “engaged in conduct that did not reflect creditably on the House of Representatives.” He became the first speaker to be sanctioned in this fashion by the House.


43 posted on 12/22/2011 2:30:13 PM PST by Afronaut (It's 1984)
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