Skip to comments.The Past and the Present (Thomas Sowell on Newt Gingrich)
Posted on 12/19/2011 9:59:22 AM PST by jazusamo
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 next weeks and months.
But how much weight should we give to this stuff when we are talking about the future of a 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 has 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 can 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 makes that claim any more.
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 to 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 lost big time.
Newt doesn’t just have personal baggage. His “consulting” is just more of the same influence peddling and crony capitalism that is killing this country. Even if we get rid of Obama, the socialism that is advanced by the GOP as well as the Dems stays. We need to roll back the corrupt federal government now. We won’t be running against such a vulnerable opponent as Obama for many years to come and next time will be too late.
Good for Thomas Sowell.
Exploding heads will be all over this thread.
I voted the RINO ticket in 2008. Won't do it again.
Sounds like Sowell is endorsing Gingrich, more or less.
Nail on Head!!!
Yes, but Sowell as we all know is just another globalist statist Marxist RINO!!!!!!! /s
Then Sowell beat me to the punch -- my favorite part of the essay! "... better than Mitt Romney." And goes on to elaborate on the dangers of "the bland leading the bland."
Though I don't regard Romney as "bland," I regard him as poison to the GOP and to our wonderful Republic.
I'm a bit disappointed that Dr. Sowell doesn't know that the budget hasn't been balanced (no increase in the national debt over the course of a fiscal year) since the Eisenhower administration.
Wow, where did you get that picture? I never saw that before. You mean Newt sat on a couch with Nancy Pelosi? Really? What a scoop? Do you work for National Enquirier? How did you get that super secret photo?
wow, what a story!!! What a scoop!!! Amazing the new info you can get here on FR!!!!
Positive? No. When he did manage to "accomplish" something, it was always a negative: Romneycare, gay agenda judges, and the destruction of the MA Republican party.
One can firmly believe that Thomas Sowell is America’s greatest living intellectual and right about almost everything ... but still say, “Well, maybe, but ...” about Newt Gingrich.
I certainly want Newt to be all Dr. Sowell would wish, but I’m doubtful that he is.
Exploding heads will be all over this thread.
Are you being sarcastic?
Since I haven’t been Newtered, I can’t really tell.
The GOP in Congress prefer Romney - because; they can push/pull him around for four years - while still maintaining their own seats of power and privilege.
With Newt - they know he will push back - and that will be just too uncomfortable.
Term limits on Congress - checks & balances.
Congratulations!!! You won the award!
“I see dumb people...
... they’re everywhere...
... they walk around like everyone else...
... they don’t even know that they’re dumb...
Some of them...like Responsibility2nd
...THEY POST HERE”
Here’s another mind-blowing NRO piece. This time by Mark Steyn.
Here’s another mind-blowing NRO piece. This time by Mark Steyn.
I see you’ve been Newtered also.
Look just because you settle for RINO # 2 does not give you the right to be a lying, manipilative, cheating scoundrel like Newt.
Oh wait. I guess it does. Carry on Newter.
Excellent point. Thanks for stating it! It confirms my conviction that between Obama and Romney, Romney is the GREATER of the two evils.
Thanks for the post.
Good article. We are going with Newt.
>> Are you being sarcastic? >>
HINT: Dr. Thomas Sowell would be able to figure it out all by himself.
Those people want pretty picture perfection, and think that’s all that it’s going to take.
Getting rid of Obama isnt high on their priority list.
You earned it, spammer. YOU should be very proud on the day that Obama takes the prize.
"Newt is a pro-life Reaganite."
“Getting rid of Obama isnt high on their priority list.”
Agreed... and neither is saving our country.
Dr. Sowell's insight reminds us that the liberties of millions yet unborn may rely on whether Americans can rediscover the essential ideas and concepts of 1776 and 1787.
At no time in America's history have those ideas been more threatened, more under attack, and more ignored by leaders in all branches of government.
Thanks to those citizens who rose up in what came to be known as a Taxed Enough Already Movement, more citizens, using new technologies to access the Founders' writings, are becoming informed about their nation's fundamental principles.
At this critical time, who better to lead us, warts and all, than a historian who actually has read and understands the underlying reasons why our liberties rely on Creator-endowed life, liberty and laws to protect them?
More contemporary ideas dealing with jobs and other mere "issues" are not enough to turn the tide of coercive power and control by government, no matter how compassionate or benevolent those who advocate them, may seem.
When Americans return to that one basic understanding of the Source of life, liberty and law, and the Founders' formula for self-government under "We, the People," freedom, opportunity, prosperity, progress and plenty will, in all likelihood, take care of themselves.
Gingrich is certainly better than Romney or Obama. The real question is "the alternatives actually available". I see Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum as preferable alternatives to Gingrich.
If I gave a crap on how wrong you are - I would bookmark your goofy tagline and waive it in your face (Nyah-nyah-nyaaahhhh) when Sarah Palin endorses Mitt Romney.
Cause THAT will be funny to see.
Yeah. He has.
SO GLAD for the Mark Steyn link.
PLEASE can you post it as its own thread? Especially in light of his former stance.
I posted my two cents on this matter last week, but unfortunately I was backed against the clock having to go offline to free up the telephone for incoming calls, and wasn’t quite as eloquent in the manner I wrote my thoughts, thus the commentary was pulled by moderator, and rightfully so I might say.
I was ticked off at those that want to place our Nation at risk discounting Mr. Gingrich as candidate for POTUS due to some indiscretions of which he has acknowledged with regrets over the years opposed to his vast experience at a time the experience is what we need in the leadership of this country. Experience that is lacking in each, and every single one of the other candidates, and yes even Rick Perry.
Much, but most certainly not all of the negatives we have been subjected to by various sources are disinformation from the war the Left waged against Mr. Gingrich back in the ‘90’s, and many believe those terrible lies especially the one about the hospital visit to his previous wife allegedly dying of cancer, and him wanting to discuss the divorce. It was BS. She lives. It was an operation to remove a benign tumor, and there was no discussion of divorce as reported by their daughter Jackie Gingrich Cushman who was there at the visit with her mom, and her dad.
THAT type of disinformation about Newt Gingrich is rampant on the internet, and is still promoted by his Leftist enemies.
He ain’t no Saint, but he IS a viable, and very qualified by experience leader with the credentials of his past history to prove that.
Thanks for the ping jaz.
I am going with the person I want to be president in the primary, regardless of how “electable” he or she is. After the primary, it no longer matters who I wanted. I will have a choice of two. I will vote AGAINST the person who will destroy this country the quickest. Any one who does not do that supports Obama.
Romney built a career on tricking democrats into voting for a republican..
NOW hes tricking republicans to vote for him before he caves to the democrats..
Romney “IS” the democrats secret weapon..
OK OK.. its not so secret anymore..
It has been posted before. I wouldn’t know Steyn’s “former stance.”
He says so in your link ~ he’s done a 180 in terms of his support for Newt.
Your link is dated today. Are you sure it’s been posted here as a thread?
. . . Gingrich engineered the first Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 40 years followed by the first balanced budget in 40 years. . . .
The federal budget was balanced in '98, '99, '00 and '01.
1998 minus 40 is 1958; (the Eisenhower administration)
Sure, Sowell presents a lot of cogent points concerning achievements, but, c’mon, Mitt has great hair. So despite the fact that he’s never accomplished anything, lets nominate Mitt because he looks like what we think a president should look like. Even if he’s never given us any reason to vote for him. (smirk)
I do think Sowell is too dismissive of these concerns, however. Personal judgement and behavior are important factors when awarding a position of trust and responsibility, even when not directly related to professional judgment and behavior.
The "baggage" question on Gingrich is a legitimate one from both the pragmatic "does it make him unelectable?" and philosophical "can we trust him?" positions, In order to throw support behind Gingrich, it is important to ask those questions and be comfortable with the answers.
More clear thinking from Sowell. I agree with his priorities.
Newt is in no way like McCain.
I'm neither for Romney nor Gingrich, but I could imagine Gingrich telling the truth to the American public much more than I could Romney. Romney would easily roll over to make sure people liked him. Despite some of his past statements and actions (which he's since apologized for), I think Newt would be much more likely to hold firm to conservative principles than Mitt. That's not saying a lot, I'm just saying I'd trust that "zany" Gingrich more than I'd trust Romney.
You’re an idiot.