Friday, November 24, 2006

Personal Aside: Newt Gingrich Likely Won’t Run—Who, Then?


Newt Gingrich.

The decision announced late last week by Newt Gingrich to forego a decision to run for the presidency until next September tells us that in all probability he will not run for the post at all: since September 2007 is far too late for anyone to mount a national campaign…unless (and one cannot entirely eliminate the possibility) the field is almost entirely disseminated by then. It would mean that John McCain for some reason…health or disadvantageous revelations…would decide not to run, that Rudy Giuliani would be out for similar reasons…and that Mitt Romney’s enemies had turned up something to disqualify him. That would leave people like Sam Brownback and a few others which would impel Gingrich to jump in. All these things can happen, obviously—but Gingrich has obviously decided that only if all these things happen will he be a viable candidate. Thus his enemies can subside now because he’s not likely to run.

That decision is not all bad. Reading Gingrich’s program which is published and updated every week on the “Human Events” blog one is struck with the sheer brilliance of the man and the fact that like Winston Churchill, who was so feared by some contemporaries that they considered making Beaverbrook shed his peerage to try to qualify for the premiership, But Gingrich for all his prescience does scare the living hell out of some otherwise normal conservatives. Not me, I should add. But recall that a few wise counselors would have to wrestle with Churchill who had seven new ideas to advocate before breakfast…they knocking down four, sending two to a subcommittee and agreeing that one might be worthy of further study. Not for nothing has Henry Hyde famously said to me…and I’ve publicized it (which he doesn’t appreciate)…that Gingrich is half genius and half nuts. Exactly what they said about Churchill when, in desperation, Britain turned to him fearfully and found out even when he was nuts…as when he described the Italian campaign as likely to proceed swiftly through “the soft underbelly of Europe”… he was an inspiration.

Okay, with Gingrich out what do we have? I told the Palatine Republicans the other morning something that some may have misunderstood. I said if the Republicans wanted to choose the ticket that could most easily win at the outset…topping Obama and Hillary or the combination the other way around…it would be…steel yourselves, social conservatives…McCain for president and Giuliani for vice-president. That does not mean I favor the ticket. I loathe the concept of McCain-Feingold and the Senator’s jockeying as hero turned opportunist—but I am persuaded that the combination would be dynamite—and not self-destructive dynamite, either. The issue in 2008 that will transcend all others will be, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan’s question: Do you want to feel safer…with a greater sense of national security…now than you have felt heretofore? Or do you want to tie up with a very pleasant young man who believes, as Jimmy Carter did, that insurrectionist forces out there are susceptible to his negotiative charm?

Social conservatives of whom I am one would feel dismayed—although McCain’s voting record on those issues has better than one might suspect. All the same, I cannot think of a Republican who starts off…starts off, that is…with greater popularity than McCain. And I cannot think of a running mate who starts off with greater energy and qualifications as a defender of internal security than Giuliani. I would thrill to a Newt for president but despair that he can get there with his flaky side and all that eclipses his brilliance. I would feel more subdued but enthused if Romney got the nod—but I would not be at all surprised if he lost to our own bright young man who has so much to prove but has been so easily accepted because of his geniality and the great lust of the American people to expunge themselves from white guilt by voting for charm decorous manners and…let’s face it…the excitement of novel skin pigmentation…a charming young man so easily accepted though showing us so little.

Let not the politically correct assail me: As the one who applied the federal set-aside program for minority business which has totaled $440 billion for that community with federal, state and local outlays since 1969 when I set it up (the defects of which I freely acknowledge) I would still be bold and egotist enough to advise angry liberals not to match sentiments with my deeds. With the Obama phenomenon, I am not even remotely racist but realist. Now, your comments, please.

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