If you follow energy issues and healthcare issues, you may have a new found respect for Newt Gingrich. The last few years have found the former speaker making public speaking appearances with Hillary Clinton, as well as with many conservatives. He has been making an Al Gore-ian impression on the policy wonk crowd.
While he toys with running for president, the speaker has declined interest in heading the Republican National Committee. Unlike the speaker of the house, this is a position that is perfect for Gingrich. He embodies the one thing that conservatives have the hardest time pinning to their identity – that of the intellectual. This is not to say that conservatives are not intellectuals, but there is a stereotype – brought to you by the mainstream media and the occasional aspirant for president – that conservative beliefs and forward thinking are not good bedfellows. Gingrich leading the party addresses this problem head on. Gingrich can lead the battered party to a majority – because he did it once before. He created GOPAC, an organization that does what most Republicans never do – it grooms talent.
While 65 years old, Gingrich brings a youthful approach to new ideas. This leads to wacky statements sometimes, like when Speaker Gingrich proposed giving laptop computers to lower income children, and got lambasted for it. (It’s a successful program now, by the way.)
He wants to run for president. He should instead rescue his party. Even if the GOP doesn’t make significant gains in the next four years, it needs to have a direction and a plan. It needs to have a healthcare plan that says more than ‘leave it up to the market to decide.’ It needs to be ready to lead if for some reason there is a lack of leadership in the coming year or two.