Friday, March 6, 2009

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair
With the 2012 Presidential race only three and one half years away, it appears some Republicans are positioning themselves for the race. One is former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich said recently in the Richmond Times Dispatch, "Callista (his current wife) and I will look seriously and we'll probably get our family totally engaged, including our two grandchildren, probably in January, 2011.” Gingrich revealed this information to reporters during a sit-down interview before his speech to a packed house of 650-plus at Randolph-Macon College. "We'll look seriously at whether or not we think its necessary to do it. And if we think it's necessary we'll probably do it. And if it isn't necessary we probably won't do it," Gingrich concluded.

So Newt will get in the race if it is “necessary?” Trust me Newt-it’s NOT necessary. Republicans don’t need or want you in the 2012 race. Allow me to list four reasons:

First, Newt is a polarizing figure and people who run and win races have to appeal to those in the middle. The Quinnipac national survey taken in 2007 found that 47% of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of him-and that did not include polling his ex-wives. Granted, Gingrich has great analytical skills, but his problem solving is suspect at best. Gingrich makes people think, but he doesn’t accomplish much. Defining a problem is important, but implementing steps of action to fix it is a lot tougher. That requires “people” skills and an unselfishness the former Speaker sadly lacks.

Second, Gingrich lacks the courage to lead on tough issues. In his 2003 book, Breach of Trust, Senator Tom Coburn, R, Oklahoma, addressed the 1995 battle over the budget, which led to the temporary shutdown of the government. Coburn says, “Our leaders (Gingrich) folded instead of standing their ground. History shows that the shutdown fight was a fight we could have won,” Coburn concluded.

Gingrich’s leadership style is surprisingly low-key and he is unwilling to tackle hard issues. The one provision in the Contract with America that would have made a great deal of difference in our government was the “Citizen Legislature Act” which would have term limited members of the federal legislature to twelve years. It was never given serious consideration because Gingrich believed it was not as important as the other tenets in the contract. At his speech at Randolph-Macon College when asked how Republicans should respond to President Obama, Gingrich said "Cooperate when you can, offer a better solution when possible, stop something only if you have no alternative." In other words- don’t be obstructionists-take the path of least resistance. Gingrich believes that government must continually act and that philosophy causes him to fold when he should hold.

Third, Gingrich will say anything to get elected. At his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, the former speaker said the current economic crisis was the result of the failings of former President Bush. “There is a Bush-Obama continuity in economic policy, which is, frankly, a disaster for this country and cannot work,” Gingrich said. Amazing the difference a few months will make. In October, Gingrich was singing “W”s praises for his handling of the tough economic times. As John Feehery said on, “There is no continuity between George W. Bush and Barack Obama. One believes in the free-market system; the other deeply distrusts it. One loved the investment class; the other has shown deep disdain for it. One pushed against domestic spending, the other pushes for it. One pushed to boost defense and intelligence spending; the other will seek to slash it.” Gingrich has moved from defending Bush just four months ago to trashing him for his own selfish reasons. Gingrich is a complete and total pragmatist and practices situational ethics, which is not what the Republican Party or America needs.

Fourth, Gingrich is bankrupt morally. He is married to his third wife, Callista Biseka, a former staffer over twenty years his junior. Newt’s first wife, Jackie, was served divorce papers while undergoing ovarian cancer treatment in the hospital. She alleges he had numerous affairs during their nineteen-year marriage. Newt left his church after his pastor criticized him for not paying child support to his first wife. Gingrich’s second wife was former staffer Marianna Ginther, but he divorced her in 2000. She claims it was because she developed multiple sclerosis. Newt admitting having an affair with a staffer (Marianna) when he was Speaker of the House, which contributed to his political downfall. So it’s obvious the former Speaker has issues with marriage and commitment, but does he recognize that? Apparently not, he cut TV spots supporting “traditional” marriage (Prop 8), in the recent controversial California election. With two failed marriages under his belt, you would think the former Speaker would have sit that battle out.
Something is considered necessary that is absolutely essential, logically inevitable or required by obligation. Gingrich’s candidacy for president falls far short of meeting that criterion.

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