Jim covered Congress and The White House during the George W. Bush administration for The Washington Times, and worked as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. He has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, and many local and national talk radio shows to talk politics and policy.
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Heartland research fellow Ben Domenech, who is also managing editor of Health Care News, penned an excellent eulogy/take-down of what is certainly the end of Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign in today’s Washington Examiner. (Sure, Newt will participate in Monday’s debate in New Hampshire. But that’s mostly because he likes being on TV. A presidential campaign can’t survive the senior staff resigning en masse.)
Speaking of the New Hampshire debate, Domenech writes:
Expect Gingrich to overperform in next week’s presidential debate in New Hampshire. The expectations are low, and he’s likely to seize the moment and the stage because that’s what he excels at: the talking, the debating. It comes easily for him, which is not true of so many other politicians. But now, he is reduced to only being a “debate candidate”—the talking on the dais is all he has, while backstage, as the saying goes, “nothing’s plugged in.”
Though Newt will never be president — and he wouldn’t have been, even if his excellent staff stuck around — he’s is a good “idea man.” He’s like Ron Paul, but a bit better. Both will say something interesting/inspiring and stupid within the same answer to a question in a debate. But having them in the debate helps The Right formulate clearer arguments for reducing the scale of the Leviathan.
Domenech gets to that in this passage:
What shouldn’t be lost in all this, though, is the value of many of Gingrich’s ideas. There is a good deal of Gingrich’s approach to policy debates which is worth keeping, and that many younger conservatives should heed.
Hard to argue with that. By no means have small-government libertarians/conservatives agreed with all of Gingrich’s policy ideas. For my taste, Newt’s got too much of David Brooks’ “National Greatness Conservative” stuff in his thinking. Gingrich is a smart man — a professor and a man of government. And we’ve seen, in Obama’s presidency, that “The Smartest Guy in The Room” can lead the nation into some pretty dark alleys. No thanks — even from a conservative.
I want a smart conservative in the White House with the humility and wisdom to know that even their “best plans” are better left in their heads. The smarts, ingenuity and wisdom of a free people left alone to make their own way is always best. Reagan, whom Newt admires, knew this. Newt would have never just let it be … and would have been a lousy president.