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From the World that Fails to the World that Works, by Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich
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BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
The Republican Party has failed in implementing the Revolution of 1994, and it's time to restart that Revolution again (p. 71). At least, according to Newt Gingrich, who considers himself the architect of the Revolution of 1994. This book was written in 2009, so it's unclear whether Newt considers the Tea Party to be the new Revolution (his partner in the Revolution of 1994, Rep. Dick Armey, certainly does, as outlined in his 2010 book, Give Us Liberty). It is NOT unclear, however, that Newt considers himself to be the appropriate leader for the new Revolution.
The new Revolution is needed now, says Newt, because of the losses to Obama and the Democrats: "For a number of years I kept quiet, but the recent devastation to my party is now so great that I am compelled to speak out explicitly and decisively." (p. 24). He blames partisanship on both sides of the aisle (p. 43) for the dysfunctional state of American politics: he has one chapter entitled "An Unreformed Right: Why Republicans Can't Govern Successfully"; and another entitled "An Unreformed Left: Why Democrats Can't Deliver Real Change." The solution? Go back to the non-partisanship of the Revolution of 1994.
Citizens who actually remember the Revolution of 1994, in contrast to Newt, generally consider the era to be quite partisan. Newt DOES deserve credit for "nationalizing" the Congressional election of 1994 (getting people to vote for the Contract With America as much as just for their individual Congressional race); and he DOES deserve credit for a Revolution. But he also deserves blame for the harsh partisanship that characterized the House of Representatives in the 1990s, culminating in Bill Clinton's impeachment, arguanly the most partisan act in American history. Citizens might also contrast Newt's view with the fact that he resigned from the House speakership in the wake of a government shutdown -- also an intensely partisan act.
Nevertheless, Newt is back, and he is running for President. This book is just the first salvo in his battle for the GOP nomination. He has prepared appropriately: he formed several political organizations in the past decade to bolster his credentials on key issues (each of which gets a plug for its website, p. xxi):
If Newt does enter the Republican primary, he is sure to be great entertainment. While Newt is renowned for his slightly non-mainsteream academic analysis, listeners accept it as mainstream because he delivers it with such certitude (almost always in this book, the passive voice is used, to illustrate how it's obvious that most voters are in agreement). His analysis is data-driven and historical (he's a history professor, after all), although some might call that "wonkish", a sure-fire losing attitude since Dukakis' days. Newt would call his attitude "futuristic," since his hero is still Alvin Toffler, author of "Future Shock" and "The Third Wave" (p. 65).
Whether wonkish or futuristic, Newt will be non-mainstream and hence entertaining. For example, he proposes (in the passive voice) that the US should invade Pakistan: "Afghanistan would have been dealt with in a regional context that would have included the Waziristan section of Pakistan." (p. 305). And maybe invade Syria and others too (also in the passive voice): "There would have been no free passage through Damascus for foreign terrorists to come kill Americans," but that wouldn't actually require invasions because the dictators might yield once they saw "the fury of the American people mobilized to action."
In summary, Newt positions himself as the conservative choice: more hawkish than the GOP hawks; more anti-Obama than the rest of the GOP; and more "change" than Obama ever offered. Newt will have a lot of trouble with the conservatives accepting his three divorces; he'll have even more trouble with the general electorate accepting his conversion to non-partisanship; and he'll have the most trouble of all with voters who remember him as the past generation instead of the future. But he'll be a heck of a lot of fun!
-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, April 2011
From the World that Fails to the World that Works, by Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
Page last edited: May 28, 2011