As the 2012 campaign season comes to my state with the Colorado Caucuses on Tuesday the 7th, I’ve decided to attend as many of the candidates’ local speeches as can be managed.
I attended a Rick Santorum rally last Wednesday the 1st. You can read my comments at this link: Rick Santorum – The Servant.
I attended a Mitt Romney rally last Saturday the 4th. You can read my comments at this link: Mitt Romney — The Executive.
In past posts I’ve described the remaining two candidates in a single word: Gingrich is The Visionary and Ron Paul is The Ideologue.
This article will discuss Newt Gingrich — The Visionary.
Unfortunately I missed Ron Paul when he was here last week and it looks like he won’t be coming back to Colorado any time soon. So there probably will never be a post for Ron Paul — The Ideologue and my series is no doubt the worse for the omission.
Dateline: Marriott Denver West Hotel, Golden, Colorado, Monday February 6, 11:30 am.
I’m not a professional reporter. First I’ll do my best to recapitulate the speech objectively and then offer my opinions of it at the bottom of the post.
The hotel ballroom was only one-quarter full. I overheard someone estimate the crowd at 300 but I think it was less. Although both Santorum’s and Romney’s crowds were much larger this fact must be discounted since today’s event was announced only last night and was held on a weekday afternoon.
After an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance, Newt Gingrich approached the podium in a suit and tie with his wife Calista at his side.
He spoke without notes.
Newt began by offering a few pleasantries and recognizing some of the dignitaries and family standing behind him, including some children. He said “this race is about the children’s future.” “We’ve been trying to rethink the campaign,” Newt continued. “We need to break through the news media by talking about the children.”
At this point some of the media in attendance took a breath, hoping to hear details of a rumored “new campaign approach” to be offered by Newt. That was not forthcoming; instead the rest of the speech was similar to his standard stump speech.
The rest of Newt’s speech was delivered a train of consciousness style, mixing standard themes with tidbits of breaking news. He was interrupted by cheers every second or third line.
What follows is a close approximation of his actual cadence based on the notes I jotted down on my I-phone:
We need very large changes in this country. Beyond the Republican debates and the November voting, even if we win, the Left will still remain. They will oppose us in the courts and through picketing and protests. We need huge changes in America. The number one difference between me and others in the race is the scale of change needed. We need a whole team running in this election, not just one candidate. George Soros said it doesn’t matter to him if Obama or Romney win the election because either way government policies will remain largely the same, only the people in the administration will change. Romney is only small change. He accommodated the liberals by choosing liberal judges in Massachusetts. As President he will accommodate the liberals in Washington as well. We need fundamental change instead.
Today is Ronald Reagan’s birthday. As I was taping an interview with Sean Hannity this morning I heard that Egypt will try the American hostages [Newt’s exact words–my note] they are currently detaining. The Pakistanis arrested the doctor who helped us find bin Laden. The Muslim brotherhood in Egypt is now the moderate of the two ruling parties there, yet our own State Department is holding a conference with representatives of Islamic countries about our how to curb anti-Muslim rhetoric. This is just like the Carter years. We need Reagan’s change.
The main stream media wants to re-elect Obama so they are pushing for a moderate to win the GOP nomination. We don’t need to nominate another moderate like John McCain or Bob Dole — we need to nominate a conservative. Do you know what Reagan’s foreign policy strategy was? “We win; they lose.” One of Reagan’s first actions was to eliminate Jimmy Carter’s gas rationing programs. Gas prices started to fall within six months. We need an American energy strategy. The President of the United States should never again bow to a Saudi King. We should create so much domestic energy that we won’t care about Iran blockading the Straits of Hormuz.
On the afternoon of my inauguration in January my first executive order will be to eliminate all of Obama’s czars. On the same day I will authorize the Keystone Pipeline. The Canadians can count on it. It’s a three-pronged win for us. We will gain 20 to 50 thousand jobs building it, we will be safer because our oil supplies will come from Canada instead of from some country that hates us, and we will create refinery jobs in Houston that will last a generation. On my first day in office I will direct that the American Embassy in Israel be moved to Jerusalem. Our economic recovery will begin late on election night when the markets realize that Obama will be gone.
I will propose reforms to teach the judiciary and the bureaucracy their proper role in regards to the country and the Constitution. In our schools we need to give our kids a sense of American history & American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism is the reason that people came to this country in the first place. I’ve written books, and Calista has written a children’s book, explaining to kids that we are an exceptional nation.
America is built on truths, not ideology. ‘All Men are Created Equal’ is an ideal and it took us a long time to reach that ideal. [This was Lincoln’s position in the Lincoln-Douglas debates — my note.] We are endowed by our Creator; each of us is sovereign. Each of us loans power to the government. This means that no politician can come between your rights and God. You have the right to Pursue Happiness but you are not guaranteed happiness. By the way, Happiness in the 18th Century meant a life of wisdom and virtue, not a life of hedonism.
I have a profound disagreement with Governor Romney who says he does not care about the poor because they have a safety net. The safety net is actually a safety web because it traps people into dependence. I want to convert the safety net into a springboard. I favor work. I had an argument with Juan Williams a few weeks ago who thought that something was wrong with young people working. The Obama administration has lowered the unemployment rate recently primarily by reducing the number of people in the job pool. That’s not the same as getting people working. Instead of food stamps we want programs that help people rise. Children should learn English which is the national and international language of commerce and success. We must rethink from ground up. The safety web actually denies people the opportunity to pursue Happiness.
I need your help tomorrow. If I become the nominee I will run a truly American campaign. I want to go to every ethnic neighborhood in every part of this country and tell them that if you believe in the Declaration and not in Saul Alinsky then come exercise your American citizenship with us.
After long applause Newt went to the crowd, shaking hands and signing autographs. He posed for some photos also. Newt had spoken for about 15 minutes.
Newt speaks easily and extemporaneously. He draws from a deep well of facts, figures and anecdotes which feed his stream-of-consciousness presentation. As a listener I felt like a runner trying to keep up with a faster runner ahead of me as he jumped hurdles and twisted around obstacles.
Newt’s general theme was that America needs bigger, more fundamental change than what is being offered by Mitt Romney. Neither Rick Santorum nor Ron Paul was mentioned. Like Romney’s speech two days ago, and unlike Santorum’s, Newt’s speech was filled with applause lines.
In a previous post (Rick Santorum – The Servant), I described Gingrich as The Visionary in the following terms:
Gingrich is The Visionary. He has wondrous ideas every minute of every day. However, we end up bickering as to which of his ideas are brilliant and which are idiocy.
I describe Gingrich as a Visionary and I use that term in the more restrictive sense that he is a man of many ideas who is motivated by those ideas. Making those ideas workable or getting them implemented is another matter entirely.
It is clear from Newt’s speech that he favors an activist government in many instances. For example he has said many times that the current Environmental Protection Agency should be replaced with an Environmental Solutions Agency. He is a strong advocate of finding better means of children’s education with the goal being an education to lift up children from the poorest neighborhoods.
When listening to Newt speak the question arises as to whether government power once established, even with good intent, can be trusted to be the people’s servant rather than its master? Newt says he wants to instill into the bureaucracy a “collaborative” rather than a “dictatorial” attitude. That’s a nice idea, but eventually doesn’t power tend to corrupt? Even if Newt is successful implementing this new attitude the bureaucracy will remain in place after he has left the Presidency. A new administration will take control with the instruments of power still available for their use. This particular idea lacks the structural basis for permanent change. Newt’s position does not add the Checks and Balances to the Executive bureaucracy that would mirror the Constitution’s own structure and which has worked so well for the country over two and a half centuries.
Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney serve as an interesting contrast. Each one has the virtue the other one lacks while carrying the defect which is the other one’s forte.
In Mitt Romney — The Executive I explained that Romney was an executive by temperament. He is a high focus, action- and achievement-oriented individual. His virtue consists of achieving what he sets out to do. His weakness is that he is not a thinker. His flip-flops on so many positions tell us that he lacks the deep understanding needed to lead the country.
Newt Gingrich by contrast is a thinker and a writer and a bit of a dreamer. He is versed in a million subjects. He can offer facts and bits of historical wisdom faster than a Wikipedia search. But he has no focus to be an executive. He flits from one place to another as fast as his curiosity takes him and in so doing he often leaves behind details which become fatal flaws. Re-read my recapitulation of his speech above and notice how often he moves from one subject to another. That’s the way he thinks — a little of everything but focused on nothing.
Here are some more examples. He says he will propose reforms to teach the judiciary and the bureaucracy their proper role. How would those reforms work? He doesn’t say. Would a Constitutional Amendment be needed for these “reforms” or just legislation? He doesn’t say. Newt says we need massive, fundamental change but he doesn’t explain why that statement can sound so much like Obama’s rhetoric yet be a repudiation of Obama.
With Mitt I am concerned he will not know which things to do; with Newt I am concerned that he will not be able to any things at all.