Newt for President?

by Sal on November 21, 2006

in Politics

Newt in an interview given to Nina Easton of Fortune Magazine

The radical realist who defied conventional wisdom 12 years ago by stealing the House out from under the noses of entrenched Democrats now plans a surprise attack for the presidency. “I’m going to tell you something, and whether or not it’s plausible given the world you come out of is your problem,” he tells Fortune. “I am not ‘running’ for president. I am seeking to create a movement to win the future by offering a series of solutions so compelling that if the American people say I have to be president, it will happen.” So he’s running, only without yet formally saying so.

While other potential competitors like Arizona Senator John McCain, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney build staff and hire consultants, Gingrich revealed to Fortune that he plans to create a draft-Newt “wave” by building grassroots support for his health care, national security and energy independence ideas – all of which he has been peddling to corporate audiences over the past six years. “Nice people,” Gingrich says of his GOP competitors. “But we’re not in the same business. They’re running for president. I’m running to change the country.”

In December, Gingrich will launch a 527 group, called “American Solutions for Winning the Future,” that will enable him to raise and spend unlimited money on behalf of this effort. In January, he will conduct a strategy meeting with advisers. By next fall, he’ll decide whether to make a bid official – a late start by any recent historical standard.

It’s a strategy that would be considered far-fetched if this were any other candidate. But Gingrich has to be taken seriously. Polls place him third in the GOP presidential nomination race, behind Giuliani and McCain. And a recent internal GOP poll recently put him second, and ahead of McCain.

I’ll say this about him, his approach is unconventional, and I don’t know if it will pay off, but it could make things interesting.  Newt’s a great thinker, and his engineering of the Contract with America and the 1994 take-over of the house defied convention by making congressional races national, and taking the Congress for the first time in 54 years. 

 In 1974, Reagan defied conventional wisdom and built a movement.  He lost that election, but finally won in 1980.  Newt continued that movement in the 1990s, and is trying to be bold and unconventional movement for the Presidency today.  Maybe he won’t win this time, but I doubt we’ve seen the last of him.  His policy ideas are bold and intesresting.  Even if I don’t necessarily agree with him on every issue, he comes across as For more on Newt’s policy ideas see his Website “Winning the Future“. 

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