Newt Gingrich, the smart candidate

Tomorrow, Newt Gingrich is expected to announce for the presidency.  The groundswell behind the former House Majority Leader continues to gain traction for one simple reason.  He’s smart.  Maybe the smartest one of the bunch.

Now, smart doesn’t always cut it.  Adlai Stevenson was smart.  John Kerry was smart.  But smart sure looks good going one on one with Barack Obama in a national debate on the issues.  Obama is a policy wonk.  So is Gingrich.  And Newt Gingrich, more than any other Republican contender, could match Obama, line by line, sound bite by sound bite.

Gingrich has negatives but so does Palin, Huckabee, Romney and the others.  And as for Obama?  How about 9% unemployment in his third year in office?  That’s a negative.  At some point this has got to become the Obama Recession.  If he wants to take credit for capturing Osama Bin Ladin, then he finally has to finally take responsibility for the American economy as well.

Smart has some real advantages.  Compare Gingrich to Giuliani.  Both men are Catholic, both divorced.  But Giuliani, suffering from New York myopia, by-passed Iowa, the evangelical gateway to the GOP nomination, Gingrich has embraced it.  Both men reached out to an evangelical leader, Giuliani to Pat Robertson, Gingrich to James Dobson.  But only Gingrich was willing to speak candidly about his faith and his private life.

Remember, Iowa is the state where George W. Bush was asked about his favorite philosopher and he answered “Christ, because he changed my heart.”  Potential candidates Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty are all famous born again Christians. But while many of the other Republican candidates ignore evangelicals Newt Gingrich is the only non-evangelical Christian who openly courts them.  Which means, unlike many of the others in this race, he can count.  (48% of the American population claim to be born again Christians.)

David Lane, for one, has been impressed.  Lane is the mysterious, behind the scenes, evangelical kingmaker who stormed into Iowa in 2008 and tilted the whole thing from Romney to Huckabee. For months he has been holding large secret meetings with evangelical leaders of influence and while he has not endorsed anyone, he has offered an open door to Gingrich to speak to his crowd.  And Gingrich has wisely walked through that door.  Keep in mind, the former House Majority Leader doesn’t have to win the evangelical vote.  But he has to win a piece of it.  And that is now almost guaranteed.  Call it smart.

Gingrich is a national candidate.  While Romney can win in New Hampshire and Nevada, and Huckabee in Iowa and the South, Newt Gingrich can win anywhere.  If he has a piece of the evangelicals for his effort, he can also claim the biggest share of Catholic “movement conservatives,” the Right to Lifers and the powerful anti-taxers.  And he is the darling of the Fox News Channel.

Donald Trump is entertaining, Mitt Romney is classy, Ron Paul leads a new movement, Sarah Palin is passionate, Mike Huckabee is a good guy and what is Newt Gingrich?  He is presidential.  This has been a long time coming, decades in fact.  Tomorrow, the Newt Gingrich adventure begins.  Does he have a chance?  Sure he does. Expect some surprises. He’s smart.


Published by Doug Wead

Doug Wead is a New York Times bestselling author whose latest book, Game of Thorns, is about the Trump-Clinton 2016 election. He served as an adviser to two American presidents and was a special assistant to the president in the George H.W. Bush White House.

12 thoughts on “Newt Gingrich, the smart candidate

  1. Did you just invent a new word? ‘Obama is a political wonk. So is Gingrich.’ What specifically is a wonk? Smart, savvy, articulate? Just curious~


  2. he’s not as stupid, dishonest, far-left on half the issues and as Orwellian as Ron paul, who was stupid enough to rationalize Prostitution and Heroin legalization in addition to claiming a 90% reduction in the military budget and isolationist policy = ‘strong defense’ position.

  3. Gingrich is verbal. He is articulate. But I doubt he is any smarter than Mike Huckabee. I would be very interested in seeing the two of them debate. Like Obama, Gingrich was a Congressman who deliberated, negotiated, and sought consensus. But Huckabee has a long and successful history of executive performance as a Governor. Gingrich is thoughtful, but Huckabee is decisive.

    If it came down to Gingrich versus Huckabee, I think the image of Gingrich attacking Clinton’s infidelity while divorcing his own dying wife would overshadow any charges that Huckabee is “soft on crime” or wants to instate a “theocracy”.

  4. Another great article from Doug Wead! It will be interesting if someone can merge as serious contender to the President Barack Obama campaign. I sure do hope so! America needs change.

  5. Cromwell: this article is about Gingrich, Ron Paul, but while you are at it, may I ask do you also “rationalize” harmful alcohol use (and abuse), and if not, you should prohibit it. Paul is against the war on drugs – which is a failure BTW – and he is NOT pro-drugs by any stretch of the imagination. He said clearly such issues should be left to the states, thus consistent with the constitution and the GOP platform. Paul has never called for a reduction of 90% of the defense budget: he is for a strong defense and against the strong offense and military waste, Keynesiasm and abuse.
    Apropo Bin Laden, do you really believe the “hot air” on hotair? Tell me, who is it that clsoed the Bin Laden unit in 2005? and who does the head of the Bin laden unit – Michael Scheuer – (A devout pro-life Catholic BTW) support? Paul is for recognition of sovereignty. Tell us: if you do not trust the Pakistani’s, how come they delivered some 15 plus terrorists to the US? And even more ridiculous: why foreign aid to a country/govt. you do not trust? It does not make any sense!
    Also, in 2007 and 2008 GOP candidates like Romney and McCain, to name only two, criticized Obama specifically as he (candidate Obama) said he would ignore Pakistani sovereignty. Did you also consider Romney and McCain as “isolationsts” (you know if you want to be consistent), or you think their criticism of Obama was justified? Paul never said no action should be taken against Obama, and suggesting he meant that is ABSURD. He would have faced trial Osama Bin Laden and then he would probably he hanged like the Nazi war criminals (who killed much more people than Bin Laden BTW) and with the constitutional letters of Marque and Reprisal a specialized unit would have found Bin Laden a long time ago, and this would have meant no 5000 plus US soldiers would have died in Iraq, how many hundreds of thousands of innicent people dies and the 3 trillion (ultimate cost) USD would have been saved.
    Some things to think about….

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