Friday, September 09, 2005

In Praise of Newt

The Moose observes that we have reached such an extraordinary moment in our political life that the voice of sober minded reason is Newt Gingrich.

Despite the fevered efforts of the right, it is becoming conventional wisdom that the Bushies failed the American people in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. Having largely arrived at that conclusion, there is now a demand that we rebuild the Gulf region and help our fellow citizens put their lives back together. The American people are pragmatic - they want solutions and the politicians that deliver will be rewarded. Those who fail will be punished.

Enter the former Speaker. While he was a flawed politician, Newt is also a visionary. New evidence about Newt's ability to think outside the box is found in an important column by David Ignatius in today's Washington Post. He writes,

"Now listen to what Gingrich has to say about "changing the playbook" after Katrina. His comments are drawn from two memos he has circulated to Republican leaders since the storm hit and from a conversation we had this week exploring some of his ideas.

"Gingrich argues that the values debate that has divided America so sharply during the past decade is over. There's a broad consensus about most issues, and anyway people realize that the country's big problems aren't about morality but performance. "We're not in a values fight now but over whether the system is working," Gingrich told me. "The issue is delivery." And that's true at every level -- city, state and federal."

While Newt is critical of the Adminstration's performance, he offers innovative solutions,

"The former speaker has some classic Gingrich zingers for how to rev up the rebuilding effort. He wants to turn the Gulf Coast into a "Zone of Recovery, Reconstruction and Prosperity," by offering a 25 percent tax credit for all job-creating investment in the region over the next three years. And he wants to create a cadre of "entrepreneurial public managers" who can replace the leaden public bureaucracy and get things done on Internet time, with the reliability of FedEx or UPS."

Ignatius then offers a critical insight about the Katrina aftermath,

"This is the moment for the Party of Performance to take center stage. The breakdown in public life was obvious before Katrina. We have a government that can't control its borders, can't find a viable strategy for its war in Iraq, can't organize the key agencies to address the terrorism problems it has been trumpeting. The yearning in the country for something different has been palpable this year."

Ignatius and Gingrich deeply understand the political psychology of the American people. They are fundamentally not ideological nor partisan, but rather they are pragmatists. In 1980, they elected the conservative Reagan because he pledged to end inflation and restore respect for America in the world. In 1992, Americans elected Clinton because he promised to address the concerns of the middle class. In 2009, they will likely elect a politician who will bring the country back together again and fix the failing institutions.

Newt Gingrich will not be our next President. However, he is probably one of the most insightful public figures at the moment. Those who would be President should heed his counsel.

Who will lead the Party of Performance?
-- Posted at 8:05 AM | Link to this post | Email this post