Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Is a Newt Gingrich a viable republican candidate for 2012

Newt Gingrich is my personal favorite of all the republicans candidates for president.  He's also the smartest, and the candidate I think would hold up best in a debate.  Yet he may also be a quintessential example of how your greatest strengths can become your greatest weakness.

Gingrich is also a perfect example of how experience can hurt you in the run up to president.  For one thing, it's been over 100 years since a representative won the nomination for either party in a presidential race, and this is for a reason.  Senators tend to have trouble also for the same reason:  voters know your voting record all to well.

Yet this can be a strength too.  We know that Gingrich brings a lot of baggage, such that he's been thrice married, recently switched to Catholicism, received money as a possible lobbyist, etc.  Yet he's open and honest about these, and all the cards have been on the table for years.  There are no new secrets -- or so we'd hope -- in the closet.  We already know he's not perfect.

Every one knows Gingrich is an ardent conservative.  He can get up on stage and say the truth about America and how to better the country.  When I watched George Bush speak, or debate, I feared he'd make a mistake.  I would never feel that way about Gingrich.  He is down right one of the smartest candidates who can hold his own better than anyone.

The problem here is that he might not be seen as a serious enough candidate.  Likewise, he has a history of being very partisan.  When independents vote for president they want someone who is at least seen as someone who can cross party lines and get things done.  Gingrich does not give that impression.

However, he did work well with Bill Clinton on getting capital gains taxes cut in 1993, and this may have been the sole reason the economy stayed afloat after Bill Clinton raised taxes.  As we all know, capital gains tax cuts is the number one best way to get an economy rolling, or to keep it rolling.

He also worked to get welfare reform passed and to to get the budget balanced.  Yet these successes are seen as great on the republican side, yet independents and democrats may not see them as so great.  While democrats don't matter so much, independents do.

Another thing Gingrich has in his bag are some gaffes he's made and his personal life which hasn't been so perfect.  Yet this can be overlooked as we saw when Ronald Reagan was elected despite having gone through a divorce, and Bill Clinton was re-elected despite the Monica Lewinski scandal.

Gingrich might have been a great candidate once upon a time, yet he doesn't appear to be a good candidate today.  He's not necessarily a tea party candidate.  He's even said some things, and endorsed certain candidates, that make us think he's part of the republican party establishment.

So I think Gingrich would be a great president if he could get elected, yet for that to happen he's going to have to spark some sort of buzz.  Aside from a spark that creates a buzz, I think a vote for Gingrich would detract from any other viable candidate.

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