Saturday, January 08, 2005

She turned me into a Newt

Even those of us who find his politics and personality distasteful have to give some grudging respect to Newt Gingrich. He is a man of vision who isn't afraid to talk about bold ideas, two qualities that helped propel him to Speaker of the House a decade ago and end 40 years of Democratic rule in Congress. But he's arrogant and mean, and in trying to gut numerous federal programs he vastly overestimated Americans' appetite for smaller government. (Most Americans want to cut government programs, except those that benefit them.) He was a perfect foil for Bill Clinton, who used Gingrich to rescue his own political fortunes.

Now, there's talk Gingrich may run for president, which I'm tempted to write off as a conspiracy to help Democrats raise money. I'm glad to hear he's a critic of the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq, yet despite my admiration for his political skills I find Gingrich to be a rather despicable human being. I also think his odds of winning a national election are slim. Or that's what I'd like to think, at least.


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