Making Newt’s Baggage Disappear
By: Ed “Doc” Holliday
If I were a political cartoonist I would draw a wide-eyed taxi driver with a look of shock, as a smug-faced Newt Gingrich calmly says, “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, as soon as we get all my bags on, please. If we strap some on the top I think we can make them all fit.” Then I would draw and label about 30 pieces of luggage stacked and waiting to be loaded into a taxi obviously not large enough to transport all Newt’s baggage. That is exactly the picture that the American voters are seeing. A bold and confident Newt with political insiders like the taxi driver who cannot believe what they are hearing.
Newt has assumed the front-runner status for now in a topsy-turvy race for the Republican presidential nomination. Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and the ever-steady (but never able to get beyond 24% in the polls) Mitt Romney have all been at the top. But Newt has managed to climb into the catbird’s seat just before the Iowa caucuses. Is all the baggage that Newt has accumulated over his political career disappearing as if it was in a magician’s stage act? The answer is absolutely not. But starting with the tea party movement, Newt’s baggage is becoming more and more extraneous—it is slowly becoming immaterial to his ability to be elected president.
Why Newt’s baggage is becoming irrelevant to many voters is because first and foremost they want a change in the White House. The tea party would love to have a purely ideological conservative that met everyone’s dream, but the tea party does not have a leader or a rigid criteria list on which they can all agree. I’ve spoken about this many times on my radio show, “Doc Holliday’s Tea Party” on www.webtalkradio.net but now, as the presidential campaign is becoming more and more focused, the tea party may actually pick which candidate gets nominated for the Republican Party.
What is relevant is making sure that President Obama does not get re-elected. The numerous debates have positioned Gingrich as the best debater. He is quick with an answer and his challenging questions sometimes have the ability to cut like a two-edged sword. For example, he asks why wouldn’t President Obama engage him in a long Lincoln-Douglas style debate. Newt’s answer is that if the President should refuse to such a debate then he would start following the President around the country and speaking four hours after the President everywhere he went in order to rebuke all his rhetoric. Such a confident answer coupled with Newt’s proven success in the Republican debates plays into the tea party’s hands—because the tea party wants action. The tea party is tired of talking, tired of ideological posturing in both houses of Congress and tired of politicians who say they are cutting the budget even as the national debt keeps rising. The tea party wants a fighter ready to aggressively defend the U.S. Constitution. To make a long story short, the tea party is sick and tired of witnessing 535 members of Congress, as well as the President of the United States, all taking an oath of office swearing to defend the U.S. Constitution only to see this document, that is supposed to defend all citizens from excessive and aggressive government, being ripped to shreds by the very elected citizens who swore an oath to defend it.
President Obama has ignored the U.S. Constitution in so many ways that the tea party stays stirred up like tea in a blender going full blast. For example, the President unilaterally declared that he will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act that Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law. Obama does not care that it is law and the Constitution declares that the Executive branch shall enforce the law; he just said he would not defend it. Same thing with our borders and illegal aliens. This administration has not defended our borders and ignores the laws that Congress has made. And again with Libya, the War Powers Act was laughed at by this administration and the mainstream media. Our U.S. Congress refused to defend the U.S. Constitution. Is there any wonder why the tea party wants to “throw all the bums out!” But where does Newt fit into this picture?
As Newt has risen in the polls he has had several articles written comparing him to Great Britain’s Winston Churchill. Churchill was known as a robust conservative voice who had seen his better days in the late 1930’s. Even those who knew Churchill well feared that he could not unite the country in Britain’s hour of severe danger. As Hitler’s hand seemed stacked for victory, Churchill’s vast knowledge and experience in politics proved that he was the man not only for the hour, but the man of the 20th Century in the eyes of many because of his leadership during World War II. Could Newt Gingrich with all his baggage win the presidency and use his vast knowledge and political experience to crank up America’s economic engines, redirect our foreign policy so that countries throughout the world would seek to be our allies, and usher in an age of peace and prosperity? That is what the tea party wants. That is what Republicans want. And that is what the American people want. Such a scenario is what America needs. Can Newt Gingrich, who has been a long-time part of the “establishment,” who has accepted payments from Freddie and Fannie as a consultant for over a million dollars, who has shown bouts of bizarre inspirations along with his better ideas, be trusted? He has a personal life that leaves a trail of betrayals, misrepresentations, and moments where Newt showed a lack of thoughtful judgments. The question remains: Can the new Newt be trusted?
Judson Phillips of the Tea Party Nation was the first national tea party leader that I am aware of who endorsed Newt for president when Newt’s poll numbers were in the low single digits. I remember speaking with Judson at the Tea Party Express/CNN debate on September 12th in Tampa. It would not be an understatement that very few in the tea party crowd there thought that Newt had much of a chance of getting the nomination at that time. In fact, when Judson came out in support of Newt right after the debate in Tampa, I thought he was casting his influence much too soon. I was at that time thinking that Herman Cain could be the sweet tooth of the tea party. Cain has fallen from the race now and many of his supporters are turning to Newt. Why?
Last week’s debate performance on ABC once again showed the Gingrich wit and intelligence that attracts the former Cain supporters. I also think that Cain’s supporters resent the mainstream media’s attempt to tell them how they should approach Newt. Many left-leaning reporters and political pundits have written articles suggesting—and sometimes outright declaring—that the tea party would dissolve into oblivion if they turned to the candidate that has been very much a part of the establishment over the past three decades. The tea party is a lot of things to a lot of people but it does not dance to the music supplied by far-Left media agendas. The insulting insinuations that liberal reporters write to the tea party how they should stay pure and stay away from Gingrich do nothing but encourage the tea party to gravitate towards Gingrich. Another reason why many of Cain’s supporters are going to Newt is because they know Newt has been in the battle. Sometimes Newt has been on the wrong side of tea party issues in his past political career but the tea party is willing to forgive and forget:
1) If they believe that Newt has learned from his mistakes.
2) If they believe that Newt will tackle Obamacare with two knives slashing on day one in the White House.
3) If they believe that Newt will bring strong conservative voices alongside him in his administration who will keep Newt from excessive tinkering when his occasional volcanic brain activity spews out too many ideas without time for conservative scrutiny.
4) If they believe this man who helped balance the federal budget in the late 1990’s will aggressively cut federal spending and work to balance the budget once again.
5) If they believe that the Newt who courted the tea party will continue to stand by its side even when he lives in the White House.
If Newt Gingrich can make the tea party trust him on these five things then Republicans will be able to trust him; independents, too. In 2012, if others begin to trust Newt then we will likely see even dissatisfied Democrats gravitating toward this man with so much baggage. Trust is Newt’s key to successfully winning the White House. It has started with the tea party now, but ultimately how many Americans will trust this man?
It all may go back to the Biblical parable about the prodigal son. This is the story where a father gives his youngest son his inheritance. The younger son asked for the money and then went far away and spent all the money in sinful living until, his depravity expended, he came back humbly to ask to work just as a servant. The forgiving father threw a huge party for his returning son and accepted him as his son. Now, I’m not calling Newt the prodigal son; he is not. But many in the conservative movement are like the prodigal son’s older brother who resented his father’s welcoming party for his wayward brother. The elder brother showed his self-righteousness and missed a huge blessing. The lesson here is that if conservatives cannot forgive and forget Newt’s baggage, then they and all America may miss a huge blessing in November 2012.