…and I agree with Newt Gingrich here.
Anyone who followed the primaries knows I’m not a fan of Gingrich the candidate or the man. I’m not going to rehash those arguments; just do a search for his name on this blog if you’re interested, and the links will come up.
But I do sometimes agree with him. Although I think he’s a very bad and basically unappealing candidate for national office, with baggage that needs a truck to haul it around and little or no personal appeal, I admire his intelligence and his fighting spirit, two things that are needed on the conservative side (I would have added “his conservative principles,” but I think he compromised them too often in the last couple of years).
I’ve thought for quite some time that he’s needed not as a candidate but as some sort of idea-generator. He’s known for spinning off ideas, half of them half-baked and half excellent. Other people would need to sort out the wheat from the chaff, and Gingrich is difficult to work with. But I still think he can lend quite a bit to the rethinking that has to go on for the Republican Party to be vital in the future (note I don’t say “continue to be vital”).
[NOTE: Very shortly after the 2012 election, commenter "Gary Rosen" pointed out this post-election piece by Gingrich. I meant to write about it but never got around to mentioning it till now; I think it shows the proper spirit and I agree with virtually all of it.
However, I think the problem is much bigger than Gingrich addresses, and is deeply systemic and has nothing to do with the GOP and everything to do with American culture: education, press, entertainment, what I've come to think of as The Big Three. And it's been going on for decades and really since early in the 20th century. If you want to, you can even trace it back further, because it has very deep roots.]