How Fit is he for the Job?
Newt Gingrich announced today he would begin raising money for an exploratory committee, widely seen as the first step towards the pursuit of the Republican nomination for the presidential elections of November 2012.
His friends regard him as having a lively, roaming intellect, of being a dime-store polymath. From the review of his policy positions below, you might feel he’s more a bar room bore.
Take this, of President Obama:
What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?….That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.
He seemed oblivious of the fact that Obama was raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, and his college education was in California, New York and Boston.
On Sharia, Gingrich is as one with the worst demagogues on the US Right: “One of the things I am going to suggest today is a federal law which says no court anywhere in the United States under any circumstance is allowed to consider Sharia as a replacement for American law.”
Gingrich believes the Bush administration policy on North Korea and Iran was “a form of appeasement” and a “lawyer-diplomatic fantasy that talking while North Korea builds bombs while the Iranians build bombs and missiles is progress.”
Well, Mr. Gingrich, be explicit. Are you advocating the bombing of North Korea? Do you have any notion of what that would mean for South Korea?
He is capable of tub-thumping economic nationalism, even working himself into a lather about the sale of the New York Stock Exchange to Europeans, seeing it as “a fundamental blow to our capacity to lead the world and create jobs.”
There is no intelligent, market-based response to global environmental degradation. He has called for a change to the name of the Environmental Protection Agency, to baptise it an “Environmental Solutions Agency.” He says, “We should end the EPA’s war against American oil and gas… Every time we stop Americans, we strengthen our enemies and we weaken our economy.”
The Bush administration placed every environmental agency in the federal government in the hands of representatives of resource companies or their lobbyists. This clown would go further.
Actually, it is a pity. Other positions are sensible. He wants tort law reform for doctors, winding back the American propensity to sue medical specialists which makes a heap of money for lawyers and forces up the cost of insurance cover that neo-natal specialists and neurosurgeons have to buy. This keeps medical costs excessively high and does cry out for reform. His plan for state bankruptcy is, from a Republican perspective, a cunning bit of policy making. On education he’s committed to a rigorous focus on maths and science (so is everybody) but, sadly, will allow the reintroduction of school prayer when one of America’s noblest characteristics is secular education.
Postscript. He recently said that “the secular socialist machine” – by which he measns the Obama administration – represents as big a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. You would move sideways from anyone you heard saying that on the street, especially in America here they may be armed. One columnist noted he had never been elected to anything more than a Congressional seat in Georgia and his time as Speaker was marked by petulance and conflict, achieving little but enhancing the Democratic President Bill Clinton. His announcement of a sort-of candidacy was seen as blundered and a disincentive to any potential financial backers. Good news so far for the White House. The year is starting well.