No Newt is good Newt



Ryan Bendinelli

Newt Gingrich was one of the most intelligent politicians America ever saw. His efforts to retake the House of Representatives for Republicans in 1994 demonstrated a true understanding of what the people wanted. Gingrich spearheaded efforts for reform in Washington, especially in seeking openness in Congressional committee meetings. He was willing to identify members of both parties who had abused their positions, particularly in a 1990 banking scandal.

If any particular face is associated with the term “vast right-wing conspiracy,” it is that of the former speaker. Conservatives and liberals can rest easy knowing that Gingrich will not be running for president in 2008.

The battle between Gingrich and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton would have been a dream come true for columnists and political operatives. All of the major news outlets would re-run the tapes from the impeachment proceedings. The stories of Clinton’s proposals for universalized healthcare – and Gingrich’s attacks on big government – would be back in the air. Bad blood is a gross misrepresentation of the rivalry between the two. There is a better chance that Satan will beg God for forgiveness before Gingrich and Clinton sit down for coffee.

A competition between Gingrich and Clinton would be too personal. If there is any sign of decency and principle left in Washington, it would be thrown away by an election whose entire purpose would be vindication. For Gingrich, it would be the return to glory after his downfall from the role of Speaker of the House.

For Clinton, it would be revenge on the man who viciously pursued her husband. It would be a chance to remind America that Gingrich himself had been cheating on his wife, even as he criminalized Bill Clinton. The battle between Gingrich and Clinton would have nothing to do with the United States of America, or its best interest. As much fun as it would be to write about, it would be terrible for the country.

In the Oct. 8 issue of Newsweek, Mitt Romney spoke openly about Clinton in her role as the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination. He said one of the most mature things a politician can say, especially in an already intense race for the presidency: “Republicans and our philosophy will make the nation stronger and more prosperous and peaceful than would the opposition. I don’t think Clinton is aimed in the right direction. I respect her as a thinking person. I’d love to debate her. Look forward to it. But I think our party has the right answers.” No personal attack. No mention of past failures. It is a simple expression that he believes his own ideas are stronger.

America needs attitudes similar to those of Romney. He even went so far as to criticize his own party, saying that it needs to clean up its own act and restore the trust the American people placed in the GOP. Romney noted there are clear problems in American politics, especially with earmark abuses and mismanagement of the Iraq war. Oddly enough, Romney sounded like Gingrich in 1994.

This shows how important fresh faces are. An old idea can become new again and carry the same effectiveness without the baggage of the past.


Ryan Bendinelli is a senior political science major from Millington, N.J. He can be reached at [email protected].