GOP candidate Newt Gingrich is the topic of this discussion. Herein I will lay out what information is available about Mr. Gingrich’s platform and a bit about his personal/public life. I will try to focus on the issues, at first, then wrap up the discussion with a section entitled “Opinions” wherein I will lay out my take on his platform and my appraisal of his chances to snab (that’s a technical term) the GOP nomination for president in 2012.
Well, let’s get to it, then, shall we?
MEET THE MAN
Former Speaker of the U.S. House
“I’m announcing my candidacy for President of the United States, because I believe we can return America to hope and opportunity, to full employment, to real security, to an American energy program, to a balanced budget.” Gingrich announcement video, May 11, 2011.
Birthplace: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Family: Callista Gingrich (wife); Children: Two daughters with Jackie Battley (first wife)
Religion: Roman Catholic (formerly Baptist; converted in March ’09)
Current job: Chairman, American Solutions for Winning the Future; college professor
Previous experience: Has never run for president
Most Recent Book Written: “To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine” (2010)
PAC: American Solutions PAC
Total 2010 Receipts (from Dec. report): $736,708.60
Cash on Hand (from Dec. report): $64,716.60
PROS: Name ID. Goodwill among party base. Seen as “ideas guy,” big thinker and intellectual heavyweight. Skilled grassroots organizer.
CONS: Messy personal life, including multiple divorces. Fundraising: He’s been able to raise for his 527 groups but those don’t have the restrictive limits that presidential candidate has to live under.
(Information and picture from: 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates)
(Taken in order as listed here).
Jobs and the Economy Mr. Gingrich’s plan centers around repealing The Affordable Healthcare Act (derisively called Obamacare on the website) and making the Bush-era tax cuts for the top 1-2% permanent as a means of job creation. (Source: )
Tell the Truth about National Security: This part of his plan focuses on combating “radical Islamism, a belief system adhered to by a small minority of Muslims but nonetheless a powerful and organized ideology within Islāmic thought that is totally incompatible with the modern world.”
The plan also focuses on an emphasis on math and science “to ensure the men and women of our Armed Forces always have the most advanced and powerful weapons in the world at their disposal.” (No mention of using math and science to get bigger crop yields or to further the quality of life). (Source: Tell the Truth about National Security).
An American Energy Plan: Highlights of this plan are: the dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency its replacement by an organization called the Environmental Solutions Agency “that would use incentives and work cooperatively with local government and industry to achieve better environmental outcomes while considering the impact of federal environmental policies on job creation and the cost of energy.” (Which, I’m sorry, sounds like a rubber stamp organization if ever there was one). (Source: An American Energy Plan).
Note, also, that this would not shrink government, just replace one government agency with another that is more pliable to the candidates needs.
Healthcare: Healthcare is easily one of the most contentious issues out there in the political spectrum. Mr. Gingrich’s plan focuses on some reform measures and a lot of repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act (again, called Obamacare on the site). Among his plans: “Speed medical breakthroughs to patients by reforming the Food and Drug Administration.”
That sounds good on the surface, but, the rules for getting a new drug to the public include extensive testing for side-effects and other testing. Rushing the process could lead to more, medicine related, injuries and lots of problems down the line. And of course, lawsuits.
Mr. Gingrich has a plan for the lawsuits, though: “Stop junk lawsuits that drive up the cost of medicine with medical malpractice reform.” No word on what constitutes a “junk lawsuit,” though. (Source: Healthcare).
Protecting Life and Religious Liberty: We now enter into the social arena, Friends. Mr. Gingrich’s plan focuses on several areas. Here’s his plan, in full:
“The revolutionary idea contained in the Declaration of Independence is that certain fundamental human rights, including the right to life, are gifts from God and cannot be given nor taken away by government. Yet, secular radicals are trying to remove “our Creator” – the source of our rights – from public life. Newt has an aggressive strategy to defend life and religious liberty in America. Principles to protect life and religious liberty in America.”
1.) Nominate conservative judges who are committed to upholding Constitutional limited government and understand that the role of the judges is to interpret the law, not legislate from the bench.
(If this is true, why do they have to be conservative?)
2.) Combat judicial activism by utilizing checks on judicial power Constitutionally available to the elected branches of government.
(This is exactly what’s been happening, but I guess since its not a conservative judge that is doing it, it is somehow wrong).
3.) End taxpayer subsidies for abortion by repealing Obamacare, defunding Planned Parenthood, and reinstating the “Mexico City Policy” which banned funding to organizations that promote and/or perform abortions overseas.
(I believe the term is "Get out of my uterus!" Maybe conservatives should listen).
4.) Protect religious expression in the public square such as crosses, crèches and menorahs.
(What about pentagrams and other religious symbols? Are they on your Protect List?)
5.) Protect healthcare workers right to conscience by making sure they are not forced to participate in or refer procedures such as abortion.
(Okay, on this, we sort of see eye-to-eye, here. I can support the right to conscience, but, if someone is in need of help, they should, at the least, refer them to someone who will perform the procedure).
6.) Protect the rights of home-schooled children by ensuring they have the same access to taxpayer-funded, extra-curricular educational opportunities as any public school student.
(On the surface, I don't have a problem with this).
7.) Protect the rights of teachers to use historical examples involving religion in their classroom. Nor should they be discouraged from answering questions about religion or discussing it objectively in the classroom.
(The main problem with this is there are few people who can discuss religion objectively without interjecting their own viewpoints. If a devoutly religious person is teaching history, for example, and s/he's allowed to mention religion, are they, honestly, going to notmention it in a favorable context, even if the lesson casts religion is a bad light? I tend to think no).
8.) Protect the frail, infirm and the elderly from the state’s arbitrary decision to terminate life. (Source: Protecting Live and Religious Liberty).
(What the fuck? Over. . . .? I don’t even know where to begin on this last point).
There’s no direct mention of GLBT issues in Mr. Gingrich’s stated platform, but he’s no friend of equality.
Official Website: You can learn more about Newt Gingrich and his platform at Newt 2012.
While Mr. Gingrich has the name recognition among older voters, younger voters haven’t a real clue about who he is. In a time when Generation: Whatever is more supportive of our differences, a candidate that doesn’t support marriage equality will have a tough time in the 18-25 demographic. (Probably no more than 10-15% and those being conservatives through-and-through).
I also don’t foresee a huge turn-out of women voters, as Mr. Gingrich has said some spectacularly stupid things about women in the past. For example, he once said that women can’t fight in the infantry because they menstruate and that would be a distraction in the field. I doubt he’ll draw more than 10% of the available female demographic and most of those will be staunch conservatives.
The African-American vote: No more than 5-10%, at most.
GLBT vote: 1-2% and those are the staunch conservative branch of this demographic. Most of the GLBT vote will probably go to Ron Paul or Barack Obama, to be honest.
Elderly: 30% at most, again staunch conservatives and evangelicals, despite the fact that he favors gutting Medicare/Medicade and replacing it with a voucher system. (I.e.- The Ryan Budget).
Middle/Working Class: 30%, maybe. Since he’s favoring wealthy tax payers and no one else, Mr. Gingrich probably won’t ignite too many of these voters. Thirty per cent is an optimistic number. The real number is probably closer to 15%.
Chance to Advance in the GOP Primary: 45%
Overall Number in a General Election: 35-45% of the total vote. Obama retains the White House.
That’s my view. If anyone thinks I’ve missed something, please let me know. The percentages are based on my gut feelings and not on any mathematical model, so please don’t read anything more into them than that.
Gingrich Supporters: Did I miss something? Is there anything that is factually wrong in what I wrote? Let me know so I can correct it.