(As published in the Leavenworth Times, September 30, 2011)
I admit I’m a Newt Gingrich fan. I believe that of all the candidates, he would by far be the best president. Like most of them, he is not without blemishes. They shouldn’t disqualify him.
He outclasses the other candidates on intellect, education, experience, and preparation for the presidency.
A quick biography of Newt follows: He is now 68 years old. His was a military family, and he moved about as he grew up, spending time in Europe, including France. He earned a BS degree in history from Emory University, then an MA and a PhD in Modern European History from Tulane. He taught history at West Georgia College for four years. Newt was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1978. He served there for twenty years. In 1989 he became House Minority Whip, and after the 1994 elections landslide he became Speaker of the House in 1995. Time Magazine named him Man of the Year as a result of his role in the Contract With America.
Blemishes? He’s been married three times. He cashed several checks at the US Congressional Post Office. He was hated by Democrats for allowing the government shutdown under Clinton, his impeachment support, and for helping to oust Jim Wright from the House for ethics violations. In response they fabricated ethics charges, demonized him, and essentially ran him out of office.
He stepped down as Speaker and resigned from the House effective January 1999, after a big Democrat victory due to voter’s dissatisfaction with the attempt to impeach Bill Clinton. Newt had defended himself from ethics charges brought by the Democrats in a mostly political attack. They filed eighty-four ethics charges against him; eighty-three of them were dropped. The remaining charge concerned a 20-hour college course called “Renewing American Civilization” that Gingrich had taught through a tax-deductible foundation. On January 21, 1997, the House voted 395 to 28 to reprimand Gingrich, including a $300,000 “cost assessment” to recoup money spent on the investigation.
In 1999, the IRS cleared the organizations connected with the courses.
After stepping down, Newt showed his versatility and amazing talents, gaining valuable experience and depth in many enterprises. For over twenty years, he has taught a course at the US Air Force’s Air University. He is an honorary Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Professor at the National Defense University and teaches officers from all of the defense services. Gingrich is also a fellow at conservative think tanks the American Enterprise Institute and Hoover Institution, focusing on U.S. politics, world history, national security policy, and environmental policy issues. He has authored 23 books, including several fine historical fiction novels and many books on American political issues.
What sells me on Newt is that he has specific, fully spelled out solutions for America’s problems. Visit his website at www.Newt.org to see some of them. He advocates applying the Six Sigma method, widely used in business, to reorganize the Federal Government into a much more efficient enterprise.
Newt is brilliant, but some think he knows it too well. Americans have a knack for choosing the wrong candidate, and he’ll probably fade away. We’ll never know the benefits of having a truly competent man in the office.