Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia was the noted architect of the highly successful "Contract with America" that put our country back on the road to recovery and pragmatic conservatism.
Newt has been a friend nearly 50 years. After leaving Congress, a major interest was health care reform. In a subsequent conversation he told me "Ted, a party spokesman can't be the party leader unless he is president. With Clinton president, I became the party spokesman when we gained control of the House with the Contract with America and I became speaker. In governing, you represent all people, not just those in your own party. You must make principled compromises. Many GOP freshmen who ran on the Contract were upset at the compromises necessary to pass the promised legislation and rebelled."
Gingrich is the most brilliant, innovative and effective governance practitioner I've seen since I started studying politics seriously during the Eisenhower years. To get our country back on track, I can think of no better leader for the challenges we face than Newt.
When the November elections are over, I'd like to see him form the prerequisite exploratory committee for the 2012 presidential nomination.
I know Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee and maybe Charlie Crisp and Rudy Giuliani also are interested. All are good people with varying strengths and all more qualified for president than Barack Obama. Any could be a good vice president, chief of staff or cabinet secretary.
This may be impossible, but if Newt could convince Colin Powell our country needs his abilities more now than ever before and persuade him to be his running mate, it could be the political coup of coups.
Powell understands diplomacy (former commanding general and secretary of state). He understands national defense and the war on international terrorism (national security adviser and secretary of defense). He'd be in the unique position of having endorsed Obama then watching such miserable performance. Admitting a mistake would speak tons and draw a sizeable minority of black and independent voters.
Changing course: I don't know the inside strategies of Roy Barnes' and Nathan Deal's gubernatorial campaigns. Here's what they appear to me.
Barnes has his mud machine is in overdrive, apparently hoping nonstop barrages of corruption allegations will cement doubts in Georgia voters. He's spiced up the mud with references to grand jury and possible criminal trial and being so focused on saving his hide that Deal couldn't devote the attention needed to govern.
Contrary to Barnes' commercials, the facts are: 1, No grand jury is probing Deal, hence no probable criminal trial; and 2, Deal didn't resign from Congress in the dark of midnight to stop an investigation into his ethics. He announced last fall he would resign to run for governor and later added at the urging of Georgians he'd wait until the Obama health care vote. He resigned after that vote effective at midnight.
Barnes has kept lying non-stop about Deal but said precious little about what HE would do and how he proposes to pay for it .
Deal released 29 returns, four more than Barnes brags he released. They showed exactly what already has been reported. Barnes nonetheless says failure to include detailed schedules shows Deal is still hiding things.
Were something wrong with the schedules, IRS auditors would be all over Deal. Every IRS-licensed tax professional knows it even if Barnes doesn't.
Nathan Deal is no crook, and his integrity is rock solid.
Advice to the "Real Deal:" Don't stoop to Barnes' level. Emphasize what you'll do and how to pay.
Don't forget the Kiwanis pancake breakfast at the civic center, 7-11:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
Ted Oglesby is retired associate and opinion editor of The Times. You can contact him at P.O. Box 663, Gainesville, GA 30503. His column appears biweekly on Tuesdays and on gainesvilletimes.com.