With the Republicans still trying to figure out how to move forward, conservative columnist Robert Novak has suggested that the 2012 Presidential election may be the perfect time for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to return to national politics. From the article:
One Republican critic of Gingrich concedes that he has an “unlimited” energy flow and a constant stream of ideas, an important commodity in a party that appears to have run short of ideas during the Bush years. But there is widespread concern about what is described in the party as Gingrich’s deep “character flaws” that would be difficult to overcome in a presidential campaign. Nobody in Republican ranks, however, matches Gingrich’s dynamism.
This may be true, but I have to wonder how Gingrich fits into today’s political world. As detailed in this blog before, Gingrich has spent a good deal of time building his think tank around the idea of bipartisan support for certain political issues. And as all students of political history know, then-Speaker Gingrich brought a Republican majority back to Congress in 1994 with his Contract with America plan. I think this is what the Republicans are looking for in 2012, but they need more than a new Contract with America.
The reason that Gingrich and his team swept into office in 1994 was because a majority of Americans never really wanted President Bill Clinton to be elected in the 1992 election and thus dissatisfaction with his first two years as Commander-in-Chief was as easy campaign rallying cry. That sentiment does not exist right now with President-elect Obama and, frankly, I’m not sure that he’s going to lose momentum as quickly as President Clinton did in the early 1990’s.
So while certain conservatives may think that Gingrich is the choice for 2012 (and, by the way, I think that he’d make a fine President), the Republicans need to remember the circumstances that brought Gingrich and the Republicans to power in 1994. Plus they have to consider that Sarah Palin has widespread support among Republicans and conservatives as well as in the Midwest states. Yes, the ultra liberal northeast and California electorates absolutely hate Palin (though none of them can offer significant reasons for that hate), but the rest of America seems to be on her side. She’ll be a tough contender in 2012 if she decides to run.
Then you have guys like Rudy, Huckabee, Romney, and Jindal who can all make waves in 2012. Until then, though, be prepare to read more speculative articles like Mr. Novak’s – I think it’s going to be fun!