Sunday, May 6, 2012

Newt Gingrich's Real Change 1

In Newt Gingrich's Real Change, I read Chapter One, "The Myth of Red America versus Blue America", and Chapter Two, "An Unreformed Right: Why Republicans Failed to Govern Successfully".  I have three items.

1.  I thought that Newt's tone was contradictory, in areas.  He criticizes the Republicans for running polarizing rather than solutions-oriented campaigns and for appealing primarily to the base and not independents, yet he says that most of the nation is center-right whereas liberals are a fringe minority, which is a polarizing statement.  He asserts that most of the country is center-right, noting that liberal Democrats have lost badly in Presidential elections and that Democrats only come to power when Republicans botch things up, yet he excoriates Republicans in the House and Senate for being too accustomed to being the minority party (even when they are the majority), while he states that Democrats at least have strategies to govern.  This presumes that people are comfortable enough with the Democrats to give them power for long periods of time!  Newt says that Democrats know how to build coalitions, whereas Republicans don't know how to govern, yet he criticizes Republicans who are overly cooperative with Democrats.

2.  I applaud Newt for being solutions-oriented.  But there is a salient part of his political method that appeals to polarization.  Politicians and pundits have blamed him for shattering the spirit of cooperation that used to exist in Congress.  And Newt has not minced words in bashing his opponents in the 2012 race for the Republican nomination for President.  If only he could be more of the solutions-oriented leader that shines through his books, speeches, and debates.

3.  Is America center-right?  I agree with Newt that some of the items he lists indicate a center-right orientation: a belief that public schools should have a moment-of-silence, a view that there should be more drilling for oil, and support for nuclear power and a flat tax with exemptions.  But I don't think that it's particularly center-right or right-wing to view Al-Qaeda as a threat, for even Democrats hold that point-of-view.  Moreover, I think that many Americans would be uncomfortable with the far right----with its criticisms of Medicare and Social Security.

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