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.
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
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