Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich captured a coveted endorsement on Sunday when The New Hampshire Union Leader, the only statewide newspaper there, began a lead editorial with the following words:
This newspaper endorses Newt Gingrich in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary…America is at a crucial crossroads. It is not going to be enough to merely replace Barack Obama next year. We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing.
An added bonus came in the form of praise from influential conservative Jed Babbin who wrote in The American Spectator that Gingrich “is the only one of the eight contenders who won’t require on-the-job training on defense and national security.”
Gingrich already had reason to give thanks over a weekend designated as a time for gratitude. Poll averages at Real Clear Politics for the week ahead of Thanksgiving (Nov. 13-20) showed Gingrich in the lead among his fellow Republican candidates, with an average of 23.8 compared to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s 21.3 percent. The only other candidates polling above 5 percent are businessman Herman Cain with 15.5, Libertarian leaner Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) with 8.0 and Texas Governor Rick Perry with 8.0 percent.
As Gingrich rose in the polls, anticipated attacks followed but he appeared unperturbed, telling media a frontrunner should expect it.
Most of Gingrich’s supporters are aware of his alleged baggage. Those same supporters are also aware of what Gingrich actually accomplished—leading the successful effort to gain Republicans’ first House majority after 40 years of Democrats’ control, the first balanced federal budget in a generation, extensive welfare reform and the first tax cut in nearly two decades.
However, there’s an overlooked allure in Gingrich as president. That allure has to do with Gingrich’s love of history and his understanding of how history works.
As far as Gingrich’s own history goes, most Americans understand the former Speaker brought some baggage on himself. However most also understand Gingrich was attacked in other ways for pure political gain, not only by Democrats but also by some of his fellow Republicans.
Gingrich is painfully aware, just as President Barack Obama must be, that this particular time in US history will be one of the most intensively documented times in all of the country’s history.
Therefore it stands to reason that Gingrich will make every effort to fulfill what he promises on the campaign trail. No statesman wants to be remembered in a negative light. Should Gingrich win the presidency, he would likely perform his duties from a standpoint of wanting to be remembered as the president who, as he often says, “reset” the country.
Lines from William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar come to mind:
“The evil that men do lives after them/The good is oft interred with their bones.” [Act iii. Sc. 2]
Gingrich is the only candidate in a long time who comes to the table with both passion for and expertise in history. Those are assets that would likely serve voters well if the former Speaker wins the presidency in 2012.