Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been skulking around the Republican presidential primary race in recent months, saying that announcing this early is “stupid” and, in the mean time, attempting to build grassroots support by running a separate campaign, ostensibly not on behalf of himself, but for “the future.” On the web site of his futuristic organization, called “American Solutions for Winning the Future,” you can count down the days until September 27, when Gingrich will apparently let the cat out of the bag. Meanwhile, he’s been rebuilding contacts (confessing adultery to James Dobson, for example) and working to reestablish his “intellectual firebrand” reputation on the Right that he lost after the unpopularity of the government shutdown and the Clinton impeachment – along with his own scandals – led him to resign from the House.
Gingrich’s operation recently commissioned a poll to prove support for his ideas; according to Gingrich, “By 84 to 12, the American People Support the Key Proposition of American Solutions.” Just what are these ideas? From Gingrich’s newsletter:
92% believe we need to provide long-term solutions instead of short-term fixes (only 5% believe it is unimportant);
80% believe we must strengthen and revitalize America’s core values (only 9% believe that is unimportant); and
67% favor moving the government into the 21st Century (only 15% believe that is unimportant).
That’s right: The people of this nation prefer “solutions” to “fixes,” are in favor of our “core values,” and generally support a government located in the same time period as its citizenry. Other results from the poll show widespread support for “Defeating America’s enemies” and belief in the prediction that “new technology and science” will “open up incredible possibilities” – in “a variety of fields”!
Since Gingrich — famous for pushing the far-right “Contract with America” and for his aggressive, no-holds-barred attack on the Clinton Administration — is not going to be running on the Care Bears ticket, it’s unclear why he’s spending so much money promoting these vague platitudes. While he retains his “gut connection” with the GOP’s right-wing base, he understands that playing to that base “drives away the non-base.” Perhaps “winning the future” means forgetting when the name Newt Gingrich meant partisan rancor and a 24 percent favorability rating.