The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Newt Gingrich has let it be known that, if Republicans want him, the former U.S House speaker is willing to serve as chairman of the national party and lead it out of the wilderness it’s blundered into.
Can you think of anyone better?
The question is whether the 168-member Republican National Committee is open to the match.
If they aren't they'll be committing suicide.
“If a majority of the RNC thought he was needed, he would accept that appointment,” said Randy Evans’ Gingrich’s close friend and legal counsel. “He fully appreciates the urgency of the moment.”
What might strike some as coyness is in fact caution. The odds are stacked against the former Georgia congressman, for several reasons.
For one thing, six days after the election of Barack Obama and substantial gains by Democrats in the House and Senate, Republicans have yet to decide whether a serious overhaul of the party is required.
Really? We've lost 20 house seats in two consecutive elections for the first time since the great depression and you don't know a serious overhaul is required.
If a revolution is in order, then there’s the small matter of which side is issued the pitchforks, and whose castle is to be stormed. Is this a fight to purge moderates, or a battle to expand the tent?
Look moderates should be in the party, but they should never control the party. We just ran a moderate for President and we got killed. We have to reach out with conservative ideas for the country.
“The RNC has to do some soul-searching and decide what level of change is necessary,” Evans said. “If that answer is bold, energetic change led by someone who has done it before, then Newt would be a good choice.”
If the party is eying a shift toward the middle, Evans added, “that isn’t Newt.”
If the Republican party moves toward the middle it will cause a third party to be born and the two parties will steal votes from each other for years to come.
Though he retains his reputation as a polarizing figure, Gingrich served as a sideline strategist for the GOP during the presidential season. He pointed McCain to the issue of offshore drilling. But Gingrich also helped generate skepticism over the Wall Street bailout — which McCain and other Senate Republicans supported.
We need a polarizing figure has head of our party. The Dems had Howard Dean and he kicked our butts. Newt has clear ideas for where he wants this country to go. You can't try to please everyone because then you end up pleasing no one.
A Gingrich chairmanship might get loud support from the GOP’s talk-radio contingent. The former House speaker has close ties to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Neal Boortz.
But the RNC is a different, often parochial animal, made up of the top three members of the GOP establishment in every state and U.S. territory, plus the District of Columbia.
The RNC is scheduled to make its decision in January, shortly after Obama’s historic inauguration. Had John McCain made it to the White House, committee members would have deferred to his choice.
But without White House clout, past elections have shown that the RNC prefers — though is not required — to choose from within its ranks. And the 65-year-old Gingrich is not an RNC member.
Whoever the RNC chooses it must be someone already nationally known. We don't have time to let people get to know the new Chairman we have to start attacking the day our new chairman is selected.
Moreover, while President Bush still searches out new lows in popularity, the RNC is peopled with those who helped him win two elections — and many remain loyal. Yet Gingrich, seeing Bush squander the fruits of his ’94 revolution, has been ruthless in his criticism of the out-going president.
A sifting of the ashes will begin in Miami with a Wednesday meeting of the Republican Governors Association. Gingrich and other candidates will be there to buttonhole party leaders in small, private conversations.
Those interested in the job include Saul Anuzis, chairman of the Michigan GOP, and Katon Dawson, the South Carolina chairman. The current RNC chairman, Mike Duncan, also seeks another term.
Duncan seeks another term. You just presided over the worst four years for the GOP since the great depression. How dare you run for another term. Don't you care about this party at all?
“There were too many deals cut with the Democrats. We have no rudder,” Herren said. On the other hand, she said, if Gingrich really wants the GOP chairmanship, a front-porch strategy won’t cut it. She’s already been lobbied by a half-dozen candidates.
“Newt - if he wants to do it, he’ll have to start pedaling now,” Herren said.
1 week ago