Poli-Sci 101: Newt Gingrich

via US News

The cat’s out of the bag.

I have a degree in political science.   My college diploma, like my background in cheerleading, is something I don’t often like to discuss–especially in the midst of a year divisible by four.  But in the midst of an election, to continue blogging about food, trips, and interior decorating and avoid what’s going on politically would be apathetic.

I’m not claiming to be a political expert.  I’m not hoping to turn this into a political blog.  I’m not trying to convince you that the Republicrats are the best party.  I do want to provide fodder for discussion, and perhaps invite some of you who weren’t political science majors into the important decision of who will run our nation for the next four years.

And truly, it is your duty to know what’s going on in the presidential race come November.  People have died so you can have the right to vote for your leaders, rather than live in a totalitarian state.  Sermon over.

So, Newt Gingrich.

Who is this guy?  What would make him a good presidential candidate?  What should disqualify him from the office?  Here are my thoughts:

1.  Gingrich is a Career Politician

Newt knows how to make things happen in a bureaucratic, politicized system.  This guy has lived, breathed, and worked Capitol Hill.  While most would see that as a weakness, I could also see it being a strength.  Gingrich managed his best-friend’s high school student-body presidential campaign.  In college he studied history and developed political ties to the Republican party. In 1974 and 1976, in his early thirties, Newt Gingrich had two unsuccessful runs for Congress in the 6th district of Georgia.  In financial straits, Gingrich finally won the 6th district seat in 1978, and maneuvered through Congress for 17 years until becoming Speaker of the House in 1995.  After 20-years in office, Gingrich retired from Congress in 1998.

Newt also knows how to piss people off.  His famous 1992 walk-out on President George H.W. Bush’s tax increases branded Gingrich a defiant.  Read more about that debacle here. Furthermore, in the midst of the 1992 House banking scandal, where 8,331 bad congressional checks were written, Gingrich blamed House Democrats for the mess, while forgetting his own bounced bills in the process.

2. Gingrich Demonstrates Ethically Questionable Behavior

As a high schooler, Newt Gingrich secretly dated (and later married) his geometry teacher, Jackie.  He divorced her in 1980.

Gingrich filed ethical charges against then-Speaker of the House Jim Wright in 1988, which led to his resignation.  Later, in 1997, Democrats raised similar ethics charges against Gingrich.  In Washington, people still look to Gingrich initial instigator behind partisan politics that still plague the Capitol today.

But his issues go beyond shady book deals and fishy “Super Pack” campaign contributions.  Gingrich lambasted Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal, all while carrying on his own affair against his second wife, Marianne, with his current wife, Callista.   In 2007, he admitted his actions, but said that, in Clinton’s case of lying while on the stand: “I am not rendering judgment on another human being, but as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law, I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept felonies and you cannot accept perjury in your highest officials.” (From same article linked to above)

3.  Gingrich Doesn’t Seem Afraid of Anyone

Like it or not, this is the thing that (in some ways) makes me want to vote for him.  Against all odds, this southern boy made it to Washington, and made a difference.  Not Wright, not Clinton, not Dole, not Romney… no one will stand in the way of what he wants to accomplish.  And what is that?  Newt wants to establish an American energy source, put healthcare back in the hands of individuals (not government), and empower parents with choices for their child’s education.  Read more about his ideas here.

But who is going to help him get this done?  Sure, Gingrich’s not afraid of anyone–but who is willing to work with him?   In June, his entire senior campaign team quit.  Head strategist Dave Carney said, “The professional team came to the realization that the direction of the campaign they sought and Newt’s vision for the campaign were incompatible.”

Worst for Gingrich, though, is the lack of endorsements he’s received from former colleagues.  “Hardly anyone who served with Newt in Congress has endorsed him,” Dole wrote in a letter, “and that fact speaks for itself.” Yikes. 

So, if Newt Gingrich becomes president, what will happen when someone, or everyone disagrees with him? Will his entire cabinet resign?

So what do you think?  Is Newt Gingrich a viable candidate?  Do his ethical qualms disqualify him from the nation’s highest office?  Is being a career-politician a recipe for success in Washington, or the one thing that will keep him from the oval office?