Few things have been clearer than what this past week has made apparent: The GOP establishment doesn’t want to win an honest fight, and those who comprise it don’t believe we should have any say whatsoever. Whether you’re a staunch conservative, or a Tea Party patriot, there can be no way to miss the point demonstrated by a week-long attack-fest aimed at Newt Gingrich. We’re not part of their party, and they will choose the nominee, and if we don’t like it, we can just shut up and go away. Well, we’re not going away, and we won’t be shut up, and we’re going to call them on their twisted, half-truth ridden distortions in media, and we’re going to turn off their networks, and avoid their favorite in-the-tank websites, and we’re going to forge ahead without them if necessary. The simple truth is that the GOP establishment needs our support much more than we need theirs, and with the direction this is going, I can’t see a single reason to support them or their chosen candidate. Meanwhile, something else is brewing, and I take note, because watching Gingrich speak, I realized there was a change, and it manifested Saturday night.
Watching Herman Cain endorse Newt Gingrich on Saturday night, I think I glimpsed a bit of the future, because I think what Gingrich has been saying from the outset of this race is correct: We must all set aside our petty differences and find a way to engineer victory as a team. So far, among the candidates who entered the race, and have subsequently departed it, Cain and Perry, each once a front-runner, have endorsed Newt Gingrich. Now while it’s the undisputed truth that conservatives are a generally independent-minded lot, I don’t think we should fail to notice this. I’ve told you before that a candidate who was an aggregate of the best parts of all of these would be great for the country, but alas, no such candidate stepped forward. What we’re watching now, as Gingrich integrates these former competitors into his team is the result of having treated both of these men with due respect to their positions and experiences and accomplishments over their lives. Gingrich has a big idea, all right, but it’s not about some mission to the moon. Instead, I believe he’s focusing on building a team that can win in November and take the country back from Barack Obama.
This represents a serious departure from previous campaigns, as when the vanquished left the scene, frequently never to be seen again. Think about what this will mean to the strength of the GOP team come November if Gingrich is the nominee. He’s building a governing majority now, with the party as his first target. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is tooling around trying to further divisions in the party. Are we now witnessing what is effectively the updated version of the Reagan coalition? That would be a stunning achievement, and while he’s a long way from having accomplished it, that he’s seeing that far down the road is a hopeful sign. Nothing is more prone to failure than an ad hoc campaign without direct and vision guiding it forward. Whatever else you may think of Gingrich, it’s now clear to me that he has a plan, and if just a little luck breaks his way, he might not only capture the nomination, but also the presidency.
It’s always been true that the most effective presidents were those who could put together a governing coalition that permitted the best people to lead with their strengths and their passions. If Gingrich is figuring out the way to do this effectively, then we as conservatives should be thankful, whether we intend to support him in the primaries or not. We need somebody at the head of this movement who can focus and direct its energies not only to electoral victory, but to a concrete plan of restoring our nation. Could Gingrich be that leader, after all? I’ve certainly had my misgivings, and as Sarah Palin reminds us, he is a “flawed vessel,” but as she also points out, nobody is perfect and without troubles. Can Gingrich be a true reformer? He’s done it before, certainly, because his accomplishments in leading the Republicans to sweeping victory in 1994 was a marvel in modern American history. Could he do it again?
Time will tell, but for now at least, we know with certainty one thing: Newt has a plan.