The Unelectable Mr. Gingrich

What do establishment Republicans and liberal Democrats have in common? They’ve long labored under a shared misconception: conservative candidates are unelectable.

In 1980, conventional wisdom held that Ronald Reagan didn’t stand a chance against Jimmy Carter. The GOP leadership, the mainstream media and liberal politicos alike lined up against the Gipper in an attempt to derail his presidential campaign.

Rush Limbaugh recently addressed this phenomenon on his radio program: “Gerald Ford said that Ronald Reagan was unelectable. George H.W. Bush said that Ronald Reagan was unelectable. The entire Republican establishment thought Ronald Reagan was unelectable because they were governed and informed by the Goldwater landslide defeat. That’s what they think will happen to every conservative.”

That’s what they think will happen to Newt Gingrich.

As it became clear last week that the former House speaker was on his way to an impressive victory in South Carolina, liberal strategist and MSNBC talking head Lawrence O’Donnell summed up bipartisan conventional wisdom by suggesting, against all the evidence, that Mr. Gingrich “cannot win a national election … It’s impossible.”

On “Meet the Press,” fellow MSNBCer and mushy moderate Joe Scarborough declared, “Republicans are panicked in Washington, D.C., for good reason.”

Indeed, Mr. Gingrich’s solid win, coupled with another surge in Florida, has the establishment squealing and darting about like a flaming pot-bellied pig. Massachusetts moderate Mitt Romney’s campaign has trotted out surrogates like Ann Coulter and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to nip at the speaker’s heels.

Coulter, who has moved briskly leftward in recent years, even joining the Republican gay activist group GOProud, has stooped to personal attacks against South Carolina voters. “Apparently, South Carolinians would rather have the emotional satisfaction of a snotty remark toward the president than to beat Obama in the fall,” she said.

Of South Carolina conservatives’ willingness to forgive Mr. Gingrich for his past marital infidelity — something he has long admitted to and repented of — Coulter snipped, “I think South Carolina is going back to its Democratic roots. I mean, to not care about that, that’s the position of the Democratic Party.”

Still, RINO Republicans’ fear of Newt Gingrich stems from something entirely different from that which drives the left. The GOP leadership actually believes that he cannot win a general election, while — with a traumatic Reagan presidency still fresh in their minds — left-wing “progressives” know that he can.

It’s the liberal media and Democratic National Committee, in fact, that has largely pushed the self-serving “Romney-is-the-inevitable-nominee” meme.

In a recent Fox News interview, Sarah Palin, who has all but officially endorsed Newt Gingrich, said, “I believe the mainstream media and Obama want to face Mitt Romney in the general election.”

And why wouldn’t they? In terms of his ability to inspire the base and get out the vote, Mitt Romney is a bit like Bob Dole without all the honorable accomplishments. After last week’s debacle in South Carolina, it’s little wonder thatThe Washington Post is reporting Romney will no longer commit to any further Florida debates. He finds himself in a Catch-22: he must either debate and lose to Gingrich or not debate and lose to Gingrich.

Guess who else doesn’t want to debate Newt Gingrich? Hint: his initials are BHO.

I’ll state the obvious: Newt Gingrich is not a perfect man. Neither is he the perfect candidate. Who is? The question is, do we allow repentance for personal sin? Do we forgive others their trespasses as we wish to be forgiven?

I’m reminded of the biblical account of King David. As a shepherd boy, he slew a giant. As a man, he fell into sin — marital infidelity and even murder. Yet through it all God called him “a man after [His] own heart.” Through it all, David remained a great leader.

Like David, Newt Gingrich has proven to be a man with many flaws. But like David, he has also proven to be a great leader. It was Gingrich, of course, who led the 1994 “Republican Revolution” that launched the political careers of many establishment Republicans who now fear their past leader’s future nomination.

Our volatile times require a man who will decisively and decidedly lead from the helm. We cannot survive four more years of “leading from behind.”

That’s why we need Newt Gingrich.

Matt Barber


Matt Barber (@jmattbarber on Twitter) is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Npmonarch

    I don’t understand why Santorum isn’t getting any conservative press time, especially from Catholic Exchange. He’s the man, with no “baggage”!

  • TheTruthisReal

    I am concerned that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon for Newt Gingrich when he is a man who is using his faith to try and win an election.  I believe in everything he says he is for.  However, I do not trust him.  He shouts that he has repented of his past, but refuses to make amends to the people he has hurt excusing it by eluding it is a matter between him and God.  This is not even biblical.  You must first make amends with those you have harmed then go to God.  He feigns anger at people to shut them up when they question his character and his past and Christians applaud….why?  Character is important in a presidential election.  Why does he avoid answering these questions?  Why does he get angry and agitated when they are brought up?  These things absolutely are relevant.  Of course if the issue has been dealt with, he might be frustrated, but he has brought on the questions by his past behavior.  He is responsible for giving an answer.  He is misrepresenting Christianity.  Christianity and repentance are not an excuse to get people to shut up and stop asking questions about your character if you are running for office.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t dislike Newt Gingrich but comparing him to Reagan is not legitimate.  Reagan was an extraordinary candidate who knew how to run a great campaign.  Gingrich is a great debater who has run a horrible campaign and does not have the discipline to be an electable candidate.  The points you made in your article are the exact reasons why Rick Santorum was always electable (still is).  It’s too bad so many people jumped ship from his campaign.  He’s the man we really need.


  • Mugger Malcolmridge

    I was initially delighted to learn that Newt had converted to Catholicism, and impressed that he and Calista had made a film about Pope JP II.  But this past Sunday he nd Calista attended a Baptist service and the week before a Protestant one.  Is he a Pelosi/ Kennedy Catholic?

  • Anthony

    Newt had every right to be upset. The liberal media purposely sought out the speaker’s Ex who clearly had an ax to grind (whose ‘revelations’ were already previously published and therefore not in and of themselves newsworthy) and gave her a soap box right before a primary election. In other words it was a deliberate attempt by the news media to dig up dirt – which is as Newt put it “despicable”. And he did answer the question that night and countless other times. Even his own daughter felt compelled to write an article in defense of his Father because all of the slanderous reporting. I can understand the liberal left for calling him a hypocrite because they don’t understand the need for forgiveness and redemption but we as Christians should be overjoyed at someone who has come home. (try watching his documentary 9 days that changed the world about JPII).
    P.S. Newt would be the first to admit that character matters- and has calmly and effectively articulated this in the debates and elsewhere.

  • TheTruthisReal

    I am not liberal.  However, I do not see the purpose of him shouting people down and acting shocked that they would dare bring up his past transgressions.  His case is not strengthened by this kind of behavior. He comes across as an abusive loud-mouth.  When you run for president, you have to expect the media to dig up dirt and put you on the spot. That is how they operate.  He has also earned these questions by his behavior.  Why does he not quietly answer the question and move along to the important topics.  His m.o. comes across as turning everything into an argument and a fight to avoid answering the questions.  Is this how he will handle things as president?

  • Clh48

    Mitt Romney – a bishop in the Mormon Religion.
      With the utmost respect from the BILLY GRAHAM Christian Worker’s Handbook:  Mormons(M) (Book of Mormon) Mormons do not believe, that salvation comes through faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Mormons believe they must work their way to heaven. (B. R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (Salt Lake City:1958), p. 191.) Mormons believe that an angel named Moroni left some gold tablets in upstate New York and that these tablets were discovered by a man named Joseph Smith. From these tablets, Joseph Smith 
    “translated” the Book of Mormon, which is the foundation upon which Mormonism is built. Mormons also consider two other books,
    Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price, to be divinely inspired. Mormonism teaches that God is not the only deity and that we all have the potential of becoming gods. (Ibid., p. 576.) (Remember that Satan’s fall came about because he wanted to be like God.) God, according to Mormons, is not just Spirit but has “a body of flesh and bones as tangible as a man’s.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22.) They teach, “As we are, he was. As he is, we shall become.” Joseph Smith, “The King Follett Discourse,” p. 9.) There has been constant revision of Mormon doctrine over the years, as church leaders have changed their minds on a number of subjects including polygamy, which was once sanctioned by the church.

  • Pingback: The Unelectable Mr. Gingrich - Christian Forums()