Every few years, heinous Democratic policies -- abortion, gay marriage, affirmative action, Hillarycare, Obamacare, to name a few -- compel previously uninvolved Americans to leap into politics.
This is great, except for two things: (1) We have to get heinous Democratic policies first; and (2) newcomers have short memories, sometimes no memories at all.
The second point is the only possible explanation for why some conservatives seem to view Newt Gingrich as the anti-Establishment outsider who will shake up Washington.
Newly active right-wingers would do well to spend a little more time quietly reading up on Newt's political career, and a little less time shaking their fists at some imaginary "Establishment" -- which now apparently includes Michael Savage, Mark Steyn, Christine O'Donnell, Ramesh Ponnuru, Glenn Beck and me, all of whom oppose Newt's candidacy. (By the way, guys, are we car-pooling to the next Trilateral Commission meeting? I have a thing at the World Bank that same day.)
Only then will they realize that Gingrich would be a disaster for everything they believe in.
His history of lurching from guru to guru, fad to fad and wacky pronouncement to wacky pronouncement has produced few real gains -- except for Gingrich's personal bank account.
Despite Gingrich's constant claim that he -- hand in hand with Ronald Reagan -- lassoed big government and won the Cold War, this is delusional. Newt was a freshman House member when Reagan was elected president, no more important than Rep. Bill Green, R-N.Y., who was also elected to the House in 1978.
But Gingrich recently told Sean Hannity, "I helped Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp develop supply-side economics ..."
In Ronald Reagan's autobiography, "An American Life," he writes extensively about supply-side economics. He cites Jack Kemp several times. He never mentions Newt Gingrich.
(However, in Reagan's massive 784-page diary, Newt's name does come up -- once. On Jan. 3, 1983, Reagan wrote that he met with "a group of young Repub Congressmen," and says that one of them, "Newt Gingrich," proposed freezing federal spending at 1983 levels, which Reagan rejected out of hand because it would "cripple our defense program.")
I licked stamps for Reagan mailings when I was in high school. I didn't formulate supply-side economics or win the Cold War.
Gingrich is credited -- mostly by himself -- for single-handedly engineering the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress.