Bill Murchison

Well, making heads or tails of Newt Gingrich never has been easy, a factor -- if I may change the game-of-chance image -- that gives wild-card status to his presidential bid. Who knows what he will do or say next? Or why? The uncertainty isn't likely to help much with Republican voters who view attempts -- the Ryan plan -- to reverse the effects of social engineering as the opposite, not the complement, to social engineering.

In one respect, Gingrich lives up to the challenge of the modern presidential candidacy, which is to get attention by standing out from the pack of fellow candidates while making the solving of huge problems sound like child's play. Such a gambit can make Republicans uncomfortable: "Ex-Speaker Slams Fake Conservatives" or something of the sort. Is Newt more concerned with selling the New Newt than with putting the social engineers in their place? It's almost too obvious a question to ask. The world according to Newt is the only world Newt ever seems to find comfortable: wherein he grandly diagnoses our common woes, makes speeches, sells tapes, sells books and markets himself with zeal.

Not a few conservatives groaned inwardly when Newt seemed to think he was complimenting our nation with the news that he has come -- again -- to save it. All we have to do is do what he says. If that isn't social engineering, maybe someone could propose a good definition.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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