Mary Katharine Ham

I imagine it’s less of a problem than it was in the ‘90s. If the problem was properly selling the ideas inside the “Contract With America” to the American public, then Gingrich has spent the last 10 years working as a veritable traveling salesman for them (and his books, of course).

And, he’s good at it. He has ideas—the real, concrete kind, the kind the Dems haven’t seen since they started spending all their time mustachioing Bush portraiture in new and inventive ways—and he articulates them well.

He speaks without a whiff of moral relativism when he talks Islamofascism. He knows, for instance, that the current health care system, Medicare, and Social Security are huge threats to both the health and economic status of generations of future Americans. He knows these issues aren’t sexy, and he knows it might be easier politically to ignore them, but he talks about them, and he does it with a sense of purpose and optimism that is contagious.

Of course, all this political courage might disappear the moment Gingrich becomes a bona fide politician again. And, even if it didn’t, talking about tough, decidedly unsexy issues does not necessarily a President make. There is a reason politics so often exists unburdened by political courage.

But wouldn’t it be fun to see Newt make a run? Wouldn’t it be fun to see him talk about problems and solutions and maybe, just maybe, force his opponents to talk about them, too? Whether you agree with him on every issue or not, I think this horse could only strengthen a Republican stable that has had me doing little more than sighing.

A lot of folks are saying that 2006 may be the Democrats’ 1994. If so, they are missing the idea man they need to make themselves a clear reform choice over Republicans.

We’ve still got ours. I’d like to hear from him. And, as for a Newt win? Well, a lot of folks thought 1994 was an impossibility. I may have to dig up my Alice in Chains CD.

Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

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