Matt Towery

A reality check tells us that no matter how fast Congress might move, "drill now" won't mean new sources of oil for some time to come. But the mere potential for this longer term solution, or at least major part of the solution, has had an effect on those who saw that future as hopeless. Gingrich knows if you don't strike during a crisis and harness public opinion, then you lose an opportunity that may well set any hopes of expanded domestic exploration for energy sources back many more years.

I'm no stranger to hearing Gingrich's "big ideas." Some over the many years that I've known him have seemed esoteric, a few even plain goofy. And don't worry, I never hesitated to tell him so, and he never hesitated to ignore my comments.

But I've been a witness to plenty of "big ideas" from Newt Gingrich that not only were significant, but long lasting. Consider the Gingrich-led effort for true welfare reform in America. Even Barack Obama in last week's "faith forum" stated that he had changed his mind over the past 10 years from opposing welfare reform to supporting it.

Let me assure you, welfare reform was born in the cramped offices of a relatively new Congressman Gingrich in the early 1980s, reworked and re-examined by a fast rising and more influential Gingrich of the early 1990s, and was given birth to by Gingrich and his colleagues once he became speaker.

And Gingrich's influence on the policy debate in this election is likely not through. His Center for Health Transformation has promoted numerous innovations related to healthcare. And with the issue ranking as one of the other major ones on the minds of voters, I'll be shocked if Newt doesn't add a significant push toward health care reform to his agenda. Now the question is, will the McCain team embrace Gingrich's health related agenda, or will Obama decide not to wait another 10 years to ride one of Newt's "big ideas"?

Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
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