Like Henry A. Kissinger, former Speaker Newt Gingrich is brilliant out of office. But many observers agree that both left something to be desired. Kissinger said all the correct things about defeating the Communists at their own game of power politics. That caused no less than William F. Buckley to introduce Kissinger to President-elect Richard M. Nixon. Once in office, first as National Security Advisor and later as Secretary of State, Kissinger proved to be a disaster. Gingrich in office was only a disappointment, not a disaster. We now know that there were things in his personal life which at times clouded his vision.
Remember, it was conservatives who did him in, not Democrats. After the 1998 election, with its razor-thin victory for Republicans in the House of Representatives, a dozen conservatives informed the Republican Leadership that they would not vote for Gingrich as Speaker under any circumstance. That was when Tom DeLay and others in the GOP Leadership told Gingrich that the ball game was over.
Republicans probably were rescued for the moment. But Gingrich's issue-driven philosophy, which brought the Republicans to power for the first time in 40 years, was and remains the right way to go. I mention all of this because Gingrich, while not running for President, is pushing various issues and issue clusters, which are right on.
I don't know how Gingrich would perform if he were elected to the highest office in the land but these days he is responsible in that each time I read one of his policy initiatives I want to stand up and cheer.
His latest initiative is to push for English as the official language of the United States. A well respected radio talk show host in Washington, Chris Core, suggested last week that the immigration issue well might be at least partially solved if English were the official language. He is absolutely correct. Much of his audience agreed with him and so do I. When my father came to the United States in 1923 he was here for only a few weeks when he began attending night school at the Stephen Bull Elementary Public Facility in Racine, Wisconsin. Although he still spoke with an accent, which bothered him to the day he died, he nevertheless developed a superb understanding and command of the English language. He could explain the most complex ideas in ways that easily could be understood. He developed a great sense of humor. He taught me how to tell jokes. He also taught me my politics and our faith, which was mostly by example.