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The Conservative Case For Newt Gingrich

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

There are a lot of fine candidates running for President who are not Mitt Romney. You can certainly say fantastic things about Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and some of the other candidates who are reaching for that brass ring. Like everyone running, Newt Gingrich has his flaws, but given the state of the race, it's time to start giving Newt serious consideration.


1) Newt Gingrich would run a competent campaign: Let me say publicly what I keep hearing privately from other conservatives. They tell me that they really don't want to vote for Mitt Romney, but Herman Cain seems to be raw and Rick Perry's debate performances so far haven't impressed them. So although they don't want Mitt Romney as the nominee, they're afraid that he may be the only candidate who can run a strong, professional campaign against Obama.

Maybe that's fair; maybe it's not, but it is what a lot of conservatives are saying behind the scenes. Without addressing those fears one way or the other, let me just note that there's no question that Newt Gingrich can run an effective race against Obama. After starting with minimal money and mass staff defections, Newt has made a pitch perfect drive towards the GOP nomination. He's had a strong message, he's shown charisma, been likable, positive -- and he's a much, much better debater than anyone else on the stage. Newt would actually end up being more electable than Romney because although both of them would run disciplined, well organized campaigns, Newt could actually excite conservatives while Mitt's support would be based on the fact that he is the "lesser of two evils."

2) Newt Gingrich is a conservative icon: Newt's image has taken a beating over the last few years because he did an anti-global warming commercial with Nancy Pelosi and backed squishy Republican Dede Scozzafava over the Conservative Party's Doug Hoffman out of party loyalty.

Admittedly, those were mistakes on Newt's part, but you have to look at the bigger picture. Over the last fifty years, the three most important politicians to the conservative movement have been Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and Newt Gingrich. Goldwater got the ball rolling while Reagan and Newt proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that conservative governance would work in the real world.

Newt's books and columns have been consistently conservative, his public comments have been consistently conservative, and his debate performances have been consistently conservative. As a matter of fact, other than perhaps Michele Bachmann, Newt is the purest movement conservative on the stage. If you're a conservative who wants someone who represents your beliefs in the White House, you couldn't do much better than Newt Gingrich.

3) His baggage isn't as heavy as it appears: Yes, Newt has baggage. Most significantly, he's committed adultery. That is a serious negative. However, all of the candidates running are flawed. Hopefully, Newt has at least learned something from his mistakes, become a better man as a result and at a minimum, he is now happily married.

On the upside, Newt's baggage occurred a long time ago; so it's already baked in the cake – and as Bill Clinton has proven, the American people are willing to vote for someone who's made similar mistakes. Moreover, this is an electoral climate that's likely to be forgiving for a candidate with Newt's blemishes. After all, what's the Left going to do? Run on Newt's baggage? If so, that would be a gift. Let them run on that while Newt runs on Obama's record. That's a fight we would win.

4) He has balanced the budget: The biggest challenge this country faces right now is spending. We have roughly a 1.5 trillion dollar deficit, a 14 trillion dollar debt, and 100 trillion dollars in unfunded Social Security/Medicare obligations. This is a problem that dwarfs all others, so much so that even Barack Obama says that our level of spending is "unsustainable."

Well, when Newt was Speaker, he managed to balance the budget. Not on the state level, not theoretically -- Newt actually got the job done on Capitol Hill. There's a lot to be said for that because if we wait another decade or two to seriously tackle this problem, we may not be able to stop this country from turning into Greece. That's why it's important not just to vote Obama out of office, but to replace him with someone who's serious about dealing with the issue. If we could pick only one Republican in the entire country to go to D.C. and tackle this problem, not as a dictator, but as a President who will need the cooperation of Congress to get anything done, Newt would probably be the first choice.

5) Newt is the most qualified person for the job: Loathing politicians is part of the zeitgeist of modern America and understandably so. This leads people to prefer novices with minimal political experience. Of course, the problem with novices is that as often as not, they tend to make an enormous number of mistakes and end up like Barack Obama, ineffective and in way over-his-head.

That's a real problem because these are not salad days for America. We've got a myriad of serious issues that have to be tackled. The economy is in terrible shape, a lot of Americans are looking for work, Medicare and Social Security need to be reformed, the debt is a real danger to America's future, Iran is close to getting nuclear weapons and North Korea still has them, a worldwide economic shock driven by the European defaults could be on the horizon, Obamacare is threatening to destroy America's healthcare system -- it goes on and on.

Newt brings something different than any of the other contenders to the table. Simply put, he's easily the most qualified man for the job. It's why he rose to the top in Congress. It's why he sounds like he's in a different league during the debates. It's why so many of the other candidates have said they'd consider him as their Vice-President. Newt Gingrich is an extremely knowledgeable, experienced conservative who understands the issues inside and out and has the best chance of actually being able to get our principles turned into laws that can help our country before it's too late.

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