WAMC Dec. 15
Dr. Steven A. Leibo is the Sage College’s Professor of International History & Politics
“Rooting for Newt”
O.K. I probably should not say this but frankly I am hoping Newt Gingrich wins the Republican nomination. Sure, I am probably prejudiced. But after all, it has been a generation since a fellow professional historian actually ran for our nation’s highest office
Yes, not since they days of the former Professor George McGovern made his bid for the White House back in 1972 have we had a real former college professor, a real historian compete for presidency. And, Dr. Gingrich is not just another historian but one whose sympathies are much like my own, quite willing to use his historical skills not only to understand the past but to speculate on the future; something many more orthodox historians are very uncomfortable with.
And perhaps in an even more heretical bent Gingrich, like this historian is quite willing to fictionalize the past literally writing historical novels in order to help people understand history better something some historians see as the professional equivalent of prostitution. No, frankly, if there is one candidate for the presidency this professional historian would love to have a beer with it would be Dr. Gingrich.
But, that’s just my personal take on the man, but more broadly I am delighted that he appears positioned to take the lead in the up coming republican primaries. Yes, I am enthusiastically hoping he pushes aside Governor Romney and takes center stage for this fall’s presidential battle. Not that I ever thought Romney would really win the nomination.
No, the way this commentator has long seen it, the chances of the increasingly ideological driven ultra rightist republican party twice nominating someone they don’t fundamentally like always seemed highly unlikely. And, it is of course the take no prisoners, swallow no compromises ideologically driven sort that are currently dominating the nominating process on the conservative side. And, they just love all the verbal blood-letting Gingrich is so good at dishing out against the democrats.
Oh, sure there were other alternatives to good old Mit but realistically who among all of the alternatives, from Michelle Bachman, to Rick Perry, and Herman Cain, were educationally equipped enough to either actually govern at a national level or engage in the dialogue about America’s future that we so vitally need.
Sure some democrats might have loved having one of them nominated knowing full well they would be easier to beat then the more centrist Romney but their nominating victory and ultimate defeat would probably have left us exactly where were we are right now, With a democratic president with lots of good intentions, but one incapable of overcoming the resistance of his congressional opponents.
No, what this extraordinarily divided if not almost paralyzed American system really needs Is a good old knock down drag out battle over America’s future, an intellectual battle of ideas and aspirations on whether we really think we can continue as a democracy with a smaller and smaller number of us owning all the marbles.
A battle over whether we really want to be a society where one’s financial status determines whether we have access to health care or not. An argument over whether we can continue as a society where we see globalization draining away all the advantages Americans once had in the global economy without fundamentally rethinking just how we play the game.
No, we have absolutely to have a dialogue over whether we want to be a society that remains largely impotent in dealing with the most critical issue of our time – or any time for that matter – our having accidently disrupted the heat balance of the entire planet, bringing on the horrific bouts of, what do they call it “extreme” weather we have come to expect these days.
No, the way this commentator sees it. For once this country needs a real intellectual battle and the way I see it only our two former professors: the former constitutional law Professor Barack Obama and the former environmental history Professor Newt Gingrich: two doctors, one of law the other of history are capable of vocalizing the ideas we as a nation need to work our way through.