I could probably write this about any of the candidates and make recommendations regarding how they can use their skills plus big ideas to make a good run -- oddly, though, the vision I have in mind suits Gingrich more than the others. Gingrich cannot win if the old, bad Gingrich prevails. Gingrich claims he's had a transformative spiritual experience, but I'm not concerned with his religious beliefs, only the authenticity of the spiritual change.
Unfortunately, Ron Paul has been effectively marginalized in the Republican Party, and I don't see him overcoming media narratives which have held him back, now and in the past -- however, Paul has brought something very valuable to the race, and what Paul has brought to the race will transform in many ways how we select presidents going forward. We will not find Great Men like those manufactured in the past before the scrutiny of the Information Age and 24/7 cable news. We'll find, hopefully, competent men and women who can convey big ideas and break down complex concepts for public consumption.
The cult of personality has relied on celebrities, slogans and emotional appeal more than big ideas which have been denigrated as relics of ideolouges out of touch with the pragmatic technocracy of modern governance. Obama may be the last president elected from the cult of personality. Obama offered vague slogans, pragmatic open-mindedness, emotional promises and a made for tv story of historical importance. Gingrich represents something broken but real and redeemable. Gingrich's "baggage" is the baggage of our nation, and the trick is to identify the baggage and go beyond the baggage. We can't revive America by attempting to reproduce the next Reagan or a new and improved Obama -- we can revive America only through big ideas and bold action delivered by servants to the people, not saviors of the people.
If Gingrich can rise to the occasion, and the polls suggest he might be capable of doing this, he has the skills to articulate the type of periodic rebirth a great nation needs to avoid decline and collapse. Gingrich has risen from the brink of collapse, and many think he'll still collapse because he doesn't have the inner strength, discipline and authenticity to stay the course without crashing in a confusion of crazy proposals and harsh rhetoric. Gingrich has a lot of problems, but so does America and Americans. We've all expected too much and haven't been willing to do enough to achive our goals. Too many people beleived that government can somehow relieve the stresses of worry and insecurity. We have to go to work and build something new and better. We need to once again embrace big ideas and bold action.
Gingrich is comfortable with big ideas, and if he's developed the discipline and humility to harness his incredible intellectual energy, he can inspire Americans to believe in themselves again and to understand once again the power of great ideas and bold action.
First, the most important issue in the 2012 race is the economy and jobs, but, so far, mostly small, tired formulas have been offered, although Ron Paul has articulated some of the ideas which can move us past our failed Keynesian, statist past -- Paul is the messenger, not the leader at this time and place in America's evolution. I would still like to see Paul win, because Paul represents the ideas that are uncomfortable but true. America, though, doesn't appear ready for Paul. That doesn't mean the ideas will die. Gingrich can make these ideas his own and deliver them in his unique style. Gingrich has at least verbally accepted and promoted the concepts of limited government and a free market in the past, and now he has to internalize them with the realization that America is at a crossroads, and politics as usual won't get it done. Pragmatic compromise and status quo maintenance might have seemed like a safe bet in the 90s, but in the 21st century we need radical, systemic change in government and private sector empowerment.
One of the burdens weighing down the economy is our military involvement in the mideast which resulted from 9/11. Gingrich has the ability to frame leaving the mideast as completion and a transition of America's role in the world to a leader of peaceful trade rather than a global police force and nation builder. We've done all we can do in the mideast. It's obvious that neither Iraq nor Afghanistan will maintain a self-protection like we envision, and staying another year or two or ten won't change anything. Terrorists in the mideast countries which harbor them have received the message that America will respond with destructive force if attacked. Now is the time to bring the troops home, take our successes and failures and learn from them how to deal with terrorism in the 21st century. America's rebirth has to include an innovative doctrine guiding our actions in foreign affairs. All our military bases in other countries should be re-assessed based on current conditions, not the conditions present in the Cold War. We need a superior national defense, but we don't need the crony-infested monster which is the present military/industrial complex. American tax-payers are being hoodwinked and shaken down by politicans and defense contractors who are making a killing off of fear of terrorism.
Ending our mideast involvement and right-sizing our national defense is a large part of any economic change in direction. This is another big idea that Gingrich can articulate -- changing direction from statism to a free market. But, it's not only big ideas about national issues -- local issues are important as the federal government now affects individual states and cities more and more. More freedom at the local level is vital for flexibility and creative experimentation across the nation, and this is an issue in Gingrich's wheelhouse. Presently, in South Carolina, media ignore Gingrich's greatest impact as he speaks directly to issues affecting South Carolinians. If Gingrich touches the local desire for control in dealing with unique problems related to each state, this will go a long way toward inspiring those who feel burdened by directives sent from DC which make no sense at a local level.
American intellectuals have failed the American people because they speak past the average person to one another or to those in power. There are few intellectuals speaking to the American people regarding the most important issues of our time. The fundamental problem of long term unemployment is not resolved by extension of unemployment benefits and more food stamps, but by economic growth and wealth creation. Gingrich can address the underlying causes of unemployment by speaking directly to the people about the negative consequences of central management and the welfare state. The safety net in America requires innovative restructuring, while government intervention in the American economy has to stop so that a free market can properly function. The economic issues of our time are confusing, and most people have been misled by thousands of government promises and policies designed to spur government-planned economic growth and job creation. Gingrich has the ability to make economics understandable and to show how central management misdirects capital and causes the bubbles that have led to current financial crisis.
But, whether it's mideast military involvement, more freedom at the local level, jobs, immigration, energy production or problems with the Federal Reserve, Americans are hungry for big ideas which will change our direction and lead to the necessary rebirth of inspiration, creativity and innovation in order to reverse the decline and avoid collapse. This can't be done through charisma and slogans and empty rhetoric, though. Gingrich has the skills and the knowledge to articulate problems and solutions in a way that people can apply to their personal situation in order to participate as vital parts of a recovery and economic transformation.
We don't need Gingrich the King to mesmerize the public with his top-down ideas -- we need the redeemed Gingrich who empowers the private sector by fighting to get government out of the way and explaining a new vision for America. Our problems are complex and will not be solved overnight, but one thing we can do is change our direction, but first there must be deep understanding. Is Gingrich the vessel to convey these big ideas? He can be, and this might be the time for someone broken but redeemable like Gingrich to accept this role as spokesperson for a new vision as we transition from statist, central management to a decentralized rebirth of market forces which can move us forward in the global market.
Yes, there are concerns regarding poverty and inequality and helping those who are down and out, and although I've written about some of the ideas I have regarding private assistance and insurance/retirement plans which can replace a failing welfare state, the main point here is about changing our direction and attitude and reassigning government's role in our lives. What we've been doing hasn't worked.