"He's being rewarded for thinking" ~ Bill Clinton, on why he thinks Newt Gingrich is enjoying a surge in the polls
Newt & I have some core disagreements. Our main area of departure revolves around what we want (and don't want) from the welfare state. In my view, the welfare state is the philosophical linchpin of a working democracy, and the bedrock of a fully functioning capitalist system. To Newt, it is a wasteful system that incentivizes failure and dependency.
I think his view has merit, because certain aspects of the welfare state don't work. Where we disagree is that I think they can work, and I think Newt is mistaking one aspect of the larger system for the whole.
But--of all the Republican contenders--Newt is the one I respect the most. In him I see a fellow nerd & thinker. I see an idealist and pragmatist. While it is highly unlikely that he will receive my vote, I think the Republican party and republican voters would be doing themselves a disservice not to choose him as their candidate. He's the only one among them who is fit to challenge President Obama in the general election, and the only one with a troubleshooting mentality that can win independent votes. I believe Gingrich--like Obama--sees himself as bigger than the party he works within, and would be able as President to think outside the box in a way a candidate too beholden to the party would not be able to.
I don't have anything to say about the so-called baggage that Newt carries around re: his previous marriages or various consultation jobs with different companies. If you'll remember, I'm the guy who defended Anthony Weiner to the end; if you can't beat them on ideas, you don't deserve to win. Newt is someone I'd like to beat on ideas. I hope he wins the primary.