As I listen to the presidential candidates speak and engage in what passes for debate these days, it appears that most, if not all of them, are simply talking about improving the old government model, rather than boldly proclaiming a new one. The candidates-at least the Republican ones, if they remember what Republicans are supposed to stand for-should be talking about freedom from dependency and a return to self-sufficiency.
Last week, a small group of fellow journalists and I had breakfast with former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Talk about a man who has learned from his mistakes! It is thrilling to sit and listen to his ideas that are no longer based on partisan posturing and strategies to win the next election, but on proposals that would work and benefit all Americans, regardless of party affiliation.
"We need a new American dialogue that focuses on evidence and data and sorts out what works and what fails,' he says. "Then we need to migrate government policies and government bureaucracies away from failure and toward success." Gingrich calls government at all levels "incompetent" and makes no distinction about which party is running it.
"The solutions we need are bigger than the current political process can create," says Gingrich. Who can credibly disagree? And if you do disagree, can you give an example of what major problems government is fixing? Social Security? Education? Health care?
"We need an educational dialogue before we have a political debate," he says. Yes, we do, but who will give it to us if the presidential candidates are about patching and mending the current system? How many people understand basic economics and the principals behind capitalism? Who understands the history of their own country and the ideas that founded and have sustained it through domestic and foreign challenges? Are there politicians who will lead us to what we need rather than indulge us in the silliness of what we want, like our obsession with O.J. Simpson and other members of the cult of the depraved?
Even though Gingrich is not running for president, his ideas are worth considering.
-© 2007 Tribune Media Service, Inc.