Newt Gingrich sees the GOP facing deep political peril
Virtually every professional politician in America may be totally focused on today's results in the Indiana and North Carolina Democratic presidential primaries, but Newt Gingrich -- ever the contrarian -- can't get over what happened in Louisiana last Saturday.
In case you missed it, what happened was that in a special election, a Democrat captured a House seat that had been in the Republican column for more than 30 years. For public consumption, some GOP officials sought to discount the outcome, insisting that a flawed Republican candidate was the problem. But Gingrich, in a column posted today on the website for Human Events magazine, will have none of that.
The article is headlined "My Plea to Republicans: It's Time for Real Change to Avoid Real Disaster," and he warns that the Louisiana election is the latest bit of evidence that unless his party heeds his call, it is "going to suffer decisive losses this November."
He notes polls showing John McCain a potentially strong GOP presidential candidate, but then immediately argues that there is little reason "that this extraordinary personal achievement should not comfort congressional Republicans."
He also cautions that if the problems afflicting the Republican "brand" persist, McCain's candidacy ...
could be doomed, as well.
Gingrich, who rose to national prominence as the head of House Republicans, calls on the man who now fills that role, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio to convene an "emergency members-only meeting" of his flock before the end of this month to start an effort to remake perceptions of the GOP.
Not surprisingly, he urges a tactic that he embraced shortly before the 1994 midterm vote that gave his party a House majority for the first time in 40 years: make a list of "nine acts of real change that would begin to rebuild the American people's confidence that Republicans share their values, understand their worries, and are prepared to act instead of just talk."
What is surprising is that Gingrich resists the temptation to label such a manifesto as an updated Contract with America (that's him above at its unveiling).
Gingrich's analysis of his party's woes and his prescription for righting the ship is available here.
-- Don Frederick
Photo credit: Associated Press