Friday, May 22, 2009

looking for leaders

Barlett is looking for the next Jack Kemp:

Anyone hoping to emulate Kemp, therefore, needs to start with a genuinely new idea--and more and bigger tax cuts ain't it. That card has been played to the point of diminishing returns, politically. That new idea also has to respond to a genuine problem. But that will require deep thought and analysis, something few members of Congress are capable of these days. They are too busy coming up with sound bites responding to matters of only momentary interest.

The look for leaders ends up looking for the same usual suspects: Can Gingrich ride an anti-establishment wave in 2012? I am skeptical.

The brilliant Gingrich has issues that will make the grassroots be distrustful, perhaps more so than they should be. Its not just what some call ‘personal baggage’, but his sitting on the couch with Nancy Pelosi and standing next to Hillary Clinton. Such bipartisan actions are anathema to the right-roots of the GOP, but Gingrich cant help it, he ends up being ‘too smart by half’ as the saying goes. A fox not a hedgehog. That plus the baggage equals a guy who doesnt rate high on likeability/electability. He comes across as the smart policy wonk but is discounted as not empathetic/’real’/personable enough. But that’s not to say he’s not a great asset, since the GOP definitely needs a man like him, as we needed Jack Kemp back in the day, or Taft way back when, to leaven our party with some good ideas and put some intellectual rigor in a party adrift.

As with the 2008 field, we may end up with a 2012 of candidates with a variety of attributes which if you put them together might make a great candidate. Gingrich adds a key element of forward-thinking and openness to ideas, but his perceived flaws and likeability weaknesses are such that it won’t carry him into the White House.

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