Generally, a sitting President would be labeled the “Leader of the Party.”
“The Republican Congress has a problem. It is working without the presence of an elected conservative leader. George W. Bush is conservative but he is not a conservative. He’s Republican, but he’s not a conservative. He is not leading the conservative movement.” — Rush Limbaugh
So if President Bush isn’t the leader of the Republican Party, who is?
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is arguably the true leader of the GOP at a time when the Republican control of the US Senate and House of Representatives is in jeopardy.
While the Republicans who are leaders and officeholders appear to be wandering about like chickens without heads, Gingrich brings a clear, concise message wherever he goes. With the November election cycle in full swing, He’s traveling from city to city helping several Republican lawmakers with their campaigns.
Gingrich, whose name keeps popping up as a contender for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, said the election in the 8th Congressional District comes at a critical time in recent history, with the United States fighting a global war against Islamic fascists and facing challenges from rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran — a situation he describes as the emerging World War III.
Recently, Newt Gingrich drew the ire of his fellow Republicans when he called the immigration proposal passed by the Senate a “cave-in”.
“It is very important for America to control its borders for national security reasons,” Gingrich said. “It is also important for America to continue to develop a system to encourage patriotic legal immigration whereby immigrants are on the path to becoming American citizens by being effectively integrated and assimilated into American society.”
Interestingly, last week Newt was calling out the Bush strategy in Iraq:
NEWT GINGRICH, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, I think we have to recognize that the strategy which they have been following has failed. And I think it’s important to recognize that, because until you’re prepared to admit that this strategy’s failed, you’re not going to have the energy and the drive to shift to a new strategy.
GINGRICH: Well, I think that there are three things you have to do immediately. The first is dramatically expand the Iraqi security forces, to have a large enough security force to have the kind of 20 to 1 advantage over the enemy that you have to have in this kind of a war.
Second, it’s increase the number of Americans committed long enough to get the country stabilized.
And third, in every part of Iraq that is stable, dramatically accelerate our ability to help their economy grow to help people get back to work, to help young people have a future so that you’re giving them an alternative to joining militias or an alternative to…
GINGRICH: Look, I think that you have to decide whether we are in fact, in favor of trying to help an Iraqi government survive, or whether we’re prepared to pull out and leave chaos behind.
GINGRICH: I think we have a lot of urgency. But Bill, you can’t have it both ways. If the current government doesn’t have enough military forces to solve the problem, and you don’t want to increase the military forces they have, they’re not going to solve the problem.
On another note, even Newt has endorsed Joe Lieberman
Gingrich, the former Congressman from Georgia who engineered conservative Republicans’ House takeover in the 1994 elections and authored the “Contract with America,” endorsed Lieberman’s third-party bid. The endorsement came last week as Lieberman made an effort in public appearances to characterize himself as an opponent of the Republican White House’s conservative agenda.
Alan Schlesinger, who has ignored calls from some Republicans to abandon his candidacy, planned a two-day trip to Washington to test his call for fiscal conservatism with outside organizations.
During a news conference, Bush said he had no intention of backing Schlesinger, a former state representative who has been dogged by questions about his gambling.
“I’m staying out of Connecticut because, you know, that’s what the party suggested, the Republican Party of Connecticut,” Bush told reporters. “And, plus, there’s a better place to spend our money, time and resources.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., has endorsed Lieberman, saying Schlesinger has no chance of winning. The National Republican Senatorial Committee said last week it had no plans to help Schlesinger because it was not a competitive race.
Schlesinger complains that Washington interests on both sides are trying to hijack the race for their own ends. He also blames the news media for focusing attention on negative aspects of his campaign.
If Newt is smart, innovative and articulate why should conservatives not support him in ’08? The answer is the same as to why Bill Clinton did not deserve our support in the 1990s: lack of moral character.
Mr. Gingrich is the conservative version of Mr. Clinton—a point first made by Bob Tyrrell, editor-in-chief of The American Spectator. Both rose to power and national prominence at nearly the same time. Both have come to symbolize the hedonism, triviality and phony prosperity of the roaring 1990s. Both are spoiled, self-indulgent and narcissistic baby boomers. Both are policy wonks (except that Mr. Clinton deals in liberal ideas and Mr. Gingrich in conservative ones). Both are men on the make, shameless opportunists obsessed with political power and influence. Both are superficial and hollow leaders, who fold when they encounter fierce opposition. And both are sexual degenerates who have mistreated women.
Newt’s character renders him unfit to be the next leader of the free world. In fact, it was precisely then-Speaker Gingrich’s lack of moral and ideological substance that caused the Republican Revolution to grind to a halt by 1998. This eventually led to his political downfall.
It would seem, that with everything these days – the Conservative Wing of the Republican Party is once again split over philosophy and viable political strategy.