Michael Kazin: Why a Gingrich vs. Obama Matchup Would Be Good For the Country
Michael Kazin is the author of American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation and co-editor of Dissent. He teaches history at Georgetown University.
I sincerely hope Newt Gingrich wins the Republican nomination for president: It could bring a healthy candor to our politics and end up boosting the fortunes of liberalism as well. Now, I realize the former Speaker may not be able to convert his current polling spurt into triumph over his main rival, that dodgy I’m-all-businessman, whose too-perfect hair and smile remind me of a middle-aged Ken doll. Gingrich has scant backing from prominent Republican office-holders; influential conservative pundits, such as Charles Krauthammer and George Will, detest him; he lacks a strong organization to get out the vote in the early caucus and primary states; and he made millions lobbying for institutions he now condemns.
But if Newt somehow manages to surmount these obstacles, imagine what a refreshing campaign he and Obama could wage. Gingrich has already vowed to challenge the president to hold lengthy debates—absent the usual moderators, with their tired Q & A format. Obama would have to agree, lest he seem cowardly. And this could set up the kind of campaign Americans have never witnessed before: a serious debate between articulate exponents of liberalism and conservatism—the ideological conflict that has shaped American politics since the emergence of a mass movement on the right in the 1950s....
comments powered by Disqus
- U.S. Textbook Skews History, Prime Minister of Japan Says
- Recalling a Film From the Liberation of the Camps
- Skull Fossil Offers New Clues on Human Journey From Africa
- Are crude conspiracies right? Research shows nations really do go to war over oil
- Famed SC civil rights protesters have convictions erased
- Columbia University professors Eric Foner, Alan Brinkley, and Alice Kessler-Harris to retire
- A powerhouse appropriations subcommittee is now headed by a historian: Republican Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
- Slavic scholars divided over a scholarship sponsored (and withdrawn) by Stephen F. Cohen
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History
- Joan Peters’s legacy assessed by one of her fiercest critics, Norman Finkelstein