Day By Day

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Run Newt Run!

It looks as if Newt Gingrich is running for President. I certainly hope so! Not because I want him to win, that would be disastrous for the country, but because he thinks long and seriously about important issues and has the audacity to actually give voice to important questions that have to be confronted in these dangerous times. We are seriously in need of a broad national dialogue that challenges many of the fundamental assumptions that have characterized our political culture for the past half century. Newt can be counted on to raise those kinds of issues and, if he is a serious contender for the Republican nomination, it will be impossible to ignore them. This next Presidential go-round could be the most interesting campaign in decades, and Newt's the kind of guy who could make it such.

Consider, for instance, his most recent argument on first amendment rights. He notes that we live in times when enemies are openly plotting to commit acts of mass destruction; when the instuments of mass destruction are increasingly available; and when the free global exchange of information, capital, people, and materials makes us more vulnerable than at any time in the past. In such times, he suggests, we might need to rethink our current understanding of first amendment rights.
This is a serious, long-term war," the former speaker said, according an audio excerpt of his remarks made available yesterday by his office. "Either before we lose a city or, if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people.
Or this proposal to push for major changes in the international law of warfare:
We should propose a Geneva Convention for fighting terrorism, which makes very clear that those who would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction, and those who would target civilians are, in fact, subject to a totally different set of rules that allow us to protect civilization by defeating barbarism before it gains so much strength that it is truly horrendous.
Read it here.

These are the kinds of hot-button issues that most candidates would run from, but Newt joyfully engages them and in doing so forces us to pay attention to them. I don't necessarily agree with him, and I certainly don't plan to vote for him, but I sure hope he runs and runs strong.

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