Sunday, January 9

BOOK PROMOTION OR SERIOUS AMBITIONS?

I was not a big fan of Newt Gingrich when he was Speaker of the House and maybe I should have been (my brother always tried, without success, to convince me I was overlooking a supernova in the Republican Party galaxy); but since he left office and since I began reading his books and paying closer attention to his columns and political commentary on the FOX News Channel, I've come to develop a far greater admiration for his keen intellect and political savvy. Were he to re-enter the arena, I'd be sure to give him a fair hearing this time around. That's why when I read this CNN story it gave me pause and I asked myself: is he just building up a head of steam for his book sales or is he sending aloft a serious trial balloon to assess the prevailing breeze? If it's the latter, the scramble for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 may become infinitely more interesting. Gingrich, for one, has the steel and political cunning (not to mention his extraordinary mind) to beat Hillary like a club. He wouldn't waltz with her. And the conservatives in the Party would find him infinitely more palatable than Giuliani and far less a maverick than McCain. And he doesn't suffer presently from over-exposure despite his stint at FOX. If Nixon could re-invent himself, surely Gingrich can.