Watching Newt Gingrich, one can't help but be struck by just how bright a man he is -- because it's no small hurdle to be able to overcome a disgraceful exit from public office and assume the frontrunner position in the battle for the GOP nomination.
Based on America's damaged global standing due to financial mismanagement, unrivaled inequality and destabilizing military excursions, now is not the time for arrogance and hubris from a U.S. president.
The one thing that seems clear is this -- there's no such thing as a sacred cow when all cows are sacred. When you speak or write, no matter how careful you are there is a chance someone is going to be offended.
If Gingrich wins the nomination, exposing his hypocrisy, corruption, and double-talk will not suffice. The President will need to engage on the basic choices the country faces. That is why the mantra of not "litigating the past" is foolish.
Paul's efforts to go after Gingrich are significant. They indicate that Gingrich is indeed a genuine contender to be reckoned with, that Gingrich will have to start playing defense, and that the race is about to get a whole lot uglier.
The approximately 45-day pattern of elevating a candidate, then watching as that candidate melts down has apparently lapped itself, since Newt Gingrich has already been elevated and subsequently disintegrated back in May and June.
There is an argument to be made that when candidates run solely for the sake of entertainment (their own entertainment or ours) they distract us from discussing the real issues that matter, with the candidates that will ultimately matter.
The Republican Party has now made supporting the Ryan budget its acid test for 2012. By forcing the issue in such a major way with Gingrich, the message to the rest of the Republican candidates is loud and clear: "Support the Ryan plan -- or else."
Fortuitously, if Newt Gingrich does indeed declare his presidential candidacy, we'll already have a blueprint for his campaign available, which he published last year as a direct challenge to Barack Obama.