Monday, January 23, 2012

Newt: Conservatism as a Movement

The lead-up to the Florida primary is already starting to rev up and eight days before the election, we had another debate. In response to the closing question, Newt began with a very telling statement about how he views conservatism.

"I ask that the people not be for me, I ask that the people be with me."

Newt further elaborated and stated that he wants to enable his supporters to join him in doing the work of implementing Conservatism, as opposed to making the voters rely on him to implement it. In this statement and explanation, he correctly and astutely alluded to the fact that Conservatism should be a never-ending movement, which is bigger than the man leading it. Newt may lead it temporarily, but in his time as leader, he must teach and inspire others to be tomorrow's leaders who will then continue to articulate and teach the merits and benefits of Conservatism to subsequent generations. It was Ronald Reagan who was the last Conservative leader who viewed Conservatism as a movement which he temporarily led, consistently and articulately teaching its merits by going directly to the American people, then passing on the torch to tomorrow's Conservative leaders. Sadly, the new set of leaders were not as successful as Reagan, which was a significant factor that brought us Bill Clinton.

One may say that George W. Bush, who was a good man and a good president, acted as the next leader of the Conservative movement, although it was clear that Bush saw himself as just a man and not the leader of a movement. Where Reagan's strength was articulating Conservatism and consistently teaching through his speeches and legislative agenda, George W. Bush faltered at this practice, letting others define it for him, while at the same time, letting them get away with articulating a false definition. Furthermore, George W. Bush, as he saw himself as just a man and not the leader of a movement, did not look to actively recruit tomorrow's leaders. George W Bush's shortcomings as the leader of the Conservative Movement brought us to Obama.

It is my hope that Newt Gingrich continues to articulate Conservatism as a movement, using his campaign as a teachable moment, and I hope to see him as its temporary leader; continually teaching and inspiring tomorrow's leaders of the Conservative movement.

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