Gosh, it's as if we could just take a Republican strategist's word (and the title of Balz' write-up) and just assume for the sake of argument that Newt Gingrich is a "man of ideas". So much is Balz convinced of this that aside from a quote of Gingrich's asserting a standard wish list and a token nod to the usual states' rights guff, nowhere in the several hundreds of words does Balz remember to include an actual, workable idea enumerated by Gingrich.
Fortunately he does link to the propitiously-named American Solutions site, which graciously includes links to several of Newt's stabs at profundity. Here's a magickal slice of the "ideas" and "intellect" being sold, like a case of spiked cough syrup out of the back of some greaseball's '92 Camaro in an alley:
It goes on, lauding Gohmert's "brilliant insight" and "courage" in protesting something Obama wanted to do. Let me say that Louie Gohmert is the drawling hump who apologized to British Petroleum, after their fucked-up equipment had killed eleven workers and polluted the entire Gulf of Mexico, for having to endure Obama's shameless shakedown of their bullshit mud-drilling operation. Let me say that Louie Gohmert needs to be reincarnated at least a dozen times as one or another hapless creature encrusted by industrial pollution, and then reincarnated as a fisherman who has to make his suicide look like an accident so his insurance company will pay off his shrimp trawler and not leave his survivors completely destitute.
Seriously, if you had to make a "fuck 'em right in the neck" list of mouthbreathing assholes in Congress, Louie Gohmert is almost guaranteed to make your top three or five. Every public appearance of Gohmert convinces me more that he is a product of careful genetic engineering, of warped scientists valiantly attempting to find a sweet spot, that perfect cross of willfully ignorant and obnoxiously mean. Not in the childish "those guys are meeeeaan!" sense, but in the real "this guy barely gives a fuck about his family, and certainly not about anybody else" sense.
But in all seriousness, all intellectual honesty, can you read that entire speech and find a coherent workable idea, and even a sketch of how it can be implemented? There's plenty of rhetoric, sure, but it wears about as thin as the usual liberal "let's be the best America we can be/it takes a village" counterpart.
The big ideas seem to be, in no particular order: Gut the tax and regulatory systems, because our crumbling infrastructure can repair itself, and nobody gives a fuck about coal miners until 50 of them suffocate under a mountain of unsafe rock that the MSHA was too defunded or defanged to catch before it collapsed. Indoctrinate the populace with the heroic epic of American Exceptionalism, because you just don't see that at every fucking turn right now, seriously. Talk about God a lot, because if he hasn't struck Newt down by now, he must be pretty forgiving. And so forth.
(Even Gingrich's newfound god-bothering is off a touch; he claims that God has forgiven Gingrich's numerous transgressions, yet apparently does not hold out for the possibility that He might forgive the transgressions of Gingrich's political opponents as well. Of course, Gingrich is too busy effeminizing them and casting them as job-killers to notice this intellectual inconsistency. But then, that would presuppose that he has ever been intellectually honest in the first place. I'm not sure even Dan Balz really believes that.)
I get why Newt Gingrich thinks those things count as ideas; what I don't get is why Dan Balz thinks they count as ideas. See, an idea has to be more than "cut taxes" or "cut spending" -- you then have to explain the expected consequences and outcomes of these actions. If I say "cut spending", I should have to say what I want to cut, by how much, and how that will tangibly help the budget deficit. Every one of these goddamn "cut spending" clowns has the same schtick -- find some bullshit drop-in-the-bucket program that's politically unpopular but fiscally meaningless, and uphold it as the ne plus ultra of government irresponsibility and hedonism.
Crucial to this tactic is avoiding all mention of the Big Three spending programs -- Social Security, Medicare, and the military. Oh sure, once in a while one of the dumber and meaner ones will actually have the cojones to talk about privatizing Social Security, before catching themselves in a sudden rush of memory of how no one's really all that hot anymore to hand their paychecks over to the geniuses who monkeyfucked the world economy. And paid themselves nice fat bonuses for doing so, just because they could. Other than that, those things don't get brought up a whole lot.
It's like driving down a road that has three lane-wide, impossible-to-miss, car-swallowing potholes, and making a big show about the bug splattered on your windshield, acting like the potholes aren't there. Of course, this is constitutent-driven for the most part; the baby boomers are more than happy to ensure they get theirs and fuck over my generation completely and utterly, just like they always have.
And raging militarism is crucial to perpetuating important nationalist control myths, so the only cuts to the military will be in things that directly affect service personnel, such as post-trauma care, post-military job assistance, housing assistance for families while troops are deployed, etc. That's how that one works out. There'll always be enough money in the budget to bankroll another flying contraption the Air Force doesn't want, or to run formation exercises at the Raiders game. When your main concern is maintaining the budget for symbolism, the big cuts always come out of substantial stuff first. So guaranteed, any military cuts will come out of troops' backs.
Anyhoo, so again, Mr. Idea Man. I've reread the speech a couple times, just not seeing anything besides Mitch Albom-level stories and American Legion boilerplate. (And seriously, whoever transcribed this speech must have used cheap voice-recognition software. Fucking proofread once in a while, m'kay? Looks like a slow third-grader scooped this shit out. "Baton" Death March, seriously? Fugging chumps.)
Near as I can tell, Newt Gingrich has had exactly three big ideas in his entire political career -- mastering a precise vocabulary of loaded words guaranteed to antagonize and conceal rather than elucidate; cluttering up school boards and city councils with red-meat window-lickers who, while largely unelectable at higher levels, are useful for local rabble-rousing and policy shenanigans; and portraying himself as some sort of intellectual emeritus of the wingnut brigade. That last one is simple; when you're competing against marginal oafs like Palin and Bachmann, you pretty much win if you can get through a speech without drooling on yourself.
Ironically though, no matter how much he preaches his bullshit gospel about Christ's forgiveness, it's the issue of morality that will be Newt's undoing (assuming, in fact, that he's running because he genuinely wants to win and thinks he can win, as opposed to Fred Thompson's cute little take-the-money-and-run grift he pulled on the short-bus crowd a couple years back). The morality issue, in his case, is bad even for a politician.
Put it this way -- as a stereotypical godless, hedonistic sybarite, while I don't personally approve of fucking around on one's spouse or significant other, I don't make it a criterion for the people I elect to implement public policy. So, yeah, I found it distasteful and unsurprisingly tacky, even a minor source of irritation that Bill Clinton got his pole smoked by a chunky intern whilst discussing troop deployments in the Balkans. And I was weirded out by Clinton's bizarre compartmentalism, that he seriously felt that jerking off in a sink, instead of ejaculating in said intern's mouth, somehow absolved him of cheating on his wife, or having sex with a sub-sub-subordinate. And his smirking parsimony over the meanings of simple words was just obnoxious. But like most folks, I was far more irritated at the hypocrites who were all too happy to basically shut down the entire government to mess with him over it.
Chief among these scumbags was Gingrich. Maybe I am just a little bit square on the subject, because I simply cannot get my brain around a person who persecutes a colleague for doing the exact same thing he himself is doing at the same time. One expects at least some small measure of honor among thieves, but Gingrich time and again has shown himself to be a man utterly without honor, devoid of character. Expecting character and honor of one's openly purchased politicos is a fool's errand in the first place, but it's one Gingrich's party runs to every chance they get. Maybe for once we should take them up on that.
Update: Anonymous in comments reminds me that it was, in fact, Joe Barton who apologized to BP, not Louie Gohmert, proving conclusively that I cannot tell these inbred goobers apart. Amazingly, Gohmert is an even bigger shithead than Barton, so he'll probably serve at least another ten terms.