(Cross-posted from U.S. of J.)
Apparently, some conservatives are floating the possibility that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich might emerge as the “conservative’s Moses” (via ThinkProgress):
In serious conversations among Republicans since their election debacle Tuesday, what name is mentioned most often as the Moses, or Reagan, who could lead them out of the wilderness before 40 years?
To the consternation of many Republicans, it is none other than Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House.
Gingrich is far from a unanimous or even a consensus choice to run for president in 2012, but there is a strong feeling in Republican ranks that he is the only leader of their party who has shown the skill and energy to attempt a comeback quickly.
The ThinkProgress folks also note that Gingrich seems to be positioning himself as the “savior” of the Republican Party:
He has been working to shape the next generation of GOP foot soldiers in Congress, allegedly whipping up last-minute opposition to the financial bail-out package in September. NBC’s Mike Barnicle said that conservatives told him this event was “the opening salvo of Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign four years hence,” although Gingrich has denied any such involvement. Gingrich even appeared as a “guest star” in the GOP energy protest over the summer, which conservatives considered “America’s greatest hour.”
Ignoring for the moment the fact that Gingrich left congress disgraced and deeply unpopular, there’s the slight complication that Gingrich’s brand of conservatism is exactly what the Republican Party should move away from. Like I’ve said before, if Obama has a successful first-term, it’s not clear to me that you could run against him on a platform of more conservatism, especially if that conservatism was – in many ways – the forerunner to Bushism (which, presumably, will still be unpopular four years from now).
With minorities on almost every level of government, the GOP is gradually becoming a party which focuses on the White House to the detriment of everything else, which, even if they win the presidency, doesn’t actually benefit the party as a whole (see: 1990s, Bill Clinton, Democratic Party). The only way that can reverse is if the GOP abandons the failed top-down model of politics, and move towards a bottom-up, more grassroots method of organizing. Which is to say that the GOP needs to stop worrying about who will challenge Obama in 2012, and start trying to figure out how to build an organization which can not only more effectively support Republican candidates at all levels of government, but also challenge Democrats on the congressional level.