Newt Gingrich and *many* other contributors.
Hyperbole Squared, Disingenious, Mostly Theater, June 2, 2011
I happen to like Newt Gingrich, but no one has held him accountable on matters of truth for decades. When I was elected Virtual President at the Huffington Post (search for Robert David Steele), Newt was my choice for Vice President for Global Engagement. He is easily the most educated and thoughtful/philosophical leaders we have, apart from Dennis Kucinich (better on facts) and Ron Paul (better on the Constitution and common sense). I suppose you could add Mike Bloomberg (my choice for Vice President for Education Intelligence, & Research). In short, no Coalition Cabinet can be complete without Newt Gingrich. He might even make a good president if he would stop talking and learn to integrate the thoughts of others from across all 64 parties, not just the right wing of the same bird that has been pooping on America since Newt destroyed Speaker Wright (see The Ambition and the Power: The Fall of Jim Wright : A True Story of Washington). That was also the end of bi-partisanship and the beginning of the end of the Republic, now a neo-fascist corporate state.
The book loses one star for hyperbole and lack of balance, but is a solid four and a more serious contribution that I have seen from others, although I would certainly recommend Stand For Something: The Battle for America’s Soul and Ron Paul’s various books, the most recent being Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom.
The book can be summed up quickly: me good, Obama bad. Democrats are Satanic-Secular-Socialists (a tautalogical redundancy Brother Newt will appreciate), Republicans, never mind their fragmentation and lack of coherence, are pre-destined for Heaven. Independents and the other 63 political parties in America are NOT mentioned in this book. Mike Bloomberg gets one mention. In other words, this book is mostly blithering for the base, not really a coherent program to eradicate the ten high level threats to humanity by harmonizing the twelve core policies across the eight global demographics. I did that in 12 or so columns at the Huffington Post, and across several books on strategic analytics.
All that by way of context. If Newt Gingrich would adopt the “Seven Promises to America” that are outlined at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, he would–I am pretty certain–be elected President and do two terms. I am not holding my breath.
Now to the book in detail.
Shocking as it may seem, as the book comes from the man who is arguably the most educated and well-read of our candidates, there is no mention of debt or deficit in this book, and that also justifies the reduction to four stars. The dirty secret that both the Republicans and Democratic parties want to keep, apart from the fact that the Electoral process is so fraudulent America is no longer considered a full-fledged democracy, is this: BOTH the Democrats AND the Republicans insist on borrowing $1 trillion a year–one third of the federal governments criminally insane (or insanely criminal) budget. They do this in our name and we let them. I have nothing but scorn for Republicans that pretend to be fiscal conservatives and fail to demand that we STOP BORROWING. Period. Now. Really.
There are early and continued flashes of genius and sincere patriotism throughout this book, and I smile as I read his list of ten value propositions early on. Of course you could also read The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates That Define and Inspire Our Country and What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States. This first chapter is a marvelous read, but it is totally disconnected from reality. For reality, read Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War and Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America.
Chapter 2 on the Secular-Socialist Machine manages to avoid the fact that the USA is now a neo-fascist corporate state and there is NO DIFFERENCE between the two political parties that have betrayed all of us to cater to Wall Street. I certainly agree with all the criticisms of Obama, whose “change we can believe in” morphed into “whatever Dick Cheney can do I can do more of.” Under Obama civil liberties have been further eroded, the Patriot Act extended for four years, the Courts have been told that the Department of Justice has the right to lie to the courts for national security purposes, and so on. Where Brother Newt fails across the entire book is in being honest about the equivalent flaws of the right, and oblivious to the vibrant idealism and energy of the Independents and the other 63 parties, all of whom diverse contributions relevant to restoring the Republic.
Chapter 3, on The Lies They Told Us, is a short chapter, and can be summed up as Obama doing more of everything Dick Cheney did. However, Dick Cheney is not mentioned in this book, nor are the 935 documented lies that Dick Cheney led the telling of. This really cuts to the heart of Newt Gingrich’s problem: he can be honest and tell the truth (as in right-wing social engineering is just as bad and Ryan’s plan sucks on multiple fronts) or he can pander and hope to become Secretary of State.
Chapter 4, Secular-Socialist Machine in Action, is short and mostly complaining about the Democrats doing what the Republicans started doing after Newt Gingrich led the scorched earth retaking of Congress.
Chapter 5 on the Secular-Socialist Health Bill Disaster is a long one, and evidently written by David Merritt, Executive Vice President for the Center for Health Transformation. I generally agree with the criticisms outlined here, but the ignorance in this chapter is troubling–there is no mention of the fact that 50 cents out of every health dollar is waste (see PWC “The Price of Excess“), or that Medicare unfunded obligations would go away if Congress would reconnect with its integrity and stop insisting that we pay 100 times what others pay for the same top 75 medications, or that health is a four part challenge, with healthy lifestyle and healthy environment virtually impossible given all the toxins and atmospheric pollutants that Congress authorized (the federal government now sets CEILINGS on state pollution controls instead of FLOORS). The lack of integrity and intelligence in Washington is NOT limited to the Democrats, the Republicans are every bit as corrupt and uninformed.
Chapter 6 on Acorn vote fraud, ho hum, a delightful story easily matched on the right.
Chapter 7 on Big-Business and the Secular-Socialist Alliance is a very short chapter, and I cannot help feeling some skepticism. The “big business” world, the “too big to fail” world, has gladly accepted Congressional pandering for bribes (to be clear here, the going rate on earmarks is 2-5% and it is the Members shaking down lobbyists, not lobbyists corrupting Members). When they pretend to stop earmarks they create a Defense Transfers Fund and just hide them.
Chapter 8 on the Corruption of Climate Science is fine as far as it goes–ClimateGate was a phenomenal revelation of United Nations and leftist science corruption, but the chapter is also intentionally biased, failing to mention the long-running The Republican War on Science.
Chapter 9 on Corruption at the United Nations is superficial, glib, shallow, and not at all serious. Yes, the UN is corrupt. It is also dominated by a Security Council led by the USA that prides itself on being the foremost proponents on the planet for poverty, infectious disease, environmental degradatiion, inter-state war, proliferation of weapons, etc etc. Hypocrisy, they name is….
Chapter 10, First Step in Defeating the Machine, is extreme hyperbole, and as much as I love any references to honest conversations and the truth, Brother Newt has given no evidence at all that he is capable of discerning the truth, much less discussing it. I realize this book was thrown together by a lesser intellect and it is merely a marker on the political campaign trail, but I really would like to see what Newt Gingrich could do if he appointed a Coalition Cabinet, led a national conversation on achieving a prosperous nation at peace, and actually applied his formidable intelligence with integrity.
Chapter 11, Replace Not Reform, is very very short but also totally in harmony with the wisdom of Russell Ackoff among others (see just one of his many books along these lines Redesigning Society (Stanford Business Books). This could be a very intelligent and vitally needed book if Presidential Candidate Gingrich wanted to be serious about national governance.
Chapter 12 A New American Prosperity, was written by Peter Ferrara, Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy at the Institute for Policy Innovation, is over-intellectualized garbage. Joseph Stiglitz, Michael Auerbach, or any of a number of economists with more integrity would dismiss this chapter as severely deceptive. Under Republican rule, the economy has been hollowed out, society has become a cheating culture, the presidency has remained theater, Goldman Sachs has owned the Secretary of the Treasury position and used it to legalize the looting of America, the list goes on. If this is the best Gingrich can do, shame on him.
Chapter 13 was written by Dan Varroney, COO of American Solutions, and now I am getting seriously irritated. It is entirely possible Gingrich has not even read this book published in his name. The ideas are okay but so bland as to disappoint. How about some serious changes: ELIMINATE both individual and small business taxation in their entirety, implementing the Automated Payment Transaction (APT) Tax.
Chapter 14 Replacing the Entitlement State with the Empowerment Society was written by Peter Ferrara; Chapter 15 on Health at Lower Cost by Nancy Desmond, CEO of the Center for Health Transformation, Chapter 16 on Stopping Healthcare Fraud by Jim Frogue Vice President of the Center for Health Transformation, Chapter 17 on Green Conservatism by Terry Maple, CEO of the Palm Beach Zoo, Chapter 18 on An American Energy Plan by Steve Everley, Manager of Policy Research for American Solutions, Chapter 19 on No Liberty without Religious Liberty by Rick Tyler, Founding Director of Renewing American Leadership (nice try but I prefer Jim Wallis God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It, and Chapter 20 on Solving the Education Crisis by three people I have never heard of, and rightly so.
All of this is, in a word, twaddle. What Newt Gingrich SHOULD have done is assembled a group of proper leaders across the ten threats and twelve policies, and created a traditional Mandate for Change book that was coherent and included a balanced budget. Instead we get this extraordinarily shallow and largely incoherent volume.
The last four chapters are *very* short and evidently written by a committee:
21 Why the Second Amendment is Vital to Preserving Our Freedom
22 Twenty-first Century Threats to National Security
23 Why the Tea Party is Good for America
24 American Solutions (pitch to join)
The conclusion, “Citizenship and Saving America,” is pap.
I am leaving this book at four stars because one rarely sees Newt Gingrich so intellectually exposed. Judging by this book, he should not be running for President and has nothing new to offer the American electorate. I offer instead the “Seven Promises to America.” Newt Gingrich has to decide if he wants to make a difference and lead, or just pander to the booboisie. I gag as I put this book down.