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Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Newt is running for President

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, July 12, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
RedState has an excerpt of an interview with Newt Gringrich from Newsweek that is about as direct as it gets: He's running, with a Contract for America v2.0 in hand.

You've been saying you might run?

I'm actually pretty direct about it. I'm going to talk about ideas and talk about solutions. There will not be a vacuum of ambition and there won't be a vacuum of competence. But if next October it's clear that we can create a national movement that would be like the Contract, then I'd be interested in running. What really matters is to recognize the challenge of the next 20 years. I think this is the biggest challenge we've had as a country since April of 1861. I think we do not realize how hard this is going to be or how big it's going to be. And so I'm going to try to spend the entire next year and a half--from now until October of '07--laying out a strategy for winning the future and laying out a series of policies, much the way I did with the Contract. And then see what the reaction to it is. It's really going to be focused on the ideas--the notion of trying to create a grassroots movement that would radically change Washington , not just preside over it.

When you say this is the biggest challenge that we've faced since 1861, what do you mean?

The Cold War, the Second World War, the Great Depression were very hard but they were focusing. And they came in sequence. You didn't do both simultaneously. What I try to summarize is that science is going to change 4 to 7 times as much in the next 25 years as the last 25. and are going to be genuine economic competitors. Baby boomers are the longest living generation in history. The definition of American citizenship, controlling the border and the decision on immigration are enormous. And in the world at large we have four layers of challenges. We have the long war with the irreconcilable wing of Islam, of which is a piece. We have the threat of dictatorships that want to get nuclear and biological weapons, like and . We have the emergence of a verbal anti-American coalition.... You can see the pattern. And then the challenge of how in an age of real-time television and cell phones, a country like ours leads the pack in a way that is persuasive rather than coercive and that increases our acceptability rather than decreases it.

You take that list I just gave you, we've got a heckuva decade, a heckuva 15 years. I don't want to preside over the decay of the country. But I have every interest in finding out whether or not we can build a genuine movement in state legislatures, and county councils and school boards. If we don't fix a number of these things, I think we're in very big trouble.

I imagine some of your decision will be based on who else runs?

It will actually be based on who picks up the ideas. It's much more about a movement and a set of ideas. We're going to offer all these ideas, all this material to everybody. And if somebody else can put together a movement, that's fine. I also hope that we can in 2007, I would really like to see the Republican party offer to the Democratic party to hold a series of bipartisan conversations rather than the usual political bitterness and actually spend 2007 talking about what kind of country should be.

You've talked about some of the Democrats. What about Hillary Clinton? You've teamed up with her on some health issues.

She's very competent. She's very professional. She works very hard. The question is whether or not there's a ceiling. She clearly is the best-financed candidate.

You mean a gender ceiling?

No, no. A Hillary ceiling. For a lot of Americans, the prospect of Bill being in the East wing just sort of stops them. I tried to get one of the networks to do a situation comedy called East Wing with a Bill-Clinton-type First Spouse bouncing around. Her husband is probably the smartest politician in our generation, so if the two of them work at it hard enough they are very formidable. I think we can beat her in a general election. But I don't think it's easy. And I don't think you do it by being negative about her. Everybody who wants to be negative about Hillary already knows everything they need to know. What you have to do is offer a better vision of a better future that people believe is real.

So if not you on the Republican side, who else?

You have to say that McCain, Giuliani, Romney, Frist, Allen, Huckabee--at a minimum all six of them are in the race. And it is probably the most open race on the Republican side since 1940. And I think you have to say John McCain is the frontrunner and Giuliani is a close second. But it's also 2006. And nobody has a Reaganite or George H.W. Bush kind of organizational structure. So I think it's pretty wide open.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.