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Could Newt be the answer?
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Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson broke a cardinal rule for Georgia Republicans. They allowed Sen. Ted Kennedy to smile upon them.
If you’re a Republican lawmaker, receiving approbation from Kennedy is akin to getting good wishes from Osama.
Whether Isakson and Chambliss are due credit for starting the ball rolling on immigration reform doesn’t matter. When Kennedy said publicly that their current ideas on illegal immigration seemed a reasonable starting place, that did it.
Without the famous Democrat’s positive words, you might never have heard our senators’ ideas booed at last weekend’s GOP convention.
However, the smattering of unprecedented booing may signal more than opposition to the current immigration-reform proposal.
Talking to ordinary voters and scanning the independent blogs, one has the feeling Georgia’s version of Joe and Joan Six-Pack is fed up with lots of stuff. They believe their elected leaders in Washington and Atlanta have sold them out — not just on immigration but a myriad of issues ranging from the Iraq War to inadequate local-school funding.
The sellout perception is not off the mark. Look at last year’s congressional elections. Polls suggest voters fired the Republican majority because the nation is sick and tired of the Iraq disaster. Citizens also had their fill of a rubber-stamp GOP Congress bought and paid for by high-powered lobbyists. They wanted a cleanup and change. In Congress, they wanted Democrats.
When test time for the new Congress rolled around, Democrats were not much different from Republicans. A meekly worded measure to require reporting benchmarks in the Iraq War collapsed.
House Democrats totally failed to institute a crackdown on unethical conduct. Six months after the election, the lessons of Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay were forgotten.
In Georgia, the “new and improved” Republican House and governor are approaching anarchy. The after-hours frolicking of key leaders makes a frat house look tame.
Our government is in such a mess that we may need to take radical steps, beginning at the top, to get the train back on the track — radical steps like bringing back Newt.
At the moment, Newt Gingrich appears to be a blabbermouth dark horse among the current lackluster field of presidential candidates.
 Younger voters don’t seem to recall precisely who he is.
Here’s a reminder: Former House Speaker Gingrich is the Republican who has arguably done more to shape the Republican Party in the last 40 years than any Republican save Ronald Reagan.
He gave the GOP a message that carried the Republicans out of the political wilderness and forged it into the majority party for over a decade, before lesser politicians squandered the foundational shifts he created.
On last Sunday’s Meet the Press, Gingrich had his coming-out party. He set the timeframe — by the beginning of October, we will know if there is a Gingrich bid for the presidency.
Conveniently enough, Gingrich can run as an outsider. That’s the role that best suits him. Gingrich taking the podium late at night on C-SPAN railing against waste and incompetence in government was the ember that fanned into the Republican Revolution of 1994.
Newt could give the current GOP a new look and a steel spine. His command of a broad swath of issues stands in stark contrast to the current White House occupant and to the GOP primary candidates. Throughout his career, Newt has been a supreme new-idea and new-way guy. That is what we may need —  a fresh start with a genuine revolutionary, even if a slightly used one.
Of course, the possible return of Newt is fraught with problems, many of them personal. In his first step toward the White House, Newt has already tried to air his marital dirty laundry to remove it as an issue. His ploy may not work.
While the American people forgave the Gipper (and, thus far, only the Gipper) for having a divorce, they will probably not forgive Gingrich for three marriages, especially considering the despicable manner in which he treated his previous wives.
And one other thing: Newt may trumpet his ideas and the nation will be the better for them. His presence might even inspire an improved leader-role model at the state level.
Alas, Newt will not be elected. We like to like our presidents, and Newt is just not likeable.

Contact Shipp at P.O. Box 440755, Kennesaw, GA 30160, or email:
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