Say what you want to about New Gingrich. Brash, abrasive, brilliant, a genuine intellectual with practical political experience, he is easily one of the most fascinating men to have served in Congress over the last quarter century.
In this interview given to The National Journal, Gingrich talks about the future of the GOP and how it must change in order to defeat the Democrats:
Q: You said fairly recently that the Democrats had a very high likelihood of winning the presidency next year.
Gingrich: I think that the country, after the last couple of years, has a bias in favor of change -- I think probably starting with [Hurricane] Katrina and coming through Baghdad and the whole sense of too much spending. And you sense a lack of enthusiasm in the conservative base, and you sense a stunning level of intensity in the anti-war Left. And so you just look at the dynamics and you have to say the odds are probably 80-20 [in the Democrats' favor]...Always an "idea man," Gingrich makes it clear he is disappointed in the boldness displayed by this year's crop of candidates:
Gingrich: We need very bold, dramatic change, change at every level -- from school board to city council to county commission to state legislatures to the presidency. That's what the Republican Party has to stand for. And, frankly, the Republican Party hasn't stood for that.
Q: You always say that what the country needs is a candidate with big ideas. Is there anyone in either party who has the kind of big ideas that you have been talking about?
Gingrich: [John] Edwards has a lot of big ideas, but they're the wrong ones. The country needs solutions, and we need an ability to come to grips with how much change is involved in getting to those solutions. I'm deeply opposed to launching campaigns on late-night television. I think it just trivializes the whole process. I have written before that I believe Gingrich would make a bad president. But it sounds to me that after seeing the reaction to Thompson getting in the race, Newt may - just may- test the waters himself. The race is still wide open. And if there appears to be still a chance by the end of the month, we very well might see Gingrich take the plunge into presidential politics.