Newt the Plumber

Bill Weckesser
If my wife asked me to change the downstairs bathroom faucet, I'd feel comfortable working on it with a buddy of mine who's pretty handy.  He's read a lot about plumbing.  He knows his way around Home Depot.  He's familiar with handyman projects.  In fact, we've talked about lots of them.

But if there were a leak -- a broken pipe, water shooting out -- I'd call a plumber.  Nothing against my buddy, but this is no time for on-the-job training.  It's an emergency, and I want an experienced fix-it man.

And I'll know I have one when I greet him at the door and shake his rough and calloused hands.  My expert plumber will have dirt under the fingernails; it comes with the job.

Thus, to my mind, is the explanation for the re-evaluation of Speaker Newt Gingrich for president.  Deep down, Americans sense that the country's broken, that we're faced with an emergency -- we need a political fix-it man.  When one listens to him during a debate, his experience shines through.  Been there.  Done that.  But, like an experienced plumber, Mr. Gingrich has grimy hands -- or political baggage, as it's called.  Yes, he's made statements and taken stands that he has regretted.  Plumbers have been known to be embarrassed by the back of their pants.  Droopy drawers come with crawling around pipes and getting the job done.  Politics can leave one equally exposed.  And Mr. Gingrich is a veteran.

But when the emergency is fixed, the leak is stopped, the car starts, and the computer boots up again, we're relieved and grateful and more than willing to avert our eyes from the fix-it man's idiosyncrasies.  So let's laugh with Newt when he says the sofa scene with Pelosi was the dumbest thing he's ever done. 

Let's focus on what matters.  For instance,  as speaker, Newt Gingrich cut spending and balanced the budget.  Really.  He actually fixed things.  Been there; done that.  His budget battles with President Clinton took guts and courage -- and yes, they were controversial.  So of course he has his detractors, including conservatives.

But I'd challenge anyone to go to his website, read his positions, and still wonder about his conservative credentials.  For instance, what's more conservative than opposing activist judges?  Newt devotes more than fifty pages to it and throws out lots of red meat for conservative Christians like me.

The history of the Supreme Court's decisions in the last five decades amply confirms the founders' insight: the Supreme Court - as well as lower federal courts - has proven in numerous decisions that it is far from infallible. Just a few examples confirm this fact. In 1973, the Supreme Court decided that the Constitution created a right to have an abortion, despite the absence of any hint of this right in text or history of the Constitution and our nation's long tradition of prohibiting abortions. The Court initially decided that a woman had a near-absolute right to have an abortion during the first two trimesters of her pregnancy, then later decided that states could not impose an "undue burden" on the right to have an abortion, and recently replaced this standard with yet another opaque standard - still nowhere to be found in the Constitution - for limitations on the right to an abortion.

Can any conservative really imagine those words coming from Mr. Romney?  In fact, just compare Mr. Gingrich's record as speaker with Mr. Romney's record as governor and pin the ribbon on the conservative elephant.  Or compare the speaker's eloquence with Mr. Perry...or with Mr. Paul, or better yet, with Mr. Obama.

If you give a hoot -- vote for Newt!

If my wife asked me to change the downstairs bathroom faucet, I'd feel comfortable working on it with a buddy of mine who's pretty handy.  He's read a lot about plumbing.  He knows his way around Home Depot.  He's familiar with handyman projects.  In fact, we've talked about lots of them.

But if there were a leak -- a broken pipe, water shooting out -- I'd call a plumber.  Nothing against my buddy, but this is no time for on-the-job training.  It's an emergency, and I want an experienced fix-it man.

And I'll know I have one when I greet him at the door and shake his rough and calloused hands.  My expert plumber will have dirt under the fingernails; it comes with the job.

Thus, to my mind, is the explanation for the re-evaluation of Speaker Newt Gingrich for president.  Deep down, Americans sense that the country's broken, that we're faced with an emergency -- we need a political fix-it man.  When one listens to him during a debate, his experience shines through.  Been there.  Done that.  But, like an experienced plumber, Mr. Gingrich has grimy hands -- or political baggage, as it's called.  Yes, he's made statements and taken stands that he has regretted.  Plumbers have been known to be embarrassed by the back of their pants.  Droopy drawers come with crawling around pipes and getting the job done.  Politics can leave one equally exposed.  And Mr. Gingrich is a veteran.

But when the emergency is fixed, the leak is stopped, the car starts, and the computer boots up again, we're relieved and grateful and more than willing to avert our eyes from the fix-it man's idiosyncrasies.  So let's laugh with Newt when he says the sofa scene with Pelosi was the dumbest thing he's ever done. 

Let's focus on what matters.  For instance,  as speaker, Newt Gingrich cut spending and balanced the budget.  Really.  He actually fixed things.  Been there; done that.  His budget battles with President Clinton took guts and courage -- and yes, they were controversial.  So of course he has his detractors, including conservatives.

But I'd challenge anyone to go to his website, read his positions, and still wonder about his conservative credentials.  For instance, what's more conservative than opposing activist judges?  Newt devotes more than fifty pages to it and throws out lots of red meat for conservative Christians like me.

The history of the Supreme Court's decisions in the last five decades amply confirms the founders' insight: the Supreme Court - as well as lower federal courts - has proven in numerous decisions that it is far from infallible. Just a few examples confirm this fact. In 1973, the Supreme Court decided that the Constitution created a right to have an abortion, despite the absence of any hint of this right in text or history of the Constitution and our nation's long tradition of prohibiting abortions. The Court initially decided that a woman had a near-absolute right to have an abortion during the first two trimesters of her pregnancy, then later decided that states could not impose an "undue burden" on the right to have an abortion, and recently replaced this standard with yet another opaque standard - still nowhere to be found in the Constitution - for limitations on the right to an abortion.

Can any conservative really imagine those words coming from Mr. Romney?  In fact, just compare Mr. Gingrich's record as speaker with Mr. Romney's record as governor and pin the ribbon on the conservative elephant.  Or compare the speaker's eloquence with Mr. Perry...or with Mr. Paul, or better yet, with Mr. Obama.

If you give a hoot -- vote for Newt!