Conventional wisdom these days says that conservatism is in decline, if not outright dying. One reason for this (mistaken) impression is that there are no prominent advocates of the conservative message. It remains to be seen whether young Republicans like Paul Ryan or Bobby Jindal can become stars on the national stage and lead a GOP comeback. Unfortunately today's most stirring conservative spokesman probably has little chance of becoming President. Newt Gingrich is a) too old (he'll be 69 in 2012), b) too honest and c) too hated by the MSM to be elected. Watching him today on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace made me wish that he had run instead of McCain. McCain probably did as well as any Republican could have. Once the Lehman collapse sparked fears of a global economic meltdown, no GOP candidate was going to win. But Gingrich would have presented a rousing, individual freedom, patriotic contrast to Obama's languid, socialist, internationalist vision. Instead we had McCain's Obama-lite approach. And as the smartest politician in the country, Gingrich may have been able to break through and expose Obama's glossy superficiality.
Also on the Wallace program was David Petraeus who gave a typically forthright assessment of the situations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. It's just mindboggling that there are those on the left (MoveOn.org, Hillary Clinton) who would stoop so low as to disparage this man of unimpeachable integrity. In a better, more thoughtful world we would have a President Gingrich and a Vice President Petraeus.
During the panel portion of the Wallace program, Kimberly Strassel (of the WSJ editorial board and in her Fox News debut) made an interesting observation. The Republicans have introduced a House bill designed to prevent Gitmo detainees from being sent to the U.S. either for reincarceration in prisons or (incredibly) for release among the general population. It's appropriately called the "Keep Terrorists Out of the Country Act". Strassel pointed out that it would be hard for a politician to justify voting against a bill with that title. This is similar to what the Democrats are doing with the "Employee Free Choice Act", except that that bill provides anything but "free choice" for employees. The GOP should consider titling their bills in this way. There could be an "Anti Government Theft Act" (for tax cuts), "The Patient Choice and Empowerment Act" (for a tax incentivized private medical insurance plan), "The Free Our Children From Government Indoctrination and Incompetence Act" (for school vouchers), "The Keep America and the World Safe and At Peace Act" (for doubling the defense budget) and "The Don't Be Indescribably Stupid Act" (to prohibit any carbon tax or cap and trade scheme).