By Tony Lee
In the next two weeks, the 2012 field of GOP presidential contenders will congeal. Last week, Newt Gingrich showed why he will be a more than formidable candidate. During a series of events, he displayed how he can combine politics, policy, and publicity to leverage his ideas and brand.
During a tele-townhall co-hosted by The Contract From America (Gingrich was its first signatory), BBA Now, and The TeaParty.net, Gingrich showed his depth and range on a variety of issues ranging from immigration, to allowing people to opt-in to a flat tax rate, to criticizing President Obama for seemingly caring more about offshore drilling in Brazil than in America.
During the tele-forum, Gingrich also called on George Washington University to invite Paul Ryan back to give a counter to President Obama’s speech at the university, which Gingrich said was a “demagogic” speech that was “cheap” and “nasty” because it used Ryan as a “prop.”
The next day, on an appearance on The Kudlow Report, Gingrich said he would make an announcment regarding his candidacy during the first week of May. He then said that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke should not get a second term.
During an appearance in Charleston, South Carolina on Thursday, Gingrich outlined some innovative approaches to energy security, summarized below:
- Replace the Environmental Protection Agency, which has become a job-killing regulatory engine of higher energy prices, with an Environmental Solutions Agency that would work cooperatively with local government and industry to achieve better environmental outcomes while considering the impact of federal environmental policies on job creation and the cost of energy.
- End the ban on oil shale development in the American West, where we have three times the amount oil as Saudi Arabia.
- Give coastal states federal royalty revenue sharing so that state’s budgets directly benefits from offshore development.
- Enact a loser-pays law to force the losers in environmental lawsuits to pay all legal costs for the prevailing side, which will reduce frivolous lawsuits that are employed simply to stop energy production.
- Finance cleaner energy research and projects with new oil and gas royalties.
- Appoint a commission of engineers and scientists, not politicians, to study the damaged nuclear reactor in Japan and determine if any changes need to be made to US nuclear power standards.
Then, at the Brookings Institution on Friday, Gingrich gave a substantive, compelling, and engaging speech regarding health policy.