30 Mar
2012
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Newt is Right

I have to admit that I have never been a big fan of former Speak Newt Gingrich.  While I do believe that it was his leadership and the Republican controlled Congress (as opposed to President Clinton) that lead to the terrific economic expansion of the 1990s and the near elimination of the national debt, I have always found the former Speaker’s style to be less than, shall we say, polished and diplomatic.

Having said that, I still have greatly enjoyed following his 2012 presidential campaign.  Speaker Gingrich is obviously a very intelligent individual and possesses great debating skills.  His rebukes of the national media were spot on.  And, finally, whether you like him or not or whether if you agree with him or not, he clearly has a lot of interesting things to say.

As someone who was a boy during the Apollo years, one of his proposals that I found most interesting involved building a permanent base on the moon.  If you recall, when he made that proposal, he was universally mocked.  His opponents and the media called it a “hair-brained scheme” with no chance or basis in reality given our current economic condition.

It’s hard to believe that this reaction came from the same America that tamed the West, won the Cold War and put a man on the moon.  Sure, times are tough but that does not mean we can’t still have big dreams and goals.  Speaker Gingrich proposed bringing private enterprise into the mix, thereby truly opening up space to commercialization and privatization.  We used to call proposals like that “visionary” and “challenges worthy of our efforts” not hair-brained schemes and dumb ideas.  Many of our greatest undertakings were accomplished during tough economic times, particularly when we opened up the challenge to the private sector.  Perhaps Speaker Gingrich does not have the eloquence that President Kennedy had in the 1960s when he challenged us to put a man on the moon (he certainly doesn’t have the support and adoration of the media that Kennedy had) but he has a vision and has called on Americans to think outside the box and rethink our ideas about the exploitation of space.  Our nation needs to encourage, not discourage, such forward thinkers.  It is time again that we realize that the biggest obstacle to our ability to achieve great things comes not from economic statistics but from the naysayers and doubters among us who prefer to maintain the status quo.  If he contributed anything to the debate in this cycle, Speaker Gingrich reminded us that if we are to achieve great things, then we need to dream and imagine a nation not bound by the mundane constraints that will always exist.  In short, Speaker Gingrich reminded us that, as Americans, we should always remember to think big.

Joseph Mendola, a native New Yorker and a graduate of Columbia Law School was the 2009 Republican candidate for NYC Comptroller.  He received nearly 200,000 votes, the most of any Republican running for office in NYC in 2009 except for Michael Bloomberg.  Joe is licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey and Florida. He works in the securities industry and holds 10 different FINRA sponsored licenses.  A direct survivor of 9/11, Joe lives with his 2 young children in one of America’s greatest liberal bastions, New York City’s Greenwich Village.  He may be reached at jmendolanyc@aol.com.

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