Newt and Wisconsin

    Did you know that Newt Gingrich hopes to launch his presidential campaign at Independence Hall in Philadelphia in May? So reports the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Tom Fitzgerald in a Sunday piece I wish had got better play.

    Fitzgerald, an astute political writer, explores whether Gingrich is likable enough to win the Oval Office. He notes that Gingrich is smart but not warm, and that he carries the heavy personal baggage of past infidelities.

    Gingrich’s best hope, Fitzgerald concludes, “may be that in dangerous times voters won’t want a buddy-president.”

    The other Gingrich news that caught my eye is his enthusiastic embrace of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s campaign against his state’s public employee unions.

    In a radio interview with Larry Kudlow, Gingrich called Walker’s success in stripping government unions of most bargaining rights “absolutely one of the most historic moments in the last 30 or 40 years.”

    Gingrich predicted the Walker crusade will sweep from state to state and eventually affect labor relations in the federal workforce.

    Unions and Democrats hope Republicans have overreached with their attacks on public sector unions and provoked a backlash that will reverse their political fortunes.

    We’ll see how events unfold, but there’s considerable poll evidence that Walker’s attack on government unions is broadly unpopular.

    It wouldn’t be the first time Gingrich has pushed too hard and paid a price. When he was House Speaker, it was his government shutdowns over spending battles in the mid-90’s that revived then President Bill Clinton’s presidency.

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