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Newt Gingrich and the Kamikaze Presidency…

In an interview with the gang at Coffee & Markets (h/t: Memeorandum), Gingrich says something interesting with reference to the Paul Ryan business:

The question was: if there’s a program that is very unpopular, should Republicans impose it? And my answer is no. When we passed welfare reform, 92% of the American people supported it, including 88% of people on welfare. Reagan ran to be a popular president, not to maximize suicide. And I think conservatives have got to understand: you govern over the long run by making the American People think you’re doing a good job, and think you’re doing what they want.

What’s important to note is that this is not the Tea Party approach, which has more than a little of “damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead” to it. As a general rule, I support the Tea Party approach, as 1) I’m not certain that incremental conservatism will sufficiently address our yawning financial crisis, and 2) we need to have some push from the Right to even get the ball moving at all in our direction.

The thrill of nominating a Bachmann or a Palin (or even a Santorum) would be to see that person do everything that the Left hates. To hear their lamentations as political power was wrested away from them, and their treasured institutions undone.

But Gingrich has a point. Even if you accept, as some at Protein Wisdom do, that Obama is doing exactly what he wants, he’s not becoming popular by doing so. He’s not making his party stronger by doing so. And if a real conservative is unable to convince the mushy middle that they did the right thing in electing him or her, then that mushy middle is going to change it’s mine four years hence.

The Kamikazes were a powerful weapon in the hands of the Japanese. They were scary. They sunk lots of ships. They affected the outcome of the war not one iota, because destroying the enemy does nothing unless you can force him back. If we were to somehow elect Ron Paul, Ron Paul would busily construct himself to demolishing every last addition to the federal bureaucracy since the Jackson Administration. And unless he had the American people on his side every step of the way, he’d be gone in a quatrain of years, and his Democratic successor would put everything back, and more, even faster. Because destroying, even necessary destroying, is not the same as governing.

Obama may well end up a Kamikaze President for the Left. It may not be the best idea to have one of our own.

UPDATE: suggests a compromise, wherein we simply destroy everything going back to the Johnson Administration. I would laud such, even if I was uncertain if he meant Andrew or Lyndon.