Newt Gingrich on Chuck Schumer’s New Book

New York Senator Chuck Schumer’s new book, Positively American, isn’t selling very well. As of this writing, it is ranked #3,869 on Amazon.com, which probably translates into 2 or 3 books sold a day. It must be a little disappointing for someone as ambitious as Schumer to see his fellow Democratic senator Barack Obama selling that many books every second. But at least Schumer has one big fan: Newt Gingrich, who is an avid Amazon reviewer. His review of Schumer’s book is the most bipartisan thing I’ve read since … well … ever? Here’s the Gingrich review.

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful:

A Book Every Republican Should Read, February 22, 2007

Reviewer: Newt Gingrich (Washington, DC United States) – See all my reviews
( (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)

Positively American
by Senator Chuck Schumer
(Rodale, New York , 2007, 274pp)

I am surprised to be recommending Senator Chuck Schumer’s Positively American and yet it is a very powerful and effective book.

Schumer is a liberal and very positive Democrat but he is also very smart and has some profound insights into contemporary American thinking.

For any Republican who would like to understand what happened in 2006, the Schumer explanation is compelling and sobering. He and Rahm Emmanuel have understood that a hard left Democratic Party will never be a majority. They were prepared to recruit candidates who were electable and to accept that those candidates would infuriate their more liberal wing. They saw a center-left majority as preferable to a happy leftwing minority. It is a formidable warning about how they will run 2008 and beyond.

Furthermore, Schumer has a much better sense for middle class than I would have expected. He is thinking a lot about how to understand the needs and concerns of middle class and how to develop programs which will appeal to the middle class vote.

Schumer’s reelection by 71% (a new york record) was not an accident. He has a serious, thorough understanding of how to emphasize issues and achievements which will appeal to moderate voters who would be infuriated by the left wing of the democratic party.

Finally Schumer lists 11 major areas of solutions. Republicans could easily coopt half of those solutions and challenge Senator Schumer to help pass them into law.

This is a smart book by an intelligent, liberal Democrat who is determined to turn his party into a governing majority again. It is worth study by every Republican who would like their party and their center-right philosophy to prevail.


bkw

Are the terms "left wing" or "right wing" really pejoratives?

Endymion

bkw, "left-wing" and "right-wing" are 'subjective pejoratives.' As is "centrist," and its variants. Also, "bipartisan."
Bruce in CA, I agree with your take, but I would emphasize that it is liberal policy that terrifies Gingrich. The majority of the public have begun to support many of the ideas that Republicans have spent years vilifying, and Democrats could make huge, generational gains by embracing those "left-wing" positions. Gingrich's show of bipartisanship is for Schumer's benefit, a conciliatory gesture designed to encourage Democratic inaction.

bertrecords

This blog has written favorably on the Obama book and on the Gingrich book review of Schumer. So, bipartisonship is demonstrated here. Overall, you must agree that there is a rightward leaning, Milton Friedman tilt to this blog. Libertarians are one of the few parties with principles and I am happy to read ideas, even though I lean Green, one of those other parties with ideas.

What do you think of the Gingrich idea that American is in World War III, published in WSJ, September 7, 2006?

"...With American survival at stake, [Bush] must choose. His strategies are not wrong, but they are failing. And they are failing for three reasons.

(1) They do not define the scale of the emerging World War III, between the West and the forces of militant Islam, and so they do not outline how difficult the challenge is and how big the effort will have to be. (2) They do not define victory in this larger war as our goal, and so the energy, resources and intensity needed to win cannot be mobilized. (3) They do not establish clear metrics of achievement and then replace leaders, bureaucrats and bureaucracies as needed to achieve those goals."

I find a "Freakonomics" analysis of ideas much more enlightening than a "Freakonomics" analysis of politicians. I would love to hear a "Freakonomics" take on Gingrich's current signature idea.

Read more...

majikthise

Donald Rumsfeld has a Flickr account:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/90464130@N00/

Sorry to hijack--just couldn't resist!

P.S. Just in case: the Rumsfeld Flickr account is a joke. Newt Gingrich's amazon.com reviewer account looks like it's not.

egretman

Bipartisan? Had to laugh at that thought.

Newt, when he was in power, spoke for the far-right philosophy not the center-right. And that continues with his mistaken take on the value of the first amendment recently.

So what to make of his book reviews now? I would submit that they are Machiavellian manipulations meant to deceive for his own gain. They distort his very real views in order to appear moderate and acceptable again.

Bipartisan? Just look at what he says. He uses the pejorative "left-wing" twice to subtlety smear all democratic opponents. Note that I mean “pejorative” to conservatives, which is his audience. Then, refers only to the Republicans as center-right in philosophy, as if that was what they were before they lost power.

Keegan

"Then, refers only to the Republicans as center-right in philosophy, as if that was what they were before they lost power."

You are correct.

Considering the massive prescription drug benefit and the complete inaction on immigration and meaningful social security reform (amongst a host of other issues), calling the 2004-2006 Republican Congress center-right would be a gross misnomer. They spent like drunken sailors on shore leave.

They were centrist, if not center-left.

Bruce in CA

Gingrich is terrified of emerging Democratic power, which is why he wrote the review.

Newt wants the old version of the Democrats back, the ones that thought that splitting the difference with the Reblicans was the way to win (See Kerry, John). That's why he uses this to trash the "left-wing" of the Democratic Party.

Of course in 2006, the Republicans ran into some real fighters in the form of now Senators Jim Webb, John Tester, and many others. And Gingrich wants you to think that they are "left wing."

brtyler

Did anybody who claims this review is partisan actually read the book? I find it very hard to say he is smearing anybody with his analysis and it just demonstrates your own personal partisanship when you make the claim. I have not read the book myself but I would make sure to actually read it before evaluating the review.

zbicyclist

Keegan's (#4) view is interesting.

Certainly the Bush administration has done things many conservatives find horrifying: start with those deficits, the expansion of entitlements for the elderly, and the intrusion into local affairs ("No Child Left Behind", the plan to turn state drivers' licenses into de facto national identity cards).

Since Newt hasn't been around for a while, he may figure he can be a bit conciliatory and look more statesmanlike.

I heard James Carville talk last week -- he felt both Gore and Newt would let the other candidates beat each other up for a few months, then give a try at coming in as "unifying" figures within the party.

Innocent Bystander

Why do we, Americans, allow ourselves to be polarized like this? So often, we let a debate or discussion be resolved into just two options, A or B, and we steadfastly maintain, all reason to the winds, that THOSE are our only possible courses. War now or war later. Complete illegal amnesty or a giant wall. Locking up every drug user or handing them out to children at school. Stay the Course or Cut & Run. Liberal or Conservative. Right or Left.

I'd really like to think the readers (and authors) of this blog could be above that. To see the whole bipartisan dichotomy as a giant sham to keep the American people from really thinking and talking about issues in an intelligent way. Maybe even try to stem the tide a bit and work on convincing those in power that a little nuance is needed in American politics. That we're sick of having two extremist views crammed down our throats as "balanced debate."

Because if you want to find what's wrong with political discourse in our country, that's the problem. Right there.

Read more...

EmmettCloud

Since the topic is Gingrich, I just think it's funny how far the current Republican manifestation has moved from the Republican platform of '96. Remember the Balanced Budget Amendment? I argued against it on Keynesian terms, but I'm now thinking my position. We elect the so-called "fiscally conservative" party, and they spend un-heard of amounts of money (even when factoring in the war - which I justify). His social policies are right of mine, but maybe that's not what is important anymore - especially in a divided government where substantive changes to social policy are unlikely to happen anyway.

bkw

Are the terms "left wing" or "right wing" really pejoratives?

Endymion

bkw, "left-wing" and "right-wing" are 'subjective pejoratives.' As is "centrist," and its variants. Also, "bipartisan."
Bruce in CA, I agree with your take, but I would emphasize that it is liberal policy that terrifies Gingrich. The majority of the public have begun to support many of the ideas that Republicans have spent years vilifying, and Democrats could make huge, generational gains by embracing those "left-wing" positions. Gingrich's show of bipartisanship is for Schumer's benefit, a conciliatory gesture designed to encourage Democratic inaction.

bertrecords

This blog has written favorably on the Obama book and on the Gingrich book review of Schumer. So, bipartisonship is demonstrated here. Overall, you must agree that there is a rightward leaning, Milton Friedman tilt to this blog. Libertarians are one of the few parties with principles and I am happy to read ideas, even though I lean Green, one of those other parties with ideas.

What do you think of the Gingrich idea that American is in World War III, published in WSJ, September 7, 2006?

"...With American survival at stake, [Bush] must choose. His strategies are not wrong, but they are failing. And they are failing for three reasons.

(1) They do not define the scale of the emerging World War III, between the West and the forces of militant Islam, and so they do not outline how difficult the challenge is and how big the effort will have to be. (2) They do not define victory in this larger war as our goal, and so the energy, resources and intensity needed to win cannot be mobilized. (3) They do not establish clear metrics of achievement and then replace leaders, bureaucrats and bureaucracies as needed to achieve those goals."

I find a "Freakonomics" analysis of ideas much more enlightening than a "Freakonomics" analysis of politicians. I would love to hear a "Freakonomics" take on Gingrich's current signature idea.

Read more...

majikthise

Donald Rumsfeld has a Flickr account:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/90464130@N00/

Sorry to hijack--just couldn't resist!

P.S. Just in case: the Rumsfeld Flickr account is a joke. Newt Gingrich's amazon.com reviewer account looks like it's not.

egretman

Bipartisan? Had to laugh at that thought.

Newt, when he was in power, spoke for the far-right philosophy not the center-right. And that continues with his mistaken take on the value of the first amendment recently.

So what to make of his book reviews now? I would submit that they are Machiavellian manipulations meant to deceive for his own gain. They distort his very real views in order to appear moderate and acceptable again.

Bipartisan? Just look at what he says. He uses the pejorative "left-wing" twice to subtlety smear all democratic opponents. Note that I mean "pejorative" to conservatives, which is his audience. Then, refers only to the Republicans as center-right in philosophy, as if that was what they were before they lost power.

Keegan

"Then, refers only to the Republicans as center-right in philosophy, as if that was what they were before they lost power."

You are correct.

Considering the massive prescription drug benefit and the complete inaction on immigration and meaningful social security reform (amongst a host of other issues), calling the 2004-2006 Republican Congress center-right would be a gross misnomer. They spent like drunken sailors on shore leave.

They were centrist, if not center-left.

Bruce in CA

Gingrich is terrified of emerging Democratic power, which is why he wrote the review.

Newt wants the old version of the Democrats back, the ones that thought that splitting the difference with the Reblicans was the way to win (See Kerry, John). That's why he uses this to trash the "left-wing" of the Democratic Party.

Of course in 2006, the Republicans ran into some real fighters in the form of now Senators Jim Webb, John Tester, and many others. And Gingrich wants you to think that they are "left wing."

brtyler

Did anybody who claims this review is partisan actually read the book? I find it very hard to say he is smearing anybody with his analysis and it just demonstrates your own personal partisanship when you make the claim. I have not read the book myself but I would make sure to actually read it before evaluating the review.

zbicyclist

Keegan's (#4) view is interesting.

Certainly the Bush administration has done things many conservatives find horrifying: start with those deficits, the expansion of entitlements for the elderly, and the intrusion into local affairs ("No Child Left Behind", the plan to turn state drivers' licenses into de facto national identity cards).

Since Newt hasn't been around for a while, he may figure he can be a bit conciliatory and look more statesmanlike.

I heard James Carville talk last week -- he felt both Gore and Newt would let the other candidates beat each other up for a few months, then give a try at coming in as "unifying" figures within the party.