Newt Gingrich and His Amazing Ideas

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 12 2011 4:02 PM

Newt Gingrich and His Amazing Ideas

DES MOINES -- The sun took its sweet time coming out today, but it broke before Newt Gingrich took his turn speaking at the state fair. Despite the rising heat, despite the fact that I have not met any voters here who are dead-seat behind him, Gingrich drew about as many onlookers at Mitt Romney did.

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"As I was saying last night," he began -- nope, no "thank you for having me" or "I love Iowa" before launching into a monologue about the ideas he has to fix Congress and America.

"This isn't about what I would do in 2013 if I was president," he said.

That's not something you often hear candidates for president say. But he sounded serious about it. Have Congress spend the beginning of the week voting on bills both parties could agree on. "In the 1980s, when we thought the Reagan administration was moving too slowly on South Africa, a number of younger members, including Vin Weber and myself, teamed up with Ron Dellums, for what was a very heretical coalition." Scrap the supercommittee: Instead, have congressional subcommittees analyze their portfolios "using Lean Six Sigma" techniques. (He's referring to a storied business strategy firm.)

The crowd seemed to enjoy listening to this rap from a Fox News personality and 1990s icon.

"So I guess Newt Gingrich is running for president?" asked one of them as I walked by.

Sort of!

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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