While leaving CPAC with a friend, we talked about Newt Gingrich's speech to the convention. Newt's speech was very similar to the one he gave after losing the Florida primary. It was a long list of the (unrealistic) policies he would implement as president. We couldn't decide if Newt was genuinely serious and he believes he can implement his agenda, or if he knows he will lose and is using that freedom to stake out the most extreme position possible.
Here is my list of policies that Newt promised: Repeal Obamacare, Dodd Frank, and Sarbanes-Oxley by January 20th. Abolish all of the White House Czars. Approve the Keystone pipeline. Move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Reinstate the Mexico City Policy. "Repeal every act of religious bigotry by the Obama administration." Make the capital gains tax 0%. Completely overhaul unemployment insurance. Eliminate the EPA and the Department of Energy. Get the FDA to "accelerate" approving new drugs. Make the corporate take rate 12.5%. Abolish the estate tax. Create a tax filing system like Hong Kong's. Balance the budget. Use Six Sigma to reduce government waste. Create personalized social security savings accounts. Audit the Federal Reserve. Approve a gold commission. And finally, bring the cost of gas down to $2.
Newt said that his campaign "is a mortal threat to the establishment because we intend to change Washington and not accommodate it." It might just be intimidating because any establishment figure who hears the whole plan must wonder why Newt intends to grab every third rail in politics at the same time.
Newt's vice is that he lacks discipline, and his laundry list of policy ideas shows it. Mitt Romney may have a 59-point economic plan but he doesn't talk about all the parts of it on the campaign trail. With Newt, his policy laundry list could be re-packaged as a stump speech. In Newt's mind, the only real logistical problem is figuring out how many different executive orders he needs to sign.
So is he serious or is he just trying to stake out a politically extreme position? Why not both?