The former Speaker and current American Solutions chair Newt Gingrich received the most enthusiastic welcome of the conference. He started off by attacking Charles Gibson for his rather dumb question about Sarah Palin’s reference to God’s will, the second speaker to do so today. Gingrich uses it to make an argument about how disengaged from American culture the mainstream media has become.
Gingrich talked about the fundamental ties between the idea of a Creator and individual, inalienable freedoms. He also recalled the words of John Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt in tying liberty to a faith in God. Gingrich asked the crowd how the media would react if Palin merely quoted Kennedy in his exhortation to America that we strive to do God’s will, or his emphasis that our liberties come “from the hand of God”. Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address also emphasized the role of God 14 times and quotes the Bible — twice.
Imagine doing that today.
Why have the media lost that fundamental understanding? Gingrich blames it on educators who have attempted to minimize the role of faith in the formation of the nation and its Declaration of Independence and Constitution. It would take a Harvard professor, Gingrich says, to take God out of history.
Somewhere in the 1960s, the Left took a turn away from American tradition, rejecting the cultural norms and attempted to eliminate them. That’s why they have attacked Palin so savagely, Gingrich says. “It’s as though McCain traveled to Mars and brought back an alien.” They have lost touch with mainstream America to the point where they can no longer relate to most of their own countrymen.
Gingrich gave another example of how badly the Left understands religion in the lives of Americans. The Democratic Representative who stood on the House floor and compared Barack Obama to Jesus Christ had no idea how offensive that statement would be to Christians. He probably doesn’t realize that the comparison of Palin to Pontius Pilate is less offensive.
Palin poses two threats to the Left. The first is existential; she shatters the ability of hard-Left political feminism to define the boundaries of women in the public sphere. The second comes from Obama’s decision to go for Joe Biden rather than Hillary Clinton. He showed he could be intimidated, first by the Clintons, and now by Palin herself. Obama blew off 18 million voters because the Clintons threatened his status as party leader.
Gingrich sounded much more positive about this election than at any time over the past two years. He has been sounding a bit Cassandra-ish, but the Palin selection — and the Obama collapse — has him energized.
Update: We’re not allowed to record the speeches, because the FRC will sell them as a DVD afterwards.