In the wake of its second straight defeat in national elections, the Republican Party needs leadership that can lead it out of the political wilderness. They may want to look at the last man to accomplish that for the GOP. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Newt Gingrich might agree to chair the RNC as the party tries to retool for the Obama administration:
Newt Gingrich has let it be known that, if Republicans want him, the former U.S House speaker is willing to serve as chairman of the national party and lead it out of the wilderness it’s blundered into.
The question is whether the 168-member Republican National Committee is open to the match.
“If a majority of the RNC thought he was needed, he would accept that appointment,” said Randy Evans’ Gingrich’s close friend and legal counsel. “He fully appreciates the urgency of the moment.”
Some wanted Gingrich to run for President in 2008, but this role would suit him much better. Gingrich has operated best as a philosopher for the conservative movement, someone who can both capture the essence of conservatism and put it into action. Gingrich has the skill to communicate to a national audience and an emeritus status that will have people paying attention when he speaks. As RNC chair, his political baggage becomes irrelevant, allowing him to focus on party- and agenda-building instead of running for office.
Most importantly, Gingrich understands the technological tools that escaped the GOP in 2008. American Solutions has established a very impressive grassroots structure for policy, which could easily be adopted and adapted to the RNC. As Patrick Ruffini has been arguing at Rebuild the Party, the RNC needs to close the technology gap with the DNC in a hurry. Gingrich could get the GOP to a terrific start in doing just that.
Selecting Gingrich would also underscore the priority for the party in the next two years. People have already begun talking about 2012, but we have another national election in two years. Unlike this year, Democrats will not have an overwhelming advantage in the Senate races, and they will have to defend the first two years of undivided government. If the Republicans can organize quickly, use a grassroots technological structure to identify and support candidates, and develop the successor to the Contract with America that can unite the disparate factions of conservatism around a few core principles and support candidates who will stick to them, Republicans might compete in 2010 and get control of one chamber of Congress — or at least cut significantly into Democratic majorities.
The RNC needs to find a man who has a track record of doing all of the above. Newt Gingrich certainly fills that bill — if he’ll take it.