But just as the Gingrich of November 1995 is different from the one who assumed the speakership, so too the Gingrich of November 1996 could be a far different, far more inspiring public figure. Gingrich may be a lightning rod, but he also embodies the revolution like no one else. He is its most articulate, self-confident, and unapologetic voice, and he burns with conviction that America can and will be a better place because of it. And if he’s sufficiently freed up from the punishing legislative schedule of the last few months, he can rediscover the youthful realization that drove him to dedicate his life to politics in the first place:

that at certain critical moments in history, effective leadership is all that stands between a civilization and its collapse.

There are times in life when risking everything is more prudent than protecting what you have. For Gingrich, this could be one of them. And if Gingrich fails to accept the mission, the mission does not go away. The hole in the heart of the Republican revolution remains, waiting for a leader to fill it.