Gingrich in 2012?

Okay, following up on my post from last night, “Newt Gingrich in the O.C.!,” unlike many other politicians I’ve met, Newt Gingrich seemed like a cold, self-superior political actor. There was no sense of inclination toward glad-handing. In contrast, videos of Sarah Palin at her book signings show a potential candidate eager to engage her followers and supporters. Gingrich gave a good talk, and had I just left after the lecture I might have a different opinion of him. When he walked into the reception room for the signing, there was a punfunctory feel and a forced-smile atmosphere to the event. I can’t remember feeling that I’m getting a privilege to meet someone who might very well be asking for my support. Call me selfish, but I don’t necessarily view Gingrich as a model of personal integrity and leadership. He’s an idea man, most of all. Super smart, he provided the GOP the punch for its comeback in the 1990s. But personally, he doesn’t seem that much different than a lot of other run-of-the-mill partisan hacks. He’s been under ethical clouds, and his fidelity to matrimonial sanctity leaves something to be desired. Nevetheless, he’s a huge player on the right, and time tends to smooth the rough edges of political notoriety.

In any case, the editorial board at the Orange Count Register met with Gingrich, and the paper’s got the results published this morning. See, “Gingrich Lays Out Terms for 2012 Run“:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday that he would need the support of a broad coalition of Republicans, Democrats and independents before he would consider a 2012 presidential bid.

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Speaking to the Register’s editorial board, Gingrich spoke of building a “tripartisan movement.”

While many core Democrats view him antagonistically, his message of government reform and lower taxes are similar to views expressed by Republicans, Tea Party followers, frustrated independents and Reagan Democrats.

“I spend time every day thinking about how to build that,” he said.

Gingrich has given no indication that he is pursuing a presidential bid, but he has not ruled it out.

Gingrich came for meetings throughout the area. Also on Thursday, his American Solutions group met with small-business owners at the Irvine Hilton. On Saturday at the St. Regis resort in Dana Point, he’s speaking at the annual summit meeting of Legatus, a Catholic organization for business and civic leaders.

Gingrich said that next February, he and his team would gauge the prospects of a 2012 presidential run. He said he would have to feel a “citizen obligation.”

“Do I have a responsibility that I can’t walk away from?” he asked.

Gingrich was in town to tout his American Solutions organization and its “Jobs First” proposal.

He described the country’s economic malaise as being perpetuated by a “secular socialist machine that is fundamentally trying to change this country.” The next several election cycles will be critical to determining the future of the country, he said.

“We’re either going to decide to be a secular socialist system or we’re going to throw the rascals out.”

He blamed the movement on the influence that public unions, trial lawyers and liberal activists have over the government, and he took several shots at President Barack Obama.

“The president has lots of words, almost none of which has meaning,” he said. “He says we can’t afford to spend more while he’s increasing spending. … He says he’s for jobs, except that he wants to tax everybody who raises money.”

Gingrich outlined five tax changes he said will spur the economy and job creation:

Give a two-year, 50 percent reduction of Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes paid by both employers and workers. He said the difference could be made up by unspent TARP and stimulus money.

Allow small businesses to deduct 100 percent of new equipment purchases.

Abolish taxes on capital gains.

Reduce the business tax rate to 12.5 percent.

Abolish the estate tax.

More details from Jan Norman, “Newt Gingrich Has Small-Biz Jobs Proposal,” and Peggy Lowe, “Jobless Are the New Soccer Moms.”

See also, “Newt Gingrich in the O.C.!

VIDEO HAT TIP: American Solutions, “Platform of the American People.”

Cross-posted from American Power.

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