I recently pegged Newt Gingrich as the lead ideas-man in the GOP. And on Tuesday, House minority whip leader Eric Cantor announced that Gingrich was joining his National Council for a New America. Cantor set up the NCNA so congressional Republicans can "listen" to the American people, cook up fresh notions for the GOP, and repair the image of the Republican Party. As Cantor put it, "The NCNA will be a dynamic, forward-looking organization that will amplify the common-sense and wisdom of our fellow citizens through a grassroots dialogue with Republican leaders."
But on the same day as Gingrich saddled up with Cantor, Michael Steele, the GOP chairman, said it was time for the GOP to turn the page and look ahead. But isn't Gingrich another one of those GOPers of the past? The former House speaker does spew a lot of ideas. As his onetime aide Rich Galen told me, Gingrich can come up with 15 ideas a day, realizing that only one is any good and that "over the course of a month, maybe one of them is actionable and you can build a project on it. The biggest sin in Newt-world is the sin of inaction."
So perhaps Gingrich can indeed assist Cantor with his "listening" project. But he sure doesn't help Cantor when it comes to putting a fresh face on an old and discredited party.
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