Gingrich’s risky departure on immigration could be the tonic for party and nation

As predicted, following his bold statement on immigration and really the first candidate to speak seriously on the issue during the GOP CNN debate on Tuesday night last, former Speaker Newt Gingrich has come under fire in recent days from both sides of the aisle.

Some social conservatives have even gone as far as calling him a RINO (Republican in name only) however, the former Speaker’s is the first candidate on stage that specifically addresses the illegal alien population living in the US. His bold plan is drawing criticism.

Living in Europe where immigration has long been an issue with the expansion of the European Union, the former speaker is absolutely correct in taking the issue on in a substantive and progressive way, The Republican’s for far too long have been viewed as the anti-Hispanic party and perhaps the rise of such stars like Marco Rubio within the GOP is finally bringing about a serious need to engage objectively and constructively with the Hispanic community.  Gingrich’s assessment of the current illegal status of many in America is correct and factually accurate. It is fundamentally impossible, economically risky and ethically wrong to pursue the deportation of all 11.2 million undocumented immigrants in America as a policy going into a national election and beyond.

Gingrich said that ultimately, the United States will have to find a system where, after securing the border with Mexico and launching a guest worker program to fill jobs that Americans won’t take, “you need something like a World War II Selective Service Board that, frankly, reviews the people who are here.”

“If you’ve been here 25 years and you got three kids and two grandkids, you’ve been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don’t think we’re going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich has been attacked for saying his proposal is an amnesty, in fact it isn’t what he proposing at all, he is advancing a debate on how to finally tackle the issue, one which would not result in citizenship for people who have lived in this American for long periods, but offering them a way to obtain legal status in the country. Gingrich’s plan includes securing the border, updating the visa system and legal guest worker program, as well as creating an earned path to citizenship for the millions currently in the U.S.

This move by Gingrich has been badly needed and is brave considering he just hit the front runner status over the last week. You cannot have one of the major party’s involved in national politics ignoring a large section of America society, and adopting a totalitarian approach on the immigration issue.

I think Speaker Gingrich’s willingness to open up the debate within his party and a national stage was long overdue and very badly needed. The Republican’s for the sake of the future of their own party need to engage and involve one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in America. Making the bold statement that he did and being prepared to demonstrate he is willing to make tough choices at a personal cost, doesn’t hinder Gingrich, it elevates his standing as a potential president in waiting.

The President of the United States cannot represent 260 million American’s; he or she needs to be able to be the president for all 310 million American’s. The American-Hispanic population is now hovering around the 50 million mark. Gingrich should stand his ground and be firm on the issue, it may cost him in the short term however, GOP supporters need to recognise that Gingrich’s ability to lead and bring people from both sides together may not only lead him to the White House in 2012, it may also represent the very future survival of the party with current population growth and trends.

Gingrich’s bold departure is contrary to the long held and common viewpoint held within his own party and among the other candidates. American’s should not confuse border security with the immigration issue, they are both serious and contentious issues however, an honest and open debate needs to be undertaken with both.

Gingrich has been courageous and I advocate his stance on both issues. He is acutely aware that the biggest security risk to the United States is the integrity of the southern border. Gingrich is committed to doing everything within his power if elected, to secure this.

Once the border is properly secured, then he can bring both party’s into the fold and have a meaningful discussion on how to advance his proposals for immigration. Both party’s owe it to the Hispanic community to undertake such a commitment and if they ignore it or are unwilling to enter into any such debate, they do so at their own party’s peril.

American’s should recognise that Gingrich in his long political career does indeed have his flaws however; he can never be accused on one particular flaw, a lack of leadership. Gingrich’s step into the unknown demonstrates the type of president he could be, a real strong leader prepared and willing to put the good of the national interest ahead of his own and party’s interests.

American’s need to be prepared for new departures to get this once mighty nation back to a position of strength and respect after all, Gingrich perhaps recognises what many others may choose to forget, America after all was founded by immigrants and made the great nation it became by immigrants.

I commend former Speaker Gingrich for his bravery and above all, his willingness and preparedness to lead and restore the powerful and much admired American exceptionalism.

Analysis of the CNBC GOP debate from across the Big Pond

Bookmark and Share  Sitting down to watch the CNBC GOP debate last night, the first thing that struck me was the aggressive style of questioning from the hosting panel. There was one gentleman, Jim Cramer, who clearly either drank too much caffeine or was a tree short of a forest on the evening in the manner he was asking  his questions. To be fair, I didn’t like the question regarding character thrown into the debate by Maria Bartiromo who was only doing her job. The debate was meant to focus on the economy and after almost two weeks of the Herman Cain affair, nothing objective or constructive could be obtained by posing such a question. I enjoyed her tussle with former Speaker Gingrich during the night and to their credit, both provided the night’s best moments.

The Texan boot size error by Governor Rick Perry was certainly a major faux pas, but to his credit he took to the morning shows today and openly admitted it. It was unfortunate, as up to that point in the debate, I believe Perry was actually putting in his best debate performance of the campaign so far. Yes, this mis-step will hinder him for the news cycle however, Perry should look to the positives and hopefully his experience of the military and managing the Mexican border will assist him in this coming Saturday’s debate. One major factor that may work in Perry’s favour indirectly is his recognition factor is sure to shoot up. Expectations going forward in debates couldn’t be lower at this stage, and Perry only needs one strong performance to knock the ball out of the park so to speak, time will be the biggest decider, if this is possible.

The winners in my view were as follows:

Speaker Gingrich provided a mixture of charm, assertiveness and clarity that the other candidates couldn’t match. Speaker Gingrich did have a difficult moment when questioned about his $300,000 consultancy payment for lobbying work connected to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapse in 2008 , he claimed that his advice was ignored. This may come back to haunt him and scrutiny is certain to follow in the coming days, but his back and forth with Maria Bartiromo was entertaining and in fact, made Speaker Gingrich raise his game in comparison to previous debates. The clear winner on the night.

Governor Mitt Romney put in another presidential like performance with the exception of stumbling over how long he was married to his wife, but he recovered brilliantly. Romney brought the audience to a rapturous applause when the panel tried to put him on the spot over whether he would hire Herman Cain. Romney delivered a brilliant rebuff to Bartiromo when she asked, why he made no mention of housing in his 59 point plan. Romney replied saying it’s simple, because it is a Jobs Plan not a Housing plan, an excellently executed response. Romney as in previous debates was firm, quick minded and authoritative in his delivery, another strong performance.

After two difficult weeks, Herman Cain delivered a good strong performance considering, the intense pressure he has been under in the lead up to the debate. He managed to deliver a good retort to Bartiromo when asked abut his alleged indiscretions and went back to his core message of 9-9-9 and emphasising why politics needs a fundamental change.  He had some good lines, referring to Nancy Pelosi as “Princess Nancy,” and two of the problems with the Dodd-Frank Bill, these being Dodd and Frank. While they made for good sound bites and were well received by the audience, Cain needs to have another policy area to build back his credibility. The 9-9-9 plan is good however, if he doesn’t come out with an in-depth and demonstrable knowledge ability in another policy area, he is in danger of being perceived as a one trick pony.

The remaining candidates found it difficult to break into the debate on the night although, Jon Huntsman delivered a good response on the housing crisis,” Lost in all of this debate is the fact that there are people tuning in tonight who are upside down in terms of the financing of their homes, are feeling real pain, people who probably heard today that they lost a job. These issues are very real.”

Representative Ron Paul was very good on discussing the economic issues outlining his five point plan and how he would cut $1 trillion straight away in spending. He really does have some excellent ideas on the debt crisis and economy. It is a shame that his statements on Iran in the last debate where polar opposite to most common thinking. Paul may be able to retrieve himself in Saturday’s foreign affairs debate. A good performance.

Senator Rick Santorum attempted to break into the debate, but just couldn’t turn the tide of attention away from the leading four. Santorum’s biggest problems in these debates is not just time allocation, he has developed a habit of talking in the past-tense, instead of the future tense. I do like some of his ideas. He needs to project his forward thinking ideas more into the remaining debates to match his retail politic efforts in Iowa. Maybe, just maybe, he might be able to surprise a few people there. A tall order at this stage of the race though.

Representative Bachmann actually had some new ideas and messages last night saying her everyone-pays-something plan is part of the needed reconfiguration of the tax code. She promised a big performance last night, sadly, it just didn’t materialise. Overall though, it was her best debate performance since the CNN debate to date. Bachmann needs a big performance and soon. Should Bachmann fail to gain some attention, she may be out of the race even before we arrive in Iowa proper.

The big question remains with only 60 days to the Iowa caucuses, who will be the alternative to Romney? I think it will be between Gingrich, Paul and Perry and possibly Huntsman, if he can finish in the top two in New Hampshire.

You’ve noticed no Cain that is correct. My view is based on his campaign’s inability to deal with a known on-coming crisis effectively and nothing to do with the allegations. I think Cain has lit up this campaign with his unconventional approach and straight talking approach. I just can’t see him winning the nomination or beating President Obama following the damage of the last two weeks. Cain needs another unique moment to save his campaign in my view.

Overall, I thought most of the candidates did well against some tough questions which is how it should be. The only criticism of the night was in the manner the questions were posed, not the content of the questions.

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