The Root-and-Branch Candidate

The question is simple but profound: Will the 2012 presidential-election campaign be about big ideas? Ideas like whether the American people are still masters of their own destiny or instead have resigned themselves to a rule of lawyers advertising itself as “the rule of law”?

To push these fundamentals to the fore is the rationale of Newt Gingrich’s candidacy. If ever there were a big-ideas guy, it’s the former House speaker. Ideas seem to churn out of him faster than the Treasury churns out greenbacks for “green energy.” But do we want to think about them? Newt believes we do — perhaps not so much that we want to but that we have to think about them, if we are to remain an America that is worth preserving. He is also a historian uniquely sensitive to a unique historical moment.

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