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Jewish World Review March 28, 2005/ 17 Adar II, 5765

Bill Steigerwald

Bill Steigerwald
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Let's get back to basics... 10 minutes with former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich | Newt Gingrich's latest prescription for what ails the body politic is contained in his new book, "Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America." (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) On Wednesday, I called the former house speaker and leader of the Republican Revolution of 1994 in Rome, Italy:

Q: What's your quickest, TV-show description of your new book?

A: I think we need a grass-roots focus on very large-scale change in Washington, and I thought that describing "a 21st-century contract with America" was the best way to begin to galvanize and arouse that kind of grass-roots support.

Q: You say there are five threats that could undermine or eliminate the United States in the 21st century. The most serious threat would be terrorism and rogue dictators. What do you propose to do that President Bush is not already doing?

A: Well, we need to do a whole series of steps. We need to actually get control of both of our borders so that we know who's coming into the United States in a serious kind of way. We need to have a much stronger homeland defense system so that we could survive either a biological or nuclear attack. We need to understand that we're engaged in a long war that may last 30 to 50 or 70 years with the irreconcilable wing of Islam, and that is going to require developing much better instruments of public diplomacy and much better instruments of trying to change Middle Eastern society. We also have to understand that our intelligence system is much too small to take on all the different challenges we have around the world.

Q: Do you have any concern with what our friend Pat Buchanan would call the Wilsonian policy of interventionism that the Bush administration is accused of pursuing?

A: I disagree profoundly with Pat on that point. I think that the more democracy there is around the world, the better off America is. The more we have a chance for people to pursue prosperity and freedom in their own country, the less likely they are to become suicide bombers. ... That doesn't mean we should rush around the planet wasting our resources or wasting the lives of our young men and women. But I do think we should recognize that we actually have a stake in whether or not (Hosni) Mubarak is sincere in moving toward democracy in Egypt.

Q: Domestically, you talk about reforming Social Security, fixing health care and infusing more patriotism and religion into public and private life. What's the most important?

A: In the very long run the most important is to re-center the society around the notion that our rights come from our Creator and to re-center education, both for children and for immigrants, around American history and core American values, including the work ethic, the rule of law and the sense of dreaming big dreams and working hard to create them.

Q: Does fixing health care mean privatizing it, bringing consumer and market kinds of disciplines to the provision of health care?

A: Absolutely. The most important big breakthrough in health care in the last 25 years was the development of health savings accounts and the beginning of a consumer-oriented approach to health. I think it's very, very important that people have the right to know about price and quality before they make a decision, whether it's about their hospital, their doctor or the drug they're considering using.

Q: Is it realistic to think that grass-roots pressure or ordinary citizens can defeat what you've called "the entrenched political system" in Washington that's brought us these problems in the first place?

A: I think grass-roots citizen involvement is the only way to get really large-scale change in Washington. When we passed the Contract with America, balanced the budget, reformed welfare, cut taxes, strengthened defense — we did all those things simultaneously — we did so because citizens were going to town hall meetings, getting on talk radio, writing letters to the editor, and the level of support that members (of Congress) felt back home gave them the courage and the drive to defeat the lobbyists in Washington.

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Q: You have not given up on the goal of limited government as a conservative Republican?

A: No. Absolutely not.

Q: Who do you see as the top Republican presidential candidates in 2008?

A: I think you have to list Bill Frist, Rudy Giuliani, George Pataki, George Allen, John McCain. Presumably, you might well have Mitt Romney running — the governor of Massachusetts. I think under some circumstances you could have Sen. (Rick) Santorum as a potential candidate.

Q: Will you be running in 2008?

A: Well, I doubt it, but I'm not closing the door. I think my current focus is to set the standard for the debate and to say that there are big ideas and big solutions we need, and they're actually more important than clever consultants and 30-second attack commercials.

Q: Will we ever see a Vice President Gingrich?

A: I can't imagine why anybody would pick me as their vice-presidential nominee.

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JWR contributor Bill Steigerwald is an associate editor and columnist at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Comment by clicking here.

03/08/05: The liberal world of AARP
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02/17/05: The Chilean plan is working... 10 minutes with WSJ editor Mary Anastasia O'Grady
02/14/05: It's a great world or what... 10 minutes with economist Arthur Laffer
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01/26/05: Restoring — and reclaiming — history ... 10 minutes with best selling historian Thomas Woods
01/18/05: A map to save the world ... 10 minutes with strategist Thomas P.M. Barnett
01/14/05: Viva la Southwest!
01/10/05: Smearing Wal-Mart
12/21/04: Bless Brian Lamb
11/22/04: Is terror all it's cracked up to be?
11/04/04: Rightward, ho!
11/02/04: Editors reveal their true colors
10/28/04: Quizzing Ann Coulter
10/25/04: New Republic bashes Bush in silence 10/20/04: The Alzheimer's vote
10/18/04: Can you say ‘Election Month’?
10/12/04: A close encounter of the Hitchens kind
10/05/04: Arriving at journalism's age of choice
09/28/04: Satire with a spin ... 10 minutes with P.J. O'Rourke
09/14/04: Beware 'grass-roots tyranny' ... 10 minutes with Clint Bolick
09/07/04: State of the unions ... 10 minutes with Linda Chavez
08/26/04: The Lincoln few Northerners know
08/23/04: Steroids & 'fairness' … 10 minutes with bioethics expert Norman Fost
08/13/04: Contrary to popular belief ...
08/10/04: The IRS & the $250 billion question … 10 minutes with House Speaker Dennis Hastert
08/09/04: Tight scripts and loose cannons
07/27/04: Still George McGovern
07/06/04: High time to eliminate drug laws?
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05/04/04: Chasing tornadoes; how modern day sports photography was born
04/29/04: Rigged for the rich ... 10 minutes with author David Cay Johnston
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04/11/04: Stay the course in Iraq ... 10 minutes with Oliver North
04/05/04: Iraq needs 'social capital' ... ten minutes with Ray Salvatore Jennings of the United States Institute of Peace
03/31/04: Congress must come to terms ... ten minutes with Rep. Dick Armey
03/22/04: How to win the terror war ... 10 minutes with terrorism expert Steven Emerson
03/16/04: Religion, spiritual freedom & Ronald Reagan … 10 minutes with author Paul Kengor
03/10/04: America's materialism keeps world in tune
02/24/04: Our new epoch in history ... 10 minutes with philosopher/political thinker/novelist Lee Harris
02/20/04: Vanity Fair, SI sink lower than ever
02/13/04: A rare libertarian among Big Media liberals — up close and personal with John Stossel
02/10/04: Young innovators changing the rules
02/03/04: Now, the election fun begins … 10 minutes with Charlie Cook
01/30/04: Dem Dems
01/16/04: Caucuses bore you? You're not alone
01/14/04: Paradise lost? Ten minutes with … Victor Davis Hanson
01/09/04: Howard Dean week?
12/26/03: How is the magazine sector doing?
12/17/03: 10 minutes with Thomas Sowell
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12/09/03: Book lovers are losing a good read
12/05/03: 'South Park' has unlikely audience tuning in
12/03/03: An odd lot of 35 'heroes'
11/24/03: 'We'll learn the truth someday' … 10 minutes with JFK expert Cyril Wecht
11/18/03: Exposer of the idiocy of bureaucracy and the threat to individual freedom posed by government … Ten minutes with author James Bovard
11/14/03: Two stories examine Wal-Mart's domination
11/07/03: The real Rumsfeld … 10 minutes with author Midge Decter
11/05/03: Lights! Camera! Fudge!?
10/31/03: The straight dope on hate, drugs, Jon Stewart
10/24/03: See what federal $$$ does?
10/21/03: Esquire recalls its glory days
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10/10/03: Bush adviser girds for a tough fight ... 10 minutes with Mary Matalin
10/07/03: Forbes gives advice on making rich list
09/30/03: A 20th Century American tour
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09/24/03: Bin Laden and Boy Bill
09/22/03: Dennis Miller makes funny business of politics
09/16/03: Famous 'bad girls' clear the air
09/12/03: Ben Stein gets serious: Davis is a 'thug in a gray flannel suit'
09/09/03: Smart(-Alecky) mag's very different 'swimsuit issue'; Murdoch might not be as bad as we thought
09/02/03: Ex-teacher lambastes our schools
08/25/03: Vanity Fair strives to be more than glamorous
07/22/03: Title IX's original intent … Ten minutes with Eric Pearson
07/11/03: Vanity Fair dishes it out on JFK Jr., N.Y. Times
07/09/03: Why Ben Franklin should be the "Father of Our Country" ... 10 minutes with Walter Isaacson
07/07/03: Honoring nation's first celebrity superstar
06/27/03: Reader's Digest can't help but act its age
06/24/03: Dick Morris, consultant for hire, reveals the inside story
06/20/03: Move over, Hillary. Here comes a better work of fiction
06/10/03: Publications take us away from Middle East
06/03/03: Dear graduates: Work for freedom … 10 minutes with Penn Jillette
05/30/03: National Geographic goes to the top of the world
05/23/03: Editors dabble in history, fiction
05/16/03: The Old Grim Lady gets covered
05/09/03: Political parties fighting over Iraq's wreckage
05/07/03: 10 minutes with a big-city Dem mayor who loathes budget deficits, the federal highway program, taxpayer-funded sports stadiums and the meddling (and aid money) of Washington
05/02/03: Are you sufficiently terrified?
04/29/03: Finally, a president defending American principles in the Middle East ... 10 minutes with Alexander Haig
04/25/03: Newsweeklies starting to lose interest in Iraq war
04/21/03: There's bias, and then there's bias
04/11/03: Planning future of Iraq, world
04/04/03: Newsweeklies come back with graphic look at war
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03/26/03: Wen Ho Lee whistle-blower says beware of China
03/21/03: America's ready for war ... and peace
03/18/03: Baseball limping, not dead … 10 minutes with author Andrew Zimbalist
03/14/03: Vanity Fair gets us ready for month's big event
03/11/03: A road map for Iraq's liberation devised by James Madison? … 10 minutes with James S. Robbins
03/06/03: Iraq war will come and go before we know it
02/28/03: America takes time out for swimsuits
02/26/03: 'We shall be seen as liberators' .... 10 minutes with noted Brit commentator David Pryce-Jones
02/21/03: Terrorism one of many losing battles
02/14/03: Editors planning for the day after Gulf War II
02/12/03: The 'religiosity' of Ronald Reagan … 10 minutes with author Paul Kengor
02/10/03: Should the shuttle crash be the end of NASA?
02/06/03: Dear Joan ...
01/31/03: Newsweek, Nation ponder pros, cons of Gulf War II
01/24/03: 'Original' ideas follow New Deal philosophy
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01/17/03: New Republic fans hatred for SUVs
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01/10/03: Newsweeklies move on to latest menace
01/07/03: The best of the Q&As
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12/13/02: Corruption of Indian casinos no surprise
12/06/02: Giving credit to young philanthropists
12/02/02: Ten minutes with …. Chris Matthews
11/26/02: It's critical to memorialize communism's victims: 10 minutes with … Lee Edwards
11/22/02: JFK's secret health woes are revealed
11/19/02: “It's best to contain Saddam”: Ten minutes with … Col. David Hackworth
11/15/02: Brushing up on the affairs of a wild world
11/12/02: Make Dems filibuster … 10 minutes with … Robert L. Bartley
11/08/02: National Geographic: Urban overpopulation is good
11/05/02: The bloody consequences of a broken INS: Ten minutes with … Michelle Malkin
11/01/02: Going to pot; thank heaven for media overkill
10/29/02: It's all about federalism: Ten minutes with … Jonah Goldberg
10/25/02: Frank Sinatra, Kurt Cobain, Mad Magazine will never die
10/22/02: Here's why Orwell matters: Ten minutes with … Christopher Hitchens
10/18/02: The sniper knocks Iraq off the covers
10/15/02: Iraq, oil and war: 10 minutes with ... economist/historian Daniel Yergin
10/11/02: England's gun-control experiment has backfired
10/04/02: Buchanan the media baron?
09/27/02: Analyzing Esquire, GQ is not for the squeamish
09/20/02: CEOs: The rise and fall of American heroes
09/13/02: Skeptics remind U.S. to calm down
09/10/02: 'A failure to recognize a failure': 15 minutes with ... Bill Gertz
09/06/02: Rating the 9-11 mags
08/30/02: Bad trains, bad planes, and bad automobiles
08/28/02: Baseball, broken, can be fixed: 15 minutes with George Will
08/16/02: 9-11 overload has already begun
08/13/02: Tell us what you really think, Ann Coulter
08/09/02: A funny take on a new kind of suburb
08/02/02: It's not the humidity, it's the (media) heat wave; the death of American cities
07/12/02: Colombia's drug lords are all business
07/09/02: If capitalism is 'soulless' then show me something better: 10 minutes with … Alan Reynolds
06/25/02: Origins of a scandal: 10 minutes with … Michael Rose
06/21/02: 9/11 report unearths good, bad and ugly
06/18/02: The FBI is rebounding … 10 Minutes with Ronald Kessler
06/14/02: U.S. News opens closet of Secret Service
06/11/02: 10 minutes with … William Lind: Can America survive in this 'fourth-generation' world?
06/07/02: America, warts and all
05/30/02: FBI saga gets more depressing
05/13/02: The magazine industry's annual exercise in self-puffery
04/30/02: 10 Minutes with ... The New York Sun's Seth Lipsky
04/26/02: Will the American Taliban go free?
04/23/02: 10 minutes with ... Dinesh D'Souza
04/19/02: Saddam starting to show his age
04/12/02: Newsweek puts suicide bombing in perspective
04/09/02: How polls distort the news, change the outcome of elections and encourage legislation that undermines the foundations of the republic
04/05/02: Looking into the state of American greatness
03/25/02: The American President and the Peruvian Shoeshine Boys
03/22/02: Troublemaking intellectual puts Churchill in spotlight
03/20/02: 10 minutes with ... Bill Bennett
03/18/02: Suddenly, it's cool again to be a man
03/12/02: 10 minutes with … Ken Adelman
03/08/02: TIME asks the nation a scary question
03/05/02: 10 minutes with ... Rich Lowry
02/26/02: 10 minutes with ... Tony Snow
02/12/02: Has Soldier of Fortune gone soft?

© 2005, Bill Steigerwald