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Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America Hardcover – January 15, 2005
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According to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, America currently faces five threats that could undermine, if not eliminate, the United States if immediate steps are not taken to correct them. The threats as he sees them are Islamic terrorists and rogue dictatorships armed with nuclear or biological weapons; the removal of God from American public life; a loss of patriotism and sense of America's history; a decline in economic supremacy because of poor science and math education; and the increasing budgetary burden of Social Security and Medicare. To tackle these problems, Gingrich offers his "21st Century Contract with America," which he outlines in great detail in this bold and thought-provoking book. His updated contract, which comes a decade after the original Republican Contract with America that marked the high point of Gingrich's national power, calls for a dramatically simplified tax code that favors savings and investment; government investment in science and technology, particularly regarding space, energy, and the environment; transforming Social Security into personal savings accounts; overhauling the civil justice system to reduce the burden of lawsuits; and updating the federal government, including the privatization of some functions, so that it moves at the speed and effectiveness of the information age. And that's just the beginning. He also calls for tripling the size of America's intelligence community, reforming its election system, developing a more intelligent health care system that creates jobs and increases quality of life, and balancing the federal budget.
Gingrich believes that this ambitious agenda can be accomplished, but only if it receives grassroots support. The entrenched political system, with its lobbyists, bloated bureaucracies, and the complicity of the media, is too self-serving to fix itself, he stresses. Concise and clearly presented, Winning the Future is long on specifics and short on rhetoric, and it succeeds as a springboard for political discourse. Gingrich's aim is clearly to inspire citizens to take responsibility for the county's direction by demanding more of their government and their leaders. --Shawn Carkonen
From Publishers Weekly
The conservative Republican maverick opens his latest work with a "traditional American values" self-test; readers who score well may be energized by this assertive broadside against all that ails the body politic. As Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (1994-1998), Gingrich was the prime mover and shaker behind the 1994 Contract with America that ushered in GOP dominance in Congress. Here, he identifies a quintet of foreign and domestic threats and serves up a new blueprint to help defeat them. On the international front, he says, "irreconcilable" Islamic terrorists and rogue dictatorships are eager to secure and use WMD, while China and India endanger our economic might. At home, the "liberal elite minority is winning" and the "conservative majority" is losing, resulting in godlessness in the public arena, the erosion of patriotism and out-of-control benefit programs that will "collapse the system." To preserve "the core values of the American people," Gingrich supports a number of fixes, including adapting Cold War strategies to the war on terror, recasting education and immigration in patriotic guises and forging ahead with private investment and health savings accounts. Interspersed with these well-worn arguments are notions about God, country and public life that are long on invective and short on detail. Will legislating the centrality of "our Creator" in defining American rights improve jurisprudence? Will establishing a federal and state "program office in patriotic education" cure under-performing school systems? Gingrich never manages to link his ambitious project to a cogent critique of the left, resorting instead to predictable jabs at the usual suspects: liberal journalists and academics, Bill Clinton and the Democrats, France and the United Nations. Combine this volatile mélange of ideas with chapter-ending plugs for his Web site, mass distribution plans for "The Contract" and "A Walking Tour of God in Washington, D.C.," and some readers might be forgiven for suspecting that Gingrich wants to win something more tangible than the future.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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The book tackles some of the country's thorniest issues: illegal immigration, spiraling health care costs and obsolete delivery systems, the soon-to-be bankrupt social security system, election reform, the federal budget and its deficits and many others. Whether the reader agrees with Gingrich's solutions or not, the book is insightful, articulate, and provocative. It is also a clarion call to sanity and reason in a climate where neither seems to prevail at the moment.
Gingrich is well-known and highly respected, even by his political opponents, for his clear vision, sound reasoning and articulate advocacy. In my opinion, he is one of America's treasures and one of the last remaining legacies of the Reagan Revolution. It has been left to this latest generation of American politicians to squander the Reagan legacy of a Republican House, a Republican Senate and now, an imperiled Republican Presidency.
I feel like I have a much better understanding of our government after this.
We all know who Newt Gingrich is, and what he stands for. This book, then, is more of a clarifier and a source of talking points than a proselyting tract, although it does serve this purpose in a secondary sense.
What drew to this book is that Mr. Speaker first, correctly identifies the socio-poltico-economic problems, and, better yet, offers concrete, sound, and sensible solutions to these problems. This contrasts with the Democrats, who are the reactionary party as opposed to a loyal opposition, or the Neo-cons who are wannabe Democrats.
The key difference between Mr. Speaker and the Democrat-Neocons is statism. In all areas, except defense, Gingrich is for a smaller, leaner government, and following the Tenth Amendment by devolving powers back to the states and the people respectively.
As to defense, Gingrich understands three things. First, there is a difference between a conservative position, a libertarian position, and an anarchist position. As Federalist 23 says, "These [war] powers ought to exist without limitation, because it is impossible to foresee or to define the extent and variety of national exigencies, and the correspondent extent and variety of the means which may be necessary to satisfy them. The circumstances that endanger the safety of nations are infinite, and for this reason no constitutional shackles can wisely be imposed on the power to which the care of it is committed. This power ought to be coextensive with all the possible combinations of such circumstances; and ought to be under the direction of the same councils which are appointed to preside over the common defense." When we are paying more in Social Security than we are in defense, we are just asking for what we are going to get.
Second, we cannot be relighting World War II with lumbering battlewagons and the American Expeditionary Forces making bloody beachheads. This word is a techo-war with different fronts and different beachheads. We need to restructure the military accordingly.
Thirdly, we will be fighting this war for a long time. As he calls it, it is the Long War with the Irreconcilable Branch of Islam. When we fought with the Nazis and the Soviets, we had the under-girding culture of Germany and Russian to connect with. We have no similar under-girding, Western-Christian culture to connect with. This war is not just about terrorism, but the value system that breeds terrorism.
As to everything else, Speaker Newt is a futurist, which is exactly the type of person we need right now. So give his book a chance, and think hard. We have no guarantee that America will continue in the same way it has continued for two centuries. We need to take intelligent action to preserve our liberties. So think about it.
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