Off the Shelf

By Pete Creighton

 

Newt Gingrich, Winning the Future, Regnery Pub., 2005, $27.95 (Amazon.com, $18.45).

 

OK, liberals and conservatives and in-between, I’ve got a good read for you — and don’t pre-judge.

It’s by Newt Gingrich! Maybe he’s trying to make a return to Washington, but he’s gota House member and Speaker and is a recognized historian.

His title is “Winning the Future.” Maybe the first chapter is meant to shock you into listening to the safer stuff. It’s called “Will We Survive?”

Three threats are very real, he insists. They are: nuclear, biological or chemical, and EMP — electromagnetic pulse. The latter, I learned, is one where a nuclear explosion is used to short-circuit a large area’s electrical system completely — and “reduce our military technology to zero.”

Says Newt: “We cannot negotiate with al Qaeda. We have no common ground with terrorists…. We are in a war of survival —and we could lose that war…. Our vulnerability is neither exaggerated nor a paranoid fantasy.”

The Clinton Oval Office treated terrorist attacks as “criminal” matters, while Bush called 9/11 an “act of war.” As expected, Gingrich offers no criticism of Bush & Co. He does say “grave mistakes were made before and after the quick military victory.” And he adds “Iraq is a mess and is going to remain a mess for a long time.”

The 200-page book continues with Gingrich’s solutions to several problems. He is a former educator as well, and comes down hard on bureaucrats and teacher unions — and especially curriculum consultants, ad infinitum! “We should eliminate 50 percent of educational bureaucracy,” he says.

Gingrich is proud of his past efforts to reduce welfare roles by putting people to work. He now has a plan for kids in need: to take them out of bad homes and put them in Boys Towns, etc. He has some new ideas to reduce health costs by preventing disease, etc. He supports Bush’s plan on individual Social Security accounts. I was more in agreement with his insistence that we need to do much more to create a better intelligence force.

Gingrich has several other well-thought-out remedies. I’m late in giving the Gingrich central theme, a return to Christian faith. He says: “We must reinvigorate core values that made America an exceptional civilization … a nation which accepts God as its Creator and inspiration.”

“Winning the Future” is one of many worthy books that beg for readers at the library, where computers and the Internet get most of the attention.