During Thursday night’s CNN Florida GOP debate, the final four Republican candidates discussed important issues including immigration and the Middle East, and not so important issues like releasing health records.
But the debate soon launched into space when moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Newt Gingrich about his Wednesday speech in Cocao, Florida, a hot-button city along the Florida "Space Coast" known for NASA spaceship takeoffs. There, Gingrich had outlined a profligate space plan, promising a permanent American colony on the moon by 2020 and introducing the Northwest Ordinance for Space that would allow 13,000 moon-people to apply for U.S. citizenship.
I believe these and similar extravagant ideas will be critical factors that cost Gingrich his nomination.
When last night’s debate rolled around, Gingrich's overambitious, almost comical idea received a devastating blow from Mitt Romney's studied response. Romney pronounced that if any business executive were to approach him with a moon colony idea, he would immediately fire him for lacking realistic financial perspective. He then went on to crush Gingrich further with a convincing list of ear candy promises Newt had pledged in previous primaries to collect votes, including the interstate highway in South Carolina, a Veterans Health Administration hospital in New Hampshire and a power line from Canada — all cash-guzzling ideas that are inconceivable given Gingrich’s other promise to lower taxes throughout his term.
His new proposals might gather cheers in each state he visits, but Gingrich climbs a slippery slope. With our current president denounced for reneging on multiple promises, Gingrich’s spout of oaths might soon become preposterous, even for a wide-eyed college student like me, and especially to a party intent on eluding government spending and lowering taxes.
So what’s his defense?
“I would just want you to note,” Gingrich said. “Lincoln standing at Council Bluffs was grandiose. The Wright Brothers standing at Kitty Hawk were grandiose. John F. Kennedy was grandiose. I accept the charge that I am grandiose and that Americans are instinctively grandiose.”
Comparing himself to JFK and the Wright Brothers already says enough about Gingrich. But piling on plans that have no foundation? That red alert would point me to another GOP candidate every time.
Photo Credit: Icarus Kuwait