Grandy: “the only guy who can swing for the fences is Newt”

Former Iowa Congressman Fred Grandy (yes, he used to be Gopher on The Love Boat) has endorsed Newt Gingrich.  Grandy called the Radio Iowa newsroom this evening and we had a conversation.

Grandy: “I had been leaning towards Newt for some time because in my present line of work, which is kind of working on counter-intelligence issues at a place called The Center for Security Policy and concentrating on jihadist movements in the Middle East and elsewhere, Newt is clearly the only guy who fully understands how dangerous this world is right now and has, I believe, a strategic plan to do something about it, which is to essentially reverse course from the, I think, kind of pathetic accommodations that have been made by the Obama Administration but even, I have to say, by the Bush Administration prior and will reassert American dominance in that area. I really feel as though this is a time when we need somebody who understands strategically how national security is supposed to work.

“…And then two, I got more than a little upset at the number of Republicans — sitting and former members (of congress) — who felt compelled to get up and talk about how Newt was not a leader. Most of these guys followed Newt loyally in the late ’90s…He was not necessarily the easiest guy to get along with, but that’s because he was very committed to things he believed in.   

“…You’ve been covering politicians for quite some time. Have you ever met one that wasn’t to some degree self-centered, that wasn’t looking over your shoulder to see who was coming into the room?  I mean, come on, that’s endemic to the genre.

“As far as I’m concerned, all you have to do to question Newt Gingrich’s leadership is look at the four years he was speaker of the house and look at how the country changed: welfare reform, balanced budgets, telecom policy that essentially ushered in the cellular revolution and a few trade agreements that, unless I’m very much mistaken helped a lot of Iowa farmers.

“I would rather have a difficult personality as a capable leader than an accommodating, ‘hail fellow well met’ guy who didn’t know what he was doing — and Newt’s one of those guys that really knows what he’s doing.”

As for those former and current members of congress who’ve been criticizing Gingrich publicly, Grandy suggested it was because Gingrich had the “temerity” to ask — back when Republicans were in the minority in the house — this basic question:  Why?  According to Grandy, Republicans had settled into a sort of “servitude” to the Democratic majority in the house.

“I was a committed ‘squishy moderate’ and working around guys like Gingrich really reawakened a strong conservative element in myself that pretty much dictates my politics now,” Grandy told me. “…What (Gingrich) accomplished is without parallel and to me what America needs now is results, not necessarily fire side chats…Right now you need someone who can reign far and wide over domestic and national security issues and the only guy who can swing for the fences is Newt.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


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