Monday night I got to see essentially the same man I saw a year ago at the 2010 Polk County Republican Spring Banquet. This is a guy who has spent the past 13 years of his life dedicated to working with smart people to come up with solutions to America's problems, and who comes across as thoughtful, smart (make that brilliant), and ready to work.
I say "the same", because even a year ago, Newt Gingrich already seemed like a man bent on the idea that we can fix the American healthcare system without creating a yet another new bureaucracy incapable of bending to the people's will. A year ago he was pressing substantive health care reform ideas that acknowledged the deepest problems the Federal government has with running programs like Medicare... the government is just incapable of managing the fraud and abuse that have become one of the largest tax-payer boon doggles of all time.
I say "the same", because a year ago Newt came to Des Moines with not only an air of confidence in himself that comes from decades of experience in the public eye, but a sense of purpose in his own life beyond giving a speech to a room full of Republican activists. He seemed a man already on a mission, perhaps already trying to find ways to do the job of president without the title. Some would call him a "statesman".
But let's say he was also a different man.
On Monday, the former House Speaker seemed [...]