I’m enjoying the prenatal post-mortems on the Gingrich Presidential candidacy. I lack the chops to judge his chances of winning the Republican nomination, so I mostly defer to those who know more than I do. The verdict seems to be that he has two chances: slim, and none. In any case, we know that God loves Barack Obama, but giving Obama an opponent as weak as Gingrich would seem to be overdoing it.
But if I stick to tending little my drugs-and-crime garden, then the really interesting part of the roll-out has been the dog that didn’t bark in the night-time. Last summer, I flew to DC for a crime meeting at AEI, hosted by Gingrich and featuring a mix of conservative activists and liberal criminologists. I’ve been at more bizarre gatherings, but not often. The discussion was serious, all around the idea that conservatives ought to embrace de-incarceration as consistent with fiscal responsibility and limited government. I’m happy to take any ally in that battle, and cheerfully made my pitch for mostly replacing prisons with well-supervised probation and parole.
But on the way out the door, I said to one of my colleagues, “If Newt really goes for this, then he can’t possibly be running for President.” Silly me! The “Right on Crime” group launched in January, with Gingrich, Ed Meese, and Grover Norquist as endorsers. And this week Gingrich announced for President.
And that’s when the dog did not bark in the night-time. Of all the long list of reasons why Newt can’t be nominated, no one seems to have mentioned his being soft on crime.
Could it be that the tide, at long last, is finally turning? Perhaps the Land of the Free won’t always have the world’s highest incarceration rate.