by Todd Beeton, Thu Jul 26, 2007 at 09:12:33 AM EDT
After likening his jumping into the field of 2008 GOP candidates to Charles de Gaulle "rush[ing] in and join[ing] the pygmies" (yeah, it's totally like that), Newt Gingrich generously offered the Republican candidates some unsolicited campaign advice, also of French origin oddly, on Hannity and Colmes last night (via Newshounds):
There's a French lesson for Republicans in the election of Sarkozy who called for a clean break from Chirac although he was in the Chirac administration and he ran as the candidate of change. I think Republicans ought to pick five or six big items, I would start with English as the official language of government for example, and draw the line sharply with the candidates of the left.
Gingrich elaborated on the parallel between the French and US presidential elections in an appearance earlier this month (he also betrays a bit of a mancrush):
So Sarkozy comes along and he's brilliant and he understands that [the French] are in a crisis of their culture. And he's in, in terms of the current politics of where we are in Washington, he is in the second term of a 12-year presidency, which has been decaying. Chirac was unpopular. So if you set up the normal political science equation, the left is going to win because after 12 years of the center right they've run out of energy and he manages to put together this magic formula of arguing that the greatness of France requires real change. So even though he is in Chirac's cabinet, he is the candidate of real change and Royale is the candidate of reactionary bureaucracy.
Clearly this advice seems perfectly suited to a scenario in which Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee (as Sean Hannity predicts will happen) but it offers fair warning to all of the Democrats not to allow any of the Republican candidates to run against Bush and portray himself as the true agent of change. Not that we have the maddening brilliance of Sarkozy among the GOP field but it's never a bad thing to remind people that the first term of any of these Republicans' presidencies = Bush's third term.