Newt Gingrich seeks relevance at Reagan Library debate

September 7, 2011

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) is still seeking relevance in the presidential race, but his propensity to talk like the former college professor (which he is) tends to get in his way at debates.

While Gingrich is often the smartest guy in the room at these debates, he’s also a little too bent on proving it. Or maybe just not conscious enough that he needs to tone it down.

Instead of keeping things simple, Gingrich talks a lot about things he calls “Sarbanes-Oxley” and “Dodd-Frank” (both financial reform legislation that people tend to know a lot about in Washington, but tend to glaze the eyes of audiences — even of political junkies — outside the Beltway bubble).

At the same time, Gingrich has been a leading GOP voice for decades, and if he can recapture the magic with a novel proposal or two, maybe he can recover some traction and become relevant in the presidential race.

But we haven’t seen the signs that that’s happening yet.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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