Offered as Exhibit A in the case of the Republic vs. Big Government Republicans: George W. Bush. He ran as a "compassionate conservative", which means "I'll spend your money for you almost as fast as Al Gore would."
What's needed is to crush the leftist ideology. Not to show merely that it is wrong, but that it is illegitimate. Ron Paul gets that:
The problem with Paul is not that he's loopy on foreign policy, but that he's too much of the kindly old uncle, rambling his way to something that makes sense instead of hitting you between the eyes. He's a walking tl;dr, and his delivery is so laid back that half of the electorate will stop listening before he gets to his point.
Newt knows how to bring the ideas, hard, to where they make you stop and think. Here he shreds Juan Williams. His answer starts with a simple, blanket denial that he agrees with anything that Williams said. Then he takes 90 seconds to flay any legitimacy that anyone thought Williams' question might have had from the bone, and then chews the bone to small pieces. Williams is left utterly defeated, and the crowd is left on its feet in a standing ovation.
I realize that in Politically Correct circles it's not allowed to raise uncomfortable facts. That's not Reaganesque, it channels the best of Margaret Thatcher, breaking the British Labour party.
Crush your enemy's ideology. The crowd booed Williams. Booed. And this isn't just a one-off, either:
We actually think that work is good. But remember, the enemy ideology lives not just in the Democratic Party. George W. Bush's "Compassionate Conservativism" also falls under is icy glare.
Crush the enemy's ideology. See it driven from the airwaves. Listen to the lamentation of his professors. Newt does it, over and over.
Ron Paul does, too. But Paul is incoherent on foreign policy. That might not have made a difference in 2000, but it does in 2012. Newt brings the ideological hammer down:
Andrew Jackson had a good idea about what to do with America's enemies: kill them.
There are many things that I do not like about Newt, but one advantage that he has over the entire GOP crowd is that he knows how to deflate the Democrat's ideology, to show not that it is mistaken, but that it is immoral. Four years of that hammer will leave the political discussion in this country profoundly different. The Republic needs that, and someone who will not flinch from repeatedly telling the opposition that they hate the poor:
It's the same conflict of visions. Today's UK is profoundly different than it was in 1979, because the Iron Lady refused to back down in the face of a left - unions, the media, the universities - that held her in withering contempt. By returning that contempt with equal fervor and backing it up with unarguable facts, she wrenched the Realm off of the track to ruin, to the point that "Red" Ken Livingston is a curiosity, and not the head of the Labour Party.
Newt is probably the only one here who can do the same.
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
UPDATE 19 January 2012 08:52: Thanks to Bob Owens for pointing out it was Juan Williams, not Juan Cole.