Newt a Founding Father?


Check out this campaign ad created for the Newt Gingrich 2012 Campaign for the Republican nomination. I was struck by it based on our recent conversations about the Declaration of Independence, Article of Confederation, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and Howard Zinn’s take on all of it.

What are the creator’s of this ad (and others like it) trying to tap into? Are there themes from the 18th century that are being rejuvenated? What is Gingrich’s angle? Finally, if Zinn was correct in assuming that the Founding Fathers only created a society for rich white men, could history repeat itself?

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19 thoughts on “Newt a Founding Father?

  1. I think this video is trying to tap into the American nationalism. The spirit of the United States is high as ever, but their abilities have declined. Newt is trying to convince people they are still as great as they once were. Newt is trying to get people to think of themselves as dominant, and powerful. Gingrich wants to bring pride in hard work back. This may be dangerous, as the ad makes him seem like a bit of a supremacist. It is unlikely for history to repeat itself, but something similar could happen.Sam

  2. I think this ad is trying to show that by electing Gingrich, he will create more jobs and revive the economy, and bring even more strength and pride to america. It is trying to show that by electing him, he will rebuild america with a few ideas that came from the 18th century. Like his idea of throwing out the taxcode and creating a new one. He also said he wanted to return power to the people, and more power to individual states. There is always the possibility, but with gingrich's desire for respect and the unlikeness of a repeat in history I don't think it will. -Rhys K.

  3. I think creators of this ad are trying to tap into the wants of the people who are watching the ad. The ad creates the image of an ideal America and showcases the American Dream. This is what is desirable and therefore is what the ad is trying to tap into. Themes such as strong states governments are reminiscent in this ad. Madison and Jefferson wanted states rights similar to what Gingrich wants. I think Gingrich’s angle is to make his idea seem perfect. He does not mention any bad things about the U.S.A instead he lists all the good things he is going to do. This makes him seem really positive. Also instead of saying he going to change things he says he wants things to return to how the were. Indicating it has already been done and he can do it again. I think history could repeat itself because in the ad Gingrich speaks about returning to faith and it shows a picture of a church and it is almost all white people in the video. I think if elected Gingrich will try hard to make America how it used to be, causing history to repeat itself. Jane M.

  4. I think that the creators of this are trying to tap into America's down fall. The person speaking at the very beginning, says, "Some people think that the America that we know and love, is a thing of the past. But I don't agree with that." From the very first statement, you can clearly see that even though he (guy talking at the beginning) love America very dearly, which is shown by how he talks about it, he also tells us that he agrees with the fact that America is falling, and might crash soon. When he says, "I don't believe that." that shows that he agrees that America has fallen, but he doesn't agree that it is a thing of the past. So from the very beginning, he realizes just as much as we do, that America is falling down, which is a good step to solving a problem (realize what the problem is). Now to answer the first question, he is trying to tap into America's faults or reasons for the down fall. He states that in order to "rebuild" America, some changes need to occur. these changes are: revive the economy, shrink the government, replace tax code, regain world's respect by standing strong again, staying true to our faith, and respecting one another, return power to the people and states, and to work together to rebuild the America. Clearly, that is a lot of issues with America. So I will break it down one by one and relate it to the 18th century. First of all, his first point contradicts with his third point. In the 18th century, since America was broke, they had to revive the economy by INCREASING taxes. But Newt is saying to improve the economy and make jobs, and to replace the tax system, and bring a better one. But, in order to improve the economy, and since America is in huge debt right now, it would be impossible to please the people with a better tax system, and still full fill what he said, so there is a flaw. And just like in the 18th century, America was broke, so they had to increases taxes, and that didn't please the people too well. Now onto the second point, shrinking the government, in the 18th century, since America was a new country, then shrinking the government wouldn't have made any sense, because as a new country, they would need a good, solid federal government to maintain themselves, but right now, I could disagree and agree with what newt said. I would disagree because America is one of the strongest nations in the world; therefore they need a strong federal government to maintain themselves as one of the strongest nations in the world. I would now disagree because since America is now a well-established country, they need not focus on the whole of it anymore, and try to fix problems with the states, therefore not having a huge federal government, which in the end would fix America, "one step at a time." now onto the fourth point, regaining the world's respect by standing strong again, and the video displays a military force. That can be taken in a wrong way, because according to the video, regaining the worlds respect means to fight, being true to their faith, and respecting one another. According to me, only two of those make sense, the second and third. Because in order to gain anyone's respect, one must be true to their faith, and respect others. But the first point does not make sense, the fact that they show a military force does not display the best image. Gingrich's angle is a republican; he does not want a big federal government, but small individual state governments. I think that Zinn is correct in assuming that the founding fathers only created a society for rich white men, but history could not repeat its self for one main reason, the fact that racism is greatly discouraged, and extremely hated by many people around the world, I think if the U.S.A would like to keep a good reputation and still be a leader among other countries, they would not repeat what happened in the 18th century.-Paul Istasy

  5. This ad is trying to tap into good old fansion american values. They make lots of claims that almost anyone can agree with like cooperation and teamwork, america can become strong again.He says that if you elect him, we will be a ble to rebuild america through hardwork, determination and coopaetation. In my opion, the biggest/most important belief of americans is that through hardwork, anyhting is possible. Gingrich trys to rejuvenate the idea from the 18th century, that together we can conquer anything such as the British in the American revolution and the economy today. I dont think that it is corrext to assume that america will only be for white rich men. The whole ad is about how if you elect Gingrich, he'll make america better through teamwork for everyone. That might just be propoganda but i think he will try a little.

  6. The creators of this ad are trying to tap into the fact that America can be sustained properly and that they can rebuild the America so that it is a better place for everyone to live in without problems with a revived economy and more jobs for people to have, which will further boost the economy. I think that the second and third questions that we are answering relate to eachother. I believe that the angle that Gingrich is taking, is that he is using some 0f the 18th century concepts that were very successful for those people, and is trying to bring those concepts back and hoping that they will be successful for him at this time as well. He is looking for a much more simple and fair tax code which is what the people in the 18th century were looking for and eventually got, which lead to success for them and is hoping that it will lead to success now as well. That being said, I don’t really believe in what Gingrich is saying because for example, it’ll be really to tough to lower taxes and still revive the economy. Lowering taxes will not help the major problem of recession. I think Zinn was right and I also think that Newt Gingrich is basically trying to create America to be in favour of the rich people. History does not repeat itself; it takes an old concept, idea or event, and makes it more advanced and fit for its environment. Although Gingrich isn’t exactly trying to make the country in favour of the rich white men, he is still trying to make it in favour of the richer people who will be able to adapt better to these changes. The Americans should not nescessarily go that way, because although there are many problems with the United States, they are still one of the strongest powers in the World and I don’t think they should jeopardize that, and they wont jeopardize it.-Bilal Shaikh

  7. I think the creators of this ad are really trying to sell "American Pride". They have several scenes of happy people, beautiful landscapes, and a wholesome America that can apparently provide "freedom, opportunity and control of our lives". The creators are really trying to show people that we need to rebuild America and that America can be as great as it once was… I feel like in the 18th and late 17th centuries the rich white colonists were also trying to convince the masses that without a large government they too would have "freedom, opportunity, and control over their own lives". Of course this is a Republican value, but Newt's ad campaign really captures some themes from the 18th century. Gingrich's angle is to show that everyone will be happier and America will be better if we vote for him. He's really playing up the angle of a wholesome America, like we once knew. The perfect America where everyone has a flag on their classic white porch and little shops in town are thriving. I don't think history will repeat itself to a huge extent, but I feel like there is a possibility for life to be considerably better for rich, white men, but not in a way like it was in the 18th century. Other people of course will have opportunities, and the world will be a lot less discriminatory, but it is possible that rich, white man will have a leg up on the competition. -Nicole V

  8. I think the creators of this ad are trying to get appreciation from more people to Newts. He is a republican presidential candidate who wants to convince people that America can be as good as before or even stronger than before, and he can rebuild America. This ad is showing the ideal american situations and it’s an ad that may help Newts be elected by more people. He says that some people say that the America they love is a thing of the past, but he doesn’t believe that. I think his angle is that he believes his ideas and himself can help America from falling and rebuilt it. He wants to create more jobs, revive economics, shrink government and regulation, so business can do well, replace the tax system, makes it fair and creates a better one. For a big and developed country, shrinking government and regulation seems impossible. He also wants to regain globe respect and power, give more power to small areas, give freedom and more opportunities to people. He’s got similar ideas from the 18th century. History is not possible to be repeated, I don’t think his goals will all be achieved.-Fei Hong

  9. In my opinion, the creators of this advertisement are trying to tap into the situation of American isn't like before, and they should do something with it. At the beginning, Newt said," Some people say the America we know and love is a thing of the past", it means he believes that the past is better than what American's situation is. And he is actually telling the citizens to vote for him, because he claim he has the ability to transform America as strong as before. He also propose a several good ideas, including revive economy, create jobs,shrink government and etc… Everyone knows American is going downhill, but no one has tried to do something with it or has the ability to solve America's problems because there will be many changes require to do so. No, there aren't themes that are rejuvenated, however, the themes are based on similar aspects. In the 1800s, America was broke and need to revive the economy by increasing taxes and which is similar to what Newt said. America is strong country and is taking the lead of the whole world since 1950s, so I don't think shrink the government is a good idea, a strong country needs a strong and well-organized government. I think Gingrich's angel is to return power to states, regain respect from the world. He doesn't want a highly-authorized& centralized government, he wants everyone to be the same. Lastly, I think Zinn is correct in assuming that the founding father only created a society for rich white people, but in this case, History will not repeat because everyone has their own opportunity to become wealthy. Nikolaus Ngai

  10. The video talks about “rebuilding” America and creating a smaller government. One thing that struck me was him saying that America should regain its respect and there are members of the army in the background. This implies using military force to gain respect from other countries when there are much better ways such as helping other countries in events such as natural disasters and making peace with other counties rather than scaring them off with military strength. What Newt Gingrich is trying to promote is a better America with less taxes, smaller government and more power to people. He is promoting that everybody should have more say in their lives and that more power should be to the states rather than the federal government which is not unreasonable. What is unreasonable is the fact that he is promoting rebuilding our economy while at the same time, he is saying that we should change the tax code to be “fair”. But what really is fair. Taxes being “fair” would be probably being fair if he believes that it will help the citizens. If the taxes are going down and the economy is going up, where is all the money coming from? Probably from the deficit which is already must too high and this is why the United States has the high taxes that they do. He strongly believes that the past policies and regulations of the United States are better than the ones currently in place. This will only be taking a step backwards from where the united States have gotten today and what they have worked for. I believe that the United States should be taking steps forward to bettering their economy, gaining respect from other countries in ways other than intimidation and not lowering taxes but first getting the United States out of the recession and back on their feet. Gavin

  11. I think that the creator of this ad was trying to tap into nationalism and attempting to convince people that Newt Gingrich can turn America into an idealistic version of itself. Newt Gingrich's idealistic version of America favours the wealthy at the expense of the less fortunate. I definitely think this commercial was made to try and take people back and give America a fresh new beginning like the fresh new beginning that the founding fathers gave to Americans. Keeping the same basic themes that created America in the first place such as lower taxes, new jobs and shrinking government. He wants to draw voters back to when America was the “Land of Freedom and Opportunity”. The founding fathers created a society that would be ideal for themselves; themselves being rich white men. Mr. Gingrich is proposing that the current tax system be restructured to favour the wealthy; to reduce government intervention in “the lives of people” by reducing further the social support structure. He implies that government regulation is “strangulating” business and would wish business to have a free hand in their own governance and regulation.Such changes could lead to a society favouring the wealthy, business owners and less able to provide support for the rest of the population who aren’t as fortunate.-Sarah

  12. I think that the creators of this ad as well as Gingrich were trying to get at the nationalism of America. Regaining the worlds respect is something Gingrich mentioned this is said in an attempt to raise the United States thought and hope for more power. The problem with this is America has the largest debt in the world currently with increasing poverty rates. Newt claims that the fix to this is to give more power to the state and eliminate the current tax code and create a newer simpler one that is “fair”. He is trying to integrate ideas from the 18th century and apply them to today's style of life. In the ad they make this appear as the ideal America. I think it is unlikely that history will repeat itself but I think there is a really good chance something a lot like it will happen given the current path America is on right now.- Aidan C.

  13. I think that this ad that Newt Gingrich put out is a smart idea, it taps in to the American sense of patriotism at a time where it needs a boost. China is growing in power as the U.S.A weakens, the economy is horrible and the government can't seem to agree on anything. He is telling the American people that he will bring America back to its previously glorious state, its as if he is telling them he will take them back to a time where white people were at the top and the military was strong, like the 50's or 60's. It's not as bad as Rick Perry though, he seems to want to take the U.S.A back to the civil war era where the states were extremely powerful and the government was small.Owen

  14. I agree with most of the comments but disagree with a couple. The first that I disagree with is Sam, he stated that the spirit of the U.S.A is high as ever, but abilities have declined. I am sure that the U.S.A realize what is going on, and they are trying to fix it, they want people to think that their spirit is high, but they know themselves that they are in deep trouble.The second person that I disagree with is Bilal, I don't agree with the fact that the creators of this add think that U.S.A can be sustained properly, i think that they realize that issues in their country have brought their economy down, I believe that they think that they need to rebuild the country, because what has happened to its economy ruined the country, and the faster they get rebuilding, the less time they will waste.I think that when the united states declared their independence, and wrote their articles, they knew that the country would eventually fall down, even though they wanted it to last, all great empires end, and that is how the world works.-paul istasy

  15. I think that this ad is trying to tap in to America's patriotism by saying things like they will rebuild America to it's former glory and revitalize the economy. I don't think its a good idea to lower taxes while trying to stimulate the economy, because that is just making things more difficult. If America wants to become a strong and respected nation again, they will have to do many difficult things, such as raising taxes. Newt Gingrich also stated in the video that he wanted to reduce government regulations on business. That would really only help the wealthy and would not really help America as a whole.-Duncan

  16. Gingrich's ad and others like it are trying to tap into this idea of American nationalism and exceptionalism, that America is fundementally different and "better" than its fellow nations. Gingrich is trying to tap into the core of the 18th century post-revolutionary debate, which was power of the states vs power of the people. In the original Articles of Confederacy, it was written as if states were indeed separate countries, for example Article IV states that "If any person guilty of, or charged with, treason, felony, or other high misdemeanor in any State, shall flee from justice, and be found in any of the united States, he shall, upon demand of the Governor or executive power of the State from which he fled, be delivered up and removed to the State having jurisdiction of his offense."This seems to be rather pointless, as the America we know today is mostly united as a single nation. Gingrich seems to want to revert to 18th century states rights.America in the 18th century was a place for wealthy, white men, and the Americans have taken many strides towards equality for all. Despite this, America truly is a place for wealthy, white men and women today, and this is becoming increasingly evident with the current gap between the rich and the poor. It is true that America COULD be a place for non-white, middle class people, but the way it was set up originally has left these people with a severe disadvantage, and with the poverty gap increasing, it is becoming more and more unlikely that we will ever see America as a place of wealth equality.Mitch Cunningham

  17. I think the creator's of this ad is trying to tap into America's patriotism and nationalism. Because he said he doesn't believe that the America they love is a thing in the past. He belives we can rebuild it. He admit America is going down on its economy (Jobs), strenth (respect) and freedom. In the 18th century America meant rich, white man and strong and he's taking some ideas from the 18th century and try to applying it. But now America is not the only one, China, Russia and other countries are becoming stronger. He was really positive with the problems and saying we can rebuild the America we love. In this ad, I can see Newt Gingrich is really confident about his ability and people. I think he's trying to tell everybody that if people vote for him, he's gonna fix the problems, He is gonna rebuild America perfect as it use to, he's gonna make strong and America we love is not a thing in the past. And so he must take the responsibilities. By watching his ad, I think there is a chance that they can rebuild America.-Richard Chiu-

  18. The video talks about “rebuilding” America and creating a smaller government. One thing that struck me was him saying that America should regain its respect and there are members of the army in the background. I think that this is implying that using military forces is the way to regain respect for other countries. Newt is trying to promote less taxes, smaller government and more power to the people of America. This is a fair thing to try to do but changing the taxes so that they are fair to the people might not work out well. If the taxes are being reduced and at the same time the economy is going up that there will not be enough money. Newt is trying to do things that were done back in the 18th century by trying to integrate ideas and changing the tax code. By doing this he is moving America backwards and I think that instead of trying to go back to things that have been done in the past, they should be trying to move forward and thing of new ideas and ways to rebuild America for the better. I don't think that history will repeat itself but the rich people of America will be in a better position that the rest.Tim

  19. I thing this video is trying to tap into the American dream, the white picket fence prospering small business low taxes and American freedom. Less restrictions in every way and a strong military force throughout the world. Also the Idea of staying true to our faith was brought up, because in this version of the American dream there is no multiculturalism. But working together is somehow in this picture. 99% of the people portrayed in this video are of the same ethnicity and only one religion is even mentioned (notice the Church in the background) these are the principals portrayed in this video. Newt wants to regress America to the 1800s for better or for worse Carson Milberg

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