A sense of history and the idea of a triumphant return from political exile animate Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign, Matt Bai of The New York Times writes in The Caucus blog. The former Republican House speaker, who resigned from Congress in 1998 amid a rebellion from his own caucus, sees in himself a parallel to political comeback artists such as Ronald Reagan, according to Bai.
“Mr. Gingrich is a devotee of the historian Arnold J. Toynbee, who meditated on the concept of ‘departure and return‘ — the idea that great leaders have to leave (or be banished from) their kingdoms before they can better themselves and return as conquering heroes,” Bai writes.
Although Gingrich might view Reagan and Charles de Gaulle as precedents, Bai suggests that Richard Nixon is the better analogy.
“Mr. Nixon was humiliated and all but exiled after publicly self-destructing in 1962," Bai writes. "He then retreated to the sidelines and watched as his party disintegrated, leaving a vacuum of leadership and gravitas on the right that enabled Mr. Nixon to make one of the great comebacks in political history.”
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