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May 10, 2011


Gingrich's Departure and Return

Matt Bai suggests that Newt Gingrich might be following historian Arnold J. Toynbee's 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."

One of Gingrich's heroes, Charles de Gaulle, "embodies just this kind of romantic narrative, having spent 12 years out of power before returning to lead his country. So does Ronald Reagan, who traveled the country after losing his bid for the Republican nomination in 1976, then came roaring back to win it all four years later."

"Like Mr. de Gaulle, Mr. Gingrich has been out of power for about 12 years. And if elected president, Mr. Gingrich, like Mr. Reagan, would be 69 when taking the oath of office. (Mr. de Gaulle was 68.) Coincidence? It might seem that way, but I'm guessing he sees something more portentous in the parallels."














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