Newt Gingrich: visionary professor? Historian who would be a “superior president”?

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting profile of Newt Gingrich’s days as a professor at West Georgia College. Two quick thoughts: he sounds quite ambitious as a young professor (applying to be college president during his first year) and it doesn’t sound like he followed social conventions (“brusque treatment” of his department chair, etc.).

I still find it interesting that Gingrich is using his academic credentials in his campaign:

Mr. Gingrich often says his experience as a historian would make him a superior president. During Monday’s GOP debate, he lectured “as a historian” on “a fact-based model” for revamping Social Security, citing the success of programs in Galveston, Texas, and Chile.

This could lead to some questions:

1. I thought Republicans/conservatives were more suspicious of academics who they often paint as elitist and liberal. So it isn’t actually the job or career itself that is the problem or the knowledge one has to acquire to become a professor – it is what political views the academic has?

2. What would be the best academic discipline from which to choose a President who was formerly an academic? Law seems to get a lot of attention but is this the best perspective or training to start with?

(This follow an earlier post in which I contrasted a potential presidential election between the two academics Obama and Gingrich.)

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