The Relative Comment

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Is Newt Gingrich the real not-Romney?

with 4 comments

Are Conservative Americans really trying to create a groundswell of movement to help Newt Gingrich win the 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination? Newt, former un-loved and resigned Speaker of the House, Moral Crusader against Old Bill, Contractor with America who left his cancer-recovering wife for his mistress Gingrich?

Does that seem like a good idea?

I’m thinking that my liberal reaction to Gingrich, one that casts him off as having no chance (absolutely zero) of winning the Presidency might be just straight bias. Because there appears to be real desire in large parts of the party to see Gingrich win. To be fair, there has been a real push behind all of the not-Romney candidate spikes (Bachmann, Perry, Cain). But Gingrich’s is a surprise. Sure he may be smart, he may know a lot about American History, his persona may seem eminently reasonable at the debates, but this is Newt Gingrich. The arch-conservative line could be behind Newt Gingrich (the Washington Times, for example, lists why he deserves a second chance), but what about the rest of Conservative America? Can the electors of the GOP really support the idea of Newt Gingrich running against Barack Obama?

I can’t imagine it, but that’s why I’m a liberal. There must be something behind Gingrich’s surge, and something in his potential campaign that has life. If its just a flirtation, like with Bachmann and Perry, it has more life and drive than either of them. The Cain folks seem even more determined than the Bachmann and Perry folks, trying to weather Cain through his harrassmnet scandal instead of just dropping him like the previous hopefuls. But Cain, too, seems destined to fade. There doesn’t appear to be evidence that it will be different for Gingrich. But the not-Romney movement is slowly running out of candidates, and they would do well to take heed of that fact.

TRC thinks that, in all likelihood, Mitt Romney will be the 2012 GOP Nominee. It is not inevitable, but it seems likely. However, the heart of the Republican Party is not with Romney, and if there is going to be an upset, could it go to Newt Gingrich? The wacky nature of this silly season has shown that any candidate can get temporary support (except Pawlenty) if they just wait their turn.

But there is danger in the fluid nature of the short-term candidate love. If Romney is actually not going to win, it seems possible that whomever is the last not-Romney surging in the polls will be the not-Romney that wins. That’s an unflattering way to describe the GOP race, but it is accurate. If the last not-Mitt happens to be Newt Gingrich, Republicans, I have to warn you about your fortunes.

A campaign against Newt Gingrich pretty much runs itself.


Written by Christopher ZF

November 17, 2011 at 10:40

4 Responses

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  1. I have no special place in my heart for Newt Gingrich, although I admit that I sometimes find myself mesmerized with the rich content of his comments. (He would make a terrific professor.) I’m glad you acknowledge that he’s smart and affable, and I’d bet that on the whole, he’s even more wonkish than our current president. But what I don’t get is your liberal reaction to him. Here’s a Republican politician that although you don’t agree with, you should be able to at least respect, given the criteria the left typically employs to critique politicians on the right. He values education, has proven to be bipartisan at times, is not some unqualified Washington outsider/celebrity-type figure, and is very thoughtful and intelligent. So, knowing you will disagree on principle and policy, what exactly do you want to see in a Republican politician? I agree that Newt has some baggage (though to me, it doesn’t seem insurmountable), and that he’s probably a flavor of the moment. I wouldn’t give him a zero chance (given where McCain was at this stage in 2007), but somewhat cynically, think the nomination may go to whoever is popular around the time of the GOP convention. Or, again like you, probably Romney, when he chooses Rubio as a running mate to shore up the base.
    One thing I must take exception to is the notion that Newt was some moral crusader against Bill Clinton, although it’s reasonable to disagree. I am very aware of the perceptions surrounding the whole affair (pun), but I don’t think the claim stands up to much scrutiny after conceding Newt was probably giddy to leverage the public scandal (side issue) for politician gain. The impeachment proceedings didn’t have anything to do with sex/morality as such– they were about whether the president lied under oath in a legal proceeding implicating the due process rights of Paula Jones. And it was very much a valid quesiton of whether he did. Framed thusly, the situation was worth Congress’s time to investigate, given the rule of law, etc. etc. Gingrinch might have proven to be sexually immoral himself, but not necessarily a hypocrite though the impeachment process. The scandal caused by private sexual revelations and the president’s defiant denial to the American people of wrongdoing is a matter unto itself.


    November 17, 2011 at 12:49

    • The only argument that I make in this post is that Gingrich could not win the Presidency, and that the reason I find that argument so self-evident must result from my liberal politics, because many Republicans do not see that argument as quite so obvious.
      But I stand by that. He could not win. Imagine the ads, imagine the ads. My goodness.

      But I do not discount that Gingrich has respectable qualities in his past, and I applaud those when appropriate. He’s made very good suggestions in his time in public, such as capping carbon to combat climate change. Of course now he wants to be a Republican President, so any of his bipartisan and environmental impulses must be completely expelled.

      It’s pretty obvious Gingrich has ugly history as well. These are both personal history (obviously), and policy/governing impulses as well, such as suspending constitutional rights because ‘you can’t have a constitution if you are dead’ or that bullshit about Obama being an anti-colonial Kenyan. Not to mention his policy prescriptions from the 1990s…

      But Gingrich is a long standing public figure, and that he has good and bad in his record is only to be expected.


      November 17, 2011 at 13:08

    • Additionally, Brandon, I do tend to agree with Jennifer Rubin.
      Gingrich’s reputation of being a giant intellectual Republican seems a bit overblown.

      “When many in the mainstream media and far too many conservatives who should know better swoon over his pronouncements, the cannier on the right and left justifiably roll their eyes in disgust. Gingrich’s mind is an attic of throwaway, unusable and downright goofy ideas, piled high like newspapers in the room of a troubled subject on “Hoarders.” The volume is great, the quality is shoddy. His hobbyhorse is technology, or rather gimmickry. …
      But, ironically, what he never masters is politics. His collapse as speaker is more understandable once you grasp the full extent of his egomania and grandiose visions … Daydreamers and narcissists can make (in small doses) amusing writers and entertaining cocktail party guests, but lousy political leaders. And as president? Shudder.”


      November 17, 2011 at 16:27

  2. […] know that Gingrich has surged, and that many Conservatives are long time fans of his intellect and supporters of Newt […]

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