One bad question by the media during a Republican presidential debate, and one good raking over the coals for it and what do you know? Newt ends up on top! Following a resounding victory in the South Carolina primary where he thoroughly trounced Mitt Romney, Newt has reversed a double digit Romney lead in Florida. Depending on the poll, Newt is either tied (Quinnipiac), up by 6 (Gallup Tracking), or down by as much as 8 to Romney (Insider Advantage, Rasmussen Reports, Monmouth University).
Versus Obama, Quinnipiac has Gingrich down by 11 points; worse than Santorum (down by 9) or Paul (down by 8). Rasmussen has Romney down by 3 points in a Romney/Obama showdown.
It’s a long way to November. Polls showing purported match ups between Obama and any given Republican are nice, but in reality, not worth the bits displayed on my monitor. Only one of the Republican’s currently in the race will be there to challenge Barack Obama, but which one?
Heaven help us if it turns out to be Newt Gingrich.
I must admit, I don’t understand Republican voters. I have been hearing for years how we need someone from outside the beltway. Not only outside the beltway, but outside politics even. Someone who understands how business works, because they have actually run a business. Someone who is not a career politician, who has made executive decisions, met payroll, and lived under the Byzantine tax structure we currently “enjoy” in this country. Someone who displays good moral values and does not have a lot of “baggage” for the opposition to exploit.
And so we choose – Newt Gingrich? A man who eats, sleeps and breaths inside the beltway; a man who was brought up on ethics charges, removed as Speaker of the House, two heartbeats from the Presidency, by his own party? A man who has never run a business, never met a payroll, and never held a job in the private sector?
I’m told we are tired of the sex scandals, and our politicians “sleeping around” and cheating on their spouses. We canned Hermann Cain, a candidate who met the other criteria, and was the front runner for the nomination because of an unsubstantiated bimbo eruption.
And so we choose – Newt Gingrich? A man who is on wife number three? A woman he was cheating with on wife number two before he dumped wife number two (whom he was cheating with on wife number one before he dumped her) and married her?
Ah, but we need a conservative! We need someone who is a believer in smaller government; someone who stood firm with Ronald Reagan. We need someone who is strong on national defense, who supports the state of Israel, who will make it job one to repeal Obamacare, reduce the amount of Federal regulation, keep taxes low, and get the economy going again. We need someone who will secure our borders, stop the flood of illegal immigration, and not grant amnesty to those here illegally now.
And so we choose – Newt Gingrich? A man who called President Reagan’s historic meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 “the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with (British Prime Minister) Chamberlain at Munich in 1938”, and who called the Reagan administration a failure?
Newt Gingrich, a man who Elliot Abrams, an assistant secretary of state for President Reagan, states “voted with the president regularly, but equally often spewed insulting rhetoric at Reagan, his top aides, and his policies to defeat Communism.” The same Newt Gingrich who now proudly states “we [he and President Reagan] helped defeat the Soviet empire.”
Newt Gingrich, who mocks Mitt’s “self-deportation” plan for illegal aliens as “Obama level fantasy”, saying that it is unrealistic for millions of illegal immigrants to voluntarily leave the country. Why not? They came here voluntarily. Instead he proposes a guest-worker program but fails to answer the question as to whether illegals here now would be put on a path to citizenship; a key point in the whole conservative debate on the issue. Mitt says no; they have to leave and get back at the end of the line. Newt says – crickets. This should not be a difficult question. If the answer is not “no”, what is it?
Newt says he opposes the Obamacare mandate. In an article dated 15 May 2011, (located on his campaign website) he said “I am completely opposed to the Obamacare mandate on individuals. I fought it for two and a half years at the Center for Health Transformation. You can see all the things we did to stop it at HealthTransformation.net. I am for the repeal of Obamacare and I am against any effort to impose a federal mandate on anyone because it is fundamentally wrong and I believe unconstitutional.”
In an article dated 16 May 2011, Newt says he strongly supports a federal mandate requiring citizens to buy health insurance. “Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Gingrich told host David Gregory that he continues to advocate for a plan he first called for in the early 1990s as a Congressman, which requires every uninsured citizen to purchase or acquire health insurance.” When asked if he would criticize “Romneycare”, Gingrich replied he would not make it an issue in the campaign because he agreed with key aspects of the plan.
And yet now Gingrich says the opposite, claiming now that “the first item” on his legislative agenda will be repealing Obamacare. In the debates, Gingrich has slammed Romneycare at every opportunity, taking great pains to state that Obamacare which Romney says he will repeal, is based on Romenycare.
Newt does seem strong on national defense. He does support Israel. And he says he will repeal Obamacare. So maybe we can give him partial credit. But less regulation? Smaller Government? Who knows where Newt really stands on those.
Yet this is the man that apparently, Republican conservative voters see as the “most conservative” of the four remaining candidates, and the man to beat Barack Obama. So much so that they are willing to overlook all the negatives, all the “mistakes” (flip-flops for any other candidate), the ethics issues, the moral issues, the talk-out-of-both-sides-of-your-mouth issues, the comments made by others who have worked with or for him (they are establishment insiders – you can’t believe them), and the fact that Newt himself is only an anti-establishment maverick in his own mind.
Anti-establishment maverick; wasn’t that what they called John McCain before we called him RINO?
And yet, we have a candidate who is conservative; a candidate who understands the business cycle; a candidate who has made payroll, who has turned businesses around, who has a track record. We have a candidate who believes in a strong defense, who supports Israel, who will secure the border and does not support amnesty for illegals; who believes in smaller government, less regulation, who has stated he will sign an executive order on day one defunding Obamacare and work as long as it takes to secure its repeal; the only remaining candidate who has executive experience. That candidate is Mitt Romney.
I will admit it has taken me a while to warm up to Mitt. I did not like him as a candidate in 2008. I didn’t really like anyone in 2008. But Mitt has been consistent. He has, I believe, done well in the debates. He has answered my questions, and his answers have been good. Do you believe his answers? Well, that is up to you. But if you don’t believe Mitt, why do you believe Newt?
Newt’s answer to all his flip-flops is “I was wrong.” Maybe. But why does that work for Newt and not for Mitt? Newt’s answer to his many infidelities is “that was wrong, but I have repented.” Maybe. That’s between Newt and God. But how is it that I am supposed to now forget everything in this regard concerning Newt because he has “repented” and after all, we are supposed to forgive, but I am not supposed to take into consideration the ethics and morals of a man who has never cheated on his wife in the first place.
Is it “better”, somehow, to have cheated and repented than to have never cheated at all? Should I have more trust in someone who has repented of a sin than in someone who never committed the sin in the first place? Why?
Romney can’t seem to get people to listen to his argument when he says that the health care plan he put into place in Massachusetts was for Massachusetts and would be wrong to impose at the federal level. He can’t seem to get anyone to listen when he says he will do his level best to get Obamacare repealed. And yet people believe Newt when he claims Romneycare is Obamacare and that he will also go for repeal – when he supported Romney’s plan himself! Why?
Romney can stand there and field questions until he is blue in the face and the very next debate he will get asked the exact same questions as if he had never answered them. And when those against him give their reasons why, it is again, as if he had never spoke. Why?
Romney’s message has been consistently conservative. He has been endorsed by people who are recognizably and incontrovertibly conservative, like Chris Christie, John Bolton, and Robert Bork. Does anyone seriously believe that Ann Coulter is not a conservative? She has endorsed Mitt.
And yet, people continue to insist that Mitt isn’t “really” conservative. They continue to pretend he hasn’t said what he said, or else to simply say he is lying. They continue to call him “moderate” in spite of the fact that his positions are conservative, not moderate, and continue to label him “RINO” despite the fact that his positions are in alignment with the party platform. Why?
I can only arrive at one conclusion. Only one reason why Republican voters, particularly in religious, evangelical states, would refuse to vote for a candidate who seems to be exactly what they have been asking for; a candidate who consistently answers all their questions but of whom they consistently say they don’t believe what he says. Only one reason why they are so willing to flock to a candidate who should be the antithesis of what they want, but of whom they are willing to overlook so much simply because he is the strongest remaining “not Romney.” One reason only.
Religion. Mitt is a Mormon, you know. And in all polling, there is a solid core of at least 20-25% who state that they will not vote for a Mormon under any circumstances. Then there are those who don’t really know what a Mormon is but know it “sounds weird,” and they don’t want a weirdo for President. Why take a chance? He sounds good and all, but who knows? 26 years ago before I investigated the Church (and joined) I might have done the same thing. I had a lot of misconceptions about Latter-day Saints and their religion; I doubt I was much different than anyone else.
Newt is the “Christian” candidate, as Perry’s wife so delicately put it, when referring to her husband and Mitt. Left unstated but insinuated by context is the phrase “and Mormons are not.”
It is my belief that if Mitt were a “born-again evangelical”, the race would have been over long ago. But Mitt is not. Mitt is Mormon. And Mitt is not willing to “flip-flop” on his religion simply to become President. That he is not willing to do so should be a clue that Mitt Romney is not “willing to do anything” to become President. That he has remained married to the same woman all these years, and “cleaved only unto her”; that he is a faithful member of his church, accepting church callings, many of which are time-consuming; that he pays a full 10% tithe even though it amounts to millions of dollars – these things show commitment. It shows him to be a man of his word. Isn’t that what we say we want? Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see commitment in a President of the United States?
Boy is Newt Christian! Multiply so. Not just once, or twice, but three times a Christian! Brought up Lutheran, baptized Southern Baptist in graduate school and converted to Catholicism in 2009, Gingrich can claim kinship to a whole raft of Christian believers. Religion for Newt is a bit like “home states” were for George H.W. Bush. Newt seems to be about as firm with his religion as he is with his marriages; three of each. While it is true that some evangelicals don’t consider Catholics to be Christian either, they are more “Christian” than Mormons to many. And they can always console themselves by saying “well, he’s a Baptist too.”
This is why, unless a miracle happens and Republican primary voters suddenly wake up and take a good look at the man they are supporting now, Mitt, in my opinion, will never win the nomination. (Please prove me wrong!) When Santorum bows out, probably after Florida (unless he posts an amazing win somehow) he will undoubtedly throw his support, like Perry before him, to Gingrich. When Paul gives up the ghost who knows who he will endorse; I would not be shocked if he endorsed neither. But in any event, as the only not-Mitt left standing I would expect Romney to get around 35-40% support, with the rest going to Gingrich. It all depends on the delegate count of course, but I don’t expect Mitt to win. And if polling data supports Newt, but the delegate count supports Mitt, it could be an interesting time at the GOP convention.
Besides, everyone wants to see Gingrich debate Obama. Conventional conservative wisdom says, he’ll “tear him up!”
Maybe. However we are electing a President, not a debater. Romney will be more than adequate in debating Obama. Gingrich will be colorful. We will enjoy the debates, I am sure. It’ll be a lot of fun, at least as long as the audience is allowed to participate, which has never happened before in a presidential debate and which the promoters say will not happen this time around either.
Then after the debates comes the election. And after that we will get to “enjoy” four more years of Obama. For what profiteth it a man, to win the debates but lose the election?
 “Newt Rewrites His Reagan Connection”, Mark Shields, creators.com
 “Gingrich and Reagan”, Elliot Abrams, National Review Online
 Newt2012, newt.org (Includes video)
 “Gingrich Backs Obamacare’s Individual Mandate Requiring Health Insurance”, Newsmax.com, 16 May 2011
Also: “Faux Conservative Newt Gingrich Defends ObamaCare Mandate”, The New American, 18 May 2011
 “Gingrich on Obamacare and the Individual Mandate”, The Weekly Standard, 9 Nov 2011
Other References of interest: