Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Newt Gingrich: The Erratic Conservative

Newt Gingrich is criticized for being an "erratic conservative," "going off half cocked," and "lacking discipline." I agree. There is no denying that those things are all true. Newt Gingrich is erratic, but he also has had amazing success advancing conservatism. As Mark Levin said, “Newt Gingrich, if he does nothing else, did more for the conservative movement and to stop the liberal Democrats in the House of Representatives than virtually everybody today who is criticizing him." And Newt Gingrich has a 90% lifetime American Conservative Union rating. That's a proven record, and a pretty consistent one. When it counts, Gingrich has been solidly in the conservative corner. Genius and a certain level of eccentricity often go together.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has no conservative accomplishments whatsoever. Until recently, Mitt Romney prided himself on his moderate progressivism. He distanced himself from President Reagan and cozied with Ted Kennedy in implementing RomneyCare. Now we are to believe that the only reason Mitt Romney has no conservative credentials is that he had to govern a liberal state like Massachusetts, which necessarily limited his potential and required certain compromises. This is a narrative which we must take on faith. Though not expressly stated, the inference is that Romney will move right politically once he captures the presidency. Color me exceedingly skeptical. When was the last time a major office holder moved to the political right?

Even Romney's supporters, in their more honest moments, recognize that Mitt is a moderate. Romney's moderate credentials are the very thing that supposedly appeal to those all-so-important independents.

 Mitt Romney, then, may best be described as a steady moderate who prides himself on having the ability to reach out to both sides and strike deals that will supposedly benefit the country as a whole. Romney will never "go off half-cocked." I'd be surprised if he ever drew a weapon, much less pulled back the hammer. In fact, his metaphorical weapon will likely collect dust in a metaphorical drawer somewhere. Romney shows far more willingness to help eat our own than battle the opposition.

Therefore, who should a conservative  support? Mitt Romney, the "steady moderate" seeking to make friends on both dies of the isle to broker the best Washington deals as only a good CEO can? Or Newt Gingrich, the "erratic conservative" who knows who are his enemies and wants to take them out? Is it better to go off half cocked, or never to go off at all? Make enemies, or make friends? Is this a war for the soul of our country or a game of badminton on the White House lawn?

I'll stand on the front lines with erratic Newt any day before I trust someone who does not even recognize that we are in a war to begin with.

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