Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Republicans Who Love Gingrich Will Get a Rude Awakening



The Washington establishment is satisfied with a Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney GOP candidacy. Newt and Romney are part of Washington establishment. They are no better than Obama. One has the arrogance of a professor and the other has Romneycare. It will be a field day for Democrats because Newt and Romney are weak. Too many skeleton in the closet for the Democrats to use. The only viable candidate now is Rick Santorum. I wish Palin came back!

(Bloomberg) Before Republicans put Newt Gingrich at the top of their party, they should consider what happened the last time he led it.

In the mid-1990s, Gingrich was the de facto head of the Republican Party. He helped lead it to victory in the congressional elections of 1994, which brought about real accomplishments such as welfare reform. But once he attained power, both his popularity and that of his party started to plummet. In the aftermath of his leadership, a Republican was able to take the presidency only by pointedly distancing himself from Gingrich.

Conservatives who dislike George W. Bush’s compassionate conservatism have Gingrich to thank for it. After Gingrich lost the budget battles with President Bill Clinton, it took 15 years for any politician to take up the cause of limited-government conservatism that he had discredited.

Although Gingrich isn’t solely responsible for the Republican policy defeats of those years, his erratic behavior, lack of discipline and self-absorption had a lot to do with them. He explained that one reason the federal government shut down in 1995 was that he was angry that Clinton had snubbed him during an international flight. The Clinton White House then released pictures of the two men gabbing on the plane. Later negotiations didn’t go well, with Gingrich saying, “I melt when I’m around him.”

Gingrich’s fans say that he isn’t the same man he was then; he has “matured” in his 60s. Maybe so. But he’s still erratic: This year he flip-flopped three times on the top issue of the day, the House Republican plan to reform Medicare. He’s still undisciplined: He went on a vacation cruise at the start of his campaign. He still has the same old grandiosity: In recent weeks he has compared himself to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and said confidently that the nomination was his. He still has the same need to justify his every petty move by reference to some grand theory.

The race for the Republican nomination appears to have come down to two intelligent, knowledgeable men in Gingrich and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Neither of them has a history of down-the-line conservatism. Gingrich can match Romney flip-flop for flip-flop and heresy for heresy. He has supported cap-and-trade legislation, federal funding for embryonic stem- cell research, the expansion of Medicare to cover prescription drugs and a federal requirement for everyone to buy health insurance. He has been neither more consistent nor more conservative than Romney.

True, Gingrich has done more to advance the cause of conservatism than Romney. But he’s also done more to damage it. He lost his job as speaker of the House because conservative representatives were fed up with his inconstancy.