Not Romney, Gingrich And Santorum
I have to begin with what is my first priority for the Republican Presidential nomination. That is, Not Romney. Some time ago, George Will said that the most popular Republican candidate’s last name is Romney, and his first name is “Not.” Actually, Romney has gathered the most votes and delegates, but a clear majority has gone against him, with a succession of challengers rising and falling, usually after a Romney fusillade of disingenuous and often false attacks. I listen to all of the comments that Romney has to “sell himself” to the conservative Republican base. Not to me. He simply is not a conservative. And I’m not one who says he’s a liberal. I’ve watched him through the last two Presidential campaigns and before that, and I’ve never been able to identify ANY system of principle that determines his thoughts and action. His agenda is to win and apply the words and actions necessary to do that. While I detest the frequently misleading multi-million dollar advertising campaigns that Romney plasters his competitors with, at least I don’t think he’s violating principles that he doesn’t have. His advertising campaigns are consistent with his bottom-line of winning. Let’s put it this way: Bob Dole and especially John McCain were conservative zealots compared to Romney. Is that clear enough? And especially in the huge tangled mess that America is in today, we need a leader with a vision and the ability to assert it.
I had thought in his age he would not catch fire with the broad range of voters, but since Newt Gingrich rose to contention the first time, I’ve favored him for the Republican nomination. I watch him now and I watched him back when he was in The House of Representatives and spearheaded the first Republican takeover of that body in over 40 years, becoming House Speaker. I watched him negotiate with Democrat President Bill Clinton, ceding what became a practically irrelevant increase in the top personal marginal tax rate while winning a substantial capital gains tax rate decrease that spurred investment, and expanded GDP and revenue bring the budget to balance the only four times in my life. Someone protested that it wasn’t really balanced because Social Security and Veterans’ pensions were included in the general fund. That should never have happened, but Democrats had joined the accounting of those funds 25 years before Speaker Gingrich came along, and they were the only balanced budgets back to then and since. I knew the challenges from Romney and some establishment Republicans that Gingrich was not a true conservative were scurrilous. I watched then and the fact is that Democrats were so furious with Gingrich’s success that they piled frivolous ethics complaints on him, all of which were eventually dropped or he was exonerated on. He became a political sore spot precisely because he was too conservative.
Bear in mind that Gingrich took the Speakership when there were still only a handful of television news outlets; all liberally inclined. Rush Limbaugh had been radio broadcasting nationally for barely five years. Gingrich was scorned in television and national magazines. The ethics charges were highlighted and Washington Republicans felt tainted by association. That is why old line Republicans fear Gingrich now. They were formed in times when surviving Republicans were mostly timid ones. Ronald Reagan was an aberration; special by virtue of a unique personality. I understand their fear, but in fact find it a wretched disposition. If you believe conservatism represents truth, wear it and broadcast it proudly, especially in the terrible condition America is in today. Gingrich’s personal misadventures were surely disgusting, and I wonder if that’s the main reason some people want no part of him. But A) there are some abilities that are sorely needed in an American leader today and Gingrich has them in spades. And B) he has repented and is now a more mature 68 year-old man. But clearly, a majority of Republican voters have a different opinion. At this point as a Gingrich supporter, I favor cooperation between Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Gingrich is the best equipped in the country to engage both the campaign and a governing agenda. But the attacks on Santorum as not conservative are silly, though I disagree with his sense of all that the federal government can practically and constitutionally accomplish. But I'm very comfortable with his character. With Santorum at the top and Gingrich at the bottom of the ticket, Gingrich could advise for the campaign and debate, and in engaging the attacks from the Obama campaign and minimizing the occasions provoking them. Gingrich could lead in criticizing Obama, while Santorum is the positive and smiling good cop.
This article cites two polls that suggest that if Gingrich withdrew, his voters would split roughly evenly to Santorum and Romney. That makes no sense to me. But on the other hand, it doesn't surprise me terribly if voters make no sense to me. Obviously voters disagree with my thinking that Gingrich is the best option for the country. And this wasn't the first time the majority and I disagreed. But this question remains: would it affect the way voters split if Santorum and Gingrich joined as a team and called on their supporters to join? They could announce that nominating a true conservative is their priority. And Romney is NOT one. Just as it was in business, his agenda is to WIN, whatever that takes. It may take federal money, which he has used on many occasions, both as a Governor and a private citizen.. And he's said as much openly: "that's where the money is," which is the same reason people rob banks. Well Mitt, that isn't actually where the money is: what you get is borrowed on the taxpayers' credit line; at least as long as creditors keep it open. Anyway, NOT-Romney is my priority.
And Santorum is a true conservative that was never seen as otherwise in his 12 years in The US Senate, with none of the personal family history that many find disqualifying. I think this is true: If Santorum and Gingrich joined forces and merged their strengths, and that was not enough for Republican voters, the Republican Party may be as gone as the Democrats. Originally planned for late April, the Texas primary has been moved to late May. So I’m not, but if I were preparing to walk into the Texas primary today, without seeing remarkable progress from Gingrich or a better explanation of his plans and intentions, I would vote for Rick Santorum in hoping to see Romney as dramatically defeated as possible.