Friday, February 3, 2012

Romney or Gingrich?

Usually Mark handles the political posts on this blog, so I don't blog often on politics, but today is different. In this post, I want to ask the question: Romney or Gingrich? I will not throw my opinion in on who would be the better candidate, I'll remain silent on that part to let you the reader decide.

Gingrich's baggage 

One of the main things I've heard personally and around the blogosphere about Gingrich is his baggage. What is the baggae? Put simply: mistakes made in his personal life. There are quite a few people who think his mistakes will hold him back from winning the Presidential election, thus he he is not electable in their eyes.

Thomas Sowell wrote:

This is not just another election, and Barack Obama is not just another president whose policies we may not like. With all of President Obama’s broken promises, glib demagoguery, and cynical political moves, one promise he has kept all too well. That was his boast on the eve of the 2008 election: “We are going to change the United States of America.”

Many Americans are already saying that they can hardly recognize the country they grew up in. We have already started down the path that has led Western European nations to the brink of financial disaster.
Internationally, it is worse. A president who has pulled the rug out from under our allies, whether in Eastern Europe or the Middle East, tried to cozy up to our enemies, and bowed low from the waist to foreign leaders certainly has not represented either the values or the interests of America. If he continues to do nothing that is likely to stop terrorist-sponsoring Iran from getting nuclear weapons, the consequences may be beyond our worst imagining.

Against this background, how much does Newt Gingrich’s personal life matter, whether we accept his claim that he has now matured or his critics’ claim that he has not? Nor should we sell the public short by saying that they are going to vote on the basis of tabloid stuff or media talking points, when the fate of this nation hangs in the balance.

Even back in the 19th century, when the scandal came out that Grover Cleveland had fathered a child out of wedlock — and he publicly admitted it — the voters nevertheless sent him to the White House, where he became one of the better presidents.

Do we wish we had another Ronald Reagan? We could certainly use one. But we have to play the hand we were dealt. And the Reagan card is not in the deck.

Leaving Gingrich's personal mistakes aside, what was his time as Speaker of the House like? When Gingrich was speaker was the last time we cut government, balanced the budget, and reformed entitlements; the mainstream media called it the "Clinton surplus" but Sowell got it right: "...all spending bills start in the House of Representatives, and Gingrich was speaker of the House." Consider what happened after he left: the spending got out of control, we got Sarbanes-Oxley, and they all took a blind eye to the housing issues. Does the "baggage" truly outweigh the accomplishments?

What about Romney?

Sowell wrote:

Romney is a smooth talker, but what did he actually accomplish as governor of Massachusetts, compared with what Gingrich accomplished as speaker of the House? When you don’t accomplish much, you don’t ruffle many feathers. But is that what we want? Can you name one important positive thing that Romney accomplished as governor of Massachusetts? Can anyone? Does a candidate who represents the bland leading the bland increase the chances of victory in November 2012? A lot of candidates like that have lost, from Thomas E. Dewey to John McCain.

Sowell didn't have many positive things to say about Romney. Is there anything positive to say about Romney? Many on the right think he is a liberal disguised as a conservative, that if he is a conservative then he's not conservative enough, or he is at best a moderate; tea partiers don't want a man that fits any of those descriptions, they want a true conservative. Can you blame them? The best the Right has been able to dish out are McCaines and Bushes, neither have been anything to be proud of from a conservative's point of view. Back to the point: what good can be found if Romney becomes President? Jonah Goldberg found the silver lining. 

Let me try to offer some solace. Even if Romney is a Potemkin conservative (a claim I think has merit but is also exaggerated), there is an instrumental case to be made for him: It is better to have a president who owes you than to have one who claims to own you. A President Romney would be on a very short leash. A President Gingrich would probably chew through his leash in the first ten minutes of his presidency and wander off into trouble. If elected, Romney must follow through for conservatives and honor his vows to repeal Obamacare, implement Representative Paul Ryan’s agenda, and stay true to his pro-life commitments.

Moreover, Romney is not a man of vision. He is a man of duty and purpose. He was told to “fix” health care in ways Massachusetts would like. He was told to fix the 2002 Olympics. He was told to create Bain Capital. He did it all. The man does his assignments.

In this light, voting for Romney isn’t a betrayal, it’s a transaction. No, that’s not very exciting or reassuring for those who’d sooner see monkeys fly out their nethers than compromise again. But such a bargain may just be necessary before judgment day comes.

What do you think?  


No comments:

Post a Comment

Reformed Seth appreciates and encourages your comments, but we do have guidelines for posting comments:

1. Avoid profanities or foul language unless it is contained in a necessary quote.

2. Stay on topic.

3. Disagree, but avoid ad hominem attacks.

4. Threats are treated seriously and reported to law enforcement.

5. Spam and advertising are not permitted in the comments area.