Newt vs Mitt? How Did This Happen?
December 14, 2011 Leave a comment
Much is being made about a poll out from Public Policy Polling which shows Newt Gingrich up 1 over Ron Paul with Mitt Romney trailing Newt by 6. While interesting, we cannot forget that PPP is a Democrat polling firm. The Democrats have the incentive to make this race appear closer than it is in order to force candidates to spend more money. Nearly every other poll shows Newt up 10 or so in Iowa.
Nearly as interesting is a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll which shows nationally Newt has hit the 40% mark. This is fairly significant because no one else has hit 40 year. Once again, Mitt Romney is in the 20-25 range, at 23 in this poll. Mitt Romney has never been able to break out of the 20-25 range despite campaigning for President for nearly six years. It’s fairly clear that the rank and file base of the party doesn’t want Romney as its nominee. The question is whether the rank and file really wants Newt.
Glenn Beck has spent the last several days hammering Newt. Apparently at one point a decade ago Newt referred to himself as a “realpolitik Wilsonian.” What that is and what Newt means by it isn’t really clear. More concerning is Newt’s praise of Teddy Roosevelt and FDR. The FDR praise is a little more tolerable, surprisingly.
Newt praised FDR because he “got things done.” He never said whether he liked what those things were, only that he got things done. That’s a praise of his political skill, which one would like to think that conservatives could recognize in someone even if they don’t agree with the outcome. Clinton was a terrific politician even though he was largely wrong. The Teddy Roosevelt praise is somewhat more disturbing. However, we shouldn’t forget that the Teddy who ran in the Progressive Party in 1912 is not the same Teddy who served as President. But it’s still a disturbing comment.
The problem with Newt is that while he often reaches conservative conclusions his reasoning is often all over the place. There’s no denying that he is responsible for balancing the budget in the 90′s. But to often he looks to big government solutions to various problems, whether it’s in health care or education. Newt isn’t a progressive but he weaves back and forth between small government, market driven solutions and big government. It’s sort of bizarre to watch because it’s completely inconsistent. He talks up both sides and comes off as truly believing both of them.
The question though is whether Newt is worse than Romney. The answer is not really. Mitt Romney is a life long progressive. His grand vision for America is contained in 59 points, which suggests he’s someone who will rely on complicated reasoning to push for complicated government programs. His tax plan is almost as progressive as Obama’s. Of course who can forget Romneycare and his ridiculous argument that the states can do whatever they want. Sure, the states can. But that doesn’t make it right or conservative. At the end of the day he enacted a state version of Obamacare, which isn’t any better for freedom than Obamacare at the Federal level.
How did we end up here in the GOP where we have two front runners, one of which is inconsistent and the other of which is consistent progressive who is suddenly calling himself a conservative? If you want proof that the Tea Party is dead, it’s seen in this GOP Presidential race. If you want evidence that the Christian Right is dead, look at this race. The Christian right should be lining up behind Michele Bachmann. Yet she’s in single digits, there is no Christian right anymore.
Christians and conservatives are going to wake up one morning early next year and they’re going to read about who won the GOP nomination and they’re going to wonder what happened. The answer is simple, the establishment will have won whether the winner is Newt or Mitt. Newt isn’t worse than Mitt because we’ve got two frontrunners who really aren’t all that conservative. The DC establishment can work with both of them to grow government in the way that establishment Republicans want to grow government. The Christian right and the Tea Party will be left out, as usual.