The Herd: A Look at The Republican Vice Presidential Candidates. Newt Gingrich

Bookmark and Share   The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential choices to be selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one the many Republicans which we believe will be at least considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to a biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 takes a look at former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich

Born: June 17, 1943, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Spouse(s):Jackie Battley (1962-1981), Marianne Ginther (1981-2000), Callista Gingrich(2000-?)

Children: Two daughters, two sons-in-law and two grandchildren.

Residence : Carrollton, Georgia (79-93), Marrietta, Georgia (93-99) McLean Virginia (Current)

Alma mater:Emory University,Tulane University

Profession:College Professor, author, Member of Congress

Religion: Roman Catholic

Political Career :

  • Two unsuccessful runs for Congress in Georgia’s sixth congressional district in 1974 and 1976
  • Elected to Congress in 1978 and subsequently served for 8 more terms until 1999
  • From 1989 to 1995 he served as the 16th United States House Minority Whip
  • From 1995 to 1999 he served as the 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

Throughout his continuing career, Gingrich has proven to be a prolific and top selling author. Most of his novels are comprised of innovative, conservative policy initiatives and directions that are rooted in the founding principle of our nation. His first book was published in January of 1982. It was entitledThe Government’s Role in Solving Societal Problems and offered a solid foundation for conservative leadership in America. But his breakout book came in 1985 withWindow of Opportunity, a profound compilation of of path to prosperity in America.

Other works include:

  • Contract with America (co-editor).
  • Restoring the Dream
  • Quotations from Speaker Newt
  • To Renew America
  • Lessons Learned The Hard Way
  • Presidential Determination Regarding Certification of the Thirty-Two Major Illicit Narcotics Producing and Transit Countries
  • Saving Lives and Saving Money
  • Winning the Future
  • Rediscovering God in America
  • A Contract with the Earth
  • Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less: A Handbook for Slashing Gas Prices and Solving Our Energy Crisis
  • Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works
  • To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine

Newt has also written a substantial number of historical novels:

  • 1945
  • Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War
  • Grant Comes East Thomas Dunne Books
  • Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant: The Final Victory
  • Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th
  • Days of Infamy

See a more detailed bio of Newt here on his White House 2012 presidential contender page

Newt is probably not going to be Mitt Romney’s choice as a running mate. While he is consistently considered the smartest man in the room, he is also one of the loosest cannon in any room and although he can easily bring some very positive qualities to the ticket, it his baggage that may  prevent us from every seeing how positive those qualities may be on the G.O.P. presidential ticket.

Newt would certainly be impressive in any vice presidential debates, although it is more than likely that the Obama ticket will only allow one vice presidential debate, if even that. Newt would also certainly be able to condense the election down to several very succinct and powerful words that the average voter would be able to relate to in a most convincing way.

But Newt will also shoot from the hip and in what will undoubtedly be a highly negative campaign waged with the near billion dollar campaign war chest of the Obama ticket, any stray bullets fired off by Newt could become lethal distractions that the Romney campaign can ill afford.  Just having Newt on the ticket will be a very distraction.  The left’s venom of Newt is so strong, that a daily rush of personal name calling and attacks will be discussed in a pro-liberal mainstream media to such a great extent, that the Romney-Gingrich message would be overshadowed and muted.

As a play it safe kind of guy, Newt is probably too much of a risk for Romney’s liking and Newt’s long and accomplished political career is most likely open to the type of criticism that Mitt Romney does not want to deal with. Therefore, despite Newt’s ability to compensate for several of Mitt’s shortcomings, such as a lack of innovation and boldness as well as a lack of any popular anti-establishment sentiments, Newt will probably not be Vice President anytime soon.  Add to that a bitter campaign between the two of them and what you have is a personal relationship that does not preclude the idea from consideration, but is not exactly conducive to the creation of an enthusiastic partnership at the top of the presidential ticket.

Pros:

  • Articulate and has a great capacity for shaping issues in a way that makes the conservative approach to our problems seem like common sense
  • Has an anti-establishmentarian streak that can appeal to independents and T.E.A. Party activists and compensate for Romney’s establishment image
  • Great in debate
  • Brings unappalled experience to the ticket
  • Would help Romney among Southern conservatives who are not comfortable with him

Cons:

  • Has personal baggage which can easily become a distraction in the campaign
  • Has been a harsh critic of Mitt Romney and his policies
  • Shoots from the hip and can be a very loose cannon
  • Has the potential to overshadow Mitt Romney

Overall Assesment:

In some ways, Newt would be the perfect Vice President. Having once been the second in line for presidency, his experience is invaluable. He is also incredibly articulate and dogged in his defense of conservative values and tireless in his efforts to find innovative solutions to our problems and ways to remove government from our everyday lives. But Newt has an ego problem and it often gets in his way and it is that ego problem which Mitt Romney will probably not allow to get in the way of his winning the White House.  So when it comes to Newt Gingrich, he would not be the perfect Vice President for Mitt Romney.

Furthermore; while Newt was relatively competitive in the first half of the primary process, he never quite caught on and proved that he can’t be even be counted on as a favorite son of the South who could motivate those Southern voters uninspired by Romney.  And that is an important factor because for Mitt Romney to win this election, he will need to have the Republican base come out to vote for him in near record numbers.

Overall, while the selection of Newt would be a good one from a policy, management, and issue oriented angle, from a political perspective regarding an election, Newt is not the best choice for Mitt.

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Some Past Key Votes

H Res 611 – Impeachment Resolution: Article One

Legislation-Resolution (Yea)

Dec. 19, 1998 – President Clinton was charged with willfully providing perjurious, false and misleading testimony to the grand jury concerning one or more of the following:: – …

H Res 611 – Impeachment Resolution: Article Three

Legislation-Resolution (Yea)

Dec. 19, 1998 – -Accuses President Clinton of obstructing justice by coaching White House Secretary Betty Currie in potential testimony, encouraging Monica Lewinsky to lie under oath and by …

H Res 611 – Impeachment Resolution: Article Two

Legislation-Resolution (Yea)

Dec. 19, 1998 – – Accuses President Clinton of committing perjury on December 23, 1997, during his testimony in a Federal civil rights action brought against him by Paula …

More Key Votes

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Gingrich on the Issues

Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Health Care
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Civil Rights Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Jobs Welfare & Poverty Corporations
Energy & Oil Environment Technology Principles & Values

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Today should be it

Mitt Romney should easily sweep a handful of blue states today, including New York and Pennsylvania.  If he does, I think the staunchest of conservative holdouts are ready to call it for Romney.  The only thing that will change the trajectory of the primary at this point would be if Romney’s performance is weak in any of these states.

Is that possible?  To a certain extent.  With Romney already the presumptive nominee, media coverage of the April 24th primaries has been minimal.  Additionally, any inhibition towards voting one’s conscience should be gone.   Romney’s refocusing on Obama is certainly not unwarranted confidence, but does signal an end to his scorched earth campaign that ravished his closest rivals.

Will Gingrich show any sort of proof of life in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, or Rhode Island?  Don’t count on it.  To be sure, there is a conservative underground in each of these states, most strongly in Pennsylvania.  But at the same time, they have been so marginalized by the liberal culture that “most conservative who can actually win” is deeply engrained.

My prediction is that Newt doesn’t break 40% in any of these states.  If that is the case, I am ready to call the 2012 primary for Mitt Romney.  However, if Newt can somehow mitigate his losses and mathematically survive today, he has some friendly states coming up in May.  He may still not survive to the convention fight he is counting on, but he would have a chance.  And something he hasn’t tasted in months: momentum.

Bad News for Romney?

Romney declared today to be a good day for his campaign.  The media easily agreed, following their template that Romney is already the nominee.  However, the good news may end up being all for Gingrich.  The long dead in the water conservative finally has what he has needed for a second resurgence: no competition for the social conservative vote.

In fact, Newt made the point today that he would love to get Santorum’s delegates.  Newt is right, he is far closer to what Santorum’s delegates want than Romney.  While Romney is far away ahead of both candidates on their own, together their delegates number more than 400.

Gingrich’s next hope for a good day won’t come until May 8th, and Romney is sure to sweep the blue states that vote on April 24th.  In fact, nearly certain victories in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island could seal the deal.

On the other hand, Gingrich could start a come back in Indiana and could win North Carolina and West Virginia with some hard work.  In fact, May should favor the remaining social conservative, culminating with the 155 delegates in Texas.  May could be enough to provide Gingrich with the convention floor battle he’s been hoping for.

On the other hand, without a strong ground game, and with limited funds and no media recognition that he even still exists, Newt may never have a chance at realizing the potential the Santorum exit has given him.

Is Mitt Bouyant? Or Santorum Sinking?

The day before Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney is looking good.  It’s looking like he will take the key state of Ohio and could take Tennessee.  Both of these are very close races.  But Romney’s ascendency back to the top is marked by Santorum’s dive in the polls, and Newt’s resurgence again.  Newt will win Georgia, which has the most delegates of any Super Tuesday state.  Newt is also now tied with Santorum and within one point of Romney in Tennessee according to one poll.  Just last week, Santorum was looking good in both Ohio and Tennessee.

If Santorum is suddenly seen as faltering, we may see the polls seesaw back to Newt on fears of unelectability.  However, at this late stage that may serve to only help Romney, unless Santorum loses big time.  If Santorum comes in third in Tennessee or Ohio and Gingrich easily wins Georgia, the shift back to Newt could be significant.

Consider this, if Santorum was not in the race and his voters went to Newt, Newt would sweep Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia.  On the other hand, the same could be said for Santorum if Newt dropped out and his votes went to Santorum.  In either case, Romney is the beneficiary of the social conservative split.  Meanwhile, Ron Paul is fleeing from social issues as he descends back into below 10% irrelevancy.

This could be short lived however, as Republicans revisit the myth that social issues are losers in elections.  As I pointed out the other day, a one dimensional economy candidate is going to struggle against Obama.  Republicans are more likely to be inspired to go to the polls for a bold conservative, and Romney is all pastels.  If Santorum falters tomorrow and Newt remains on message, this one could be far from over.

Why Drudge is Headlining Newt

Romney barely eeked out a win in his homestate Michigan.  Newt barely registered.  Judging from Arizona and Michigan, which Newt conceded before they even started, Newt is less likely than Ron Paul to be the nominee.  So why is Drudge front paging a 2% Gallup poll increase for Newt as a third comeback?  Simple, Drudge wants Romney to win.

It’s no secret Drudge is a Romney supporter.  Santorum has Romney on the ropes, especially when heading into some of the southern more conservative states.  If Newt’s votes in Michigan went to Santorum, Romney would have lost.  What has kept Romney in this race is a split vote between Newt and Santorum.  Romney needs that split to survive.

I wish Newt would make another comeback.  He is the best candidate with the best ideas.  But don’t get your hopes up.  Romney wants a perceived Newt resurgence almost as much as Newt wants a real resurgence.

 

Wishful thinking?

Reality Check

As we head into Michigan and Arizona, the Republican party needs a reality check.  Fortunately, here it is:

Rick Santorum

The media is doing their best to paint Santorum as some sort of radical conservative religious whacko.  Hardly.  Santorum on social issues is saying what most Republicans are thinking.  The thing is, conservatives are scared to death of Obama winning re-election and many will gladly sacrifice what they believe to take the candidate everyone is telling them can win.  But here’s the thing, Obama’s economy has about a 26% approval rating and any Republican looks amazing economically next to Obama.  If Obama wins, it will be because he runs an incredible marketing campaign, race bates, and paints his opponents as somehow more socially radical than he is.  It won’t be because Obama saved the economy, unless moderates and independents are even more gullible and stupid than we thought.

What should keep Republicans up at night about Santorum is his passion on Iran.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Iran to get a nuclear weapon.  I think they will use it on Israel if they do.  But America is not ready to commit to another war.  I think we would have to see another 3,000 US civilians die on one day before the majority of Americans get the stomach for what Santorum has been talking about.  That includes what he has talked about with central America.

Mitt Romney

Romney is uninspiring by design.  His economic plan is a mixture of timid populism.  In the end, what he is running on is his record of creating a great deal of personal wealth and success, as well as his management skills.  But Warren Buffett, another populist, has also made great personal success through good management, and I think he would be a terrible President.  If this election were solely about the economy,the DNC would be looking for a new candidate and Romney would already be the GOP candidate.  The fact is, as long as Romneyites continue to downplay social issues, they will continue to loose the support of the majority of conservatives who actually care about social issues.  Believe it or not, many Americans on both sides of the aisle hold the value of their social and religious issues higher than the economy.   For example, many pro-lifers would sacrifice a great deal of wealth to stop the murder of the unborn.

What keeps Republicans awake at night about Mitt Romney is the fact that even his economic plan has been as malleable as his social stances.  What was supposed to be Romney’s conservative strength has instead turned into calls to raise the minimum wage and tax the rich to redistribute to the poor.  In each case, this was a reaction from the Romney campaign to criticism from the left.

Newt Gingrich

Newt is the smartest candidate and he has the best ideas.  It is no secret that I believe this.  But Newt is easily destroyed by opponents and the media.  He has tried to run a cheap campaign with little or no ground game, which makes victory as visionary as a base on the moon.  Part of Newt’s problem is that now his electability is questionable instead of Santorum’s.  Newt isn’t going to win anything until he re-establishes himself as the only electable anti-Romney.  Every time Santorum wins another state, Newt’s chances dim even more.  Get ready for things to start looking real bad as Santorum wins Arizona and maybe Michigan.

What keeps Republicans awake at night about Newt Gingrich is how easily he is destroyed by negative campaigning and how weak his campaign structure is.  If Newt can’t beat the unelectable Santorum and uninspiring Romney in every state, how would he propose to beat Obama?

Ron Paul

No one ever thought Ron Paul would win, except maybe his 10% who also think that being obnoxious will win people over.  However, it has been noted that Paul seems to have a cozy relationship with Mitt Romney.  Perhaps Paul also thinks only Romney can beat Obama.  Or, as some have suggested, maybe Paul has a secret deal with Romney to secure a VP slot for him or his son.  Actually, a Romney/Rand Paul ticket would be an incredibly smart idea and might be the only thing that can bring the extremes of the Republican party back together.  The only thing, of course, other than Obama himself.

What keeps Republicans awake at night about Ron Paul is his Iran policy.  Yeah, maybe we aren’t ready to go to war in Iran like we did in Iraq.  But I also don’t think most Americans are ready to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that Iran isn’t a threat.  I think fewer Republicans have an appetite to continue the World America Apology Tour under a different name.

Barack Obama

The real reality check for Republicans should be a refocusing on Barack Obama.  Believe it or not, there are people out there who support him.  After Solyndra, Fast n Furious, reversing Mexico City policy, forcing religious organizations to provide abortion pills, Obamacare, and everything else Obama has done, there are actually cars on the road with Obama 2012 stickers on them.  Somehow, Obama still has a shot in this race.

What should keep Republicans awake at night about Barack Obama is that despite all that he has done to this country and to the rule of law and constitution, there are people who still support him.  The media refuses to vet Obama, even ignoring his radical social positions on abortion.  Meanwhile, in desperation Santorum is releasing economic plans that are going ignored by the party and media.  GOP candidates are doing a great job of getting their message out.  Unfortunately, their message is that each other suck.  Let’s hope that Republicans will find a way to inspire the entire base, and expose Obama on fiscal AND social issues.

Too Bad The Debate Won’t Matter

It is way too late in the game for the groundswell of Santorum supporters to turn back and take a gamble on Newt.  At stake is handing the Republican nomination to an establishment Republican with a liberal tax plan, timid economic plan, and nothing more than a strong business reputation to run on.  But after last night’s debate, the choice for the Republican nominee is as clear to me as the day I endorsed him.

I was proud of Newt for making a supremely important point in the debate over contraception.  The issue isn’t a debate between someone who wants to keep birth control pills legal and someone who wants to ban all contraception and chain women to the kitchen sink.  The debate is between someone who voted to make it legal for doctors to kill babies after they are born and the eventual GOP candidate who simply wants to protect religious organizations from having to pay for abortion pills.  The radical here is most definitely Obama and both Newt and Mitt pointed that out.

Santorum struck out more than once.  He came across as arrogant, angry and mean.  He has already taken a great deal of heat for dismissing unprincipled votes as “taking one for the team”.  This is the opposite of what anti-establishment Republicans are looking for.  I will give Santorum one very good mark though for making clear that when he talks about what is wrong with the family in America, he id not proposing that we use the government to solve it.  I mentioned that a couple days ago as something Santorum has not done a good job making clear.

Romney did a poor job connecting.  He has put up a conservative facade, but his opponents consistently poked holes in it.  In the end, he will keep his diehard supporters and establishment Republican allies, but he continues to disappoint.

Ron Paul continues to live in a time machine fantasy world where we supposedly can ignore what Iran is doing because we made them do it in the first place and ignoring them will make them go away.  Ron Paul does not seem to understand that on a scale of rationality, radical Islamic terrorists make the communists and fascists seem like Locke and Des Cartes.  Mutual guaranteed destruction is no great incentive for peace when offered to suicide bombers.

Unfortunately, Newt does not have the ground organization to convince Santorum voters to switch back.  But after last night’s debate, we may be kicking ourselves for a long time for overlooking him in 2012.

CPAC’s Conservative Message

Despite Romney’s strawpoll win, the anti-establishment message of CPAC came through loud and clear from various speakers.  Alan West, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and even at times the Presidential candidates: the only way we can truly be free is by reclaiming the role of the church and community from the Federal Government.

For several years now the conservative movement has allowed private charity to flirt with and even get in bed with the Federal Government under the understanding that private organizations can use federal dollars much more efficiently than government bureaucracies.  Then along came Barack Obama.  It makes me think of Star Wars and Darth Vader’s line “Pray I don’t alter the deal any further”.

The problem is that conservatives abandoned their principles.  Trusting a pro-family, pro-conservative President in George W. Bush, we signed on to faith based initiatives.  Perhaps we never expected a President who would leverage those relationships to gain control over Christianity and use Christian institutions to spread liberalism.  We never expected a President who in three short years would be to the point of forcing Christian institutions to provide abortion pills or suffer the consequences.

The Government cannot protect our sacred institutions.  The government is using our tax dollars to control our sacred institutions.

The problem is that only one candidate in this has talked about the sort of shrinking of government necessary to get the government out of the charity and faith business altogether.  While he has appeared impotent when pressed, Ron Paul is the only candidate who will actually say that the government doesn’t belong in the insurance business or the charity business.  Mitt Romney would bring us back to the George W. Bush days when faith based initiatives allowed faiths to still manage themselves.  Newt and Santorum would certainly respect religious freedom, but would also strengthen the ties between government and faith based organizations with the same deadly good intentions W had.

This is not an endorsement for Ron Paul, but it is an acknowledgement that when it comes to the responsibility of Christians and community, Paul is more in line with the 2010 freshmen, and older wise sages like Huckabee, who must rise to the top if conservatism and freedom of religion is to survive in our country.  Perhaps Newt, Mitt and Rick will be persuaded by Paul on this like they were on the Fed.

Conservative Formula Plays Out

Imagine if you single-handedly picked Presidents.  The choice is up to you.  No need to consider electability, lesser of two evils, third parties, spoilers, or anything else.  Your choice is it.  Now, imagine you live in Montana, Minnesota, or Colorado and delegates aren’t rewarded based on your primary vote.  It’s pretty much the same situation.

The result?  Ron Paul got his standard 10-20% of libertarians and conservatives seeking radical constitutionalism, Romney got his standard 30-40% of fiscal conservatives who want a strong businessman, and the social conservatives split the rest.  Except in states where electability, lesser of two evils, third parties, and spoilers don’t matter, Newt Gingrich barely registered.  Instead, Rick Santorum, deemed unelectable from day one, swept bigtime.  It’s like “What’s My Line” where the points don’t matter.

Social Conservatives demonstrated what they really want, and it ain’t Mitt or Newt.  Mitt Romney is striking out with Conservatives, first with support of increasing labor price floors, then with information about his imposing abortion coverage on private companies like Obama is doing now.  Both of these are huge question marks on Romney’s record.

But Newt hasn’t done much better, with most of the country now thinking he was Freddie Mac’s number one lobbyist and had more sex partners than your average Mormon.  Romney has succeeded in dragging Newt down, and Newt hasn’t helped himself.

So does Santorum have a shot?  Probably not, but he does have something Iowa didn’t really give him: momentum.

Now Santorum can face the Romney attack machine for a while.  It started with the Donald saying that since Santorum lost in Pennsylvania he can’t possibly win the Presidency. Of course, that is a pretty funny standard to be judged by when it comes from a multi-billionaire business-owner who has declared bankruptcy four times.  I would think Trump would be able to relate to Santorum’s tenacity.

The problem with Santorum is that he doesn’t have that Presidentiality  that stupid, ignorant, and independent voters look for in a President.  He doesn’t have the hair or the chin.  Oh, and as Scarlett Johannson pointed out, he is unelectable because he wears sweater vests.  What Johannson underestimates is how many people out there who would take a bag of rocks wrapped in a sweater vest over our current President.

I pick on independents, but social conservatives aren’t much better.  When delegates are back on the table, don’t hold your breath for another Santorum sweep.  That would require conservatives looking themselves in the mirror and asking what they actually want in a President, not just who can beat Obama.  Tuesday’s message was loud and clear.

Romney Stumbles Right and Left

Perhaps we should call it the curse of the front runner.  Romney has made two gaffes and managed to put himself on the wrong side of the left and right.  But the second gaffe, the one to correct the first, should have conservatives thinking twice.

First, Romney was trying to explain how he was focused on the middle class.  But he didn’t say he was focused on the middle class, instead he said he didn’t care about the poor.  Reasonable people know what he meant, but not everyone in the political world is reasonable.  For example: Democrats.  But as Romneyites have pointed out over and over in this campaign, the Republican nominee is going to have to deal with the unfair media and lies from the Democrats and we can’t go nominating someone who is unpredictable and brash who is going to say something off the wa…oh wait.

I know what he meant.

But then Romney tried to fix things by proving to liberals that he cares for the poor as much as they do.  Romney promised to raise and index the minimum wage to inflation.  I wonder if Coulter will defend that one.  Raising the minimum wage is a great way to get poor people to vote for you.  It helped Democrats in 2006.  And then shortly after raising the minimum wage, unemployment among teenagers, college students, and single mothers skyrocketed to record levels.

The idea of the federal government telling states what they should impose on private businesses as a minimum wage should give any conservative, including Ann Coulter and Mitt Romney, pause.  Frankly, the idea that someone who parks cars in Burbank should make the same as a burger flipper in Mobile is pretty crazy by itself.

The proper response would have been something like this: No, I’m not going to raise the federal minimum wage.  I am going to raise wages for everyone by shrinking the size of government and growing the size of the private sector so that everyone can get better jobs for better pay because we will have a better economy.  And I will abolish the federal minimum wage and trust the states and local governments to handle that themselves like the constitution requires.

Mitt has a problem that needs fixing quick if he is going to be the nominee.  He is a panderer.  If he is not careful, Republicans will start asking the same question they did in 2006, no matter how stupid and irrational it is.  Wouldn’t it be better to let Democrats win so everyone can see how terrible they are than to elect a RINO so that Republicans can screw it up?  Hint, no.  We’ve had almost six years now of “wouldn’t it be better to let Democrats win” and it has nearly destroyed our freedoms and capitalist system.

So somebody please remind Romney what side he’s supposed to be on in the debate on the size of government.  This is important.

Romney May Not Get All 50

Gingrich Shows Some Fight

Don’t count him out yet.  Newt Gingrich is fighting for his slice of Romney’s 50 Florida delegates.  According to RNC rules, no state can hold a winner takes all primary before April 1, 2012.  Florida was warned of this back in December.  This means that Newt could cut into the 50 delegates that Romney is expecting from his Florida win.  If this works for Newt, Romney’s delegate lead will be cut about in half.  But Newt faces an uphill battle, fighting an RNC and RPOF stuffed full of Romney supporters.

Romney Supporters as Annoying as Paul’s?

After the Florida primary, it might have been nice for there to be some healing in the state after one of the most negative campaigns in Florida’s primary history.  Instead, the theme from Romney’s supporters is that Newt should stop whining about the negative campaigning and his supporters should fall in line with the presumptive nominee.

If you think that is bad, Romney’s number one cheerleader, Ann Coulter, is now praising Romneycare as a constitutional, conservative solution to healthcare.  In fact, Coulter is now saying that “The problem isn’t health insurance mandates.”  Perhaps someone should tell that to Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General and Romney supporter who is leading the fight against Obamacare in the courts based on the health insurance mandate.

Don’t get me wrong, I get the whole “states have the constitutional authority to take away your rights, the fed doesn’t” argument, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to agree that Romneycare was a good idea.  Perhaps Coulter is trying to set up the future conversations for the presumptive nominee.  But are most Americans going to be ok with the argument that it as ok for Romney to take away their rights and force them to buy health insurance because it was on a state level?  Personally, I’d like to see less government intrusion in my life on every level.  Coulter used to feel the same way.  What happened?

If Romney wants to win in 2012, he has to get his supporters to change their message.  Romney needs to start focusing on Obama and reassuring conservatives that he is in fact principally opposed to Obamacare and the health insurance mandate, not simply offering it pandering lip service.  And for goodness sakes, he has to stop making Newt supporters his enemies.  He’ll have quite enough enemies in the general election without turning off fellow conservatives.

Florida Chooses Safe and Electable

In a repeat of 2008, Florida is betting on electability.  The only difference is that this time around Mitt Romney is the one who has been deemed “electable”.  After pouring millions of dollars into off the wall, and in some cases outright dishonest, advertising portraying Newt Gingrich as a disgraced philanderer, hated by anyone who worked with him, Mitt got one huge point across.  Newt can’t stand up to a multi-million dollar smear campaign.

The argument for Mitt in Florida seems to be, “if Mitt Romney can do that to Newt, imagine what Obama would do”.  The implication seems to be that Obama has more money and could even be dirtier and more dishonest than Romney was.  That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for Mitt Romney.

Romney made a bit of his own gamble.  He won Florida with a scorched earth campaign that pulled out all the stops.  Frankly, most Floridians have a sour taste in their mouths.  Forgiving Mitt and getting excited for him may end up being a tough pill to swallow for Newt supporters, and Santorum/Paul supporters are pretty well disgusted with both candidates. McCain used some of the same tactics against Romney in 2008 and many Floridians had a hard time getting excited for McCain.

Had Gingrich performed well in the last debate and won Florida, this race would be close to done.  Instead, Romney is now back in front and has a clear path to the Republican nomination.  He is once again the presumed nominee.  At what cost?  That is the question leaving Florida.

In an interesting development, Romney garnered more votes than Newt and Santorum combined.  Just further proof that Florida conservatives surrendered to electability.

My Endorsement

In the interest of full disclosure, today I voted for Newt Gingrich and I am officially endorsing him for President.  Newt has one thing the other candidates lack, bold accomplishable ideas.  Newt’s 15% flat tax plan is the best tax plan of the remaining candidates.  Unlike Paul who talks about how we should leave the Middle East alone, Gingrich actually has a viable American energy plan that would help us avoid the next war in the Middle East.  Newt has a proven track record of being revolutionary and putting better policies above political games.  He leashed Clinton and accomplished welfare reform and balanced budgets.  Newt also has the determination and vision to argue the 14th amendment in the abortion debate to protect the unborn.

I have forgiven Newt for his personal past, as I think all Christians should.  Newt testified against Freddie Mac, against giving them money, and in favor of reforming them.  Mitt Romney has a funny idea of what lobbying is.  I also have no issue supporting a conservative who has made enemies among establishment, middle of the road Republicans.  We used to call moderates RINOs before we started consistently nominating them.

Don’t get me wrong, I will support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.  I’ll even get a yard sign and show up at rallies like I did with McCain.  But Newt is my first choice, and Romney has greatly disappointed me with the way he ran his Florida campaign.  Shame on Mitt Romney for not having enough bold ideas and vision to keep him from having to resort to negative campaigning to get elected.

Santorum Shines, Paul Respected

The only thing worse than endless political ads is political ads being tossed back and forth in a debate format with no fact checker.  Well, almost no fact checker.  Romney himself got caught when he tried to famously disavow any political negativity coming from his side only to discover that he had indeed approved an attack ad against Gingrich.

What was lost in the mix was serious debate.  The average listener might think that Romney and Gingrich’s stance on immigration actually differed.  What we discovered instead is that they really are basically the same, making their attacks on each others immigration policy pretty funny.  In fact, they all seemed to have the same view on illegal immigration except for Ron Paul who seemed to be saying that the problem is we have a bad economy and if we had a good economy we would all want illegal immigrants to come here and take the jobs Americans won’t.

Of course, with Paul sometimes it is difficult to differentiate his “this is what I would do as President” with his “this is the way things ought to be” with his “this is the way things are” rhetoric.  It keeps him safe with both the radical constitutionalists and the ignorant populists in his base.  Of course, I myself am a radical constitutionalist, but most of Paul’s constitutional rhetoric falls under the “this is the way things ought to be” column.  I couldn’t have any alcohol last night because of an early morning medical procedure Friday morning, but if I had a drinking game it would have been how many times Paul redirected a question by making his answer about the war, how bad the fed has made the economy, or how small a constitutional government should be.  The immigration question got both the war and the economy.

Paul did receive a great deal of respect from the other candidates.  It was the sort of respect Romney showed to Bachmann early on in the race.  It was that sort of “you have no shot of winning, but I would really like your supporters to like me down the road so I’ll smile and pat you on the back” respect.

Gingrich fell into a trap that I warned about a few months ago.  He has big ideas, but he has also become more and more of a states rights conservative.  Gingrich’s problem is communication in small soundbites.  I understood that he was speaking about encouraging private ventures to establish a moon colony, but the three candidates up there either willingly or ignorantly seemed to think he was talking about NASA doing it.

Gingrich also dropped the ball on something he has done very well at in previous debates, not taking media bait.  Blitzer played Romney and Gingrich all night long.  In fact, it was Rick Santorum who had to bring the debate back to the issues.  Unlike the early debates where Gingrich ran the show and the other candidates followed his lead, this time it was Santorum who reminded the other candidates what the debates and this whole process is all about.  Because of it, Santorum shined last night.

Mitt Romney has hired Bachmann’s former debate coach and it shows.  He laid down persistent attacks, mostly inaccurate, and was distracted from the issues all night.  Newt attempted to rebut, but his responses were too involved for the average American viewer.  Romney easily turned Gingrich’s responses on their head.  A good example was when Newt brought up Romney’s investments in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.  I think Newt’s point was that Romney shouldn’t be attacking him for doing consulting work for Freddie Mac when in fact Romney himself is making money on Freddie Mac stock.  In the end though, both sides lost that debate and viewers were left with a disgusting taste in their mouth.

I said that Jacksonville, Florida would be the most important debate of this election if one candidate could shine like Gingrich has in the past debates.  In the end, Gingrich saw his shadow and this primary will continue far beyond Florida.  And unfortunately, it will continue to get nastier.  The candidates have already said many things about each other that they will not be able to take back in the general election.  So in the end, Santorum won the debate, but the Republican party was the big loser.

 

Bloomberg’s Joke of a Headline Hides True Story

Obama wins in poll as investors resist Gingrich

What does that headline say to you?  The description below the Bloomberg headline was “U.S. investors are rooting for Mitt Romney and those overseas are for Barack Obama. Newt Gingrich is generating little enthusiasm anywhere. ”

From reading that, you might be fooled into thinking Bloomberg ran a poll of investors where Newt lost and Obama was the big winner.  But if you read the story, and parse their words, you will discover a completely different story.  Mike Dorning skips back and forth from the global stage to US investors to create some great quotable lines, while obscuring the real story behind dishonest turns of phrases and ambiguity.

Mixed in with all sorts of good news for Obama, the real story can be found here:

In a potential election match-up between Obama, 50, and Romney, 64, a former private equity executive, global respondents are split, with 41 percent choosing each as better for the world economy. U.S. investors sided 3-to-1 with the Republican and those outside the U.S. 2-to-1 with Obama.

Pay attention.  While investors on the global stage are split evenly between Romney and Obama, Obama looses 3 to 1 with American investors.  Now, let’s look at what they had to say about Newt who was “generating little enthusiasm anywhere” and being “resist(ed)” by investors:

Faced with a choice between the Democratic incumbent and Republican Gingrich, 68, on who would be better for the world economy, global respondents back Obama 52 percent to 25 percent. Those in the U.S. give Gingrich a 44 percent plurality against 35 percent for Obama with 21 percent unable to tell how they would resolve the dilemma.

Did you catch that?  Among US investors Gingrich wins 44% to 35%. Or, as Bloomberg put it, a “44 percent plurality”.  It should be no surprise that foreign investors like Obama better.  In addition to supporting European economic policies, Obama has also done a great deal to bail out European banks and don’t forget when he gift-wrapped Chrysler and sold it for a huge discount to Fiat, an Italian company.  If foreign investors didn’t like Obama, we would have to call them ungrateful.

So what should the headline have been for this story?  Here are some thoughts.  Feel free to add your own suggestions:

Romney and Newt Kick Obama’s Butt in Poll of US Investors

US Investors Prefer GOP, Non-US Investors Like Obama

America Likes Romney and Newt, Europe Likes Obama

Three Times As Many Investors Like Romney Over Obama in US

US Investors Like Newt Over Obama, Like Romney Even More

Trent Lott Endorses Mitt Romney and Establishes Mitt as The Estasblishment Candidate

Bookmark and Share   CBS News recently posted an interview with former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in which he stated that he supports Mitt Romney over Newt Gingrich  because the former Governor of Massachusetts has a much better chance at defeating President Obama than Newt does [see the interview below this post]

According to Lott;

“I think we would be better off with Mitt Romney as our president.”

He added;

“We don’t need a good speech. We don’t need a good debater. We don’t need rhetorical passion, What we need is leadership and direction for our country.”

Last year Lott stated that he was backing  Romney, but he declined to openly criticize Gingrich.  But with Newt’s surge in the polls comes a new approach by Trent Lott who now aggressively seeks the opportunity to denounce Gingrich.

In addition to telling CBS that he just doesn’t think that’s what we need in a President, when asked if Gingrich could beat President Obama in the election Lott bluntly states;

“I’m sure he wouldn’t, frankly,”

The former Senate leader also went sfter Newtt for a reprimand rewgarding a ethics charge and says;

“It raises questions about management style, and it raises questions about why did he wind up with the result where you get punished by your ethics committee and wind up having to step aside,”.

He added

“People want to know what ended up happening there.”

Lott said the Ethics Committee wouldn’t have acted against him “if there weren’t some real problems.” He said the allegations and subsequent investigation gutted whatever hope Gingrich had to lead.

“We all make mistakes when you’re in leadership, we’re human beings,” Lott said.

“That was a very serious result and one that clearly undermined his ability to lead the House. “

Lott also accused Gingrich of taking too much credit for some of those things which were achieved during his four years as Speaker of the House, one of them being the balanced budgets that were passed.  According to Trent Lott, those balanced budgets were more the doing of former Ohio Congressman John Kasich and New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici.

The former G.O.P. Senate leader also claimed that the now infamous government shutdown during Newt’s Speakership, was a big mistake and that it was based on the political goal of beating President Clinton, not the policy goal of getting the buf=dget under control.

“He was the leader. He was really pushing it. He said, ‘We’re going to do it. We can take Clinton on and we can beat him on this,'”

Lott recalled.

“To me it wasn’t about beating Clinton, it was about getting things done without causing an uproar and a chaotic situation that was very unsettling to a lot of people. We could have gotten it done without that.”

Trent Lott’s assessment of the Gingrich years is certainly worthy of consideration.  I mean Lott was there and he was a part of the events which he speaks about.  But at the same time, as leaders of two different chambers of Congress, what Lott says needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  Furthermore, while he may have been their when Newt was in charge and established that he did not like what he saw, Lott was not their with Mitt Romney when he was Governor of Massachusetts, so it is a little hard for Trent Lott to judge Mitt Romney the same way he does Newt Gingrich.  If Lott were sitting in a leadership post within the Massachusetts state legislature, he might not have liked what he saw in Mitt Romney either.

Ultimately though, Lott’s endorsement of Romney does little to either help Romney or hurt Gingrich.

Trent Lott is seen as a former member of the establishment, and the establishment is not really appreciated by most voters.  In fact, what many anti-establishment voters conclude from Lott’s remarks is that Newt Gingrich is a fighter who unlike the establishment, doesn’t just go with the flow.  And they like that.  So if anything, Lott actually helps Newt Gingrich, because by endorsing Mitt Romney, Trent Lott simply reinforces the negative impression that Mitt Romney is forced to combat,……the negative impression of being the establishment choice for President.

Ultimately, Newt might want to actually send a little thank you note to Trent Lott.  By helping to put the establishment seal of approval on Romney, Lott did a lot of good for Newt.

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Newt Gingrich Issues A Response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address

Bookmark and Share  Shortly after the President delivered his 65 minute long, third State of the Union Address and set the stage for his reelection campaign, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, issued a rebuttal to the President’s remarks.

In his response, Gingrich aggressively characterized the President’s stated vision as one of big government, bureaucratic control, and as one strives to create a food stamp economy designed to make Americans dependent upon government.

Newt Gingrich’s SOTU Response

“We have a crisis of work in this country and tonight President Obama proposed nothing in the way of policy changes that will get us to robust job creation and dramatic economic growth. Instead, the president described his conviction that his big government is built to last and should be paid for with higher taxes. But bigger government and higher taxes will not lead to jobs and growth.

Bigger government and higher taxes will instead lead to more people on food stamps, a situation which the President and his party defend as a fair outcome. Here we have to confront the truth about President Obama.  Economic growth and prosperity is not really at the top of his agenda. He will always prefer a food stamp economy to a paycheck economy and call it fair. For the president and a large part of the political class, it’s about their power, their right to rule.  They just want to take money from Joe the Plumber – the small business people who makes over 90 per cent of the new jobs — and redistribute it to the government bureaucracy and their political friends and allies. 

That’s why so much of that nearly trillion-dollar stimulus didn’t create jobs but just went into the pockets of special interests who support President Obama and the leadership of the Democratic Party. No better example of this exists than in the crisis of American energy. President Obama and his political allies – not of few of whom love living in energy inefficient houses or driving gas-guzzling luxury vehicles – openly admit they want gas prices to remain high so that the rest of America will learn to live more modestly.

They think it’s good for rest of us.  Only recently, the president canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline that would have created countless new jobs and helped America on the way to energy independence because he wanted to appease the far left of his party.  And yet not a single word on the Keystone XL pipeline tonight. To create jobs and growth in this country, we must start with dramatic tax reform that lowers taxes and maximizes capital investment and job creation. We must return to a dollar as good as gold whose purchasing power is the same in thirty years as it is today.  We must dramatically expand American energy production. We must have smarter regulation at the same time we abolish destructive and costly regulatory systems beginning with Obamacare, Dodd-Franks, and Sarbanes-Oxley.

And finally, unlike the current administration, we must have faith in job creators.  With these policies the state of the union will be much better.  They will create an explosion in job creation and lead to robust economic growth and a return to prosperity.  Furthermore, a paycheck economy will put us on a path to balanced budgets and paying down our national debt.”

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Does Newt Really Have The Momentum to Keep Winning?

Bookmark and Share  If one were to look at Florida, the answer is yes.

Since his exceptionally strong, first place, landslide victory in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, Newt Gingrich has at least temporarily established himself as the only candidate with momentum on his side.

Ron Paul, and his supposed ever growing massive number of supporters doesn’t seem to be quite as massive or as rapidly growing as once thought, since his last place showing in South Carolina, and he has all but conceited the election and admitted that he is just in this thing not win, but to pick up enough delegates to finally become politically relevant.

Rick Santorum, has gone from being the surprise underdog winner of the Iowa Caucus to being the man who many question why he is still running.  And Mitt Romney has seen himself gone from a frontrunner and the inevitable nominee, to being the candidate who many are  beginning to feel that if he hasn’t locked up the nomination yet, he may never do it.

But Newt Gingrich’s recent resurrection, from political death which propelled him to become the winner of the first in the South Primary has clearly set the stage for him to finally hit a stride that will make this a two man race between himself and Mitt Romney.

In less than 24 hours of his winning South Carolina, Newt raised a million dollars and since than he has more than doubled that total. Furthermore; in Florida, Gingrich has opened seven  offices with two more yet to be opened, hired 14 paid staffers and signed up 5,000.  By contrast, Romney’s campaign had just five staffers and three offices in Florida by early this week. And on top of that, when it concerns the polls, Gingrich has gone from 27% last week, to 35% this week, a swing of eight percent which now finds Romney falling two percent and in to second place.  Such dramatic numbers would certainly indicate that Newt has the wind at his back, while Romney and the others are now encountering strong headwinds in Florida.

Normally, even though these are solid signs for Newt, I would not be very confident in his ability to keep this recent turn of events moving in his direction.  In the past Newt’s proclivity for the untraditional has forced him to rely on instincts which motivate him to go with unconventional strategies, strategies which, like his previous attempt to attack Mitt Romney from the left and go off the deep end by distorting Mitt’s record of success in the free market, have hurt him.  However after Monday night’s debate, Newt demonstrated a degree of political maturity which he has not often displayed prior to now.  He carried himself as a humble frontrunner and held back any desire he may have had to respond to Mitt Romney’s own distortions with any exaggerated flare that could have undermined Newt’s credibility.  Instead it was Mitt Romney who appeared to be desperate and stretching to find any fatal flaws in Newt Gingrich’s record.

In addition to that, up to now, Newt has not had the type of financial resources that permitted him to to take proper advantage of media advertising which helps to carry his message beyond the audiences that may sit and watch the debates which he typically excels in.  And at the same time, even though Mitt Romney has already spent upwards of $10.5 million on Florida advertising,  he is losing ground.  This bodes quite well for Newt who with his coffers filling up, and with the aid a $5 million single donation to a Gingrich Super PAC in Florida, can now chip away at the dominance of Romney’s campaign in the Sunshine State.

But that’s not the only reason I remain optimistic for Newt at least in Florida.

In his attempt to stop the newtmentum, Romney seems to be making some of his first strategic stumbles.  In the most recent debate, while hoping to paint Newt as a Washington insider and influence peddler, he brought up the issue of Medicaid Part D and claimed that Newt was paid by health companies that could benefit from a piece of legislation, to lobby Congress Medicaid Part D’s passage.  During Monday’s debate he said to Gingrich;

“If you’re getting paid by health companies, if your  entities are getting paid by, and you then meet with Republican congressmen and  encourage them to support that legislation, you can call it whatever you  like. I call it influence peddling” .

The argument could potentially have legs, but not in Florida, where the nation’s largest population of senior citizens benefitted from the program and where Gingrich successfully dismissed Romney’s claims and accused Mitt of being a serial twister of the truth.   Gingrich countered Mitt’s charge in part by stating

 “I think it’s pretty clear to say that I have never,  ever gone and done any lobbying,”

 He also added that he was  proud of the fact that he publicly, openly advocated the prescription drug program.

That last statement was essentially the punch that ended and won that round for Newt.  It successfully appealed to the very large senior citizen voting bloc in Florida, the voters who when it’s time to cast their ballots, happen to turn out in the largest numbers .

Additionally, Romney seems to be counting on tieing Newt Gingrich to the tide of foreclosures in Florida.

Florida took a hit second only to Nevada in the housing crisis and by claiming Newt made money from Freddie Mac which essentially oversaw the creation and bursting of the housing bubble, he is hoping that Floridians who lost their homes will see Newt Gingrich as the villain who profited from their losses.  The problem is that Republicans are not buying what Mitt is trying to sell in that area of political campaigning.  And another thing to note is that those individuals who lost their homes because they provided mortgages that they were not qualified for in the first place, are not voting for either Newt or Mitt.  So clearly, Mitt Romney is throwing a wildly wrong  pitch and throwing it to the wrong people.

Then there is something else working against Mitt in Florida.

Unlike the previous three contests, Florida is a closed primary.

In a closed primary or caucus, only registered members of a Party may vote in that Party’s primary and Independents, those not registered with either major Party, are not permitted to vote in either major Party’s primary. Democrats who may like Mitt Romney’s moderate image, will not be able to influence who Republicans nominate as their Party’s candidate.  This is the way I believe it should be.  It is also one of the reasons why Ron Paul has written Florida off.  Since his hero worshippers from outside of the G.O.P. and within the sphere of liberal-tarian lunacy, can not sabotage the Republican process, they are picking up their toys and not playing in the Sunshine State.  All of this is good news for Newt, who if he keeps it together, just might be able to extend his good fortune into the forseeable future.

But even if he does hold it together in Florida, he will still forced to confront some very rough seas.

Following Florida will be two contests that Mitt Romney so far looks unbetable in….Nevada and Michigan.  This will provide at least a psychological sense of momentum that swings back towards Mitt  and away from Newt.  When that time comes, Newt will have to confront his challenge, a challenge that will force him to prove he has the staying power to comeback, and put Romney back on the ropes.  So far Newt has proven that he has considerable political stamina, but if he wins Florida, he will have to turn that stamina in to a knockout punch that he can land sometime after Nevada and Michigan.  If he can’t land such a punch, Republicans could very easily end up seeing this race last longer than the 2008 Democrat nomination between President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or worse…….maybe even the first brokered convention since 1976 when President Gerald Ford was almost dumped by the Party in exchange for future President Ronald Reagan.

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