Skip to comments.GOP Smackdown: Gingrich v. Romney (Who of the two will govern more conservatively?)
Posted on 11/25/2011 9:33:49 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Whether the matchup between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney is the final bout on the GOP primary card is impossible to know. The whole season has been more like professional wrestling than boxing, with weird characters sporting implausible hair appearing out of nowhere to talk smack and explain why they are the greatest in the world. (Im looking at you in particular, Mr. Trump.)
Still, lets assume for the moment that its a Gingrich-Romney contest.
Its quite a matchup. Romney has been brutalized for having too little personality, Gingrich for having way, way too much. Romney looks like the picture that comes with the frame. Gingrich looks like he should be ensconced in royal velvet as he gestures at you with a half-eaten turkey leg in one hand and a sloshing goblet of wine in the other. Romney seems terrified of fully committing to any idea. Gingrich speaks as if he just text-messaged with God.
Gingrich would have everyone believe he is the winner of the anti-Romney mantle not merely by default but by hard-won effort and a well-deserved reputation for conservative steadfastness. Many in the media, meanwhile, think that since Gingrich is taking the slot once held by Palin, Bachmann, Cain, and Perry, he is a conservative of similar stripe. And many liberals think that since they hate him so much, he must be really right-wing. (They made the same mistake with Richard Nixon and George W. Bush, both of whom were far less ideologically conservative than their press clippings indicated.)
The reality is more complicated. For starters, its not altogether clear that Gingrich is that far to the right of Romney.
Gingrichs record political and rhetorical is so vast and diverse, theres plenty of evidence to build almost any narrative you want. Hes said some of the most bombastic right-wing things of any mainstream Republican in our lifetimes, but hes also reached across the aisle more frequently than far-more-liberal Republicans would ever dare.
As House speaker, he cut a deal with President Clinton on the budget. He infamously joined forces with Nancy Pelosi on climate change, with the NAACP on prison reform, and with Al Sharpton on education. He was one of the few movement conservatives to vocally back George W. Bushs expansion of Medicare, and he continues to support ethanol subsidies with a straight face. And, of course, last April he tore into Paul Ryans budget proposal as right-wing social engineering, immolating himself in the process.
Gingrich has since retracted and modified his stance on the Ryan plan. And hes called his pairing with Pelosi one of the stupidest things hes ever done.
Still, those who dismiss Gingrich as hopelessly unelectable in the general election should at least keep in mind that Gingrichs apostasies will make it harder to tar him as a cookie-cutter right-wing extremist.
The crucial question for most Republicans will be: Who would govern more conservatively? The candidate who answers that question to the satisfaction of the GOP base will likely be the nominee. But that question begs another: What will Congress look like?
If the Republicans take back the Senate and hold the House, you could make the case that Romney is the better man for the job. Given his unpopularity with the base of his own party, he would be on a much shorter leash and be expected to fly Ryans flag over the West Wing while making Republican proposals seem more reasonable to the public. He very well might be the technocrat in chief, implementing reforms not necessarily of his own choosing.
Gingrich, meanwhile, is much more of a wild card. Its no secret he sees himself as a world historical figure, the last of the great statesmen. And part of that self-conception is his idea that statesmen cut grand bargains with the opposition when history calls for it. Thats not necessarily a bad thing, if you know for sure when history calls for it. If the GOP controlled Congress, conservatives would be on constant Nixon to China watch with a President Gingrich.
Given the craziness of the season, Ive been humbled enough to say I have no idea how this will play out. But I will admit, Im looking forward to the next steel-cage match.
Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Romney and Gingrich are both RINO’s at heart, and will be indistinguishable if elected president.
Both have flip flopped on mandates, amnesty, etc to the point we can’t trust either one of them.
I fee sick.
I feel sick.
Newt has just reinvented himself to fit what he believes will get him elected.
He thinks Repubs are so stupid(apparently he’s right according to polls) to remember the years of Lobbying (consulting. And his embrace of Global Warming and Dummie policies like OBAMACARE. He even worked with KERRY to get his clients interest addressed. You know those electronic records everyone was yelling about........NEWT.
"Romney was never brutalized like the moronic author says.
Romney has gotten off scot-free. The MSM and National Review
act as his personal proctologists.
Heck, I endorse Milt. He is one of us.
Herman Cain will.
Screw them both.
“it’s not altogether clear that Gingrich is that far to the right of Romney. ‘
Ridiculous assertion. There is no question that Gingrich is and would govern as a conservative, whereas Romney is merely an opportunist with no real convictions.
This article is a pathetic attempt to push Romney. Jonah Goldber should be asamed of himself.
My gut is that Newt would govern much more conservatively than Mitt. Reason: Mitt lies about his positions and record. And moves between alternate positions on the same issue with the deftness of his hairdresser apply grey to his temples.
Let’s not find out. Let’s get a real conservative as the nominee. I am firing off another check to Michelle Bachmann before it is too late.
I laughed out loud at that one.
Newt has been a movement conservative. He would tear the executive establishment asunder.
Mitt would buy them all new staplers.
I’m voting for Cain in the primary (if he’s still standing), and will support Newt if he’s the nominee. Will not vote for Mitt even if he is the nominee. Unlike Mitt, either Cain or Newt can rally the conservative base to exitement levels that will allow a sweep of the congress. I’m hoping they team up.
Romney could not help to pull a single congressman or senator into office. He’s bland, bland, bland.
The northeast country club Republicans are not happy with Gingrich. He is a southerner with a proven conservative record as Speaker. He didn’t go to the right colleges. He not one of THEM.
They, with the help of Democrats, already drummed him out of office on false charges one time. Now, like a ghostly apparition in a horror movie, he has returned to threaten their chosen one - Romney, the successor to McCain.
However, the logic presented by Goldberg is baffling. Romney, admittedly the more liberal one of the two, will govern to the right to avoid displeasure from the Republican congress. Gingrich, the more conservative, will govern to the left to prove he can reach across the isle.
My feeling exactly. I can’t trust them. They’ll drop us the moment the convention is over and swing left.
HELL, NO! I got principles. What part of double-crossing us does the establishment not get?
Rick Perry. He may be “The Comeback Kid”.
“My gut is that Newt would govern much more conservatively than Mitt.”
One of the few times I agree with you.
If I have to pick between these two, I will go with Newt.
I am still looking at santorum.