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GOP Smackdown: Gingrich v. Romney (Who of the two will govern more conservatively?)
National Review ^ | 11/23/2011 | Jonah Goldberg

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. (I’m looking at you in particular, Mr. Trump.)

Still, let’s assume for the moment that it’s a Gingrich-Romney contest.

It’s 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, it’s not altogether clear that Gingrich is that far to the right of Romney.

Gingrich’s record — political and rhetorical — is so vast and diverse, there’s plenty of evidence to build almost any narrative you want. He’s said some of the most bombastic right-wing things of any mainstream Republican in our lifetimes, but he’s 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. Bush’s expansion of Medicare, and he continues to support ethanol subsidies with a straight face. And, of course, last April he tore into Paul Ryan’s 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 he’s called his pairing with Pelosi one of the stupidest things he’s ever done.

Still, those who dismiss Gingrich as hopelessly unelectable in the general election should at least keep in mind that Gingrich’s 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 Ryan’s 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. It’s 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. That’s 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, I’ve been humbled enough to say I have no idea how this will play out. But I will admit, I’m 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.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: gingrich; newt; romney
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1 posted on 11/25/2011 9:33:56 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

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.


2 posted on 11/25/2011 9:37:52 AM PST by federal__reserve (Only Herman Cain could break up the 95% black voting block down to 75-80%.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Neither.


3 posted on 11/25/2011 9:37:56 AM PST by boomop1 (term limits is the only way to save this country.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I fee sick.


4 posted on 11/25/2011 9:38:33 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: SeekAndFind

I feel sick.


5 posted on 11/25/2011 9:38:51 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: SeekAndFind

NEITHER.

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.


6 posted on 11/25/2011 9:39:02 AM PST by marty60
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To: SeekAndFind

"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.

7 posted on 11/25/2011 9:39:43 AM PST by Diogenesis ("Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. " Pres. Ronald Reagan)
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To: federal__reserve

Herman Cain will.


8 posted on 11/25/2011 9:40:04 AM PST by richardtavor (Pray for the peace of Jerusalem)
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To: SeekAndFind

Screw them both.


9 posted on 11/25/2011 9:41:17 AM PST by fieldmarshaldj (Rick Perry has more red flags than a May Day Parade)
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To: SeekAndFind

“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.


10 posted on 11/25/2011 9:41:37 AM PST by LRVision
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To: SeekAndFind

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.


11 posted on 11/25/2011 9:44:30 AM PST by big'ol_freeper ("Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" ~ Ronald Wilson Reagan)
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To: SeekAndFind

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.


12 posted on 11/25/2011 9:56:09 AM PST by Paul Ross (Ronald Reagan-1987:"We are always willing to be trade partners but never trade patsies.")
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To: SeekAndFind
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.

I laughed out loud at that one.

13 posted on 11/25/2011 9:57:08 AM PST by RockinRight (If you're waiting to drink until you find pure water, you're going to die of dehydration.)
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To: SeekAndFind

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.


14 posted on 11/25/2011 10:00:20 AM PST by cotton1706
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To: SeekAndFind

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.

Really Jonah?


15 posted on 11/25/2011 10:04:00 AM PST by BigBobber
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To: federal__reserve

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?


16 posted on 11/25/2011 10:06:51 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: SeekAndFind

Rick Perry. He may be “The Comeback Kid”.


17 posted on 11/25/2011 10:08:27 AM PST by Signalman
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To: SeekAndFind
Mitt or Newt Govern? Surely you speak in jest, oh traveling clown.
18 posted on 11/25/2011 10:09:31 AM PST by Phlap (REDNECK@LIBARTS.EDU)
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To: big'ol_freeper

“My gut is that Newt would govern much more conservatively than Mitt.”

One of the few times I agree with you.


19 posted on 11/25/2011 10:10:26 AM PST by Parley Baer
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To: big'ol_freeper

If I have to pick between these two, I will go with Newt.

I am still looking at santorum.


20 posted on 11/25/2011 10:14:37 AM PST by Venturer
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To: BigBobber
Just some of Newt's inconvenient Facts: (MSM knows much more)

“Criticized Paul Ryan's plan saying social engineering from the right is bad”
“Era of Ronald Reagan is over!”
“We are not going to deport 11 million people”

For healthcare mandates before he is against it!
For man made global warming before he is against it!
Newt was actually FOR Cap & Trade!!
Partnering with Al Sharpton on Obama’s education reform.
Partnered with Hillary Clinton to advocate health-care IT legislation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThwVp0cwOMA individual mandates http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qi6n_-wB154 climate change


Newt voted to create the Department of Education.
Newt voted for the Amnesty.
Newt voted to lock up 65 million acres of Alaskan wilderness.
Newt voted to give China Most favored Nation status.
Newt pushed the liberal Scozzafazza in NY23( a GOP district) when there was a perfectly good conservative running in the race.
Newt is for the Individual Mandate where Health Insurance is concerned.
Newt is for a limited Amnesty.
Depending on the day of the week, Newt believes Global Warming is real.
We need a conservative, not a moderate globalist.
Gingrich Received Over $300K for Work for an Ethanol Lobbying Group

21 posted on 11/25/2011 10:29:57 AM PST by federal__reserve (Only Herman Cain could break up the 95% black voting block down to 75-80%.)
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To: federal__reserve
>> Romney and Gingrich are both RINO’s at heart, and will be indistinguishable if elected president. <<

True, though I would rank Gingrich ever lower than Romney (I know I'm in the minority in FR), simply because Newt won't have a chance to govern at all. The number of Americans who have an unfavorable view of him is sky high (especially with independents) and we virtually gurantee a second Obama term if he the nominee. Not to mention Romney looks like a saint (no pun intended) when you compare his "personal life" to Newt's.

22 posted on 11/25/2011 10:50:44 AM PST by BillyBoy (Illegals for Perry/Gingrich 2012 : Don't be "heartless"/ Be "humane")
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To: SeekAndFind

Gingrich.


23 posted on 11/25/2011 10:52:54 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: BillyBoy

I have to agree!!!


24 posted on 11/25/2011 10:53:14 AM PST by federal__reserve (Only Herman Cain could break up the 95% black voting block down to 75-80%.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Both are go alone to get alone men.
25 posted on 11/25/2011 10:56:03 AM PST by bmwcyle (Obama is a Communist, a Muslim, and an illegal alien)
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To: LRVision
>> There is no question that Gingrich is and would govern as a conservative <<

I question that. Newt may have once been a Reagan Republican and rising GOP star in the '80's, but today's Newt has been bought and paid for, and has been hanging out with liberals and promoting their garbage for at least a decade.

>> Romney is merely an opportunist with no real convictions <<

So is Newt. I say this as someone who met Newt face-to-face and shook his hand four years ago when he had a tent set up and was hawking his books. Newt was only interested in getting $$$ from gullible conservatives and forced everyone to pay for a quick photo-op and wouldn't allow anyone to shake his hand unless you signed for his "American Solutions" newsletter. It was a grassroots event, not a fundraiser, and he was a non-candidate and retired politician at the time. Every other big-name politician that day was more than happy to meet voters for free and get to know their concerns. Not Newt.

26 posted on 11/25/2011 10:59:11 AM PST by BillyBoy (Illegals for Perry/Gingrich 2012 : Don't be "heartless"/ Be "humane")
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To: SeekAndFind

Isn’t the headline question a lot like asking who is more attractive, Helen Thomas or Betty Friedan?


27 posted on 11/25/2011 11:00:07 AM PST by lurk
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To: SeekAndFind
Gingrich has since retracted and modified his stance on the Ryan plan. And he’s called his pairing with Pelosi one of the stupidest things he’s ever done

Good enough for me. I can accept someone making a premature judgment if he's willing to reconsider and admit, "hey I goofed."

The people who make other people die are the ones who rigidly refuse to admit new information into their beetlebrowed world view, and sail full steam ahead into the iceberg that they could have avoided if they hadn't been too arrogant to admit they ought to reconsider their course as conditions change

28 posted on 11/25/2011 11:26:28 AM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Paul Ross
It's way too late, but hey-- whatever floats your boat.
29 posted on 11/25/2011 11:27:40 AM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: BigBobber
Jonah Goldberg is one of those boy wonders that has never done anything on his own in his entire life, but got a writing job through his mother's influence, and has never looked back.

He is an adequate wordsmith but he doesn't know anything the rest of us haven't known for years.

Plus I am skeptical of any boy who's hair is longer than his mother's. Makes me wonder what kind of envy he has.

30 posted on 11/25/2011 11:32:14 AM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: SeekAndFind
I could vote for Newt and feel pretty good about it.

Anyone who votes for Romney is either not conservative or criminally ignorant.
31 posted on 11/25/2011 11:34:27 AM PST by Antoninus (Take the pledge: I will not vote for Mitt Romney under any circumstances. EVER.)
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To: BillyBoy
Not to mention Romney looks like a saint (no pun intended) when you compare his "personal life" to Newt's.

Hah. Even here on FR we have a cadre of Romney haters who will gladly write the ads for the democrats, ridiculing Romney for his religion and his "animal abuse." If everything I have heard spewed here about Romney's religious beliefs were true, I would take an "adulterer" over him any day.

Either way. I will vote for daffy duck if he runs against obama.

32 posted on 11/25/2011 11:36:28 AM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: LRVision
This article is a pathetic attempt to push Romney. Jonah Goldber should be asamed of himself.

Absolutely correct. National Review is part of the problem. They are lackeys for the GOP establishment liberals.
33 posted on 11/25/2011 11:37:39 AM PST by Antoninus (Take the pledge: I will not vote for Mitt Romney under any circumstances. EVER.)
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To: cotton1706
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.

You and I see things exactly the same. Ditto 100%.
34 posted on 11/25/2011 11:39:04 AM PST by Antoninus (Take the pledge: I will not vote for Mitt Romney under any circumstances. EVER.)
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To: cotton1706

Newt and Cain have already teamed up. They have their own debated.

Newt and Cain are the McCain and Thompson of 2012.


35 posted on 11/25/2011 11:51:54 AM PST by truthfreedom
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To: SeekAndFind
Gingrich is not a proven leader by any stretch of the imagination. Even when elected Speaker, his management skills were naught.
36 posted on 11/25/2011 11:59:58 AM PST by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda" and its allies.)
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To: SeekAndFind

...matchup between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney....

&&&
Uh..NO and NO!


37 posted on 11/25/2011 12:03:23 PM PST by Bigg Red (Maryland girl on the Cain Train)
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To: lurk; Pride in the USA; Stillwaters
Isn’t the headline question a lot like asking who is more attractive, Helen Thomas or Betty Friedan?

That is the perfect rejoinder to an utterly ridiculous headline question.

Which of the two liberals would govern more conservatively? Bah! If this is what we're left to choose from, the biggest loser is conservatism.

38 posted on 11/25/2011 12:03:51 PM PST by lonevoice (Klepto Baracka Marxo, impeach we much. We will much about that be committed.)
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To: cotton1706
Newt has been a movement conservative. He would tear the executive establishment asunder. Mitt would buy them all new staplers.

Yep - Newt understands consrvatism where Mitt understands the importance of looking conservative. No contest that Newt will govern far more conservatively than Mitt. Of course, ALL the rest of the field will do so. I'm hoping Caim comes out above Newt, but will not have to agonize over my vote if Newt is last man standing. I think he's genuinely teachable and we might be able to exert some positive pressure on some of the hot button issues.

39 posted on 11/25/2011 12:28:42 PM PST by trebb ("If a man will not work, he should not eat" From 2 Thes 3)
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To: BigBobber
The northeast country club Republicans are not happy with Gingrich. He is a southerner with a proven conservative record as Speaker.

Actually N. Leroy is from the Northeast. He is what they call in the South a carpetbagger. But he never did leave his Northeastern liberal statism behind.

40 posted on 11/25/2011 12:36:48 PM PST by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: trebb
Yep - Newt understands consrvatism...

He sure does. He knows how to throw the red meat to conservatives to advance his career while he's sitting on the couch and doing tours with liberals.

41 posted on 11/25/2011 12:38:43 PM PST by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: SeekAndFind

None of the above. Neither will get my vote.


42 posted on 11/25/2011 12:42:00 PM PST by alice_in_bubbaland ( Obama, President of the Democrats and Joe Biden, VP are the top morons of the DNC.)
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To: lonevoice
Which of the two liberals would govern more conservatively?

This is being setup as a repeat of 2008. Which one in the primaries do we choose: McCain or Romney? That's a tough one. The question they should be asking is which one is less liberal than the other?

How about neither while there's still time?

43 posted on 11/25/2011 12:56:12 PM PST by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: Reaganwuzthebest

Gingrich traveled a lot as a youth because his stepfather was in the military. His higher education was in the South. He taught in the South. He represented Georgia in congress, so apparently he was good enough for the folks who live there. He currently lives in Virginia.

“Carpetbagger” is a term used by Democrats against Republicans. Does not apply here.


44 posted on 11/25/2011 1:05:49 PM PST by BigBobber
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To: BigBobber

Leroy was born and lived in Pennsylvania until he became an adult. Probably figured if he was going to live in the South then he better not talk like Ted Kennedy. But every now and then he opens up his big mouth and lets his true self out. He’s a fraud, vote for him if you want but count me out.


45 posted on 11/25/2011 1:10:26 PM PST by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: LRVision
"There is no question that Gingrich is and would govern as a conservative"

Gingrich has either publicly supported or while in office voted for amnesty, healthcare mandates, global warming legislation, the establishment of the Federal Dept of Education, gun control, and subjugating US sovereignty to supranational bureaucracies

. He is and has always been a progressive in drag. If it's down to Gingrich, Romney, or Obama, I vote NOTA.
46 posted on 11/25/2011 2:06:57 PM PST by CowboyJay (Generic Republican - 2012. He's the only 'electable' candidate.)
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To: BigBobber

Spot on post!

Saves me the trouble.


47 posted on 11/25/2011 2:12:48 PM PST by eddie willers
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To: CowboyJay
He is and has always been a progressive in drag.

Exactly right and that record is there for anyone to see.

48 posted on 11/25/2011 3:02:24 PM PST by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: SeekAndFind
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.

That's very funny!

49 posted on 11/25/2011 4:22:01 PM PST by Huck (LIBERTY is the object.)
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To: Reaganwuzthebest

Please don’t slander Pennsylvanians by saying we talk like Ted Kennedy. Pennsylvania now has a Republican governor and Republicans control both the House and Senate. Obama is highly unpopular here. Remember, it was western Pennsylvanians whom Obama was referring to when he accused us of clinging to our guns and religion and fearing those who are different from us.


50 posted on 11/25/2011 6:11:32 PM PST by WestSylvanian
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