Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reagan's Young Lieutenant

President Ronald Reagan & Congressman Newt Gingrich


Gingrich a star on Reagan team: Romney "work product" as conservative at issue.

Mitt Romney has raised the issue of Newt Gingrich's "work product."


Intended to prod the former Speaker on the issue of his work for Freddie Mac (Gingrich last night released his contract with Freddie), the question, as seems to be a Romney characteristic, has clumsily backfired. It raises an all-too obvious question that is becoming increasingly revealing.

What is Mitt Romney's "work product" for the conservative cause?

The closest Mitt Romney ever got to the Reagan Revolution is apparently because he reads about it 30 years later. And he isn't even reading everything he should. This is the man, remember, who proudly professed when running against Ted Kennedy in 1994:

"I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I'm not trying to return to Reagan-Bush"

A peculiar stance considering Reagan carried Massachusetts twice in his two presidential landslides. Romney now assures that Newt Gingrich -- who actually had a serious and considerably well-known role working with Reagan -- had little role in it. (By the way, Reagan won over 1, 310, 936 votes and over 51 percent in Massachusetts in his 1984 re-election race, while Romney won his solitary gubernatorial victory in 2002 with 1,091,988 votes and 49.77 percent. Which is to say, Reagan outpolled Romney by over 200,000. In 1980, third party candidate John Anderson drew off 15 percent of Reagan's vote, otherwise, one suspects, Reagan would have trumped Romney then as well.)

Why? Why is Romney going after Gingrich on his supposed lack of Reagan ties?

Because the former Governor apparently looked into the "G" section of the Reagan Diaries and found the then backbench congressman's name but once.

The ignorance this shows about what was actually happening inside the Reagan Revolution -- not to mention the positive change Ronald Reagan and his lieutenants like Newt Gingrich were bringing to Washington and America -- is almost painful to watch. Romney flounders, giving the impression that he is learning conservatism as others learn painting by numbers. A splotch of free market economics here at Number 1, a dab of social issues over there at Number 2… or not…or, well, maybe… or… yes, kinda sort of maybe… ending with bright bold colorful strokes of national security war paint at Number 3.

And voila. Conservatism by Romney.

Why would one in the position Mitt Romney now finds himself -- thoroughly defeated in South Carolina by a surge of support for Gingrich's conservatism -- ever even entertain the idea of going after Newt Gingrich on Reagan?

This utterly dumb line of attack for Romney is as bad if not worse than Gingrich's flirtation with attacking Bain Capital. It raises exactly all the questions of Romney's vulnerabilities. Why, for example, did Romney deliberately play the wimp when it comes to defending Ronald Reagan in Massachusetts? At precisely the time in the fall of 1994, it should be noted, when Newt Gingrich was leading Chapter 2 in the Reagan Revolution? Is Romney really trying to draw attention to the fact that while Gingrich and hundreds of Republicans were on the verge of a historic landslide retaking the House by attaching themselves to the Reagan legacy… Romney ran from Reagan… and got clobbered?

If even those simple political basics can't be learned, which in Romney's case now include not just the broader inability to defend either Reagan or free markets but the quite specific inability to use the general principle of free markets and capitalism to defend himself over the inevitable "Mr. 1%" accusations -- this should be a red flag for conservatives.

Who knows why Romney gets tongue tied ? Or, as our friends at the Wall Street Journal note, "befuddled."

Read the rest of the article

Special Note: I have noticed that National Review is anti-Newt and The American Spectator is pro-Newt. See the two stories below as an example. The problem is... who is telling the truth? - Reggie

National Review: Gingrich and Reagan

The American Spectator: Coburn and Newt

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