THE EDITORS of the National Review Online published an article yesterday titled, Winnowing the Field. Following are a few of my favorite excerpts:
Speaking of Gingrich, the editors state:
Very few people with a personal history like his — two divorces, two marriages to former mistresses — have ever tried running for president. Gingrich himself has never run for a statewide office, let alone a national one, and has not run for anything since 1998. That year he was kicked out by his colleagues, the most conservative ones especially, who had lost confidence in him. During his time as Speaker, he was one of the most unpopular figures in public life.
After mentioning Gingrich’s successes, they continue,
Gingrich’s colleagues were, however, right to bring his tenure to an end. His character flaws — his impulsiveness, his grandiosity, his weakness for half-baked (and not especially conservative) ideas — made him a poor Speaker of the House. Again and again he combined incendiary rhetoric with irresolute action, bringing Republicans all the political costs of a hardline position without actually taking one. Again and again he put his own interests above those of the causes he championed in public.
After referring to Gingrich’s assertions of having conquered his “dark side”, they line out a few of his many rhetorical missives to illustrate his untrustworthiness:
If he is the nominee, a campaign that should be about whether the country will continue on the path to social democracy would inevitably become to a large extent a referendum on Gingrich instead. And there is reason to doubt that he has changed. Each week we see the same traits that weakened Republicans from 1995 through 1998: I’d vote for Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform; Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform is radical right-wing social engineering; I apologize for saying that, and no one should quote what I said because I was wrong; actually, what I said was right all along but nobody understood me. I helped defeat Communism; anyone who made money in the ’80s and ’90s owes me; I’m like Reagan and Thatcher. Local community boards should decide what to do with illegal immigrants. Freddie Mac paid me all that money to tell them how stupid they were. Enough. Gingrich has always said he wants to transform the country.
What about Rick Perry & Ron Paul?
Gingrich is not the only candidate whom we believe conservatives should, regretfully, exclude from consideration for the presidency. Governor Perry has done an exemplary job in Texas but has seemed curiously and persistently unable to bring gravity to the national stage.
Representative Paul’s recent re-dabbling in vile conspiracy theories about September 11 are a reminder that the excesses of the movement he leads are actually its essence.
Who comes to mind in NRO’s concluding three rhetorical questions?
As Republican primary voters consider their choices, they should ask themselves several questions: Which candidate is most likely to make the race turn on the large questions before the country, and not his personal idiosyncrasies? Which candidate is most likely to defeat Obama? Who could, if elected, form an effective partnership with Republican leaders and governors to achieve the conservative agenda?
Four years ago, Nate and I joined a number of other grassroots volunteers in Iowa to help get the word out for Governor Romney. Over the years, I have been a fairly serious amateur photographer. Over a few days, I took dozens of photographs of Governor Romney, his family, and the volunteers as we traveled from high school gym to community centers in the press pool. Here are two of those photos: