The day before editors at National Review Online concluded that Newt Gingrich should absolutely NOT be the Republican nominee to run against Obama, (along with Rick Perry and Ron Paul – Vic shared highlights here), Rich Lowry also published a NRO piece. In it, he illustrates the oxymoron of the New Newt:
If Newt Gingrich is the Republican nominee, he promises to hound Pres. Barack Obama until he agrees to appear with him at a series of Lincoln-Douglas-style three-hour debates. This is a cutting-edge Gingrich proposal — that he has been making since at least 1992.
Back then, he was challenging Boston mayor Ray Flynn to Lincoln-Douglas debates on urban issues. Gingrich’s obsession with the clash between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in the 1858 Illinois Senate race isn’t new and interesting; it is a trope of his going back decades.
I especially enjoyed this statement:
The “New Newt” surging in the Republican polls overlaps so significantly with the former version that the “Old Newt” should be suing for copyright infringement.
Newt’s “I’m a grandfather now” mantra is a shrewd tactic meant to convince voters that he is now a stable, wisdom-filled, older man (say-something-often-enough-and-it-becomes-truth implication). Lowry continues to point out recent Gingrich erraticism and flip-flops:
The New Newt says he’s 68 years old and therefore has mellowed and matured. He was 65 years and a few months old when he opposed TARP and then supported it. He was still just 67 years old when he criticized President Obama for not instituting a no-fly zone over Libya and then criticized him for doing it. He was on the cusp of 68 when he denounced Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform as “right-wing social engineering,” before contorting himself to explain it away.
We should all envy Newt Gingrich’s vitality that he has been capable of such youthful indiscretions in his mid to late 60s. The Gingrich story is less the tale of a slow evolution toward steadiness and wisdom than the fable of the scorpion and the frog. The scorpion stung the frog as it hitched a ride across the river because it couldn’t help itself. Newt is intellectually frenetic by nature. He’ll be 105 and wildly contradicting himself from one day to the next as he indulges his latest enthusiasms.
His volatility makes it impossible to make any statement about him as a general-election candidate with assurance. Will he enthuse the Republican base? Yes, right up to the moment he stops enthusing it with some jarring provocation. Will he beat President Obama in the debates? Yes, right up until he makes an ill-tempered comment that washes away all his impressive knowledge and brilliant formulations. Will he be the bipartisan healer, the partisan bomb-thrower, or the post-partisan big thinker? Yes, yes, and yes.
More than a decade after he was cashiered as speaker, he’s back on the basis of his superlative handling of the debates. He is better informed and has more philosophical depth than any of his rivals. Despite all his meanderings through the years, he knows how to win over a conservative audience as well as anyone. The debates have held out the alluring promise of a New Newt. But beware: The Old Newt lurks.
(emphasis added) Read full article here.
Bill Bennett, conservative radio talk show host/political strategist, was a guest on Hannity last night. Bennett also says no to Gingrich and, although not an endorsement, he believes Romney is the one to defeat Obama (discussion begins @4:15):
Bennett: My worry about Newt is that we don’t have an election which we talk about issues. We’re going to endlessly be talking about Newt.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Republican Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says he’s unsure presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has the discipline and focus to be president. …