Rich Lowry: NO to Gingrich, Perry, Paul - Bill Bennett: NO to Gingrich, Romney Best

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.

Lowry’s conclusion:

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.

UPDATE: Iowa GOP governor unsure of Gingrich’s discipline

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. …

Click here to continue reading

Tea Party Favorite O’Donnell Endorses Romney: “He’ll Lead With Integrity & Values”

Conservative activist Christine O’ Donnell appeared on Hannity (FOX News) last night to announce her endorsement of Mitt Romney:

O’Donnell backs Romney

(CNN) - Christine O’Donnell, a tea party favorite who ran an unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid in 2010, announced her support Tuesday night for Mitt Romney, a GOP presidential candidate lacking fanfare among the conservative grassroots movement.

“It is my hope that my endorsement of Gov. Mitt Romney will cause others to give him a second look,” she said in a statement.

The social conservative … said she was throwing her weight behind Romney because she finds him trustworthy and as someone with “conviction to do the right thing regardless of opposition.”

In an apparent knock against GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich, O’Donnell praised Romney’s experience in the private sector and said the nation needs a president who is not a “Washington insider” or “who hasn’t been playing the game for the last three decades.”

…O’Donnell pointed to his [Romney’s] support for her and other candidates who rode the 2010 tea party wave, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

Note: I appreciated hearing O’Donnell mention Romney’s support for her and others running for office a little over a year ago. No one in the current line up of GOP hopefuls worked harder than Governor Romney to support conservative candidates in the months leading up to the 2010 mid-term elections. He was often a lone, untiring figure criss-crossing the country, pulling his suitcase through airports to ride coach, racking up miles and wearing out shoe leather to get to another rally. His Free and Strong America PAC donated thousands of dollars in support of those who shared his conservative values and his enthusiasm to take back congress was a great help to many.

Romney’s statement:

“Christine has been a leader in the conservative movement for many years,” said Mitt Romney. “Christine recognizes that excessive government threatens us now and threatens future generations, and I am pleased to have her on my team.”

Announcing her support, Christine O’Donnell said, “For me, this endorsement comes down to trust. I am endorsing Governor Romney because I trust him to do the right thing. He has the strength of conviction to do the right thing regardless of opposition. America needs a president who is not a Washington Insider. America needs a president who hasn’t been playing the game for the last three decades. America needs a president who can turn our economy around, put Americans back to work, and will lead with stability, integrity and the values that we hold dear. I am confident Mitt Romney will be that president.”

(emphasis added)
O’Donnell’s background:

Christine O’Donnell has been a leader in the conservative movement for many years. O’Donnell has been an advocate for various conservative causes and campaigns during this time. In 2010, she was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Delaware.

► Jayde Wyatt

Thoughts on Obama’s State of the Union Speech - Mitt Romney Responds

He stepped to the presidential pulpit, spoke for over an hour to Congress and the American people about our ‘Sputnik moment‘, and signed autographs on his way out.

In case you missed it, the full text and video of President Obama’s State of the Union speech may be found here (click on video in left-hand column). Pundits generally felt Obama fell short.

After Obama’s lacking-specifics speech, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI)delivered the official Republican response:

In an unprecedented one-two punch, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was selected by the Tea Party to present their response to Obama (delivered after Ryan’s address):

Some think the President hit it out of the ball park. Others overwhelmingly felt the president delivered flat platitudes:

Stephen Hayes (The Weekly Standard blogger and FOX News contributor) summed up the State of the Union Speech as meaningless:

“Overall, the speech was a lot like the Obama presidency: phony bipartisanship, too much spending, unconvincing rhetoric on fiscal restraint, and not enough attention to foreign policy and national security.”

A few other responses:

Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) - Mr. President, you don’t believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism. Press Release: It appears that the only thing President Obama has changed is his rhetoric. No matter how he tries to spin it, more spending has not and will not create jobs. The President’s proposal to freeze spending at record-high levels is unacceptable.

Michelle Malkin, conservative commentator via Twitter - I’m all for road maps. But pardon me if I’m wary when the person selling me his map helped drive the car into the ditch.

Brit Hume, Fox News commentator via Twitter - This speech didn’t suggest much (towards reducing the federal deficit) and it means he doesn’t intend to do much.

Governor Mitt Romney issued this response:

“President Obama knows where he wants to go, but he has no idea how to get there,” Romney said in a blog post in response to the State of the Union address.

“Under President Obama’s economic leadership, more Americans have lost their jobs than any time in modern history. The on-the-job economic education of the President has cost American families almost a trillion dollars in failed stimulus schemes and, unfortunately, he’s still failing the course. Rhetoric, however soaring, does not put pay checks in pay envelopes at the end of the week. You can’t build a high speed rail system fast enough to outrun the President’s misguided regulations, higher taxes or lack of focus on jobs. Hopefully he is learning. American families are depending on him.”

*Note: Romney will appear on Hannity tonight to respond further to the State of the Union speech. The program will air at 9:00 PM Eastern. By the way, we had so much fun at last night’s SOTU Bingo and chat party, that we’re going to have another chat party tonight during Romney’s speech. Don’t miss it!

What did YOU think of Obama’s State of the Union speech? The responses by Ryan and Bachmann?

► Jayde Wyatt