Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Despicable Newt

Romney’s win last night likely decided the Republican nomination. What I want to talk about today, however, is the damage being done to conservatism by the desperate and despicable creature that is Newt Gingrich. Specifically, he’s been smearing Romney and anyone he thinks supports Romney in ways which are causing long term harm to the cause of conservatism, and it’s time for conservatives to turn their backs on this troll.

Let’s start with Romney. Newt has been slandering Romney in ways that will make it very hard for Romney to beat Obama. Indeed, he’s engaged in a scorched earth policy premised on the idea that we better pick Newt or Newt will make sure Obama wins:
1. Newt has repeatedly called Romney a liar, dishonest and pathetic, when Newt’s actually the one who’s been lying. A reputation for dishonesty is nearly impossible for a politician to live down and harms everything they do because much in politics relies on trust.

2. Newt has made misleading attacks on Romney for investments made by the blind trust Romney is required to use to hold investments. These attacks are anti-capitalist, class warfare attacks and further suggest fraud or tax evasion on Romney’s part.

3. Newt promoted a ridiculous conspiracy theory involving Romney trying to unseat Allen West, suggesting that Romney seeks to destroy the Tea Party.

4. Newt has recycled Rick Perry’s vile “heartless” attack for Romney’s stance on deporting illegal immigrants, a stance shared by all conservatives.

5. And vilest of them all, Newt has tried to inflame religious bigotry while smearing Romney as anti-religion. Observe. Newt began this smear by suggesting that Romney hate religious freedom:
“I think Governor Romney is extraordinarily insensitive to religious freedom in America and the Obama administration is clearly engaged in a war on religion.”
He then told Fox News that Romney made a decision to cut Medicaid funding for health services which would benefit Jewish and Catholic facilities. This was an attempt to both claim Romney didn’t care about religion and to imply that Mormons could not be trusted to protect other religions. And if you think I’m overstating that, look at how he repeated this on CNN:
“You want a war on the Catholic Church by Obama? Guess what: Romney refused to allow Catholic hospitals to have conscience in their dealing with certain circumstances. . . . Romney cut off kosher food to elderly Jews on Medicare. Both of them [Romney and Obama] have the same lack of concern for religious liberty. . . I’m a little bit tired of being lectured about respecting every religion on the planet, I would like [Romney] to respect our religion.”
Note that Newt singles out a war on Catholics and Jews and then finishes with the suggestion that Romney is not a Christian and that he would protect other religions, but not Christianity. What Newt is doing here is playing on the religious bigotry of fundamentalists like Robert Jeffress who still view Mormonism as a non-Christian cult.

Gingrich then issued a truly despicable robocall claiming that Romney forced Holocaust survivors to eat non-kosher foods:
“As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney vetoed a bill paying for kosher food for our seniors in nursing homes. Holocaust survivors, who for the first time, were forced to eat non-kosher, because Romney thought $5 was too much to pay for our grandparents to eat kosher. Where is Mitt Romney’s compassion for our seniors? Tuesday you can end Mitt Romney’s hypocrisy on religious freedom, with a vote for Newt Gingrich. Paid for by Newt 2012.”
When confronted about this robocall, Newt denied having any knowledge of it and incredibly then said, “You might check and see whether the accusation is true.” Note the lack of condemnation of the call and, more interestingly, his adoption of the message.
This is all despicable and will not only dampen conservative support for Romney, but will hang around his neck in the general election and throughout his Presidency. These aren’t policy disputes, they are bigoted smears and slanders.

And it’s not just smears against Romney which are the problem. Indeed, Gingrich has been busy reinforcing generations of leftist attacks on the foundations of conservatism:
● His attacks on Romney’s wealth and investments and Wall Street bankers have been anti-capitalist.

● His attacks on Romney’s immigration policy play right into leftist claims that conservatives hate immigrants and are “heartless” on the issue.

● His attacks on Mormonism feed fundamentalists who oppose all but their own sects.

● His attacks on the Republican establishment, particularly his false description of them and the conspiratorial nature of his attempt to claim victimhood, widen the gap between Tea Partiers and the Republican party, again splitting natural allies.

● He undercut conservative attempts to reform Medicare and Social Security (the Chilean model), and on the flat tax.
Moreover, Newt’s surrogates are smearing anyone who disagrees. Ann Coulter, Jonah Goldberg, and George Will, all solid conservatives, have been labeled RINOs. Elliot Abrams, who pointed out that Newt is lying about supporting Reagan in the 1980s and produced copies of Newt’s attacks on Reagan from the Congressional Record, where Newt did things like call the Reagan Administration “a failed presidency,” was smeared by a Newt surrogate who suggested with no proof that Abrams was lying because he had been offered a job in the Romney administration. Another Newt surrogate smeared Matt Drudge, who does more to help conservatives than a million Newts combined, for “bias” and “being in the tank for Romney.” Etc.

In a world where liberals already smear conservatives in this manner, and thereby try to rob them of their credibility, conservatives should never give aid and comfort to liberal smears. Yet that is what Newt is doing. He is systematically burning key conservatives and conservative principles to the ground and insanely destroying the foundations of conservatism all in the name of his own aggrandizement.

Further, Newt told us last night exactly what kind of administration he would run if elected. He demanded that the Republicans in Congress give him things that cannot be delivered, i.e. a repeal of ObamaCare on the first day, and he made it clear he would lump Republicans and Democrats into the same group and fight them all if he didn’t get his way.

This troll must be stopped.

Finally, let me say a word about Herman Cain. Cain endorse Newt this week. I find this extremely disappointing. When Cain left the race, it was clear he would endorse Newt because he and Newt are friends. But Cain didn’t do that. Instead, he created this rather corny, but oddly genuine political theater of endorsing the people. This rekindled the Tea Party’s love for him and was enough that they picked him to give the Tea Party response to the State of the Union.

Implicit in all of this was that he would represent the views of the Tea Party. As such, he should have worked to make sure each of the candidates acknowledged the Tea Party and agreed to address its concerns. Endorsing Newt (or anyone) was a violation of trust. This was like being appointed commissioner of a sports league and then cheering for one team. Cain should not have done it and should apologize for it now. You’re better than that Herm.

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