editors don’t favor Newt Gingrich for president, and are making this clear in an online editorial. They also make clear their opposition to Rick Perry, Ron Paul, and Michele Bachmann. The editors appear to favor Mitt Romney but don’t offer an explicit endorsement.
As for the former House speaker, “we think it important to urge Republicans to have the good sense to reject a hasty marriage to Gingrich, which would risk dissolving in acrimony,” the editorial states. “We fear that to nominate former Speaker Newt Gingrich, the frontrunner in the polls, would be to blow this opportunity” for conservatives to assert control of government policy.
The Review editors are impressed with Gingrich’s comeback this year. “Just a few months ago his campaign seemed dead after a series of gaffes and resignations,” they write. “That Gingrich now tops the polls is a tribute to his perseverance, and to Republicans’ admiration for his intellectual fecundity.”
But the editors note that it was Gingrich’s Republican colleagues who helped draw his tenure as House speaker to a close in 1998, and they were right to do so. “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,” they write.
“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.”
And the editors don’t see much change in Gingrich. “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,” the editors write.
“Enough. Gingrich has always said he wants to transform the country. He appears unable to transform, or even govern, himself. He should be an adviser to the Republican party, but not again its head.”
And what do the editors think of Perry? “Gov. Perry has done an exemplary job in Texas, but has seemed curiously and persistently unable to bring gravity to the national stage,” they write. “Republican presidential candidates have not been known for their off-the-cuff eloquence in recent decades, but conservatism should not choose a standard-bearer who would have to spend much of his time untying his own tongue.”
As for Bachmann, her “rise early in the primary season reflected the public’s hunger for sincere conviction; her later descent, following among other things her casual repetition of false anti-vaccine rumors, its desire that conviction be married to judgment,” the editors write.
They reserve their harshest judgment for Ron Paul. “Rep. Paul’s recent re-dabbling in vile conspiracy theories about Sept. 11 is a reminder that the excesses of the movement he leads are actually its essence.”
And what about Romney? “Gov. Romney won our endorsement last time, in part because some of the other leading candidates were openly hostile to important elements of conservatism,” the editors write. “He is highly intelligent and disciplined, and he takes conservative positions on all the key issues. We still think he would make a fine president, but time and ceaseless effort have not yet overcome conservative voters’ skepticism about the liberal aspects of his record and his managerial disposition.”
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