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Why the Establishment Doesn’t Like Newt Gingrich

As I’ve been following the news out of the corner of my eye these past two weeks, I’ve seen a spate of stories on Newt Gingrich’s improbable rise to frontrunner status. Quite a few take the snide tone of Christian Whiton‘s “Why Washington Is Shocked, Shocked By Newt Gingrich’s Rise Over Mitt Romney.”

One of the more enjoyable spectacles out of Washington lately has been the horror of establishment Beltway Republicans that Newt Gingrich just might be their presidential nominee, having jumped ahead of Mitt Romney in recent polls. The cause of this is simple if often disguised: Newt is the opposite of everything they just know to be true.

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The problem is that most of what Gingrich proposes runs counter to what they have been conditioned to accept.

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Now reenter Newt Gingrich, the man whom Republican Washington just knows failed as Speaker of the House, despite the welfare, capital gains tax and balanced budget reforms that bear his fingerprints.

On EPA replacement, for example, Gingrich says: “I don’t think you can train the current bureaucrats. I think their bias against capitalism, their bias against local government, their bias against economic rationality, is just amazing.”

Here, Gingrich is revealing his reverence for Andrew Jackson, who in his presidency succeeded in replacing fully one-fifth of the federal bureaucracy, seeing this as a requirement for radical change.

Most Washingtonian Republicans view desires like this as hopelessly naive. During their careers, they have seen modest changes, but nothing like the major shifts in Washington that have occurred at turning points in American history. Those with historical knowledge of them tend to know only of times the bureaucracy grew as opposed to those where it was actually tamed.

The idea of reversing federal growth is fine to keep on the wish list, but those who advocate it seriously are seen as rubes—either new arrivals in Washington who just fell off a turnip truck or unsophisticated congressmen from ‘flyover country.’ To be a true Beltway Republican is to have accepted the assumption that the scope of government cannot be radically altered. And they think it is politically foolish to try.

Thus the establishment just knows that you run a moderate like Mitt Romney for president. Conservatives have no place else to go and independents will be attracted—historical evidence to the contrary be damned.

Gingrich challenges this, believing 2012 may be one of those historical turning points where voters will be most attracted by a candidate who offers a radical divergence.

There’s more but you get the idea.

The problem with all of this is that it presumes that the only meaningful factor in assessing a potential president is the policy positions they take as a candidate. In reality, though, neither “the establishment” nor ordinary voters actually operate that way.

Policy positions are pretty far down the list of reasons most of us don’t want Gingrich to be our standard bearer. Indeed, despite being closer to me on a host of public policy issues than Obama, I’d be hard pressed to vote for Gingrich in a head-to-head matchup. Simply put, I don’t believe Gingrich is morally fit to be president.

I continue to believe Bill Clinton should have been removed from the presidency for his sleazy conduct as president and that his sleazy conduct as governor should have been enough to keep him out of office. Once upon a time, Gingrich professed to believe that, too. But Clinton’s problems all stemmed from an inability to keep it in his pants; his crimes were limited to lying about it when caught. Gingrich seems to be a pretty disgusting fellow across the board.  There are the two divorces under very unfortunate circumstances. The numerous ethics violations in four short years as Speaker. The personal pettiness. The hypocrisy. The lobbying.

I was a big Gingrich fan in 1994. While, in hindsight, I find some of the tactics used to get attention for himself and bring discredit on the Democratic House leadership of the day unsavory, he was a shrewd tactician. And he was as articulate a spokesman for core Republican principles as any national politician since Reagan.

But, like many a revolutionary, he was a lousy leader once he took power. He was constantly maneuvered into corners by Bill Clinton, who managed to use Gingrich as a foil in his triangulation policy. Gingrich alienated most of his own caucus and the country within a few months and became the bogey man of the 1996 elections, with every Republican morphing into his likeness in all the ads.

As to the issues, Gingrich makes Mitt Romney look like a pillar of consistency. At least Romney has an excuse, even if he can’t use it: he was running to govern and then governing one of the most liberal states in the union back then and is now looking to run the whole country now. It’s hardly surprising that he’d take different policy stances under those vastly different circumstances. Gingrich, on the other hand, has been a public intellectual for the past fifteen years and has been known to flip-flip on an issue in the space of a weekend.

Whiton’s specific examples illustrate the other major problem I have with Gingrich: he’s an unserious wonk who likes to throw ideas against a wall and see what sticks.

Here’s the EPA idea, as listed on his campaign website, in full:  ”Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency with an Environmental Solutions Agency that works collaboratively with local government and industry to achieve better results.” That’s simply a non-policy. Changing the name of an agency doesn’t give us “better results,” any more than rearranging agencies (see: Department of Homeland Security) does. Whatever you call the EPA, its employees would still, by definition, be “government bureaucrats” and no more trainable than they are now. Similarly, there’s no reason to think the employees of the new agency would be magically free from “bias against local government” and “bias against economic rationality.” And, if those obstacles can somehow be overcome by executive order, why, just issue the order.

Gingrich is a bright man–I hear he has a PhD in history–but he’s still got the mentality of the young graduate student who thinks the world could be radically reshaped if only it were run by people as clever as himself.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    FWIW, here is a “hard problem” in “environmental solutions”:

    Fighting Poor Recycling in Other Countries

    I (moderate that I am) would be happy to see stupid and pointless regulations sought out and destroyed. Unfortunately, the “destroy the agencies” approach throws out a lot of baby with the bathwater.

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  2. john personna says:

    (When I was a young chemist I interviewed for a job with a California battery recycler. When they told me monthly blood tests (for lead) would be part of the process I became a bit less enthused. But, those monthly blood tests for workers are more our strength than our weakness.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  3. Eric Florack says:

    As to the issues, Gingrich makes Mitt Romney look like a pillar of consistency.

    REally, James?

    Romney favored “Assault” Weapons Ban
    Romney Favors Waiting Periods to Buy Handguns
    Romney raised taxes on business by a total of $309 million
    Romney increased taxes on business property
    Romney joined a coalition lobbying congress to tax internet activity
    Romney refused to support the Bush tax cuts while governor
    Romney refused to sign the No New Taxes pledge when campaigning for Governor
    Romney Balanced Budget with $500 Million in New Fees
    Romney imposed “socialized” health care on Massachusetts
    Romney supported abortion in general, and believes in sustaining Roe v. Wade.
    Romney campaigned for Governor of Massachusetts as a pro-choice candidate, and was endorsed by a pro-abortion political group
    Romney Approves of the Abortion Pill and Supports the Legalization of RU-486
    Romney has a long history of promoting and furthering the homosexual agenda, and working closely with leading gay activists
    Romney barred Boy Scouts from public participation in 2002 Olympics because of their Ban on Homosexual Scoutmasters
    Romney unnecessarily (and unconstitutionally) implemented homosexual marriages in Massachusetts
    Romney supported Racial preferences
    Romney believes in the hoax of anthropogenic global warming
    Romney supported the unconstitutional and wasteful “porkulus” spending
    Romney supported the unconstitutional bailouts of bad business
    Romney supported the assault weapons ban and Brady Bill
    Romney believes illegal aliens should be rewarded with citizenship after violating our borders and breaking our laws

    So, what you’re saying is that Romney still stands by these positions?
    One wonders why he’s called “Conservative’ at all.

    Finally, we’re told that he is certain to overturn Obamacare. Yet, since he authored and pushed through the legislature in Massachusetts a scheme so similar to Obamacare that Obama cites Romney as an author of the thing, for fear of lawsuits over copyright infringement, how are we to believe that he will go to Washington and obliterate such a law? Yeah, right.

    Oh, and let’s remember, James… Romney, like most of the GOP establishment back in the day, didn’t support Reagan. Thought he was too extreme.

    I guess he was just part of the GOP establishment. Right?

    Make no mistake; I’ve not made up my mind about Gingrich’s yet.

    Yet we are supposed to believe the establishment GOP when they tell us now, that Romney is conservatism’s best hope? Sorry, I honestly don’t think he is the best choice. As a matter of fact, I think he will do more damage than good. Granted, that he could beat Obama. Then again, that’s not all that high a bar to jump. Any one of the current GOP candidates could beat Obama. A little referred to factoid from the 1980 election was that so many people were so disenchanted with Jimmy Carter that Ronald Reagan became the “none of the above” candidate. I say again, anyone can beat Obama. At this point, I suspect even Jimmy Carter could beat him.

    And assuming that Romney wins over Obama, what have we won? The answer is nothing. If Romney wins the nomination, what we have is a GOP, the party of Reagan, become indistinguishable from the party of Obama. In a choice between Liberal, and Liberal light, guess which way the electorate is going to go? If you need a history check on that, one need look no further than McCain’s loss to Obama.

    There are no perfect candidates. There never has been. Even Reagan had his issues. But even in the imperfect list of candidates that the Republicans are now fielding, any one of them would represent conservatism better than Romney ever could.

    the simplest and probably most direct explanation for the GOP establishment not liking Gingrich is that they’re not interested in being conservative. That becomes particularly evident when looking at Romney’s record.

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  4. john personna says:

    Someone voted against blood tests for workers at a lead recycler! Gawd, what does that tell us?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  5. steve says:

    For goodness sake, Gingrich was a lobbyist. He is one of the few politicians in the country with lower moral standards than Clinton. He is emblematic of what is worst in our political system. Instrumental in getting Medicare Part D passed, then running to lower Medicare costs, somehow. Finally, since his whole schtick is blasting those not in the GOP, how does he govern if elected?

    Steve

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  6. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    Paralysis by analysis.

    It’s really very simple. The “establishment” doesn’t want Gingrich to be the nominee because for obvious reasons Gingrich doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of beating Obama. Romney, for all of his faults, at least would turn the election into a legitimate battle rather than a debacle.

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  7. Eric Florack says:

    Gingrich doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of beating Obama. Romney, for all of his faults, at least would turn the election into a legitimate battle rather than a debacle

    actually, anyone on that stage has a better chance of beating Obama then does Romney. And I will tell you this; this is a fight for the soul of the republican party. If Romney wins the nomination, the party is history.

    You can also forget about saving the country.

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  8. Eric Florack says:

    Finally, since his whole schtick is blasting those not in the GOP, how does he govern if elected?

    you may not remember this, but I do; similar questions were asked about Reagan. He seemed to be able to govern rather well, as I recall the matter.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 7

  9. James in LA says:

    @Eric Florack: “Make no mistake; I’ve not made up my mind about Gingrich’s yet.”

    We’re all holding our breath, for sure. Some recent polling out of FL shows Obama up a little bit over Romney and a lot over Gingrich. The GOP cannot win absent FL. If you live in FL, so much the better. Otherwise, whaddya gonna do? The cake is being baked as we speak.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  10. Eric Florack says:

    Some recent polling out of FL shows Obama up a little bit over Romney and a lot over Gingrich.

    Nearly meaningless at this stage. But even if we take in a case value, let’s remember Florida’s electoral history here.

    Americans have a tendency to back people that stand for something. Thus, for example, Reagan’s landslide. Romney fails miserably on that point. As such it’s my judgment he doesn’t stand much of a chance in Florida either.

    But again, I ask the question; assuming that Romney gets nominated in wins the white house, how does that benefit conservatism and thereby the country? The answer clearly is that it does not.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 4

  11. Herb says:

    @Eric Florack:

    “they’re not interested in being conservative.”

    And you are?

    At any rate, I found this sentiment funny:

    Any one of the current GOP candidates could beat Obama.

    Cain couldn’t beat himself. Perry is a You Tube joke, the right wing’s Tay Zonday. The only way Bachmann and Santorum will get any traction is from a catastrophic spinal injury. Huntsman’s barely there. Gingrich is enjoying his day in the sun, but he won’t like the sunburn that’s sure to come. Paul? He’s got his constituency locked down. Too bad, though, that it’s very small. The field is so weak that there’s a new front runner every month. They’re having trouble beating each other, and you think it’s going to be a breeze beating the incumbent?

    Beating this incumbent? Obama’s got near total support from at least one growing demographic and approval ratings that are much higher than his performance would indicate. Seriously, man….Obama’s opponents spent the first few years of his presidency pursuing total nonsense (birtherism) and they think all that hard work is going to set them up for victory? Try again.

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  12. James in LA says:

    @Eric Florack: “Nearly meaningless at this stage.”

    You ignore the danger here. The GOP has painted itself into a corner where it cannot ever again win the Coasts as constructed, and must fight tooth and nail for every EV and every state. Meanwhile, Obama has many paths to victory, some which include FL, some do not. By 2016, Texas could very well be in peril. The GOP has NO pathways to victory after that.

    The problem is not conservatism or lack thereof. The problem is a complete absence of conservative governing achievements since the creation of the interstate highway system. We went from Watergate to becoming a debtor nation to starting wars based on intolerable lies, all brought to us by the modern G.O.P.

    Neither side of the current GOP schism will brook defeat with grace. They will stay home, and Obama will win handily.

    The electoral map is the only map that matters.

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  13. john personna says:

    I guess the NY Times has decided to like Romney. They do make him seem the steady sort. I would like a President who rents a U-Haul.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  14. Herb says:

    You can also forget about saving the country.

    Saving the country from what?

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  15. PD Shaw says:

    The annoying thing about the EPA proposal is that its a complete abdication of legislative responsibility. Its Congress that determines the EPA’s discretion; its Congress that can require the EPA to economically rationalize its decisionmaking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  16. James in LA says:

    @Herb: “Saving the country from what?”

    Yah this is getting REAL old REAL fast. All conservative “policies” seem to require some sprinkling of the apocalypse if they don’t get their way. It reveals thinking that isn’t actually much concerned with the Here and Now, and so remains utterly undependable, certainly as a governing force.

    Another favorite is “take my country back,” though the exact date is up for grabs, though it seems to be somewhere between 1865 and 1913.

    Meanwhile, Obama will win handily.

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  17. grumpy realist says:

    @Eric Florack: What would convince you of the existence of global climate change?

    If you say “nothing”, then you demonstrate that this is not a matter of science for you and is a matter of faith. We can’t run a first class economy with a population that makes decisions based on faith rather than reason and science.

    The Chinese must be laughing their asses off at us. We have pandered to the sector of our population that is most likely to drag our economy into non-existence (contrary to what fundamentalists say, ‘reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmatic plus the Bible is not sufficient knowledge to back up a first world economy.) If people want to know in the future why within fifty years we will have slipped back to the technological level of Africa, well, you read it here first.

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  18. MBunge says:

    James inadvertantly gets at one of the big reasons the Beltway establishment loathes Gingrich by bringing up the Clinton comparison. The Villagers hate Gingrich because they’re not allowed to hate Clinton. If you remain judgmental or critical of Bill Clinton sexually exploiting a woman young enough to be his daughter or comitting perjury, you’ll be booted off the DC cocktail party circuit. But Newt’s infidelities? Oh, you can go to town on that stuff.

    Mike

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  19. anjin-san says:

    And I will tell you this; this is a fight for the soul of the republican party

    I see. So it’s confession time, and you are admitting that:

    1. All the talk about “family values” in the GOP is just something to sell to the rubes.

    2. The purpose of public service is to position oneself for a lucrative career as a lobbyist.

    3. Lying is only bad when Democrats do it.

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  20. anjin-san says:

    Another favorite is “take my country back,”

    Basically, they swiped Howard Dean’s “I want my country back” and tweaked the wording. This is not a group of original thinkers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 12

  21. Herb says:

    @MBunge: “The Villagers?” “The DC cocktail party circuit?”

    You do realize the context from which that term springs, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  22. James in LA says:

    @grumpy realist: “We have pandered to the sector of our population that is most likely to drag our economy into non-existence …”

    I would submit we witness the last days of such pandering. The target audience grows older by the hour, and as they join their ancestors, they are not being replaced. They cannot be replaced because those who came after were born into larger universes, have more options, and live in an age when Pastor can be debunked in 3.5 seconds from the palm of your hand from any spot on Earth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  23. MM says:

    @MBunge: The DC cocktail party circuit thought Clinton was a disgusting rube who didn’t get how things worked in their town.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. MBunge says:

    @Herb: “You do realize the context from which that term springs, right?”

    Who cares where the term comes from? Can you think of a better description of the small town, inbred nature of our elite political culture?

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  25. MBunge says:

    @MM: “The DC cocktail party circuit thought Clinton was a disgusting rube who didn’t get how things worked in their town.”

    That’s what they thought about him when he came to town. Now, they slobber all over him like a rock star.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  26. MM says:

    @MBunge: Moving goal posts and argument by assertion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  27. Herb says:

    @MBunge:

    Who cares where the term comes from?

    Apparently you don’t. I just find it funny that you say “The Villagers hate Gingrich because they’re not allowed to hate Clinton,” when the term “The Villagers” originally referred to all the DC elites who hated Clinton. You don’t think that’s funny?

    Next you’ll tell me that the Tea Party supports Obama…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  28. john personna says:

    @PD Shaw:

    Its Congress that determines the EPA’s discretion; its Congress that can require the EPA to economically rationalize its decisionmaking.

    And they could certainly set a committee to look for egregiousness regulations, costing much and returning little.

    I suspect that both parties would rather keep the generalities though, “EPA good” and “EPA bad.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. steve says:

    “you may not remember this, but I do; similar questions were asked about Reagan. ”

    I am probably older than you. I remember quite well. I dont remember Reagan ever engaging in the kind of rhetoric Gingrich employs. Reagan had successfully governed in California and had a history of compromising and even raising taxes if needed. I see little comparison between the two. (You really need to work up a better line of reasoning. Yes, people criticized Reagan. Yes, they criticize Gingrich. That does nto make the two equal.)

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

  30. john personna says:

    In a nutshell, Reagan was not a wonk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  31. lunaticllama says:

    I guess they think Gingrich is not suave enough to raise taxes on the middle class, while giving free money to rich people. They’re just worried that rich people won’t get the middle class’s wealth fast enough. They mean to loot our country, and they mean to loot it now! Their perpetually mismanaged and bankrupt financial sector is getting enough free money to sustain itself.

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  32. RepealObama says:

    I’m betting on Romney all the way. I am a staunch conservative. Gingrich is unacceptable as a general election candidate.

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  33. Aggie95 says:

    Can you tell us how many of those ethics violations were proved to be founded ….it was 0 if memory serves me

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  34. Brian B says:

    @James in LA: @James in LA:
    – The problem is a complete absence of conservative governing achievements since the creation of the interstate highway system.–

    Yeah that winning the Cold War and destroying the Soviet Union in the process, along with close to thirty years of unprecedented economic growth and wealth creation never happened did it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

  35. Jib says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Eric, I am watching this from the other side and it is very fun. I think you are right about Romney. He is very beatable, everyone from Ted Kennedy to John McCain has done it and they follow the same script. Set him up on flip-flopping, making him look untrustworthy and then the knock out is hitting him hard on Bain. This worked in the 90′s and will be deadly in 2012. No one wants an investment banker for president.

    But I dont get why Gingrich? I dont understand why the Tea Party supports him? He is everything the Tea Party opposes, he is a insider who every dollar he has ever made has either come from tax payers directly (history prof and congressman) or money he was paid to lobby the govt to make it bigger. We will need to see the voting, I have a feeling this is not going to go the way everyone thinks it will.

    I get that the repubs field is the weakest in history (at least as far back as I looked) so I know the choices are very slim. But Gingrich? Ron Paul would be a better choice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  36. inspectorudy says:

    It is amazing to me that you discuss this coming election like it is a bridge tournament. We as a nation are at the closest point in our history of declining into a third world nation with two extreme classes of citizens. And you people think Romney is the gut to turn this around? He and all of his friends are from the banks and Wall Street. Do you really think he is going to pursue a line against them? He will nibble around the edges and never propose anything that would upset his friends. Oh sure, he will propose many things knowing full well that he will never have to sign the bill. Now is not the time in our nations history or its peril to bring in a nice guy who never hurts anyone’s feelings. Newt may not be the choice of you squishy moderates but he will certainly stir the pot. You way over estimate his “Baggage”. After Clinton where rape wasn’t even bad enough to kick his ass out, I don’t believe Newt has anything to worry about. Just put him on a stage with the ONE and watch the fun.

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  37. Jeremy Abrams says:

    Clever article. Lay out why the establishment is wrongheaded about the electorate’s desire to take on Washington, but then slam Gingrich, the only plausible slayer of the federal agencies, in a series of paragraphs that lift Romney up by comparison.

    This is the writing of an establishment republican pretending he’s not one, and seeking to peel conservatives away from the insurgent.

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  38. Capitalist Infidel says:

    “I’d be hard pressed to vote for Gingrich in a head-to-head matchup. Simply put, I don’t believe Gingrich is morally fit to be president.”

    But a crack smoking bisexual adulterer is?

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  39. shamik says:

    I see there are a lot of Marxist lovers posting here! Why don’t you move your @@ses to Cuba or China if you want that Sh#T!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 11

  40. Midas says:

    @john personna:

    A lot of baby *needs* to be thrown out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  41. john personna says:

    @Midas:

    Do you need definition of “baby” and “bathwater?”

    It would be different if you could argue that the tub was much bigger than baby, but that’s not what I’m getting from the down-votes up above. I’m getting that genuine harm is just an acceptable cost of doing business.

    That is not the kind of cost-benefit analysis that PD Shaw suggested, and which I would support. That’s just a hard line against “protections.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  42. john personna says:

    It is sad that my “seek and destroy” call for “stupid and pointless regulation” was not enough.

    When you down-vote that you are saying you want more, to remove things like those lead tests that are actively protecting worker health.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  43. lunaticllama says:

    @shamik: Apparently I am a Marxist, because I don’t support the Republican agenda of higher taxes for the middle class and more free money for rich people? I believe in competitive markets, and increasing our standard of living through wage growth. I fight against crony capitalism and the redistribution of money from the middle classes to the economic elite. Not sure why you would want to pay higher taxes, so the government can give more free money to rich people, but then I am not a conservative.

    I think you have your countries mixed up. I understand that the government in China gives lots of free money to rich people and state corporations. Republicans apparently find this something worthy of emulation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  44. wooga says:

    @James in LA:
    “The problem is a complete absence of conservative governing achievements since the creation of the interstate highway system”

    Conservatism is not supposed to be about achievements of government, but rather reducing governmental drag so as to facilitate private/individual achievments. Most of the bold gov’t driven options to help competition (e.g., anti-trust rules, the highways, internet) are already in place, and the conservative case is about where to tweak or repeal small points. Unfortunately, all the candidates backing bold options (e.g, Perry or Paul and serious tax or SS reform) are dead in the water.

    What we have is Romney, who immediately demagogued Perry for daring to suggest reform of Social Security, versus Gingrich, who… hasn’t demagogued on such reform. So Romney and Gingrich may be similarly minded policy wise, but at least we know that Romney is 100% against any serious corrective action. Romney just wants to slow from 100 mph back down to 70 mph towards the cliff. Gingrich has a history of crazy ideas, and maybe one of them will actually avoid the cliff. Gingrich is a wild card, but Romney is certain economic disaster for this country.

    Seriously, the ONLY thing that has kept me from rejecting Romney completely is his use of Bork. That at least gives me hope that Romney could, just maybe, at least give us positive SCOTUS developments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  45. mannning says:

    Now can we receive the quality comments?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  46. MJS says:

    Why the establishment doesn’t like Newt

    For the opposite reason every citizen and Tea Party member does, because he’s not only going to take it to obama, he’s going to take it to DC.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  47. PersonFromPorlock says:

    @Herb: Beating this incumbent? Obama’s got near total support from at least one growing demographic and approval ratings that are much higher than his performance would indicate.

    Well, let’s see. Obama could beat Hitler for sure; Himmler, probably; Goering, possibly; and Speer, probably not. So his chance of re-election depends on which of the above the media succeeds in portraying the Republican candidate as. And the voters buying it, of course.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  48. mark81150 says:

    @Herb,… you’ve got to be kidding, to suggest that no one can beat Obama because he’s so personally popular?… I saw the pol,.. and that kind of mamby pamby press push poling won’t save him..

    not when at least in my area of Ohio, he’s as popular as cancer.:

    We need jobs, and after electing Kasich, we got a media firestorm of leftwing propaganda telling us He boils pets, all paid for by the crimnal union bosses. They won a limited victory in an off year election by hyper energizing their mouthbreathing base, which wouldn’t think for itself even when their lives depend on it.But The point is, Obama here, is still toxic, even after that union paid for media blitz.

    Presidents get blamed for a lousey economy, always have, always will..

    I don’t give a rip how many infomercials the Good Morning Show airs about how awesomely awesome a human being he is.. people won’t care when they percieve he’s partying hard during a depression he helped create in the senate, and then, worsened by 4 years of “never met a business he wouldn’t demonize and tax out of existence” rule… not after a barrage of commercials that aren’t Obama approved which put the lie to the

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  49. AUSPatriotman says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Eric,
    Your a right on guy! Way. To. Go. I’m behind Newt all the way. I know that the DC insiders are haing the heck out of his popularity and his positions. And this thing about his wives. I believe he has honestly repented of his ways and Callista is his main squeez. She stands behind her man and is taking a lot of crap from the RHINOS. I do not like that Santorum at all. Bachmann has turned into a beotch. She’s really been turning me off.

    But Newt I thing is the closest thing we have to a Nigel Ferage whom I wish WE HaD:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fyq7WRr_GPg&feature=player_embedded

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  50. James in LA says:

    @wooga: “Conservatism is not supposed to be about achievements of government, but rather reducing governmental drag so as to facilitate private/individual achievments. ”

    Yet here’s the rub: conservatives are elected to govern. Come election-time, conservatives had better have demonstrated they can govern, even if that government is “reduced.” Since Watergate, they have shown largely disastrous results at the helm, mostly in a hopeless battle to refute the future, e.g. “Southern Strategery.”

    Abdication of governing is not a policy position. Governing must still occur, and the GOP has shown a complete disinterest in putting forth policies which unite the country, which is the bargain laid out in the Preamble: we’re all in it together to win it, for us, and who come after.

    Abdication of governing is no way to get there.

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  51. mockmook says:

    Indeed, despite being closer to me on a host of public policy issues than Obama, I’d be hard pressed to vote for Gingrich in a head-to-head matchup. Simply put, I don’t believe Gingrich is morally fit to be president.

    You need to rename this site OTU (Outside the Universe).

    You are seriously contemplating support for a party and President who celebrate the immorality of Gingrich.

    At least Gingrich is sorry; he realizes he has sinned.

    Plus, if you get your way, you are sentencing the vast majority of your fellow citizens to years (perhaps generations) of misery.

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  52. MM says:

    In this thread: paid operatives.

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  53. JosieSC says:

    I find this song performed last week in SC is fitting for 2012. http://youtu.be/ndO97QlHV1k

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  54. scott says:

    @grumpy realist: you cant still honestly believe in global warming can you? After all the science that has disproven it plus all the reports that claim to show anything have been disproven of shown to ahve been specifically manipulated in order to show a specific outcome. Global warming is not real. The sooner yo accept these facts the sooner you may join the adults at the big boy table to have a real discussion as to how progressivism is destroying the country.

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  55. dunce says:

    It may well be true that bureaucracies and govt. always grow larger, but historically there is a point where govt, is so nonfunctional that it collapses of it’s own weight as the USSR or a list as long as history. There is ample reason to believe that our current problems are designed to hasten rather than delay reaching that point to establish a dictatorship in midst of the chaos. Manufacturing a crisis and then being prepared to not let it go to waste.

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  56. Shawn says:

    @steve: @steve: Lobbyist? Do you even know whatthat means? Lonbying is one of the constitutional rights given to us. Remeber: petition government? The moment that is illegal we are done, cooked…
    Heritage Foundation is a lobbyist. I suppose you hate them too. You are just too ignorant to be allowed tovote

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  57. An Interested Party says:

    Just put him on a stage with the ONE and watch the fun.

    Indeed…and every single person who wants the President to be reelected hopes that Gingrich will be on that stage, as that will spell certain defeat for the GOP…

    Unfortunately, all the candidates backing bold options (e.g, Perry or Paul and serious tax or SS reform) are dead in the water.

    That should tell you something about those “bold” options…

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  58. John Postley says:

    @Jeremy Abrams:
    Here, here…only such a stalking horse would regard Alexandria VA as “Outside the Beltway.” I’ve been reading this site for a week and I’m about to remove it. No intelligent center-right person who hasn’t been brainwashed or bribed would choose Obama over Newt. This guy claims to be “hard pressed” to do so.

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  59. Scott O. says:

    @JosieSC: I agree with you 100%. Obama will win in a landslide if Newt gets the nomination.

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  60. steve says:

    “: Lobbyist? Do you even know whatthat means? ”

    Yes. Newt used his influence, he lobbied, to help pass Medicare Part D. The largest unfunded spending bill in our history. That is what lobbyists, ie Newt, do. I will concede that he did it well, and in the process made millions.

    Steve

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  61. Charles D. Coleman says:

    I totally agree with this article. If we were to elect Newt Gingrich as our nominee, that would destroy the moral superiority of conservatism over liberalism. Barack Obama would be seen as no worse and perhaps better than Newt Gingrich.

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  62. MarkedMan says:

    @scott: Scott, you’re a couple years behind on your talking points. All the cool Republican kids are now conceding that the planet is indeed warming but that a) It was going to happen anyway through natural means, and b) there is nothing we can do about it anyway. Now, to me it seems ridiculous to go from “it isn’t happening the data isn’t there you are all a bunch of tree huggers” to “Of course it’s happening, we never said it wasn’t so it’s fine to trust us when we say there’s nothing we can do”. But since that is the MO of virtually every public face of the Republican party (Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox and Friends) I assume it will just be absorbed by the base. So you better get the memo or you”ll be left outside.

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  63. John Scotus says:

    This article does a good job of encapsulating why so many people like myself think it was a brazen affront to conservatives everywhere for Gingrich to even think about running. What bothers me most is the win-at-all-costs mentality so many conservatives seem to have. If Clinton should have been impeached–and the vast majority of conservatives at the time thought that he should have–then it is fairly hypocritical to support Gingrich now. Why is it right to ignore his baggage just because he tells us what we want to hear and is perceived as a winner? Haven’t we been through the same psychodrama with the same man before? Haven’t we learned a thing?
    I do not know–or care–whether Gingrich can win the presidency. It may well be that he is the John Kerry of this election cycle. However, to me, that’s not the point: Whether he can win or not, he simply should not be president. He is unfit for office, and our nation will suffer nothing but heartache if he is elected. As conservatives, we can and should do better than this.

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  64. Eric Florack says:

    Cain couldn’t beat himself.

    Cain got the Clarence Thomas treatment.

    Perry is a You Tube joke,

    Reagan would be, as well, in today’s context.

    To the rest;

    The leftie objection to Gingrich is bizarre. After years… decades of telling us how the GOP was bereft of intellectualism and open-mindedness, they object when it shows up.

    Gingrich, without a doubt has had occasional forays into liberal ideas. Being a thinker, he could hardly ignore such ideas utterly. But notice he always thinks better of them and comes back to the conservative roots…. by the path of actual thought.

    Romney, meanwhile, seems to land on liberal ideology without the benefit of actual thought… and as such stays there. examples are listed in my comments above..

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  65. Eric Florack says:

    @john personna:

    I guess the NY Times has decided to like Romney.

    Your Honor, we rest our case. LOLOLOLOLOL

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  66. Eric Florack says:

    I am probably older than you.

    I doubt it.

    I remember quite well. I dont remember Reagan ever engaging in the kind of rhetoric Gingrich employs.

    You’re talking about style, not substance.

    Reagan had successfully governed in California and had a history of compromising and even raising taxes if needed

    Yes, he did. Whereeas Newt also was successful. And Newt also saw what I saw in those years… Reagan raising taxes at times only to see the agreements with Democrats get ignored by those same Democrats as time went on.

    Had those agreements been honored… about spending cuts… we’d have had a balanced bucget by the time Reagan left office. I suspect that would leave anyone somewhat less willing to compromise. Rightly so.

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  67. Eric Florack says:

    What would convince you of the existence of global climate change?

    My only answer since this is way OT……

    Something where the science hasn’t been faked.

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  68. Dan says:

    I frequently see two criticisms of Gingrich: the DC Establishment doesn’t like him; and he wants to make radical (unrealistic, ridiculous, impossible, choose your adjective) changes to the government. What more ringing endorsement could a conservative possibly want? Or are you really so satisfied with what this country has become that you’re willing to maintain the status quo?

    Tinkering with the fine adjustments over the past 30 or 40 years has brought us to where we are today. What we need is:

    1. Someone both WILLING and ABLE to take on the DC Establishment and change the game fundamentally. Obama has gone from a campaign promise to cut the deficit in half to the author of the ruinous deficit that we see today. Do you really want 4 more years of the same? That’s what you’ll get with Obama. That’s what you’ll get with Romney.
    2. Politicians who are held accountable for their positions on critical issues
    3. Judges are required to recuse themselves when personal issues could cloud their judgment on a case to come before them. Politicians should be required to do the same – they should NEVER be allowed to promote or vote upon bills that would benefit their own constituencies. BUT – I hear you cry – they are elected to represent those folks! Yes, so they should present those folks’ legitimate needs to the Congress, and then the Congress as a whole should decide upon where the projects and money go, based upon the good of the whole country. Pork Barrelism is making our Congress a joke.
    4. Senator Tom Coburn’s “Wastebook” should be required reading for every Congressperson. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Congress should put aside every other issue until it has dealt with the waste and corruption this publication exposes. We wouldn’t need to cut back on Social Security and Medicare if we’d cut out about half the waste. Read “Wastebook,” and I’ll bet you tomorrow’s lunch you’ll be on the phone or email to your Congressperson demanding change.
    5. A huge slash and burn program on federal bureaucracies. These political organisms are self-perpetuating, and exist for nothing so much as to increase their feifdom. While not just a federal bureaucracy, I have to cite NATO as a sterling example. It was created to face the threat of the Soviet Union, which has been defunct for more than 20 years. So why do we still have a NATO, and much more to the point, why are Americans still paying about 25% of the direct cost to defend EUROPE? And the indirect costs in troops, etc., are even greater. All European nations are cutting their defense budgets. Why? Because the American taxpayers are paying to defend them from a foe that died 20+ years ago! The answer to my question is this: bureaucracies continue even when their initial charters become meaningless, because the executives in charge will never willingly give up their positions. They will mutate the bureaucracy into meeting some other “critical need,” and the bureaucracy will continue to grow, long after it has wandered far from the task for which it was created.
    6. (We need a lot more, but that’s all the time I have to write for now.)

    I don’t like Gingrich’s personal history, any more than others who have commented about it. However, he’s the only hope I see in the upcoming election for radical changes that must be made before it’s really too late.

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