The Beginning of the End for Newt?
After losing miserably in 5 state primary contests last week Newt Gingrich is going to suspend his Presidential campaign tomorrow. This is very unfortunate but not altogether surprising since Newt’s bad debate performance in Florida back in January must have damaged his campaign and image more than I thought. I believe Newt had gotten advice to go from the populist-sounding, anti-establishment conservative that took him over the top in South Carolina to a more Presidential-acting candidate when he campaigned in the Sunshine State. As a result of the change of pitch as well as not performing well in the televised debate for the Florida Republican primary it cost him badly.
Newt made it up somewhat when he participated in the Arizona debate and (fortunately) won in his home state of Georgia but, sadly, the damage was done. With Gingrich bowing out this all but seals the nomination for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, respectfully. Representative Ron Paul is in denial about the whole affair and still naively holds on to hope that he will win the nomination or have some sort of impact in the race. With Paul’s Blame America First stance on foreign policy, his refusal to prohibit Iran from acquiring nuclear technology if elected President, his surrounding himself with anti-semites and white nationalists, as well as Paul’s attack ads against Gingrich and Santorum while (up until recently) remaining silent on criticizing Mitt Romney nixes any chance of him becoming the GOP nominee. My concern is that the Republican Party could end up with a repeat of the 2008 John McCain Presidential campaign disaster.
Mitt Romney’s business experience is notable but as a former elected official he does not have record to run on and lacks any substance to take President Obama to task. His primary victory could very well be a Pyrrhic one since he did campaign on capitalism and free markets but chose not to defend such institutions when Romney headed the Bay State’s government. While Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney openly supported gun control and enacted new gun legislation, raised state taxes and fees by three quarters of a million dollars, up until recently supported indexing the minimum wage to inflation, enacted cap and trade legislation, and even urged the Obama Administration to enact an individual mandate as part of the Democrat’s 2009 health care law.
The only comfort I can take from Newt’s bowing out is that the direction is clear and it looks like Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican Party nominee. It is my hope that with the vetting Romney has gone through that he will more accommodating to the GOP’s Tea Party wing. His reversal on the minimum wage issue might be evidence of his willingness to do so. Unfortunately, Mitt Romney leaves nothing for someone like me to cheer for. At best, my vote for him will not be for Romney or his policies but a vote against Obama. Mitt Romney comes across as a lackluster candidate that is superficial, all talk and no substance. If Romney wins the Republican nomination (which I think is likely) when it comes time to cast my vote for President. However, this is the election of a lifetime and is too important to throw away or ignore. If Barack Obama gets another four years the results could be disastrous which is why it is important that a Republican replace the President.
I will not vote for the Libertarian Party candidate since third parties are a waste of time and voting for them can do great damage in political races. Third parties siphon votes away from a major party candidates that you can utilize to knock out an incumbent who has so many liabilities and deserves to be kicked out of office in which such is the case with Obama. Not only is vote fraud one of the ways Democrats obtain and maintain power but they also back including Libertarians in elections since LP candidates tend to tilt elections against Republicans.
On the local level I do plan to be a little more involved with the Tea Party and I think if libertarians are to have any impact in the GOP it is best done with this group. I have been to Tea Party meetings and am very impressed with their efforts. Most of the Precinct Committeemen in Maricopa County are Tea Party activists and they have been extremely effective in electing party officers as well as influencing the debate inside the Republican Party including what issues are addressed. If Romney is to be the nominee and President then let him campaign like a centrist. The obvious answer is to give Republicans the majority in Congress for 2012 which odds favor that happening come November. With a GOP House and Senate hopefully it will prod Romney to stay consistent with his pro-free enterprise message and reject any pragmatic moves on his part.
Is this the end of Newt Gingrich overall? Not in the least. I was surprised that he resurfaced on the public scene with his book Winning the Future as well as Newt’s other activities that I learned about including the events surrounding his stepping down as Speaker during the campaign. I think it is notable that Newt said he would support Mitt Romney if he won the nomination and Gingrich should be lauded for following through. However, as far as my support for Romney is concerned, he gets my vote and that is all. The rise and prominence of the Tea Party the Republican base has shifted sharply in the direction of a small government, pro-free market and anti-welfare-state direction. We will see how much of an effect this has on the GOP, it’s nominee and both candidates come the general election. Hopefully it is and will remain significant.