This debate once again highlighted the tendency of even “conservative” moderators to “take out” the front runner. Chris Wallace in particular repeatedly invited other candidates to criticize Gingrich, and time and time again they rose to the bait. Gingrich had no one on stage to point out the opponent was Obama, as he had done in the past when moderators attempted to pit one candidate against the other.
At one point, there was 5 minutes of attack against Newt Gingrich taking money to advise Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Newt was called a lobbyist, even though his contracts expressly stated that he would not do any lobbying, and even the Republicans officeholders now in office who are against Newt, have never once said he lobbied them on any issue touching these agencies. It seems that Republicans only wanted Democrats and liberals advising governmental agencies. This fallacious attack has been repeatedly taken up as serious criticism by both the mainstream media and conservative media. It baffles the mind.
Whether on the United Nations, legislating judges, abortion (98.5% pro-life score), or any other conservative issue, Newt Gingrich not only showed himself to be a conservative, but an advocate for conservative principles in a thoughtful way. He also pointed out a long string of spectacular conservative victories under his leadership in the house as speaker. To any impartial observer, Gingrich clearly won this debate.
Next was Mitt Romney, who fielded the only tough question he was
asked gracefully if in a somewhat less than convincing way. On three core issues, gay rights, abortion and health-care, Romney simply said he had changed his mind. Left to the listeners judgement, is whether these “changes” coincidentally aided his aspirations for higher office or not. A wise man once said that in politics, there is no such thing as coincidence. So while Romney gave all the right answers to all the other questions he was asked, the question remains, would a man who instituted statewide government centered health-care REALLY roll it back? Mitt started the first Cap and Trade system in the U.S.; his list of heresies goes on and on…The elephant in Romney’s room is does he really have a conservative core, or is he the man of the moment and trims his sails to fit the winds? This question was neither asked nor answered.
All the rest pretty much stayed where they were except for Ron Paul. His extreme positions on foreign policy should have cost him much of his vote Iowa. Time and time again, Paul showed a naivete about why America and its allies are being attacked around the world. At one point in the debate, Dick Morris remarked that the most dangerous man on the stage was Ron Paul. Hard to argue with that after this debate.
So a final thought. In this primary we have seen a series of front runners, taken out by a combination of attacks from Democrats and liberals, and friendly fire from establishment Republicans who see Romney as a man they can “do business with.” I don’t think there is any doubt that that same attack machine has been leveled at Newt Gingrich over the past few weeks that took out so many other front runners. The point is, as these attackers repeat their attacks, they begin to reveal their positions like snipers on a roof. The voting public is in a foul mood, and doesn’t seem too interested in what the Republican establishment has to say about the field. Yet time and again, the Republican establishment, working in tandem with the liberals, have taken out the leading competition against Romney. The question we must ask ourselves as voters is do we trust the George Wills and the Karl Roves and the Glen Becks to make our choices for us? Or are we willing to elect a man who has a proven track record of legislation and leadership in Washington, even if and maybe because, the powers that be don’t like him?
To my mind, that is a point in Newt Gingrich’s favor. We’ll see how it all plays out but we best hope we get someone other than Mitt Romney as our nominee. When establishment Republicans and liberals agree on who our candidate should be, that is the one candidate I don’t want!