A few months ago, I got together with my friend Ali Akbar to hash out the idea of doing an anti-Mitt Romney website. A few weeks ago Ali and I, Yates Walker, Matt Mackowiak and others came out with Not Mitt Romney.
At the time, I hadn’t settled on a favorite candidate and I was asked on multiple radio shows something akin to, “Well okay, if it’s ‘Not Mitt Romney,’ then who is it?” At the time, Herman Cain was on top and although I like him and Michele Bachmann a lot, I said that I thought Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry were the two most viable alternatives to Romney.
Now, more time has passed and we’re getting closer to the home stretch. We’re less than a month away from the Iowa Caucus. Newt’s ahead in Iowa, South Carolina, and Florida. Mitt’s ahead in New Hampshire. No one else other than Ron Paul is in striking distance in any of those states and let’s face it; Ron Paul is a Libertarian, not a conservative, and he has absolutely no chance of winning a general election. So, barring a major scandal or flub by Newt, it looks like either Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney is going to be the nominee.
Picking a candidate in cases like this for me always starts out with the same question: Who’s the most conservative candidate that can be elected?
I’ve decided that candidate is Newt Gingrich. To begin with, he’s a conservative and Romney’s a right-of-center moderate.
I also believe Newt’s more electable than Romney. That’s not because he polls better than Romney against Obama right now — although he does according to Rasmussen. It’s because Mitt Romney is a weak, bland, moderate candidate who inspires no passion and who seems to have no core convictions whatsoever. These are features, not bugs to establishment Republicans, but conservatives have fought too long and too hard to keep embracing guys like Romney just because a bunch of Republican careerists in D.C. like him or because it’s “his turn.” Is it too much to ask that the conservatives who provide the vast majority of energy, money, and the ideas in the GOP have one of our own as the nominee?
I don’t think it’s too much to ask and, yes, Newt Gingrich is a conservative. I won’t sit here and tell you that he has no flaws or that he hasn’t gone off the reservation a few times. But, I will also tell you that other than Ronald Reagan himself, Newt Gingrich has actually helped push through more conservative legislation than anybody else in the last 30 years. This is the man behind the Contract with America, welfare reform, and a balanced budget in D.C. He has a lifetime ACU rating of 90. This isn’t a man who governed as a centrist and is now telling us how conservative he’ll be this time around. This isn’t a man who simply said “No” to everything that came down the pike because it wasn’t “conservative enough” for him. This is a man who actually moved the ball forward for conservatives on Capitol Hill. When was the last time we got off defense and actually started moving D.C. to the right? Oh, yes, it was when Newt was the Speaker. So, people can criticize his performance as Speaker all they want, but no Republican in D.C. since Newt left has even come close to filling his shoes. Even the best people we have in D.C. right now are doing nothing more than holding the line. There’s a lot to be said for that, but we’ve got to do more than that if we’re ever going to turn the country around.
I’m not going to tell you that Newt doesn’t have any flaws. He does. He committed adultery before he converted to Catholicism. He hasn’t always been a doctrinaire conservative over the last few years. Sometimes, he comes across like he’s wrestling to keep his ego in check. But, there are no perfect candidates running. Everybody in the race has flaws that are just as large as Newt’s, if not larger. However, Newt also has some tremendous strengths. He’s an excellent speaker and a phenomenal debater, he’s extremely knowedgable and competent, he’s actually gotten things done in D.C., and he’s not cowed by the Left. That’s what we need right now because this country has a lot of problems and although it’s vital that we defeat Obama, it’s not good enough to just replace him with a Republican who’s going to govern by the polls and try to maintain the status quo.
Make no mistake about it, folks, the next year is going to be tough on conservatives. Barack Obama has been one of the worst Presidents in American history, but he’s not just going to roll over and hand the presidency to the GOP. Since he has almost nothing positive to campaign on, he’s going to run an extremely negative campaign and the mainstream media will do everything in its power to help him. The attacks on the GOP nominee are going to come fast and furious for the better part of a year. I’ll support whoever the nominee is, but I would feel good about fighting on Newt Gingrich’s behalf for a year. I could feel good about telling people that Newt Gingrich would be a competent President who would make this a better country. I could feel good about the idea of having Newt Gingrich as our President.
Although I gritted my teeth and supported John McCain in 2008 once he won the nomination, I couldn’t say any of those things about him. I also couldn’t say any of those things about Mitt Romney. I’m tired of being stuck with the “lesser of two evils” in presidential elections and that is ultimately why I’m endorsing Newt Gingrich. He can win the nomination, he can win the general election, and I believe he’ll govern conservatively and actually get things done for the country. That’s someone I can feel good about about voting for and endorsing for President.