Thursday, December 15, 2011

An extraordinary non-endorsement

The conservative National Review published an extraordinary editorial last evening, urging Republican voters not to cast their primary ballot for Newt Gingrich.

The reasons cited for the non-endorsement are nothing voters haven't heard already: "His impulsiveness, his grandiosity, his weakness for half-baked (and not especially conservative) ideas," the editorial offered, all of which led to a larger point - that Gingrich would cost Republicans a chance at a 2012 sweep of the White House and Congress, with all the conservative policy achievements that could follow.

Said the editorial:
If he is the nominee, a campaign that should be about whether the country will continue on the path to social democracy would inevitably become to a large extent a referendum on Gingrich instead. And there is reason to doubt that he has changed.
What's extraordinary isn't that the National Review is putting ink to the widespread frets of Republicans. It's the risk the editorial takes - that if Gingrich wins the nomination despite so many conservative pleas similar to this one, Republicans will be left with a candidate so many in the party have gone on the record as fearing.

Certainly, many conservatives would vote for nominee Gingrich anyway in the general election, given the alternative. But elections are won in part on enthusiasm, and Gingrich would be hitting November with a clearly conflicted base. It's hard for the National Review to walk back from this on Gingrich: "He appears unable to transform, or even govern, himself. He should be an adviser to the Republican party, but not again its head."

Are the conservative attacks on Gingrich just part of primary politics? To a degree. Hillary Clinton supporters were hard on Barack Obama in 2008, but in the end, prominent liberals didn't cross the bridge from calling Obama an "uncertain commodity" to "unfit leader." That's what we're seeing with conservatives and Gingrich.

Peter St. Onge


DistrictSix said...

By this time the Democrats were firmly behind Obama, during the last election............ or so I am sure most supporters of his are aware.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives are their own worst enemy.

Bill said...

The challenge for the GOP is determining who gets to make the decision for President. The right-wing/Tea Party segment is clearly pushing the 'anybody but Mitt' candidate. While the traditional republican base is left to wring their hands over bachmann/cain/perry/gingrich.

skilletjohansen said...

Imo, the non-endorsement reflects poorly on NR more than anything. Any candidate willing to go through the vetting process, media spotlight, and slog of a years primary campaign just to then challenge Obama deserves more appreciation. God bless all of them for wanting to make a positive difference. Why couldnt NR just have endorsed a candidate instead of cutting one down?? Maybe its good training though for getting ready to challenge the Democrats.

heels81 said...

Let's face it: republicans like myself want someone who is A). staunchly conservative B). articulate and quick-witted for debating Obama C). someone who has experience C). someone who can get things done by knowing when to reach across the aisle to dems, and E). someone who sticks to his core principles. Gingrich comes closest to covering those bases. He is not the based person in the country, but he is the best from those who had the courage to run

wwilliams said...

Gingrich is unelectable. It's that simple.On both parties, they will vote against the other guy no matter what. That growing group of indepenedents, the combined 25% of the population that is black/latino, and the young vote are what determines the election. Getting voters to get into the poll is always the challenge. National Review is more conservative than it used to be, gravitating away from the intellectual conservatism of its founder William Buckley more toward the rabid emotionalism that characterizes the religious right and the tea party. Watch out for this internet candidate that is going to happen before too long. The only candidate the Democrats fear is Huntsman, because he has a great record, can work across the aisle, and is actually, reasonably centrist without giving up conservative values. The GOP better focus on Congress because whether it's Romney or Gingrich they lose the presidency.

DistrictSix said...

@Jim, we conservatives are our worst enemy. We hold ourselves and our elected officials to standards that are all but moribund in general society today.

Sad how we do not accept what comes along as leadership.

Deb said...

For a succinct summary of conservative values, check this out by Charlie Allen, singing “Grandpa’s Recipe”