Here’s what Mitt Romney had to say about Newt Gingrich’s attacks on him in
these past days: Florida
"He really can't whine about negative campaigning when he launched a very negative campaign in
. His comments most recently attacking me have been really quite sad and, I think, painfully revealing about the speaker and what he's willing to say and do to try and take the nomination. I just can't stand back and let him say those things about me without responding." South Carolina
“I’m hoping that as I go to Nevada and Minnesota and Missouri and Colorado and Arizona, and the list goes on and on, that I’ll be able to get a lot of support in part because of the response here of people in Florida,” Romney added.
Gingrich insisted, meanwhile, that he will lose in
by a small margin, despite polls that show Romney 10-12% ahead of him. Florida
Gingrich also insists that he is in the race for the long haul, going on to the next four caucus states and then into Super Tuesday this Spring, even though he lacks money, campaign staff and on-the-ground state organizations.
But, what I find most interesting about the Romney-Gingrich battle of words is how often they focus on intangibles. Does Romney lie…doubtful. Is Gingrich so fully in the pockets of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae…doubtful. There is some truth to both positions, but we all recognize “politics as usual” when we see it.
The real intangible is whether Romney is as “liberal” as Gingrich paints him, and whether Gingrich can really espouse to fill the shoes of Ronald Reagan.
It is a great mistake for the conservative wing of the GOP to try to make a pariah out of Romney because he is more moderate than they would prefer. His moderate views center on matters of personal conviction - abortion, which he accepts as a bad idea while carving out some exceptions for rape or when the mother’s life is in danger, and providing some kind of minimal health care to all legal Americans, a view which he shares with the majority of Americans, who agree that care ought to be available but without turning the present system that works for most Americans on its ear.
For the rest - matters political and governmental - there is very little difference between Romney and Gingrich - support for American technical and free market ingenuity in order to create new jobs, skinny down the federal government, follow the Constitution more rigorously, reduce the national debt, balance the national budget instead of raising taxes to pay for bigger government. A majority of Americans agree here, too.
The person who does not agree is Barak Obama, whose platform is filled with bigger government, higher taxes, no escape from Obamacare, more regulation at all levels, and no quarter given to business even when it could create those desperately needed American jobs.
So, if all Republicans would take a minute to think carefully about their future and the future of the
they love so dearly, they would probably vote for Romney, because he has the campaign organization, money and presidential presence needed to confront Obama and win in November. America
American politics is a history of compromise - about every aspect of national life and values. Winning in 2012 is a matter of compromise, too - of finding the best fit between GOP principles and the national mood and cultural values.
Mitt Romney is far better positioned to carry that torch than is Newt Gingrich.