Romney's ham-handed assault on Gingrich
Dumb and desperate. That's Mitt Romney. And tin-eared, too.
Romney is siccing the hounds on Newt Gingrich - toothless as they may be - in an attempt to blunt Gingrich's momentum, so reports the Washington Post.
The Iowa caucuses are less than a month off. Romney, despite a better ground game in Iowa than Gingrich, fears that the former U.S. House speaker may be peaking at the right time. Gingrich's supporters trump Romney's voters in intensity, which translates into motivation to vote - vote without as much organization as is required by Romney, whose vanilla persona and mushy mix of conservatism and moderation is as about as energizing as a dead car battery.
Hence, Romney is trotting out conservatives in opposition to Gingrich in hopes of slowing Gingrich's momentum. Problem is, the conservatives Romney's employing are the Inside-the-Beltway breed, who are ossified and compromised after years of doing the hustle on K Street. (Okay, Newt's not exactly a stranger to Washington's power corridors, but this is a perceptions game, isn't it?).
Read this quote from John Sunnu, who foisted David Souter on the Supreme Court, giving liberals a reliable vote for expanding Uncle Sam's powers:
Gingrich "is more concerned about Newt Gingrich than he is about conservative principle."
Or this quote from conservative heavyweight, Chris Shays, a very former congressman from that conservative bastion, Connecticut:
Gingrich "got a plane that hadn't flown in 40 years to fly," said former congressman Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), who supports Romney. "But sometimes we went to the left. Sometimes we went to the right. Sometimes we went straight up. Sometimes we went straight down."
One wonders how Newt's zigzagging would offend the reliably squishy Shays, who could have been the Republican establishment's poster boy for milquetoast centrism.
And one more gem for the Jeffersonian Mr. Shays
"Newt is an entrepreneur more than he's a manager."
Chris slipped on that one. For years, Gingrich has made the point, in many ways, that managers are hired, leaders are elected. Grassroots conservatives aren't seeking an establishment GOP lackey to better manage FDR's welfare state; no, conservatives want a leader who will initiate the upending of eighty years of increasing statism and the thievery of freedoms that are resulting.
Kinda revolutionary stuff, Chris, this getting back to liberty's essentials. Kinda the stuff that George Washington and nation's founders intended. And what's wrong with entrepreneurs, Chris? Not dull enough or tame enough... not willing to go along to get along? Geesh.
Romney's attacks on Gingrich have a very high probability of backfiring. Gingrich's support is growing and hardening. Gingrich voters, whose passions are running high, are only going to be more determined to back their man in the face of Romney's ham-handed assaults.
Rush Limbaugh has wisely advised Romney to run to the right of Gingrich if he wants to breakout out the 25% to 30% range in support (or less, if current polling is accurate). But Romney is an establishment creature and it's too late in the game for him to pivot. So Romney is reduced to tearing down Gingrich.
And as Rush's compatriot, Mark Levin, has been pointing out for a long while, 70% of the GOP electorate want a conservative, warts and all, over another Bush (older and younger), Dole, or McCain.
Romney may wind up the next Wendell Willkie or Thomas E. Dewey, except without the benefit of getting the GOP nomination.