The Convenient 11th Hour Newt-Bashing
Newt-bashing coming from notable conservative pundits as well as competing candidates is off-putting for a few reasons.
Newt Gingrich spent the most part of this entire campaign in the single digits in both the Iowa polls as well as the national match-ups. The remaining candidates who stood on stage with him loved his taking on the media and his snapping back at the 'moderators' like Chris Wallace as well as Maria Bartiromo from CNBC. They loved Newt's call for Republican unity. Everyone seemed on board including small-government purist, Ron Paul as well as that other frontrunner, Mitt Romney.
Of course, the moment Newt Gingrich became the frontrunner, the other candidates jumped ship. Suddenly, an entire slew of attack ads came out in Iowa from the Ron Paul campaign against Newt Gingrich. Similarly, the Romney campaign immediately went on the attack. Then, of course, Romney's "career politician" surrogates in Washington like John Sununu came out kicking and screaming. Even Ann Coulter wrote many recent weekly columns bashing Newt Gingrich.
Now, after all this attacking, a Rasmussen poll released confirms that the pundits and the Washington insiders are on track once again to successfully steer the election for the rest of us.
But how did Newt make it to the top? Many can argue different aspects including the fall of Herman Cain, the fall of Rick Perry, or the fact that Romney is still unable to excite the base. Even re-taking the lead in Iowa, Romney sits at a dismal 23%.
This includes the various attempts where Romney went out of his way to attack Newt Gingrich as a Washington Insider. Meanwhile, the rest of us who observe wonder where Mitt Romney would be but for his support from the majority of current Washington Insiders and corporate fat cats.
Newt rose in the polls as voters watched him impress one-by-one in the debates. He challenged other primary candidates to Lincoln-Douglas style debates where he and the opponents tackled issues and explained them to voters beyond the 30-second sound bites we get in the main debates. The voters chose him on the basis of debate performance and his ideas.
Since the Newt-bashing has surfaced, the most visceral attack ads come from Ron Paul. The most notable campaign commercials include images of MSNBC pundits taking a lot Newt's baggage and accentuating it.
One wonders what Ron Paul thinks MSNBC will do to him in a general election against Obama.
Sure, Gingrich may have attacked Paul Ryan's plan to reform entitlements. But even Newt apologized afterwards. However, Ron Paul actually voted against the Paul Ryan plan as a member of Congress.
Deeming such entitlements to be unconstitutional, Ron Paul seems to lack the common sense needed to understand that Ryan-like reform is needed. Regardless of what one thinks of social security, these programs passed in a House and Senate. They were signed into law by a President. They were further upheld by the Supreme Court. With Ron Paul's stance on these entitlements, it's hard not to imagine the DNC ads against Paul which could lie ahead. Therefore; the GOP could kiss the entire senior citizen vote goodbye in 2012 which is critical in states like Florida.
Further, many forget Ron Paul's infamous letter of resignation from the Republican Party in 1987 where he slammed Ronald Reagan. They also forget that he voted against every Reagan measure to build up our military as well as every effort Reagan took in defeating communism. Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, supported Reagan on all of it.
These points are very important considering many are predicting Iran's successful development of nuclear weapons. Many would rather our nominee not to be the only "R" who agrees with Dennis Kucinich on national security. They're also important in demonstrating for voters the fact that Newt Gingrich has had plenty to attack back on. But to date, he hasn't.
Instead, Newt continues sharing his ideas while touting his success as Speaker of the House in the 90's to make his case for the American people. Such successes include 4.2% unemployment while Speaker of the House, true welfare reform, and a balanced budget - the first one ever passed since 1969.
So while it's fair to assess the importance of a candidate's character on the basis of their actions 20 years ago -- or five years ago in the case of Newt Gingrich, voters may want to also take notice of the remaining candidates' characters on the basis of their behavior right now.