A civil war about nothing
It’s beyond astonishing: a political party whose heart is all about conservatism, in a fight to the death over two candidates neither of whom has ever been a conservative in any consistent and serious sense. Romney, of course, was not even a Republican in the 1980s, and in his 1994 U.S. Senate race he was still distancing himself from President Reagan. I won’t rehearse all the liberal positions he held as governor of Massachusetts in the 2000s (though he did convert to pro-life, as Ann Coulter reminds us). Gingrich, meanwhile, began his political life in the 1960s as a Rockefeller Republican, in the 1990s was an exponent of Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock ideology (the diametrical opposite of any and all conservatism, as I explained in a talk in 1995), and in the 2000s partnered up with Al Sharpton for a national speaking tour. See my summary of Sharpton’s vile role in the Tawana Brawley affair and the false charge of rape and kidnapping against Steven Pagones for which he has never repented but which he repeated AFTER Pagones defeated him in a law suit years later).
Philip Klein writes at the Washington Examiner:
In 2009, Newt Gingrich and Al Sharpton went on a nationwide tour together, from the White House to multiple cities, to promote education reforms also being pushed by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In one video from the tour, Gingrich said, “I really appreciate the leadership Rev. Sharpton is showing all across America.” Just last month, Gingrich called into Sharpton’s TV show to wish him a happy birthday and shower him with praise. “I had such a great time going around America with you” to push education reform, Gingrich told Sharpton. “I will never forget it for the rest of my life. You were tremendous on those trips…. I watched you speak up with courage and with toughness on behalf of children in a way that all my life I will remember and I will honor you for the way you were willing to take on interests on behalf of children.”I’m looking forward to hearing pro-Gingrich conservatives square their support for Gingrich with his extravagantly expressed affection and admiration for one of the most vile individuals in America.
And by the way, there is an honorable way out of this quandary. One could say, “I know that Gingrich (or Romney) is objectionable, and I don’t accept or approve of any of his objectionable acts / positions / characteristics. But we have to have a nominee, we have to defeat Obama, and these are the candidates who have been presented to us. To my mind, Gingrich (or Romney) offers the best chance of defeating Obama, and therefore I support him, but my support for him does NOT mean that I tolerate or accept the objectionable aspects of his record and character.”
If people would speak this way, they could support Gingrich or Romney without throwing away their principles. But that’s not what people do. Instead, they feel that in order to support an objectionable person, they must drop their objections to those objectionable things, and so they end up abandoning whatever standards they might have once adhered to. And this is what will happen if the GOP nominates Gingrich. It will say that it has no problem with his marital record, that serial adultery doesn’t matter in a president, that adultery doesn’t matter and so on. And thus it will become impossible for the Repubican party ever to be a party of family values and social conservatism again.