Now that former Speaker Newt Gingrich is the clear frontrunner, leading the polls in three of the first four early states he will have a target on his back, especially when support is as soft as it is in Iowa. Questions are going to be asked. His past record is going to be brought up by the media and other candidates, as well as his marital history. Some may think this is unfair, and I agree it is unfair to a point for the media to do it when they have by and large given President Obama a pass on his past history. However much some in the Republican Party (of which I am a part) may dislike it; it is part of the vetting process and helps us determine who we should vote for. It isn’t an attack when it is your record.
There are a lot of things I like about Speaker Gingrich. He made my short list for several reasons, but there are a number of things that also kept him from being the candidate I endorsed. He has a number of vulnerabilities for instance he has to explain comments he has made in the past, like calling himself a “Teddy Roosevelt Republican.”
Teddy Roosevelt? The guy who left the Republican Party, who ushered in the era of big government, who ran 3rd Party creating the Progressive Party? Glenn Beck in an interview asked him about a comment made in 2003 while defending the individual mandate he identified himself as a Teddy Roosevelt Republican:
And for government to not leave guarantees that you don’t have the ability to change, no private corporation has the purchasing power or the ability to reshape the health system, and in this sense I guess I’m a Theodore Roosevelt Republican. In fact, if I were going to characterize my ‑‑ on health where I come from, I’m a Theodore Roosevelt Republican and I believe government can lean in the regulatory leaning is okay.
Gingrich insists that he was the pre-Big Government Roosevelt, but he was in favor of some regulations.
GLENN: Regulation and the government scares the crap out of me and I think most Tea Party kind of leaning conservatives, and Theodore Roosevelt was the guy who started the Progressive Party. How would you characterize your relationship with the progressive ideals of Theodore Roosevelt?
GINGRICH: Well, that depends on which phase of Roosevelt you’re talking about. The 1912, he’s become a big government, centralized power advocate running an a third party candidate which, for example, Roosevelt advocated the Food and Drug Act after he was eating ‑‑ and this supposedly the story, after he was eating sausage and eggs while reading up to Sinclair’s The Jungle, which has a scene in which a man falls into a vat at the sausage factory and becomes part of the sausage. And if you go back to that era where people had ‑‑ dealing with the Chinese where the people had doctored food, they had put all sorts of junk in food, they ‑‑ you know, I as a child who lived in Europe and I always marveled at the fact that American water is drinkable virtually anywhere.
So there are minimum regulatory standards of public health and safety that are I think really important.
GLENN: Okay. So you’re a minimum regulation guy on making sure the people don’t fall into the vats of sausage?
GINGRICH: Yeah. What I’m against is the government trying to implement things because bureaucracy’s such a bad implementer, and I’m against government trying to pick winners and losers. I mean, there’s no accident that the Smithsonian got $50,000 from the Pierre plane and failed and the ‑‑ from the Congress, and that the Wright brothers invented the airplane because ‑‑
GINGRICH: But I do think ‑‑ and I think almost everybody will see this, I believe. You want to make sure, for example, if you buy certain electric things that they don’t start fires in your house.
GLENN: Got it.
By and large, it was a decent interview with no gaffes, you can listen to the audio here. He does have conservatives lining up against him however. Mark Steyn the other day said that, “He is someone whose inclination — he’s got this progressive big government streak. He’s sort of like Teddy Roosevelt mixed with some sort of novelty-crazed futurologist. He has a big government progressivism sort of inside him, yet combined with the reputation of some sort of ruthless right-wing extremist.”
My friend Kansas City Bob pointed his readers to points brought up by conservative researcher Steve Baldwin to demonstrate that Gingrich isn’t a conservative, Bob cites a few examples:
- Voted for NAFTA, a blatant circumvention of Congress’ exclusive power to regulate commerce with foreign nations.
- Supported the National Endowment for the Arts.
- Voted for the creation of the Federal Dept. of Education in 1979 under Jimmy Carter.
- In one year (1994-1995) Gingrich voted for nearly $45 billion in foreign aid.
- He’s a paid lobbyist for Federal ethanol subsidies.
- Supported spending $30B for the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 that shackled gun owners with new restrictions, federalized a number of crimes, and handed the feds police powers that the Constitution reserves to the states.
- Voted to give billions of dollars to United Nations “peacekeeping” operations.
- He blames his infidelity to multiple wives on his passion for the country.
- He was paid $300,000 by Freddie Mac to halt Congress from bringing necessary reform.
He has a lot of answer for, and believe me that is going to be brought up during the debates. So far Governor Mitt Romney hasn’t had attack any of his opponents yet, but he doesn’t have that luxury anymore. Outside of his past history and record questions still linger about his organizational ability. Polls are one thing, actually turning people out are quite another. He just got a phone in his Iowa headquarters and we’re only a month away. He is struggling to meet state filing deadlines – it’s hard to win primaries if you are not on the ballot.
This month will likely be the toughest of his campaign. If he survives it and wins Iowa then the nomination is likely his to lose, but that is a big IF.