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The Gingrich Deception

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In the struggle for the Republican presidential nomination candidates are searching for every advantage they can find, desperate to reach constituencies which can help them gain an advantage over their rivals. Some of them are getting more desperate and more manipulative as they fall behind, even resorting to some pretty blatant lying about their records, their beliefs and their intentions.

Listen to this audio clip without looking at the image attached to it, the way you would hear it on the radio:

Sure sounds like just what we need, a champion of the grassroots of the Republican Party ready to stand up for the little people against big governmnet, political insiders and the party establishment. Sounds like my kind of candidate.

Then go to the website which goes with this stirring radio ad, timetochoose.com. Bet it wasn’t what you expected to see. I know I was surprised. After the ad I assumed it was a powerful new pitch for Ron Paul. I sure wasn’t expecting something so far from the ad’s description as Newt Gingrich.

Newt is many things, but a grassroots alternative to the party leadership is not one of them. I’m not even convinced he’s the conservative he claims to be.  Despite having served in public office, it’s arguable that Romney with his background in business and state government experience is far more distant from the corrupt leadership in DC, while Gingrich was at the pinnacle of that leadership when he served as Speaker of the House.

The real target of this campaign is the growing number of “soft” Ron Paul voters – mainstream Republicans who are so fed up with the party leadership and political insiders that they are being drawn to Paul despite some of his more radical positions. These primary voters see Paul as the only candidate really looking at the issues which concern them, and while they may be uncomfortable with his foreign policy and a few other positions, they do recognize him as a genuine conservative and a political outsider. The efforts of the party to throw roadblocks in his way has validated his claim to that status.

The Gingrich campaign has a problem. There is one too many candidates in the primary and Gingrich seems to be the odd man out. Santorum has staked out the religious right constituency. Romney has the moderate, corporatist vote. Ron Paul is sewing up the fiscal conservatives and libertarians. Those three broad groups pretty much make up the party and there’s not really anyone left over for Gingrich.

Gingrich has been left trying to pick up the leftovers from all three groups and it’s just not working for him. The other candidates are just better at appealing to their particular niche audiences and Gingrich can’t win any of those groups based on his record or an honest presentation of his positions. He’s too personally immoral for Santorum’s supporters, too unpredictable for Romney’s followers and too much of a big government insider for Paul’s supporters.

Gingrich’s handlers did figure one thing out right. They know that Republican voters are unhappy with the party leadership and just about anyone who already has a job in Washington DC. The “anyone but Romney vote” extends beyond that to “anything but the status quo” and that’s a real constituency if you can define yourself as the authentic outsider.

The problem is that Gingrich in no way qualifies as a political outsider. The anti-establishment crowd is just not his constituency. To anyone who knows his record and background advertisements like this one which try to redefine him just seem bizarre and mendacious. In his desperation he’s trying to dislodge a small segment of Ron Paul’s support base, but it is not his constituency and he’ll never really be the outsider they want. I hope primary voters won’t be fooled  by this slick but deeply deceptive ad campaign. It’s time for Gingrich to go.

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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • John Lake

    Please forgive my repetitivety.
    Second paragraph: Gingrich is too personally immoral for Santorum’s supporters. Gingrich isn’t running on moral grounds, as Santorum is. The young are turning in droves from religion, which has been shown to do more harm than good as it devolves over generations. Religions gain leverage with unbearable guilt. Sex with the lights on is offensive to the maker. Or with a vast implication of superiority. You are above the humans, and must punish these heathens. I’m a city boy, and these concepts are offensive to me. All day. Every day.
    The thought that Santorum is a “moral leader” is indeed frightening. True, he claims to be. He sees himself as an excellent family man.
    He supports torture of terror suspects. This torture is not to prevent further killing, rather to provide evidence for those in custody.
    Santorum feels that anyone not a Biblical individual is not fit to participate. We assume he includes Christians and Jews.
    Santorum would allow remote sparsely populated school districts to teach whatever they like. This would include creationism, superiority of some religious groups, new views on the perception of blacks in society. We need professionalism not cronyism in curriculum oversight.
    Romney has untold and unexplained millions; Santorum supported a bridge which went nowhere, but provided substantial potential for investment by insiders. That alone should preclude his candidacy.
    Final thought, now that I’ve alienated just about everyone. We have the feeling if Ron Paul were president, and his age and flighty attitude brought about a terrible war, he would shrug, laugh, and say I was just minding my business!

  • Baronius

    An ideologue like Paul would never be happy as a VP. Treasury Secretary, however, would be awfully tempting to him. I doubt that there’s any deal that’s been made, but politicians remember who their friends are.

  • Igor

    #1-Tom : good comment.

  • Igor

    I had to laugh at this statement in the article: “…Romney with his background in business and state government experience is far more distant from the corrupt leadership in DC”.

    As if corruption is confined to DC. None of that bad stuff in Boston. None in the Bain boardroom. None on Wall Street. None in the Pentagon. None in any of the statehouses. None in any of the boardrooms or executive offices of businesses across America. None. It’s all confined to DC.

  • Anyway, Glenn, if you look in the comments to the ThinkProgress piece you linked to, somebody points out, with sources, that Paul has criticized Romney many times, both in campaign ads and in the debates.

    This whole idea of there being some sort of pact between them was brought up by – surprise surprise – Santorum.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Hey – the idea of Romney picking Paul is pretty remote to me, too…but the idea of Paul never criticizing “Romneycare” Romney just as a show of respect is every bit as remote.

  • Vice President Paul, Glenn? Hmm.

    Doubtful, knowing what we know of Paul’s ideology and character. Never mind that there’d be nothing in it for him. The vice-presidency is virtually powerless.

    And if we’re talking about him piggy-backing off a theoretical two-term Romney presidency, he’d be 84 going on 85 by that time. And that’s assuming Romney were to re-select him as his running mate in 2016. Hasn’t he already said this year is his last shot at the White House?

    And frankly, I can’t see Romney picking him in a million years anyway.

    He’s laid into Gingrich and Santorum because they’re both complete slimebuckets who, for various reasons, are making a mockery of the Republican Party. Romney is running a polished campaign and has conducted himself with dignity throughout. I’d say that means something to an old-timer like Paul and has earned his respect.

  • And of course Bob Dole and John McCain didn’t lose because they were too “moderate”. They lost partly because they were up against charismatic opponents while they themselves had the charisma of a wet towel, but mostly because they were victims of history.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    This is slightly off-topic, but ThinkProgress.org posted an article alleging that Ron Paul has not attacked Romney even once during all the 20 debates. The article shows that he’s attacked all the other candidates (particularly Rick Santorum), but never Romney.

    If this is true – and you’re in a better position than I to know if it is – then it seems to me that someone’s angling for a VEEP spot.

  • Baronius

    Good article.

  • The Republican Party 1856-2012

    That epitaph might not be as farfetched as you might imagine. They have spent the last thirty years desperately trying to get people involved in the political process who historically had not taken that much of an interest in affairs of state – insanity junkies. Their efforts have worked out quite well for them. A little too well as it turns out.

    Romney, Gingrich or Santorum. It matters not a whit who receives the nomination. The party where Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt once made there political homes is as irrelevant as 8-track tape. The very first posting I made on my blog way-the-heck back in 2006 was called “George W. Bush: The Last Republican President”. At the time I thought that that title was merely wishful thinking on my part. Now I’m not too sure. Three years ago when they created and embraced the so-called “Tea party” it was akin to French-kissing a viper. The venom has been been slowly maneuvering its way through the GOP’s system ever since. It is paralyzed. It’s only a matter of time before it closes its eyes and the agony is no more.

    Nice thought, huh?

    Tom Degan