In the November 12 debate, the moderator attempted to bait Newt into criticizing Romney. Gingrich responded:
No. … We’re here tonight talking about how every one of us is better than President Obama. … [Romney is] a friend who’s a great businessman … a great improvement over Obama.
Gingrich realizes he has soared to the top of the polls because of substance — his ideas and policy proposals — and not by attacking other candidates. Following Newt’s statement that night was a validation of this conclusion: roaring applause from the crowd.
The GOP field has not always been in fight mode. The field offered a moment of reprieve when Romney came to Perry’s side during his embarrassing “oops” moment. As Perry was floundering, Mitt Romney tried to help, saying: “EPA?” Seeing one GOP candidate come to the aid of another is a welcome change, but it should be the norm.
This isn’t to say that Republicans should never challenge one another, simply that Republicans should debate on substance and do so in a way that is tasteful and respectful. They should never engage in personal attacks and insult. This is always out of bounds, and every time Republicans sink to this level, President Obama must believe next year may be a bit easier for him.
During the 1966 California gubernatorial campaign, Ronald Reagan proclaimed the 11th commandment:
Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.
We do ourselves, our party, and our cause a disservice by engaging in petty infighting. Stop targeting one another. Target President Barack Obama.