Not sure the Newt wants to go there, but he’s going there.
Newt Gingrich, who not long ago was urging his fellow Republican candidates to avoid tearing one another apart in pursuit of the party’s presidential nomination, took a new approach on Monday by explicitly declaring: “I don’t claim to be the perfect candidate; I just claim to be a lot more conservative than Mitt Romney.”
With his candidacy on the rise, Mr. Gingrich opened a three-day campaign visit to South Carolina and warned Republicans to be suspicious of candidates who “adopt radically different positions.” It was a fresh glimpse into the sharpening tenor of the nominating fight as the first round of voting begins in five weeks.
You mean, like falling for the global warming hoax before backtracking? Both Gingrich and Romney did that. Or being in favor of big government mandates to “fix” health care before coming out in opposition to said mandate? Because both Gingrich and Romney did that, too.
“We think there has to be a solid conservative alternative to Mitt Romney,” Mr. Gingrich told WSC Radio in Charleston, S.C. “I’m the one candidate who can bring together national security conservatives, and economic conservatives, and social conservatives in order to make sure we have a conservative nominee.”
He added, “I wouldn’t lie to the American people. I wouldn’t switch my positions for political reasons. It’s perfectly reasonable to change your position if facts change. If you see new things you didn’t see – everybody’s done that, Ronald Reagan did that. It’s wrong to go around to adopt radically different positions based on your need of any one election, then people will have to ask themselves, ‘What will you tell me next time?’”
No argument with that, really. If you’ve never changed your mind on anything, you’ve never really thought about anything. Romney’s problem is that he has changed his mind on everything. Gingrich’s brilliance has occasionally become a problem as he chases intellectual fads. We seem to have forgotten that just six months ago his mind and mouth got him into some policy trouble with his own party.
And then there’s this:
“I don’t claim to be the perfect candidate. I just claim to be a lot more conservative than Mitt Romney and a lot more electable than anybody else.”
The Clinton machine and Gingrich’s own marital hypocrisy made him toxic in the 1990s. It won’t take the Democrats long to resurrect those old attacks and try making him toxic again (whether they can actually make him toxic is debatable). As for being more conservative than Romney, well, Gingrich 1.0 definitely was. Gingrich 3.0, though, the one that got paid $1.6 million to be Freddie Mac’s “historian”? That’s not a slam dunk.