Friday, December 09, 2011

The hits keep on coming

David Brooks, another member of the GOP intelligentsia (whether many conservatives would like to admit it or not), has out today a column critical of Gingrich.

Here are his main points:

Of all the major Republicans, the one who comes closest to my worldview is Newt Gingrich... [H]e continually returns to this core political refrain: He talks about using government in energetic but limited ways to increase growth, dynamism and social mobility.

As he said in 2007, “It’s not a point of view libertarians would embrace, but I am more in the Alexander Hamilton-Teddy Roosevelt tradition of conservatism. I recognize that there are times when you need government to help spur private enterprise and economic development.”

So why am I not more excited by the Gingrich surge?

In the first place, Gingrich loves government more than I do...

Furthermore, he has an unconservative faith in his own innocence.

Then there is his rhetorical style... Most people just want somebody who can articulate their hatreds, and Gingrich is demagogically happy to play the role.

Most important, there is temperament and character. As Yuval Levin noted in a post for National Review, the two Republican front-runners, Gingrich and Mitt Romney are both “very wonky Rockefeller Republicans who moved to the right over time as their party moved right.”

But they have very different temperaments. Romney, Levin observes, has an executive temperament — organization, discipline, calm and restraint. Gingrich has a revolutionary temperament — intensity, energy, disorganization and a tendency to see everything as a cataclysmic clash requiring a radical response.

In the two main Republican contenders, we have one man, Romney, who seems to have walked straight out of the 1950s, and another, Gingrich, who seems to have walked straight out of the 1960s. He has every negative character trait that conservatives associate with ’60s excess: narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance. He just has those traits in Republican form.

As nearly everyone who has ever worked with him knows, he would severely damage conservatism and the Republican Party if nominated. He would severely damage the Hamilton-[T.] Theodore Roosevelt strain in American life.

The endorsements keep rolling in for Mitt; the criticism for Newt. Yet at this point, I guess the main question is--does it really matter? Based on the polling, it seems like Newt is getting a solid grip on the nomination.

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Always sniffing for the truth

Always sniffing for the truth

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