Friday, December 2, 2011

Mitt Romney vs. Newt Gingrich

From Charles Krauthammer, at Washington Post, "Mitt vs. Newt" (via Memeorandum). It's an astute analysis, and I think objectively more harsh on Gingrich. Read it all. I'm adding the conclusion here for contemplation:

My own view is that Republicans would have been better served by the candidacies of Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan or Chris Christie. Unfortunately, none is running. You play the hand you’re dealt. This is a weak Republican field with two significantly flawed front-runners contesting an immensely important election. If Obama wins, he will take the country to a place from which it will not be able to return (which is precisely his own objective for a second term).

Every conservative has thus to ask himself two questions: Who is more likely to prevent that second term? And who, if elected, is less likely to unpleasantly surprise?
I believe Romney is by far more likely to prevent that second term, but not because he's so great a campaigner or because of his (actually scant) political achievements. I think Romney will be the one that swing voters hate less. That is, Romney's eminently less repulsive than Newt. It's something that goes way beyond the flip-flopping (on which both Mitt and Newt are major leaguers ). The 2012 campaign is going to be the ugliest in memory. Because Barack Obama has been such an obviously lousy president --- with so many enormous liabilities, especially on the economy, health care, and Israel --- the Democrat-Media-Complex and the progressive left's ideological character attack machine will be ramped up to such hyper-steroidal velocities that even Sarah Palin will blanch. It will be merciless. Mitt will be torn to shreds as a Mormon social policy extremist in sheep's clothing who'll take a razor to the economy to eviscerate jobs in the employment sector. Newt will be hammered as the right's public policy Ebenezer Scrooge who's also an epic hypocrite adulterer with the moral backbone of a snail. The electability argument then becomes not just which candidate is better able to withstand the onslaught, but which candidate is best able to retain his dignity and humanity. That's where I think Mitt will have the edge.

But again, I'll reiterate that Romney will be least bad, but he'll still be pretty awful. Michelle Malkin has hammered Romney as the "cupcake candidate," unable to withstand a set of reasonable questions from a reasonable interviewer like Bret Baier. But Michelle's attack on Newt is devastating --- a wonder to behold --- and in the end more damaging to a general election campaign:


I admit it's not a lot to hang your hat on --- in fact, Michelle says we'll need Hold Your Nose Plugs for the 2012 GOP campaign. But I've met both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. I've listened to them both. Campaigning for the presidency also requires personal attributes such as accessibility and likability, points on which I find Newt woefully inadequate. But most of all I think on the economy and jobs --- notwithstanding the left's forthcoming demonic smear campaigns --- I see Mitt Romney as better positioned to make the case for change in 2012. He's got business executive experience that voters will appreciate as necessary to turn the economy around. If he can pick up his game for the hot-seat television interviews he'll have a good shot at mounting a formidable campaign for both the nomination and for the presidency next November.

I'll have more later. Meanwhile, see Legal Insurrection for the anticipated problems for a Romney general election campaign: "How Obama would attack Romney." And also more on Romney's cupcake factor: "Romney one step closer to Pawlentyville."