National Review To Newt: Surrender. My Suggested Reply: “NUTS!”

Pretty amazing stuff from the magazine once considered the flagship of the conservative movement.

At the moment Rick Santorum appears to be overtaking Newt Gingrich as the principal challenger to Mitt Romney. Santorum has won more contests than Gingrich (who has won only one), has more delegates, and leads him in the polls. In at least one poll, he also leads Romney. It isn’t yet a Romney–Santorum contest, but it could be headed that way.

Santorum has been conducting himself rather impressively in his moments of triumph and avoiding characteristic temptations. He is doing his best to keep the press from dismissing him as merely a “social-issues candidate.” His recent remark that losing his Senate seat in 2006 taught him the importance of humility suggests an appealing self-awareness. And he has rightly identified the declining stability of middle-class families as a threat to the American experiment, even if his proposed solutions are poorly designed. But sensible policies, important as they are, are not the immediate challenge for his candidacy. Proving he can run a national campaign is.

NR has been trying to clear the field out for Mitt for awhile now so I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise. The interesting thing is their “logic”. Yes, Santorum has won more states than Newt (he’s also only won as many as Mitt so far) but none of them awarded delegates directly, unlike SC which Newt won. If Newt is going to make a comeback or make life rough for Romney it’s going to be in the southern states on Super Tuesday. Why exactly should he drop out now and not wait three more weeks and see what happens? It’s not like this race hasn’t changed before in less time.

Yes, yes, Newt called for Santorum to drop out at one point. It was kind of goofy for him to do it but candidates do things like that. Supposedly neutral arbiters (hint: NR really wants Mitt to win but don’t tell anyone) however don’t.

If National Review wants to be considered a leader of conservatives, they need to make their editorial position clear and knock off the passive/aggressive nonsense.

As for Mitt, National Review has some advice for him on how to pitch himself to voters and for voters on how they can convince themselves why it’s ok to vote for him.

Romney is a transactional politician rather than a charismatic one. Maybe he should make the most of it: Tell conservatives what they will get out of a Romney presidency. Entitlements brought under budgetary control. A more market-oriented health-care system. Judges who know their place in the constitutional architecture. Fannie and Freddie extinguished. The defense budget protected. Tax reform, and tax relief for families. In some cases making this case will require that Romney commit to more detailed proposals than he has thus far; in others that he will do more to emphasize things he has already said.

I admit to not liking Romney in the least but this is the best pitch he has to make. His constant talk about being a movement conservative (a sever one at that!) who has been on the front lines of the fight is simply not supported by the facts (opposing The Contract with America and the Bush tax cuts come to mind).

The problem Mitt has at this point is if you are already inclined to believe what he’s said then you’re set, if you’re not, there’s nothing he can do to convince you at this point.

Notice btw that NR doesn’t include “repeal ObamaCare” in their list of expected transactions. That’s probably because up until recently Romney made it quite clear he didn’t support full repeal.

It’s no secret around here that I’m not a Mitt fan but I’m honestly confused why I’m supposed to believe Romney circa 2011/2012 but not Romney circa 2010.

As for Santorum, sit down you’re about to be shocked…Jen Rubin suddenly discovered he’s a social conservative and he might have written and said somethings that won’t play well in the general.

Santorum will have to deal with the words he wrote, and, if his views have evolved, he should say so quickly and definitively. The issue is potentially critical because it goes to his electability and because it makes a positive — his strong social conservative stances — into a negative. It’s time for him, or someone on the campaign, to go back and read the book and figure out what he can live with and what he can’t. He can’t afford to lose women voters as he heads into critical races in Michigan, Arizona and the Super Tuesday states.

Why, it’s almost as if Rubin was using Santorum as a stalking horse for Romney and now that he is a real threat to Mitt, he must be dealt with.

I really wish Mitt’s Amen Corner in the conservative media had the guts to just come out and endorse their guy.


About Drew

I blog about politics and hockey because I sort of understand those things. I'd blog about women but I'll never understand them.

Posted on February 13, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Well if you can’t win the primary, you are going to do poorly in the general, because you won’t be the nominee.

    I’m no more inclined to believe this twentieth incarnation of ‘electability’ than the others.

  2. Drew, Newt’s not the conservative you make him out to be. From his overstep after Contract with America, through his palling with Pelosi, and to his attacks on venture capitalists, Newt is consistently guided by the principle of “Newt is Smart” before anything Kirk put forward.

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