I have blogged previously about why I thought Rick Perry would face challenges in a general election battle. However, with Gingrich, I don’t think “challenge” adequately describes the situation Gingrich would face.
I think it is likely that if Republicans choose Gingrich as our standard bearer in the general election, we will then be placed in the disagreeable position of watching our candidate be demolished by Obama. My prediction is that a Gingrich candidacy would see very few cross-over and independent voters casting ballots for him but large numbers of long-time Republicans choosing to sit on the sidelines.
So, here’s my beginning of the top reasons of why I think Republicans should think twice before they cast a ballot for Gingrich.
#4: Gingrich’s attacks on Romney give the impression that he is more of a true opportunist than a true conservative.
Gingrich has described Romney’s involvement in capitalism as “rich people figuring out clever legal ways to loot a company.”
The only problem with that claim is that even Romney’s Republican opponents and liberals are among those who disagree with Gingrich’s characterization. It seems that Rick Perry and Obama campaign staffers were among the few people eager to jump on Gingrich’s anti-capitalism bandwagon.
Ron Paul and Rick Santorum both defended Romney.
One commenter who describes himself as being “on the far left politically” described Romney’s involvement in the turnaround at Bain & Company in highly favorable terms:
In fact, of all the apocryphal stories about [Romney], this is the only one that I am personally aware of that tells me that he might actually be a credible president. I think the Dems would be wise to stay clear of this particular episode.
Even NPR – not exactly a bastion of conservatism – ran a story largely favorable of Romney, in which Steven Kaplan – a university professor and expert on private equity – is quoted as describing Gingrich’s charges as “ridiculous”:
Looting a company and destroying a company does not create value…. At the end of the day, in order to make money, you have to sell the company to somebody, and if the company … has been looted and is unproductive, nobody is going to buy it.
NPR wasn’t alone in providing a review of the Bain attacks that was sympathetic to Romney. The Washington Post gave the highest possible score for dishonesty to the “King of Bain” video created by a pro-Gingrich super PAC … four pinocchios.
Only one of the four case studies [in the video] directly involves Romney and his decision-making, while at least two are completely off point. The manipulative way the interviews appeared to have been gathered for the UniMac segment alone discredits the entire film.
On the other hand, Obama’s deputy campaign manager was quick to jump on the anti-Bain bandwagon and said:
“President Obama – who, like Mitt Romney, earned a degree from Harvard and all the opportunities that affords – began his career helping jobless workers in the shadow of a closed-down steel mill. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, made millions closing down steel mills.”
Another Obama campaign staffer relished Republicans dog-piling on Romney and making Democratic attacks on Bain appear more credible and less partisan:
‘I would have preferred to wait, yes, to keep the bottle of whup-ass fresher,’ one Obama campaign strategist told TPM. ‘At the same time — and this is important to note — having the Republicans eat their own actually makes the Bain story more potent than we ever could because it instantly validates it as a line of attack and falls on independent ears as a matter of legitimate debate, not as a partisan line of attack.‘
With Gingrich using Obama’s playbook, my only question is: how would Gingrich prefer that Romney had made his money?
One can only presume that if Romney had made his millions in an honorable way – such as consulting for Freddie Mac – that would have left Romney above reproach in Gingrich’s eyes.
At least to me, Gingrich accusing Romney of opportunism during his tenure at Bain – in addition to being inaccurate – is kind of like a laser accusing a rainbow of being monochromatic.