A week ago the self-appointed nobles at National Review let us know in an unsigned editorial that Newt Gingrich wasn’t worthy of the presidency. A few days later one National Review writer, Andrew McCarthy, signed an op ed stating that the above referenced editorial was not worthy of the National Review.
A couple of excellent excerpts from McCarthy’s hard-hitting piece follow.
Regarding former Speaker Gingrich, I have no objection to the cataloguing of any candidate’s failings, and Newt has certainly made his share of mistakes. But there ought to be balance — balance between a candidate’s failings and his strengths, balance between the treatment of that candidate and of his rivals. The editorial fails on both scores.
Gingrich’s virtues are shortchanged — his great accomplishment in balancing the federal budget is not even mentioned, an odd omission in an election that is primarily about astronomical spending. His downsides are exaggerated in two unbecoming ways.
Let me preface the first by conceding that I am as concerned as anyone by the former Speaker’s walks on the wild side — though I think they are outweighed by his unique gifts. Like other conservatives, I was disappointed this week by his dig at Governor Romney’s success at Bain Capital — we can’t both fight to restore economic liberty and talk like Occupy Wall Street agitators when someone practices it. I accept Gingrich’s explanation that the remarks were a bad attempt at cutting humor — in reaction to withering taunts from the Romney campaign — and are not a reflection of his views. But he has to know that such outbursts exemplify his famed impulsiveness, giving his detractors a chance to say, “I told you so.”
Nevertheless, if the Editors were enterprising enough, they could just as easily write a similar editorial, with the same tone of alarm, about, say, Governor Romney or Governor Huntsman. Their heresies, too, are notorious — and their explanations no more satisfying.
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And as for Gingrich’s Republican “colleagues,” whom the Editors applaud for ejecting him from the speakership, no one can deny that they had their reasons. But is there not another side of that story worth telling? In the seven years they controlled Congress after Gingrich left, didn’t these esteemed colleagues have something of a “weakness for half-baked (and not especially conservative) ideas”? Under a Republican president, they added over $3 trillion to the federal deficit, shunned conservative policy in favor of Beltway influence-peddling, and so damaged the GOP brand that we ended up, first, with an electoral rout that lost the majority Gingrich had worked years to forge, and then, with Obama. How much should I really care that Newt’s fabulous colleagues think his reemergence would be a disaster for Republicans? Lest these characters forget, it is the Tea Party and President Obama’s radicalism that have put them back in the saddle — 2010 was not a merit promotion; they were the only alternative in town.