Gingrich or Romney? Which is better, from a pro-freedom, limited government and individual rights point-of-view? The question relies upon a false premise. The false premise is that either one of these men even claims to be in favor of limited government as provided for in the original American Constitution. It’s not a matter of figuring out “how good he will be” or “if he really means it” — because meaning something implies that you think it in the first place. To be fair, neither of these men ever claimed to be an advocate of strictly limited government.
Romney seeks to be a manager. He is not the ideal candidate, but he is the ideal candidate for our anti-ideological times. Our society is essentially run by the left. The left is very much in favor of an ideology, but claims not to be. For the left, this is a strategy. That was the whole purpose of the candidacy of Barack Obama. The presidency of Obama is entirely different, of course. Obama is clearly in favor of socialist expansion of Big Government, every step of the way. He refuses to say so, but every action, every initiative, every bill signed and every policy rejected is utterly and absolutely consistent with adherence to a rigid ideological agenda, the agenda of the socialist left.
This is why Obama is somewhat unpopular. I say “somewhat” because most polls show people have a favorable view of him personally, while they’re more ambivalent about his policies. People who have turned against Obama’s policies have done so because those policies are ideological. True, these moderate middle/uncommitted people who decide most of our elections don’t really care for Obama’s leftism. But it’s not anything about socialism per se that they reject, so much that it’s ideological. It’s ideology itself that they’re against.
The same sort of attitude is now infecting the Republican Party. Some members of the Republican Party are ideological, of course. They favor things like limited government, reducing the deficit and getting the government out of what should be run by the private sector. These attitudes more or less constitute something like an ideology. These are the people who vote Republican and who cannot stand Mitt Romney. They have looked for the most ideological candidates they can find, and they went in the proper order.
Michele Bachmann made sense until it became clear that she was such an overwhelming religious fanatic that she would even turn off some religious conservatives. That was the end of her.
Rick Perry made sense, until it became clear that he could not articulate anything, assuming he was even sober when he attempted it. That was the end of him.
Herman Cain made sense until he so badly bungled accusations of his affairs with other women that one could only conclude that (1) he was guilty of all these affairs, or (2) he was completely incapable of defending himself, not a good quality in a leader.
That leaves us with Newt Gingrich, by default. Gingrich is an odd case, because while he has always been considered an ideologue, nobody has ever been able to pin down exactly what that ideology was. Gingrich is the kind of politician who takes stands, but you generally cannot figure out what these stands are, what they are based upon, and what his underlying ideas are. It doesn’t really matter, because in a month or a year, he will change those stands. And then in another month or year, he’ll change them again. Newt Gingrich appears to at least be making an attempt at thinking and forming ideas. He’s old school, unlike Romney, in that he seems to actually care about something, to have some sort of devotion to some kind of underlying ideology — only nobody really knows what it is.
Romney, in contrast, merely tells people what he thinks they want to hear, and what’s expedient at the moment. In Massachusetts, at one time, people wanted a Republican governor, but they wanted to continue the expansion of socialism at the state level. Romney delivered both. Now Romney is trying to get the Republican nomination at a time when the Tea Party has forced the Republican Party to move to the right, in the sense of limited government and cutting programs. Romney is happy to favor these things verbally, but everyone knows full well that he’ll do whatever he wants once he’s the nominee, and ultimately the President, as he hopes he will be.
Even for a politician, Romney is something of a hilarious caricature of an almost unreal man. His unprincipled glibness is so sensory-level, so utterly self-evident, that even the most uninterested or uninformed of people can see it straight from the get-go. Only Romney himself seems to believe he actually stands for anything, or cares about anything in the world of government, politics or wider principles of philosophy. Romney is simply a business manager in search of a new job. He might as well be saying, “Look at me. I’m wearing a fancy suit. I had a good executive job once. I’ll be a better manager than Obama.” If elected, he will find himself in the position of managing America’s continuing social and economic decline. Good luck with that, Mitt. For without principles to guide your management, there will be no management worthy of the name.
So it has come down to a choice between a man who believes in ideas, but apparently has none (Gingrich); and a man who is happy to subscribe to whatever point-of-view will get him elected (Romney), even though he never had an original idea in his life. There were, arguably, better voices in the Republican campaign, including Ron Paul, who favors truly limited government but unfortunately says things like Iran should have a nuclear bomb. Good God, is there no break from idiocy out there, even when you think someone might be a little better than most? With ideas like that one, it’s no wonder that people have run for their lives, back to the uninspiring default choices of Gingrich and Romney.
True leaders are people with genuine ideas. Neither Romney nor Gingrich qualify. Their only real qualification is that they’re not Obama.