Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Newt vs Mitt

In considering Newt’s intelligence, I made the point that it was 1) over-rated and 2) not particularly suited for the office of president.  And the last few days the same or similar points have been made by people a little better known than me.

While I don’t in any way consider him an authority, I understand that Glenn Beck made the statement that “Bill Buckley was a small government intellectual, Newt Gingrich is large government pseudo-intellectual.”  Yep.

On NRO last night Yuval Levin summed things up well by stating that Gingrich and Romney are essentially the same ideologically in being, moderate, Rockefeller Republicans, with critically different temperaments.

He says of Gingrich:
Gingrich has what you might call a revolutionary disposition: He has great intensity and energy. His mind is drawn to stark and diametrical distinctions; he expects change to occur through cataclysmic clashes and so seems always to be seeking after ways to accelerate the contradictions. This allows him to much more easily thunder over his own inconsistencies and past changes of mind. But he has no discipline whatsoever, can be almost unbelievably erratic and unfocused, and is unironically conceited.”

Levin points out that “mental and organizational discipline is important in a president and campaign” and gives the clear nod here to Romney:
The presidency is an executive position—for all the political elements of the job, which are obviously very important, the presidency is fundamentally a matter of making decisions and seeing to it that they are carried out: A president has to be a decisive, focused, prudent, disciplined person, who knows what he wants and how to use the power he has to achieve it. Romney’s record on that front is very impressive.”

That’s pretty much how I see it.  I’ve been pretty firmly in the any body but Romney camp, but Gingrich is actually a worse choice.  Even if you concede his talents—which I don’t—what Newt brings to the table isn’t well suited for the office.  And in an election where Republicans believe they have to win, I think they’re underestimating how much Newt is disliked outside the party.  How it’s come to this—seemingly a contest between two weak, moderate/progressive candidates for the Republican nomination—is a whole other question.

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