Romney Attacks Gingrich’s Conservatism

When Mitt Romney attacks Newt Gingrich’s conservative credentials its humorous, to put it mildly. If any of the GOP field has conservative credibility issues it’s Mitt Romney. Meanwhile Romney is exercising a scorched Earth policy, violating President Reagan’s first rule of conservatism, do not attack other conservatives. Romney has aired harsh attack ads against Newt Gingrich in Iowa in an act of desperation as his presidential campaign teeters on obscurity.

When Gingrich rose to the top of the GOP field the attacks were inevitable. Up to this past week Gingrich had handled the attacks relatively deftly, but he overreacted to a comment from Romney about returning the money he received from Freddie Mac comparing Romney’s business dealings while at Bain Capital. Gingrich should’ve done what any capitalist would and simply stated he would not return money he earned in a legal and ethical way, but instead some of the old Gingrich boiled to the surface. Sometimes simply brushing off the attacks is the most “presidential” way to react.

Gingrich realized, a few days too late, that he should stick to a positive vision and called for the other candidates to run a positive campaign. Let the other’s fire their darts, defend yourself, but don’t mount a counter attack.

Romney has launched a new round of criticism against Gingrich, but rather than helping himself he’s drawing votes from Gingrich and helping Ron Paul. It’s expected that the former Massachusetts governor will pull out all stops attacking Gingrich in the Fox News debate Thursday where Gingrich is expected to be roundly criticized by all contenders. For all intents and purposes the debate could be renamed the Newt Gingrich Roast.

Gingrich has instructed his staff to avoid initiating attacks on other Republican candidates and the Speaker is smart enough to steer clear of the type of back and forth of this past week.

Romney is now knocking Gingrich as a D.C. insider and his commercial with Nancy Pelosi while his own political career is peppered with moderate to left-wing words and actions. If Gingrich wants to respond there’s plenty of videotape out there of Romney declaring his progressive views in his Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign.

Romney Says Gingrich Is A Career Politician

“Unlike Speaker Gingrich who spent his life in Washington, I spent my life helping create jobs,” Romney said on Fox News Wednesday.

The only problem with Romney’s words is that Gingrich has been out of government for more than a decade, created several businesses and many jobs. Defend Newt, don’t counter attack!

Romney’s campaign put out a web video today that hit a new high on the hypocrisy scale describing Gingrich as an unreliable conservative. The Romney campaign’s use of the clip of the climate change ad Gingrich once cut with House Democratic Leader Pelosi, something that has been addressed many times, advertises the Romney campaign’s desperation.

Romney’s all-out attack on Gingrich is going to make Newt’s pledge to be positive difficult to keep up, but if Gingrich takes Romney’s bait he’ll end up on the short end. The negativity spewing from the Romney campaign is far more likely to punish the governor than anything Gingrich can fire back.

Polls in Iowa point to a closing of the race, but not in favor of Mitt Romney. The primary beneficiary appears to be Ron Paul, who has the strongest ground game. If the trend holds up it’s quite possible for Paul to win in Iowa, but a win for Paul would further degrade the significance of the Iowa Caucuses. While Paul’s libertarian views on economic matters might ring the right tone with some, his isolationist views would not allow him to get the GOP nomination; it might send a message, but nothing more.

Romney’s desperation attack ads in Iowa cost money that Mitt could better use in New Hampshire. Gingrich’s closing of the New Hampshire primary is a far greater threat to Romney than Iowa where expectations were low. If Romney doesn’t win in New Hampshire he might as well pack it in. If voters know one thing it’s that if Romney can’t win in New Hampshire, and win big, he has no chance against the Obama machine; anything less than a double-digit victory in New Hampshire is terminal for the Romney campaign.

While Wednesday Romney said the primaries may go on for months he also knows that if he doesn’t win convincingly early he faces primaries in the South with an insurmountable delegate count that will quickly sink the Romney ship.

When asked about Gingrich’s meteoric rise Romney suggests Gingrich’s surge is no different that of Bachmann, Perry and Cain who sunk back in the pack in a matter of weeks. But national polls show Gingrich has risen considerably higher than the others and has maintained his frontrunner status far longer; plus the numbers would suggest that he’s already garnered the majority of Cain supporters.

Thursday’s debate will likely be Romney last chance to make up ground in Iowa and if he chooses to stick with the beat-Gingrich-to-death tactic it could be a very cold winter for the ex-governor.