WASHINGTON, December 17, 2011 – There are many in the conservative electorate who have been desperately looking for a viable alternative to Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee. Many in the field have tried, and failed, to take and keep the lead position from Romney. The newest pretender is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who has passed Romney in the polls to become this month’s front-runner.
Ironically, Speaker Gingrich has more in common with Romney than any of the other candidates and is no real alternative to him.
In comparing Romney and Gingrich, it’s hard to see a dime’s worth of difference between them. Even Governor Romney had trouble coming up with differences during the Republican debate in Iowa last week. The best he could come up with were Gingrich’s remarks about child labor laws and his position on the space program. In other words, nothing important.
On some of the more crucial issues, both support the same liberal policies, such as healthcare mandates and the TARP bailouts.
These positions are more in line with President Obama than with true conservatism. Michele Bachmann might have been on to something with her nickname of “Newt Romney”.
The most striking similarity between the two, however, is that Newt Gingrich has also flip-flopped on many important issues. In previous debates, Newt Gingrich has exclaimed that anyone involved with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac during the housing bubble should have been criminally responsible for what happened.
“If you want to put people in jail, let’s look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment…” Yet as recently as 2007, Gingrich was strongly in favor of the status quo when it came to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and actually supported their basic structure.
“The housing GSEs have made an important contribution to homeownership and the housing finance system. We have a much more liquid and stable housing finance system than we would have without the GSEs … So while we need to improve the regulation of the GSEs, I would be very cautious about fundamentally changing their role or the model itself.”
Not only did the former Speaker stress the necessity of these mortgage giants, but he also received large sums of money from them as a consultant. Just as the housing bubble was getting ready to burst, Gingrich received around $1.6 million from Freddie Mac. Although he claims that he wasn’t a lobbyist, he received money from a company that was bailed out by the federal government, which means that he probably received taxpayer dollars. The hypocrisy behind these actions is just stunning.
Another troubling episode from Gingrich’s past is the unforgettable commercial he filmed with then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. In that ad, both Speakers advocated government intervention to deal with the issue of climate change. Gingrich essentially supported cap and trade. This is far from any position that could be considered remotely conservative.
One of the more disturbing flip-flops of Newt Gingrich’s career goes back to the 1980s, when he called Ronald Reagan an appeaser for talking to Mikhail Gorbachev. Now a self-proclaimed Reaganite, Gingrich praises the strength and courage of our 40th President for helping end the Cold War. Aside from the obvious and blatant pandering to Reagan conservatives, this is just intellectual dishonesty.
Much like Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich has perpetuated the myth that he is a conservative, but his record says otherwise. A conservative should not sing the praises of a government run housing company. A supposed supporter of limited government should not advocate government regulation over global warming, climate change, or whatever one wishes to call it. True conservatives would not have supported the TARP bailouts, or supported an individual mandate for healthcare, both of which were the biggest issues that sparked Tea Party movement into existence.
Even Gingrich himself has had harsh words for any politician who says one thing and does another. “It’s wrong to go around and adopt radically different positions because then people have to ask themselves, ‘what will you tell me next time?’”
In reality, even Newt Gingrich shouldn’t support Newt Gingrich.
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