With so many sharks among the conservative commentariat joining the feeding frenzy by attacking Newt Gingrich, it’s refreshing when one of the most respected conservative pundits puts the matter in its proper perspective. Thomas Sowell on The Past and the Present:
In a world where we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available, the question is whether Newt Gingrich is better than Barack Obama -- and better than Mitt Romney.
Romney is a smooth talker, but what did he actually accomplish as governor of Massachusetts, compared to what Gingrich accomplished as Speaker of the House? When you don't accomplish much, you don't ruffle many feathers. But is that what we want?
Can you name one important positive thing that Romney accomplished as governor of Massachusetts? Can anyone? Does a candidate who represents the bland leading the bland increase the chances of victory in November 2012? A lot of candidates like that have lost, from Thomas E. Dewey to John McCain.
Those who want to concentrate on the baggage in Newt Gingrich's past, rather than on the nation's future, should remember what Winston Churchill said: "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." If that means a second term for Barack Obama, then it means lost big time.
If one chooses to, it’s easy to find flaws with Gingrich’s candidacy just as is with any of the other possible alternatives to Romney. But tearing down Newt doesn’t make Mitt any more palatable to conservatives. It seems if the strongest case for Romney is that he’s not as bad as Gingrich with this or Perry with that or Bachmann with another thing. And it’s true that Romney’s carefully calibrated positions and cautiously worded statements have allowed him to make his way through the campaign while making few waves or offending anyone. The question remains whether that’s what voters are looking for right now or if instead they’d prefer to take their chances with a candidate who’s not afraid to upset an applecart or two along the way.