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Right Turn
Posted at 08:30 AM ET, 01/23/2012

A worse nominee than 2008?

In 2008, the Republicans nominated for president a grouchy old guy (who looked old enough to be Barack Obama’s father) famous for bucking his party on cap-and-trade, wanting to liberalize its stance on immigration and frustrating conservatives by siding with liberals and adopting their rhetoric. So in 2012, the Republicans are considering nominating for president a grouchy old guy (who looks old enough to be Obama’s father) who bucked his party on cap-and-trade, wants to liberalize its stance on immigration and has often frustrated conservatives by siding with liberals and adopting their rhetoric. Let it never be said that Republicans learn from their mistakes.

In the Tea Party era, a lifelong politician and lobbyist (more about that in a moment) running as an “outsider” won the South Carolina primary. David Gregory on “Meet the Press” confronted Gingrich with this apparent contradiction:

MR. GREGORY: You are running against the establishment, you’re trying to run as an outsider. You talk about housing in Florida. You were a consultant or depending on your point of view, a lobbyist. . .
REP. GINGRICH: Right.
MR. GREGORY: . . .for one of the mortgage giants. I’m wondering how you think you win that inside/outside game given. . .

ThenGingrich went into his “I’m not a lobbyist” routine, which has long since failed the laugh test.

No matter how many times Gingrich says it, his assertion is still false. Multiple Republicans attest to his face-to-face lobbying with the entire GOP conference on Medicare Part D. Other lawmakers attest to Gingrich’s direct lobbying for Freddie Mac. And even aside from these blatant instances the “strategic advice” he gave clients on how to sway Republicans is precisely the sort of “lobbying activity” that makes one, well, a lobbyist.

So let’s get this straight. Gingrich embodies many of the attributes that made Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) a weak nominee and anathema to the right. His only experience in a leadership role that was a disaster. Plus, he’s made millions influencing government, but refuses to concede he engaged in lobbying. Oh, and he supported a federal individual mandate until quite recently. This is who the conservatives have come up with as the not-Romney?

This is pathetic, and I haven’t even touched on his personal baggage. If the right is serious about coming up with an electable, more conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, they’d better rally around Rick Santorum or find a late entrant. The guy they have picked has the worst qualities of McCain, Obama and Tom Daschle (who also refuses to be dubbed a lobbyist).

By  |  08:30 AM ET, 01/23/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign

 
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