You can understand that some in the conservative base desire a real conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. Really, how much is the conservative movement supposed to ignore?
He “had an average score of 61% (with 100% being a perfect score on supporting lower taxes and limited government). The average Republican score over this time period was slightly lower at 56%.”
He likes a lot of government meddling. In the aftermath of 9/11, he “proposed a six month, $1,000-per person tax credit for 50 percent of the cost of personal travel more than 100 miles from one’s home. The idea sounds nice, but just as Cash for Clunkers only expedited the purchase of cars people were going to buy anyway (at non-car buying taxpayers’ expense), [this] would only have subsidized trips people were going to make anyway, enabling a transfer payment to frequent travelers from families without the time or inclination to travel.”
That’s not all: His proposals at one time or another include: “A tax credit for the purchase of home computers used for educational or professional purposes; A $1,000 tax credit for low-income first-time homebuyers; Refundable tax credits for auto companies for the cost of flex-fuels cars, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and the development of hydrogen cars; Tax credits to encourage investment in biofuels and “renewable forms of energy.”; A permanent 50 percent tax credit for research and development, or at least for ‘companies that are willing to take on government’s grand challenges’ (for example, the first inhabitable moon base). A special business tax credit for ‘corporations that fund basic research in science and technology at our nation’s universities.’ ”
On energy he “would favor eliminating ethanol subsidies only after Congress mandates that everyone buy ethanol cars” and he “has also long endorsed a federal role in supporting renewable energy projects and the development of clean energy technologies.”
He has a track record of “supporting incumbents even when he had long been out of office himself, and doing so with a vigor and passion that is entirely inconsistent with the level of conservatism that the candidates themselves espouse.”
Oh, “he” isn’t Romney. It’s Newt Gingrich. The analysis is from Club for Growth, which has some very nice things to say about Gingrich as well — but with qualifications. For example, “Gingrich is best known for leading the 1994 ‘Republican Revolution’ that swept the GOP into the House majority for the first time in over forty years, and he deserves immense credit for that. His actual voting record in the House, however, was somewhat less stellar.” Or this: “From an economic growth perspective, Newt Gingrich is excellent on tax issues, except when he’s not.”
So the mystery remains: Why do some in the base feel Gingrich is the anti-Romney? As the Club for Growth put it: “Unfortunately, the problems in Speaker Gingrich’s record are frequent enough and serious enough to give pause. On two of the most important recent issues that confronted limited government conservatives (creating the new budget busting Medicare drug entitlement, and the Wall Street bailout), Gingrich was on the wrong side. His advocacy of an individual health care mandate is problematic. His penchant for tinkering with rewards for favored industries and outcomes shows a troubling willingness to use federal power to coerce taxpayers into his preferred direction. And his occasional hostility toward conservatives who do not share his desire to support liberal Republicans or to compromise on matters of principle is worrisome.” Really, of the six alternatives to Romney and Gingrich, you could pull a name out of a hat and find a more consistent and personally stable conservative.