One thing you can say for the South Carolina primary: It has woken up Mitt Romney. In Spartanburg, Romney went on a tear:

Romney is often accused of having no core beliefs. But in fact, when he talks in defense of the “profit motive” and defends risk takers, he is, to a greater degree than we usually see, speaking from conviction.

And there is the irony, of course. Newt Gingrich doesn’t actually believe what he is saying. The Romney team is thrilled to send around this clip, in which Paul Levy sings Bain Capital’s praises but also speaks to Gingrich’s abject hypocrisy. “No one praised private equity, risk taking and [capitalism] more fulsomely than Newt Gingrich.” That’s hardly surprising, since nothing in Gingrich’s past actions or speeches, or his own personal business dealings, suggests he has a problem with private-equity firms. In fact Gingrich himself was a paid adviser to Forstmann Little, a private-equity firm. (Another historian’s gig?)

Interestingly, Democratic financial guru Roger Altman appeared on CNBC, calling the attacks on private equity “a false issue on most levels.” As he points out, it is “as old as the Phoenicians.” In taking up these attacks and repeating untruths over and over, Gingrich lowers the public discourse and makes it apparent that the only principle he holds dear is self-advancement.

Generally, Republicans don’t vilify one segment of the marketplace. No, this is sheer opportunism, as is much of what Gingrich says and does.