November 11, 2011
Opinion: The case for Newt (and against Herman)
By now it is abundantly clear that Newt Gingrich is the best debater among the Republican Presidential Candidates. Some of Newt’s critics will grudgingly acquiesce to this fact, but still brush the legitimacy of the Gingrich candidacy aside, noting that he is an unserious candidate. However, Newt’s magnificent debating skills, his unmatched knowledge of American and political history, his tremendous command of the issues and his eloquent oratory skills should not be taken lightly.
The largest hurdle any Republican Candidate faces in a campaign is messaging. It is very difficult to articulate why conservative values and policies are superior to liberal ones. Liberals get to self-righteously tell the electorate all the things he or she will give them, if elected. Liberals, for better or worse (worse), are known as those who care about the poor, the needy and the environment. As Obama recently noted, “Then you’ve got their plan [the Republicans], which is, let’s have dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance. So far at least, I feel better about my plan.” Remember Howard Dean on Meet the Press a few years ago: “Our moral values, in contradiction to the Republicans’, is we don’t think kids ought to go to bed hungry at night.” Conservatives are consistently stereotyped as mean, greedy, racist, xenophobic, homophobic; the list goes on and on. This is what conservatives face in every election.
In such circumstances, it is essential for the Republicans to nominate someone who can effectively communicate why conservative values are better than liberal ones—not just economically, although, of course they are, but morally, as well. Newt Gingrich does this spectacularly, and with historical examples to support his claims. Can you imagine Obama versus Newt in a debate?
That great intellect and debating skills are essential for the next Republican nominee immediately renders Rick Perry and Herman Cain unelectable (of course, I would vote for both of them over Obama in a heartbeat).
I’m sorry, but I’ve never been a big fan of Herman Cain. Yes, he’s refreshing and bold, and has a great energy about him. But, I agree with Tucker Carlson, who recently said that Herman Cain is “not qualified” to be President. And this has nothing to do with the recent sexual assault allegations against him.
Herman Cain has made mistakes that, if a democrat had made in similar circumstances, would have been greeted with a unanimous uproar from the right, mocking the candidate as a joke. I’ll give a few examples: Cain’s not knowing what the Palestinian “right of return” was on Fox News Sunday was unacceptable. On Meet the Press, he admitted he was not familiar with the Neo-conservative movement. And did any of you catch the Gingrich/Cain debate a few nights ago on CSPAN? Cain was asked about “defined benefit plans” with regards to Medicare, and passed the question to Newt, as he clearly had no idea what the moderator was asking. Everyone laughed it off, but really? This is who conservatives want to be represented by in a Presidential election against Obama? Someone who makes Obama look like Henry Kissinger with regards to knowledge about international affairs?
The left constantly demeans the right as stupid, shallow, and unintelligent, not being able to grasp the nuance of certain complex issues. Herman Cain feeds right into this stereotype. Obama would destroy Herman Cain in a debate, no question.
Unfortunately, I feel like many on the right who zealously support Herman Cain for President, are doing what we always accuse the left of; that is, engaging in soft racism. The left routinely does not hold blacks up to the same standards as whites, as is apparent through affirmative action, and plenty of other examples. Are some on the right doing the same with Herman Cain? Are we not holding him up to the same standards we would a white candidate because he is black? This is the soft bigotry of low expectations.
As far as Rick Perry is concerned, well, after the last debate I don’t think I need to say anything to convince you that he is not the man for the job.
Yes, I know Newt has a less than stellar record in his personal life, but he has admitted to his mistakes and has asked for forgiveness. I think in this election, more than ever, people are going to be most concerned with who has the ability to fix America’s very serious problems, not either of the candidate’s personal lives. That leaves us with Romney versus Newt. Your call.