Part 1 of an OBJECTIVE GOP COMPARSION dealt with ELECTABILITY. This second part will discuss objective evidence of how they compare on
GETTING OTHER CONSERVATIVES ELECTED and
HOW THEY WILL GOVERN.
GETTING A CONSERVATIVE CONGRESS ELECTED
This is pretty easy if you look at what they accomplished while in office. Talk is cheap and if it was currency in this presidential campaign it wouldn’t be worth much more than generic Charmin.
Romney: Lost GOP seats and sent GOP registration to all time low. (You read that right. He actually INCREASED the number of Democrats in his state.) Romney does have the endorsement of an impressive number of GOP leaders - RINO’s and “conservatives” alike. However, he is able to buy loyalty as his PAC has done with numerous politicians like Nikki Haley. So there’s that. Unfortunately we have no record of him being able to do it with Democrat legislators. And his shunning of the heroes of the 2010 elections is a practice, it seems, of someone other than the Amish, since Romney has endorsed almost every non-Tea Party candidate up until he was running for office.
Santorum: Not only did he loose his race to a Democrat by historic margins in Pennsylvania, he was the #3 leader in the Senate and the Chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus lost over 30 House seats and 6 Senate seats giving the entire Congress to Democrat control. As Wikipedia says:
The Democratic Party won a majority of the state governorships and the U.S. House and Senate seats each for the first time since 1994, an election-year commonly known as the "Republican Revolution." For the first time in the history of the United States, no Republican captured any House, Senate, or Gubernatorial seat previously held by a Democrat.
He has won more caucus states than he has gotten EXISTING congressional leaders to endorse him, which tells you how highly thought of Santorum will be of those that will have to pass his legislation. One reason for this disdain is that he only distributed EIGHTEEN PERCENT (18%) of the money he collected from donors to help get conservatives elected – to ACTUAL candidate races. He did endorse Doug Hoffman in the famous NY-22, but not only refused to endorse Tea Party candidate Rand Paul over his Mitch McConnell RINO competitor – he also slammed the Tea Party in the process either confusing them or smear them with a Ron Paul association.
This is an interesting exchange. RedDogReport SLAMS Santorum for (again) NOT supporting the Tea Party candidate Chuck Devore over Carly Fiorina. Many of us were extremely disappointed in Sarah Palin for doing so – and the fact that Nikki Haley sold her support to Mitt Romney for a PAC donation proves that Sarah has some consistency problems on endorsing conservatives also.
Can someone tell me again how Gingrich gets slammed for temporarily endorsing and reversing a GOP candidate in a New York district and yet the guy who keeps undercutting conservatives by endorsing RINO’s like Arlen Specter and Christine Todd Whitman is the “true” conservative?
Santorum’s negative Trifecta: a terrible track record of helping conservatives over RINO’s; playing Scrooge with GOP campaign money; and, losing his own PA seat and the Senate in 2006.
Now in his defense he WAS extremely helpful in raising money for other Republicans. Not through his PAC, not through endlessly mentoring younger political prospects, no. By Lobbying. Tom DeLay style. This BusinessWeek article cites numerous sources saying that although he didn’t lean on lobbyists the way that sent DeLay to prison – it was clear what he wanted. And despite his pretense that he had nothing to do with it now, he told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:
“The K Street Project is purely to make sure we have qualified applicants for positions that are in town,” Santorum said, according to a November 2005 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story. “From my perspective, it’s a good government thing.”
I’ll just let the BW article make my point about our party’s most principled conservative:
A year later, Santorum disavowed the project during his 2006 re-election race as he faced fire from Democrats who said it was part of a “culture of corruption.”
“We don’t have a K Street Project,” Santorum said, according to a Washington Times report in January of that year.
And although we don’t have similar tales of Santorum developing public servants who might become the next Jim DeMint or Paul Ryan he did create jobs:
…at least 23 of Santorum’s former aides left Capitol Hill to become lobbyists, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political giving.
Gingrich: The worst slam against Gingrich is the lie that he was “thrown out” of the Congress because he lost 5 House seats (zero Senate). That alone is far more successful in political seats lost even without comparing approval ratings. When Gingrich left office, the Congress he engineered had a 60% approval rating and it was the only time (besides directly after 9/11) Congress has EVER broken 50%. And that would give Gingrich the firm edge without considering these accomplishments by Gingrich:
- Engineered Conservative Opportunity Society with Paul Weyrich that coordinated a strategic conservative attack on the liberal congress for the first time in the modern era.
- Personally took down Jim Wright of Texas as the Democrat Speaker of the House risking his entire political career.
- Despite reservations by the ENTIRE GOP party, Gingrich set in motion a plan to create a permanent conservative movement.
- Took over GOPAC and created a conservative training system parts of which are still in use today.
- Delivered more money than any congressional leader before him.
- Engineered Contract With America and took control of House for first time in 40 years on the par of the historic Benjamin Disraeli.
- Passed extensive conservative legislation while GROWING Congressional approval for the GOP.
- Presided over the greatest influx of Republican voters in history during his leadership as Congressman, Minority Whip and Speaker. Note: Gingrich markedly IMPROVED the GOP favorability even over Reagan’s historic levels.
One of the most notable examples of how effective his leadership was is observing Congress after he left. It reverted back to the RINO policies of old, unwilling to stand up to George Bush 43, and running up trillions in debt.
Do I even need to go into the various public speaking and political efforts Gingrich did to battle ObamaCare, Tarp, support Palin against attacks by Obama press when the other candidates weren’t giving press interviews? Why even summarize the obvious?
While Rick Santorum was withholding support from Rand Paul and falsely smearing him with his father’s followers, Gingrich was ORGANZING tea parties like this:
(Santorum’s statements are not edited here to show the originating question about libertarianism, but does clearly show him criticizing the tea party via that element, saying NOTHING to support it, and supporting the RINO McConnell candidate against the Tea Party candidate.)
WHAT KIND OF PRESIDENT WILL THEY MAKE?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Obama didn’t magically morph into anyone other than who he had ALWAYS been as an Illinois state and US Senator. George Bush didn’t magically become Bill Buckley, Jr because Karl Rove put a Ronald Reagan Halloween mask on him with a Milton Friedman voiceover. All of these candidates have very clear records of what they did previously despite WHATEVER promises they may make. The fact that George Bush 41 promised “no new taxes” after (we thought) he was converted by basking in the reflection of Ronald Reagan, PROVES we can not trust ANYTHING they say.
The track record of each has been covered extensively as in our Mitt v. Newt article and Santorum pro and con. I especially like Steve Deace’s comparison of Mitt vs. Newt and Chuck Norris’s comparison of Newt vs. Santorum. But let’s be brutally honest. POLICY is important to Mad Prez Skillz but is ridiculously worthless if that Executive can’t:
- Communicate effectively (Bush on Iraq)
- Get bipartisan support (Obama on …everything)
- Defend negative attacks (See Bob Dole/John McCain as campaigners)
- Effectively RUN government (Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama)
- Is Perceived as being honest with Voters (See Nixon)
I think we can safely say BASED ON WHAT THEY’VE DONE, that the policy wise Romney will be RINO, Santorum will generally be conservative but bigGER government and Gingrich will try to continue the Reagan legacy. Their respective tax/economic proposals will be covered later here on PolitiJim but if “where the treasure is there their heart is also” it is a GREAT insight into who they really are:
Romney: Complex 59 point tax plan that is more conservative than current plans and will create enormous difficulties to get it all passed because of it’s complexity and potential politicking with lobbyists. (Wall Street Journal deems it “timid.”)
Santorum: Some pro-growth elements that will do nothing to reform the tax code, revenue imbalanced and likely impossible to get through Congress. This is primarily due to using the government to incentivize families and other “conservative social engineering” by tripling child credits. (The Tax Foundation D+ analysis).
Gingrich: Art Laffer endorsed “bold” flat tax plan liked by CATO, Heritage, WSJ and Forbes. In fact, Forbes believes it is the best possible plan among the candidates. It is derided by Kiplinger, EPI and others as “unrealistic.” (Funny, the same thing was said about Contract With America and a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives.) It was especially ironic to read the Kiplinger Letter critic who said “not much” of Contract With America was implemented. Not only is this factually and horrendously wrong, can you imagine what would be accomplished with any other politician who didn’t even try? Welfare Reform putting 2/3rds of welfare recipients alone make this a foolish and irresponsible statement. My take: Every plan meets resistance. If you aim for the stars, you’ll hit the moon. If you aim for the barn, you’ll hit the ground. It seems a lot of these groups want to aim for the ground and will end up shooting themselves in the foot.
Romney: Seemed to run a good company at BAIN Capital. Although we now know that public money helped make the Olympics a success, the bottom line is he still turned it around. In Massachusetts, he had two seemingly good years fiscally before giving up and spending 220 days out of office his final year running for President. He manipulated the government by Executive Order to implement gay marriage and engineered (with same people who did ObamaCare) RomneyCare. He can get things done, except numerous conservative items like tax cuts he couldn’t get passed. Bottom line; he knows how to manage people to the point where Washington DC would enjoy some minor course corrections but would basically end up Bush 3.
Santorum: This is tricky because his only record is of a very good lawyer, legislator and lobbyist and the only executive positions he held were on boards of companies that had “issues” and a charity that couldn’t give straight. He is in many ways a more experienced Barack Obama who has never really managed any operation or implemented any LARGE idea as an executive. He knows a lot about making laws and quite a bit about foreign policy. And we suspect that is exactly what we would get: A lawyer who thinks that passing legislation is “leading” without any real vision or strategy. While he might even have a bold idea (despite attacking 999, Michelle Bachman/Jim DeMint’s “hold the line” and other "grandiose” ideas) – it seems he is almost too much of a pessimist to motivate others. I don’t think it would be fair to say the crew would throw him overboard, but I don’t think he knows HOW to do major reform by leading a country and a group of egotistical politicians.
Gingrich: He was so effective in managing, leading and implementing as Speaker that Time Magazine called him a defacto executive. He will be the bullseye of Soros, MSM, the Democrat party and probably even comedians – but then again, what Republican hasn’t been? He did engineer an amazing feat with a Democrat President and Senate and we literally have no one else who has done the same.
Commander in Chief and Crisis Management
Romney: He oversaw the Massachusetts national guard which is probably about as extensive as the first mob uprising at Faneuil Hall. He has interacted with post 9/11 security concerns with the Winter Olympics and knows how to manage and make decisions.
Santorum: Rick Santorum has met 3 Commander in Chief’s. Having oversight of Foreign policy isn’t the same as leading or managing troops let alone creating architecture of battle or even armed services preparation. The good news is that if the military didn’t turn on Barack Obama, it’s a good chance Santorum would make it through his presidency alive.
Gingrich: The longest lecturing professor at the War College including a 30+ year span of training Admirals and Generals. A student of military history and strategy since being drug around the world with his army father and family as a little boy. He reads military strategy FOR FUN and is friends with people like Benjamin Netanyahu and other world leaders.
Of course the final issue involves intangible issues of communication and execution of presidential duties. Romney and Gingrich have shown they are competent leaders. Santorum simply hasn’t been in that position yet to grade him.
Somewhere in the bag of skills we see the need for a combination giving hope for America to make bold steps while reassuring them that “change” won’t be the Obama brand. They need to not give in to political pressure like George Bush 41 did on tax increases while still being able to cut the deals you could as was the “magic” Heritage founder Paul Weyrich saw in Newt Gingrich as Speaker. There has to be a “leader” quality we saw in George Bush 43 during 9/11 with the ability to keep in touch with the American people as Bill Clinton despite his numerous personal troubles.
Romney: It was interesting that Romney used the word “resolute” to describe himself in the last Arizona debate, since the hundreds of clearly documented flip flops show is ACTIONS to be anything other than politically expedient. In fact, he clearly lied about not ordering Catholic hospitals to dispense the morning after pill. So if by “resolute” you men firmly committed to say whatever it politically expedient – then sure. Since Michael Jackson’s “BAD” is good and “wicked” is somehow supposed to be excellent, perhaps he is just a victim of cultural confusion. We already see how our allies have disengaged America because of the same proclivity of our President and I think many of us have a right to be concerned about his trouble in telling the truth. My take: Romney would have be as strong and directional as the current political wind as he was in Massachusetts. I see him EXACTLY like John Boehner was during the debt ceiling debate where he would talk tough – then immediately capitulate to the old Establishment without having the resolve as Jim DeMint and Michele Bachmann did to “hold the line.” These kinds of people score quick political victories but have no true core or sense of purpose to keep guiding people toward the right goal – since their goal is only to follow the people – not lead them.
Santorum: I have an “Apology to Santorum supporters” coming later this week since I feel I have been extremely harsh on the past Pennsylvania Senator. I see the warning signs that the Wall Street Journal discussed yesterday, and actually feel he would be stronger on conservative values than Romney, but without any remote ability to communicate his ideas and gather support around them. The fact he can’t even get more than 3 congressman to endorse him EVEN NOW THAT HE IS THE FRONTRUNNER is a terrible warning sign of acknowledged leadership problems. My take: I’ve hired my share of employees in business over the past 20 years including some who started major corporations and ran them. You get a “sixth sense” about capability after getting burned a few times that differentiates “doers” from “talkers” from “BS’ers” to “safety first politicians.” There is ALWAYS negatives in everyone’s past. If you don’t make mistakes you never learned how to handle to risk. If you never learn how to handle risk – you either are foolishly risky – or to protective and get nothing meaningful accomplished. Santorum is one of those guys I’ve hired that is a bomb that will absolutely explode in your face at the wrong time. Could you get lucky? Yes. But the dire state of the world, the nation and a blank slate generation will either have something to aspire to, or fall further into cynicism or socialism – if they don’t see conservatism and capitalism work.
Gingrich: I like that Newt Gingrich doesn’t promise he won’t make mistakes. That is a huge sign of maturity. I like the fact that he isn’t afraid to talk about going to moon to try and recapture the imagination MY GENERATION grew up with that turned disinterested troublemakers into engineers and responsible adults. He’s actually DONE everything we need to be done economically, in government reform, in inspiring others to our cause and even in slowly moving those who don’t want to toward the RIGHT goal. Moreover, he’s been planning this since he was 15 years old. And teaching it to people like Rick Santorum whose first instruction in politics came from Newt Gingrich. It is interesting to go back to those who knew him during and after his position as Speaker of the House. The GOPAC founder, the Moral Majority founder, even some who support Romney out of convenience (or bribes – we don’t know) all agreed that the Presidency was the correct place for him all along. The slam of the Democrats when he was in power was not just that he was acting like the President – he was being more effective than theirs! Imagine what would happen if he actually had the job.