Romney or Gingrich: Who Holds the Reagan Torch

If any of year have read anything I’ve written this election cycle for an extended period of time, then you understand that I have am not a huge Newt Gingrich supporter, and it is because of his record; and anything I say about him in the near future will be done in the light that this primary season has a one candidate left that the Republican establishment fears.

The Republican establishment that once said that Ronald Reagan is not electable, and George H.W. Bush was the party’s only chance at beating President Carter is now saying the same thing about Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is supposed to be the best chance the Republican Party has at beating President Obama, and Newt Gingrich is the guy that has little chance of doing so.

Now I must admit, their logic on this one is not as flawed as one likes to believe, Newt Gingrich has some very troubling things in his past, but the thing that many of those pundits and party elders are missing is that Mitt Romney also has some serious issues to overcome if he wants to gain the respect of the party’s base.

First and foremost, Romney is not well liked by the base of the party; which I would argue is much worse than not being loved by the rest of the nation. If Romney has yet to inspire the base after six years of running for president, there is not much of a chance the base will truly become inspired if he is the nominee; and if the base is not fired up to come out for a candidate, can we reasonably expect that the swing voters will see something to like.

Gingrich does inspire the base, and he last least has a chance at inspiring the swing voters. Have you ever seen anyone rise up and give a standing ovation to something Romney has said?

So what happens next will likely dictate what happens this November and beyond. The Republican establishment is not going to stay out of this one, and they will do all they can to try and get Romney the win. We have seen recently how they are attempting to attack Gingrich on his Reagan credentials; who can really blame them, if I was trying to plug a candidate that is how I would do it; he has really done a great job of captioning the essence of what Reagan meant too many people.

Some of the same people who are attacking Gingrich support Mitt Romney, who is the one that once stated that he was “an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush “I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush.”

They are now going to attack Gingrich because he was once critical of Reagan foreign policy in the mist of the debate.

Gingrich also contended that Reagan meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was “the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with Neville Chamberlain in 1938 in Munich.”

Here is the problem with those who attack Gingrich over this. When congress is having a debate over certain action, some people in the same party will not agree with everything that happens; this is normal, and this is how it is supposed to be. The ideas that get the most votes move on, the ones that do not become nothing more than campaign fodder if the people involved ever run for office again.

Gingrich obviously did not think what was happening was the best way to move forward, and he was wrong, but when you find a perfect person, then let me know. In hindsight, Gingrich probably came around and realized that we indeed did the right thing.

Gingrich was clearly part of the Reagan revolution, and took it to new places once he became speaker. Did Newt make mistakes, yes, I’ve talked about them before, but making mistakes does not erase what was done right away form a person.

Nancy Reagan expressed this at the 1995 Goldwater Institute Dinner honoring President Reagan.

“The dramatic movement of 1995 is an out growth of a much earlier crusade that goes back half a century. Barry Goldwater handed the torch to Ronnie, and in turn Ronnie turned that torch over to Newt and the Republican members of Congress to keep that dream alive.”

Clearly Reagan must have had some affection for Newt Gingrich, and I am almost positive that today Reagan would be cheering the redemption of Gingrich today, after all the two men have made some of the same mistakes over the years.

What is Romney’s excuse though?

When Romney made his comments about not being a Republican during the Reagan/Bush years, he had the benefit of hindsight, he already knew how successful Reagan was, and how the country went on to see some very prosperous years because of the policies of Ronald Reagan; how the Soviet Union was defeated and the United States was left the lone super power. Romney was not on the house floor debating, he was trying to become a U.S. Senator so he could be on the floor debating. If he had felt the Reagan years were so bad then, what gives him the right to claim the mantel now?

In Romney loses Florida, I do not see him becoming the nominee, but if Newt loses Florida, then he will still have the south to depend on. The best thing that could happen to Romney is for Santorum to stay in this race; he will not win any more states but he may do well enough to keep Gingrich from running away with this.

Look, no one can really say what Reagan would do right now if he was alive and able to endorse one of the candidates, but out of the three we have left, Newt Gingrich clearly holds the Reagan mantel.