As I hear more and more comments questioning how anyone could possibly choose Mitt over Newt, I’d decided explain what was the deciding factor for me in making this choice. Please note that this doesn’t mean that if he wins I won’t support Newt in the general – Obama is the worst president I’ve ever seen (granted I am younger then some here, but still) and I know my duty. But this is why I haven’t been able to get behind Newt.
Mitt was not my first choice, or my second. And believe me, since I’ve joined team Mitt he has repeatedly tried to convince me I’m backing the wrong horse. At times I’ve been tempted to throw up my hands and support team SMOD and be done with it. And I still reserve the right to change my mind and switch – and I have been sorely tempted. But one particular issue has kept me from jumping on the Newt bandwagon.
I can look past the adultery. I never really bought his Come to Jesus moment – somehow the idea that a “the other woman” can lead you into a better understanding of God and a stronger relationship with him just never passed my BS detector. When (only a year ago) he tried to blame his cheating on his great love for his country it confirmed it to me. But I don’t demand my candidate be a saint. I’d certainly like them to be a little closer then Newt is, and I think it hurts us when we argue about how character matters, but I can deal with it.
I can, if need be, get over his strongly pushing for an individual mandate – Romney passed such a law in Mass. I can look past the times he’s gone against conservative thinking or the flip-flops, Mitt has done the same and worse. And even the crazy ideas he sometimes comes up with. All this I could look past. I would really, really like not to have to overlook these issues, and usually would not, but with the choices we have…. what are gonna do? Stay home? Not this guy. It is what it is.
Now people decide to run for President for a number of reasons. The best reason is that they really don’t have a strong desire to be President, but don’t see a better option out there. I’d say Huntsman or Perry would be a good example of this. Some candidates run knowing they have no shot, but want to push the conversations, and the candidates, in a certain direction. Without endorsing any of his ideas, Ron Paul is the obvious example of this, but I’d also say I suspect Santorum knew that a guy beat badly in a Senate race wasn’t going to win the nomination but knew he could put a bigger focus on family values. Romney appears to be running for no reason other then he really, really wants to be President. Whether that’s to do something his dad couldn’t, trying to be the Mormon who breaks the glass ceiling, just a rich guy looking for a challenge, or something else, I don’t know. Being President seems to be his motivation.
Newt appears to have gotten in the race to make a buck.
I’m sure some will disagree, but all the evidence appears to point that direction. The deciding that going on a cruise was more important than campaigning for a guy who was near the bottom of the polls. When he could be bothered to campaign it looked exactly like a book tour – including pushing his books whenever he got on TV to talk about the race. And pushing books to explain your views does make some sense. But his choices of where he was “campaigning” on any particular day had no resemblance to a strategic plan of winning the race. He is also the guy who charged his own campaign over a quarter million dollars for an email list and for travel. It’s not uncommon for a candidate to use companies he has founded for his campaign and some of that money will obviously end up in their hands – but to have your campaign pay you personally? Other candidates spend large sums of their own money to run – Newt, who is trailing badly in the money race, does the opposite. To the extent that he is running seriously now, it appears to be no more then because he got his feelings hurt, and no one hurts Newt’s feelings and gets away with it.
Now I can hear some saying whatever his reason for entering the race, the fact is he is now the best candidate still standing. That his motives may not always have been great, but he did do a lot of good when he was speaker and could again. And I understand that logic. It makes sense. I can get why some people would choose to view it that way. But here’s the thing, Newt is a smart guy. He knows how bad things are. He knows how important it is that we defeat Obama. He knows how important the Republican nomination process is this year. He can see how much people are hurting in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. He can see how important it is for the future of the country. And yet he decided to use the Republican race to make a buck. And that just gets under my skin. It makes me see red. It infuriates me. His country is in trouble, and all he can think about is how he can use it to make money for himself. When you think of all the people who have died for our country, and he uses the race for the POTUS, in this environment, as a personal publicity tour… Oh that just gets to me.
Every candidate can see the problems facing this country and how serious they are. Some chose to run because they felt like they were the best option. Some knew they weren’t or knew they wouldn’t win, but felt that a topic that was important for our future wasn’t getting enough attention and they need to change that. Romney saw a challenge he felt he could tackle.
Newt saw a money making opportunity.
UPDATE: After reading the early comments, it’s clear that I wasn’t clear enough on one issue. I don’t believe Newt ran for a mire quarter million dollars – it’s not that money that I think got him in the race. That money just demonstrates to me that he wasn’t going all out trying to win the race. I believe this race was nothing more then a publicity tour for him. He wanted to get his name back out there and improve his book sales. That’s the scam I believe he was running. Other candidates were on stage to try to replace Obama. He was on stage to pimp his books and himself as an important and well connected guy, one whom might be worth paying as a not-technically-but-basically-is-a-lobbyist.