While wondering around Facebook and Twitter yesterday, I saw quite a few of my conservative friends — proud members of the anti-Romney faction in the Republican Party — pointing to video from 2006 where then Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was preparing to sign RomneyCare into law.
The reason the video is getting play is because Romney notes that he collaborated with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) in pushing the law through, obviously a moment that’ll make many Republican groan, and rightfully so:
The Massachusetts healthcare reform law, which — as we’ve noted many times here before, including today, served as the template for Obama. But conservatives that hammer Romney on this issue and push Newt Gingrich as the alternative are conveniently forgetting that he supported many of the same ideas that became part of RomneyCare, and later ObamaCare.
Over the weekend, Verum Serum posted audio from a May 2009 Center for Health Transformation conference call where Gingrich very clearly calls for some form of a requirement on individuals to purchase health insurance coverage:
If libertarians don’t want the Republican establishment to choose this year’s GOP nominee, a brokered convention is the last thing they should want.
Writing at The Fiscal Times, Ed Morrissey takes on conservatives who are hoping for a brokered Republican convention this year, arguing that a brokered convention is not only unlikely but undesirable because it would pave the way for the GOP establishment to choose a nominee who is more to their liking. Morrissey writes:
But let’s say for the sake of argument that no one candidate has a majority of the delegates, and none manages to wangle (sic) a majority on the first ballot at the convention. How does this benefit conservatives, who have fought the “establishment” that has pushed Romney for the nomination? The nominating process will then fall into the hands of the Republican National Committee, comprised of state party chairs and other power brokers, where the Tea Party has little or no influence. The fantasy in this case will be that the assembled party bosses and delegates, many of whom are part of state-party establishments, will crown a completely new candidate.
Who would that candidate likely be? It’s not going to be Sarah Palin or Herman Cain, who are the antithesis of this kind of back room wheeling and dealing and who aren’t necessarily trusted by the people negotiating the question. Assuming that it’s not one of the candidates who couldn’t close the deal in the primaries, it might be Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, or another establishment figure that chose not to run and get vetted in the first place.
Seeking to remain relevant in Republican politics, Herman Cain endorsed Newt Gingrich, in what couldn’t have been a more predictable move:
The move by the former GOP candidate and tea-party favorite comes three days before the Florida primary, at a moment when Gingrich is badly in need of something to rekindle the momentum he gained in the wake of his South Carolina primary victory.
“I had it in my heart and mind a long time,” Cain said of his endorsement, appearing with Gingrich at a Republican fundraiser. “Speaker Gingrich is a patriot. Speaker Gingrich is not afraid of bold ideas.”
Gingrich joked, “I had no idea it would be this interesting an evening.”
Cain is the latest in a series of popular conservative figures to back the former House speaker, while much of the GOP establishment is marshaling against him. Among Gingrich’s other recent supporters are former Alaska governor Sarah Palin; his onetime presidential rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry; and former senator Fred Thompson (Tenn.).
Cain backed Romney in 2008, but both he and Gingrich are from Georgia and it was obvious during the debates that they had had an affection for each other. And while the endorsement will be played up by anti-Romney conservatives, Gingrich’s actions as Speaker of the House, such as trying to diminish the influence of fiscal conservatives, are continuing to come under fire.
We’ve got another round of polling out of Florida showing that Mitt Romney is poised for a big win. Just a week ago it seemed that momentum was in Newt Gingrich’s corner, but two bad debate performances and a couple of gaffes, including one that brought Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) out of his isolation to stick up for Romney, badly hurt him.
Here’s a look at the latest polling going back to those that were released at the beginning of last week. these show the dramatic swing from Gingrich to Romney in just a few days time.
It’s pop quiz time. Which of the following sounds least like the description of a Washington, D.C. establishment candidate?
a) A former one-term state governor never elected to federal office who spent decades prior to running for public office as a businessman in the private sector;
b) A former Speaker of the House who spent just eight years working as a college professor before serving for twenty years in the House of Representatives, who as Speaker was reprimanded and fined for an ethics violation, and who after resigning from Congress spent nine years as a paid consultant for Freddie Mac;
c) A former congressman and senator who spent just four years practicing law before serving for three years in the House of Representatives and another twelve in the Senate, who in 2004 offered a pivotal endorsement to an establishment squish (and later a party switcher) over a more conservative primary opponent, and whose work since leaving office has primarily included media commentary and political consultancy.
If you chose option a, you’re either a Mitt Romney supporter or perhaps simply an honest person. If you chose option b or option c, you’re probably a supporter of either Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum who refuses to face reality. Because RomneyCare and stuff. You may also be one of the unfortunate folks who in 2008 voted for either former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.), a big government social conservative, or Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), who had at the time spent 25 years in Congress following distinguished military service but no time working in the private sector. Because abortion. And maybe Mormonism, just a little.
Irony. It’s what’s for dinner.
In just a couple of days, Newt Gingrich went from the likely winner of Tuesday’s primary in Florida to the underdog. So what has caused support to swing away from him and back to Mitt Romney? Well, a few things. Many Republicans are coming out to criticize Gingrich for various things, such as his time as Speaker of the House and his criticism of Ronald Reagan. Then there was the bad press he received as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) took up for Romney when Gingrich compared him to Charlie Crist.
As you can see in the poll numbers that came out yesterday, a couple of days makes a world of difference in politics.
Since taking on Charlie Crist in the the Florida Senate race last year, Marco Rubio, who would go on to win the general election, has been regarded as a rock star in the conservative movement. With that comes a lot of influence, particularly among conservatives in his home state given that he could boost his party’s ticket.
So if you’re a candidate running in his state, you’d probably want to stay on his good side; but there is a right and wrong way to go about that. Apparently, Newt Gingrich is learning this lesson the hard way.
Gingrich, who is leading in most polls out of Florida, has been comparing himself to Rubio and Mitt Romney to Crist as a way to further peg his opponent as an anti-conservative. Rubio is apparently unhappy with what he see as an inaccurate comparison, as Jennifer Rubin explains:
We all know that Mitt Romney’s heath insurance reform plan, the centerpiece of which was the individual mandate, became the blueprint for ObamaCare. This source of much skepticism from conservatives and the Tea Party movement, and rightfully so.
For all of his faults, Romney isn’t the only Republican running to push for punitive taxes for those who haven’t purchased health insurance coverage.In fact, when Romney introduced the plan in 2005, the Boston Herald noted that Romney was “allying himself with influential conservatives such as former US House speaker Newt Gingrich, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, and the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation.”
The implication here is that Romney was coming to an idea that Gingrich was already backing (note the archived footage from 1993 in the video below). And it’s apparently one that Gingrich still holds. During his ill-fated interview with David Gregory on Meet the Press last May, Gingrich made it clear that he’s “said consistently we ought to have some requirement that you either have health insurance or you post a bond or in some way you indicate you’re going to be held accountable”:
With just a couple of days to go until the South Carolina Republican primary, we’re seeing some movement of the anti-Romney vote in the state back to Newt Gingrich as Rick Santorum falls back to earth.
This is reflected in several surveys, but to show you the numbers, here is a look at the last four polls out of South Carolina conducted by Rasmussen, who has done the most frequent polling in the state.
|1/18||31%||33% ||11% ||15% ||2%|
|1/12||28%||28% ||16%||16% ||6% |
What is exactly is happening to cause this second Gingrich surge? While Romney benefited from a fractured conservative base and many Republican voters accepting the “inevitably” of his nomination, recent strong debate performances and questions about Santorum’s fiscal conservatism and electability are bringing anti-Romney vote back into a one camp.
Gingrich will no doubt be aided by Perry’s withdrawal and endorsement even though his numbers weren’t all that great. The fiasco in Iowa, a state that Santorum seems to have now won — though some ballots have been lost, has showed us that every vote matters in this election. As I noted earlier, Perry’s supporters may just be what pushes Gingrich over the top in South Carolina.
CNN is reporting that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will drop out of the race for the Republican nomination today, just a couple of days ahead of the South Carolina primary, and endorse Newt Gingrich:
Rick Perry is telling supporters that he will drop his bid Thursday for the Republican presidential nomination, two sources familiar with his plans told CNN.
The Texas governor will make the announcement before the CNN debate in South Carolina, the sources said.
It was incredibly unlikely, given his poor debate performances and gaffes, that Perry would be able to make a comeback in the race. Perry had hoped for a decent showing in South Carolina, but polls there had showed him at the bottom of the pack.
Many influential conservatives had been calling on Perry to drop out of the race so the anti-Romney vote could coalesce behind Gingrich, who has been surging in South Carolina in recent days (I’ll have more on that later today).
Given Perry’s numbers may not be significant, but it could be just enough to put Gingrich over the top on Saturday.