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EDITOR OF REDSTATE

Are Conservatives Ready to Forgive Newt Gingrich His Sins?

I am now officially a self-declared member of the “Not Romney” camp. I will absolutely, positively support Mitt Romney should he win the GOP nomination, but I believe the GOP would meet certain doom if he is the nominee. Therefore, should Gingrich be the only other choice, I’d side with Gingrich over Romney.But I think in the next few weeks conservatives must ask themselves if they are ready to forgive Newt his sins. I’m not talking about his adultery and wives. I’m not really even talking about his ego. What I am talking about is only tangentially related to his sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi.It was, after all, Newt Gingrich who advocated for an individual mandate long before Mitt Romney ever did. Gingrich has, like Clinton before him, been a “third way” fan of new fangled ways to do things. The conservative warrior people tend to think Gingrich is, often is not. Newt has a fascination with the shiny in policy and technology, hence the latest oppo drop on Newt that he once praised Donald Berwick, the Obama appointee chosen to oversee the death panels and shoving of grandparents over the medical cost savings cliff.To be fair to Gingrich, he was offering legitimate praise to Berwick way back when and Berwick’s own writings that Newt praised would be damning to Obamacare. But it is the first of many attacks. [UPDATE: A friend tells me I misread an email from him on this Berwick matter and, considering he is an expert, said I should note that the bit Berwick wrote that Newt praised actually was not good. In fact, he notes that Berwick is more extreme than Obama. Sorry for misreading the info.]The real issue for Gingrich is that he is the Great American Sisyphus, always rolling his political rock up a hill only to see it go tumbling back down. And unfortunately for many, when Newt reaches the top of the hill and his political career starts its roll back down the hill, many others get rolled over in the process.Gingrich is going to need to convince people he has changed. Conservatives must be ready to forgive him his sins. And as conservatives come to terms with Gingrich’s sins, they are going to be confronted by a man named Tom Coburn who wrote a book called Breach of Trust and a man named Robert Novak who wrote the foreword to that book. One excerpt will be particularly troubling to conservative activists currently enamored with Newt’s debating skills.

Gingrich either felt that he could not use his office to control spending or was not willing to lose his office to control spending. This goes to the heart of the matter: If your decisions are based on not losing a position, you cannot effectively serve the best long-term interests of the country.Sen. Tom A. Coburn M.D.;John Hart. Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders (Kindle Locations 1283-1285). Kindle Edition.

If Newt can withstand the rehashing of Tom Coburn’s book — a book that portrays Gingrich as talking the talk, but betraying the talk once in office — we may have our anti-Romney. If not, I think Rick Perry may yet have a second coming if he is ready. I say that having asked many callers to my radio show who are Cain supporters where they would go. Most say Newt. The others Perry. And if Newt implodes? They almost always say they’d go to Perry — Romney is rarely their choice.Some excerpts from Breach of Trust below the fold.

Coburn made his presence felt immediately. It became clear to him that Speaker Gingrich, House Majority Leader Armey and the rest of the Republican leadership were not what they pretended to be. They were revolutionaries in name only, content to take possession from the Democrats of the machinery of government and then run it virtually unchanged. That froze in place the system of pork barrel spending that young Woodrow Wilson described in Congressional Government more than 130 years ago.Sen. Tom A. Coburn M.D.;John Hart. Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders (Kindle Locations 55-58). Kindle Edition.

Gingrich talked a lot about the importance of listening, but he was often not interested in discussing our ideas. He had a saying on his wall in the Speaker’s office that he quoted often: “Listen, learn, help, and lead.” The freshmen later developed our own quote about Gingrich: “Fire, Ready, Aim.”Sen. Tom A. Coburn M.D.;John Hart. Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders (Kindle Locations 849-850). Kindle Edition.

Gingrich would receive our input, but he rarely took it seriously. He usually made us feel as if we didn’t have much value because we didn’t know anything about the political game in Washington. We were from the outside and wet behind the ears in terms of politics, and we obviously didn’t know as much about history as he did. It would not take long for us to become “the conservatives” to him.Sen. Tom A. Coburn M.D.;John Hart. Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders (Kindle Locations 850-853). Kindle Edition.

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