About a month ago, many conservatives pounced upon Nikki Haley when she endorsed Mitt Romney and branded her as a traitor and RINO as though she is failing to govern South Carolina in a conservative manner.
I’ve asked it at the time and I’ll ask it again; where had Newt Gingrich been when these very conservatives including Nikki Haley and Marco Rubio challenged establishment Republicans in primaries in 2010? Why, he was busy endorsing others like Dede Scozzafava over tea-partier Doug Hoffman, Robert Bennet over Mike Lee, and so on. Not only has Newt chosen to support left-leaning candidates over Tea-partiers, he had repeatedly supported liberal legislation first as a Congressman and later as a private citizen.
The Drudge Report has become the number one news source for millions of conservatives who are refreshed to see news which the mainstream media fails to report. Drudge has linked to and helped make viral many liberal-exposures including Breitbart’s explosive Acorn videos.
Last week, Drudge had a headline about a network’s upcoming interview with a presidential candidate’s ex-wife; a news that would under normal circumstances be featured on every website. Although divorces are usually a messy business and many ex-spouses seek to slander their former spouse, it is only reasonable that voters will still want to hear what the candidate’s ex-wife has to say (taking it perhaps with a grain of salt) especially since the court documents regarding his first divorce have shown that Newt and not his wife had requested the divorce, contrary to his claims.
Drudge had come under heavy attack from Newt supporters for reporting this news, and Saturday night after Newt had won South Carolina, twitter was loaded with messages proclaiming Matt Drudge had lost. What has he lost? He owns a news site, and reported this piece news as he does with all other news.
Also, what’s wrong if he personally doesn’t support Newt (although I haven’t heard him say so)? It has come to the point that anyone who says anything not so complimentary of Newt, even when it’s the truth, is branded as in the camp for Romney. I, for instance, support neither Newt nor Romney. I support Rick Santorum. I’ve found it quite disturbing, though, to have been told by Newt that supporting Santorum is equivalent to supporting Romney. No, it isn’t and being told so won’t change that. I don’t support many of Romney’s policies of which Santorum has always held contrary views. I’m of the opinion that I will support the person who appears to me as the only principled conservative still in the race and I also feel that supporting Newt is similar to supporting Romney since they’ve held similar views on a majority of the issues. You may disagree with that, but don’t say I’m not allowed to support someone other than yourself.
It’s true that a huge chunk of conservatives are currently supporting Newt. However, that doesn’t mean one isn’t a conservative if he supports another candidate, including Romney. Furthermore, disagreeing with Newt doesn’t automatically mean the individual supports Romney; he may be supporting an alternative candidate such as Santorum or has not yet made up his/her mind.
Conservatives have already dumped Nikki Haley. They’ve blasted Matt Drudge for the past week. Now Rubio has become the target of attacks. What has Rubio done? Rubio hadn’t questioned Newt’s conservatism or dared discuss Newt’s past. He simply responded to an analogy that Newt had made which included Rubio. Also, after having been questioned about a specific ad, he responded that it was more befitted for a liberal with its false fear-mongering message to Hispanics (much in the manner Obama has engaged in the 2010 midterms). The Newt team apparently felt Rubio was in the right for it responded quite quickly and promised to pull the ad.
Newt is beloved by many for his sharp responses and hard-hitting answers. At times, though his remarks seem to follow liberal tactics or deliver a punch which is contradictory with conservative values, and he’s admitted as much. Just as he’d apologized for his fear-mongering comments on the Paul Ryan Plan as “right-wing social engineering” which hurt conservatism at a time when the left attempted to portray conservatives as throwing grandma off the cliff, so too, his portrayal of Romney as anti-immigration without differentiating between legal and illegal immigration has struck the wrong balance.
If we’re going to throw under the bus every conservative who utters anything anti-Newt I think we’ll need super-long tractor-trailers to fit everyone under. We should be able to understand that conservative opinion will be split in a primary and that not everyone will agree with your choice of candidate. That’s what primaries are all about. Let’s stop the trashing and bashing of conservatives solely because their opinion conflicts yours.
Abie Rubin blogs at The Thinking Voter and can be followed on twitter.