I am somewhat mystified — and dismayed — by the spectacle of a lot of so-called conservatives who weren’t around in the 1980s dropping Ronald Reagan’s name to promote themselves while they go about slandering Newt Gingrich who, like my dad, was there in the ’80s and ’90s and also helped him elect more Republicans than anyone else in recent memory.
It’s long been an unfortunate characteristic of too many Republicans to engage in internecine warfare — standing in a circle as they fire volleys at each other. The current fashion of the day is to take aim and fire at one of the GOP’s most storied and valuable members, doing Obama’s work towards destroying Newt Gingrich in advance of the 2012 presidential election.
They seem to forget — or simply ignore — my dad’s 11th Commandment, that Republicans must refrain from publicly speaking ill of one another. After all, the other party sufficiently fulfills that function without any help from Republicans.
As leader of GOP forces in the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich was the party’s leading warrior — a politician who never feared to speak his mind. Naturally he made enemies, some within his own party. And it is those enemies and their successors who are out to get Newt’s scalp today. Moreover, it is important to remember that Newt was Ronald Reagan’s champion on Capitol Hill. My father knew and appreciated that fact.
Look, I know that Newt has rubbed a lot of his fellow Republicans the wrong way, but that is the inevitable result when a leader does his job. He simply can’t satisfy everybody, and those who attempt to do so comprise the GOP’s wobbly liberal wing.
Leading the charge against Newt are supporters of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. They do the governor no favors by linking him to the GOP’s small but vociferous liberal wing, which doesn’t like warriors. Newt is a warrior who cherishes any opportunity to go into battle, flags flying.
This being an election year, we can expect various factions of the GOP to seek to modify the tenets of traditional Republicanism. They prefer to shrink away from any hard fighting. Newt is the exact opposite; he relishes the joys of hard combat on behalf of conservative American principles. That upsets some of his fellow Republicans, who are more like the mother who asks what her children are doing upstairs, and when told they are engaging in some horrible behavior says, “That’s nice, don’t fight.”
Newt fights. Real Republicans need fighters, not mealy-mouthed compromisers who shrink away from any form of combat. He may stray away from what many of his GOP colleagues consider proper Republican behavior. But Newt is ready and able to take the fight to Obama, and he will win that fight unless the compromisers have their way.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press, 2011). He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his website at www.reagan.com, or e-mail comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.
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