Is George Will just a Don Quixote tilting against the Gingrich windmill? Or is Gingrich just a windmill standing in his own breeze? Actually, Mr. Will’s approach to that question waxes in a slightly different metaphorical direction:
Gingrich might stop being (as Churchill said of John Foster Dulles) a bull who carries his own china shop around with him.
And, unlike many a commentating pundit, Will offers a substantive alternative to his rejection of both Mitt and Newt:
Jon Huntsman inexplicably chose to debut as the Republican for people who rather dislike Republicans, but his program is the most conservative. He endorses Paul Ryan’s budget and entitlement reforms. (Gingrich denounced Ryan’s Medicare reform as “right-wing social engineering.”) Huntsman would privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Gingrich’s benefactor). Huntsman would end double taxation on investment by eliminating taxes on capital gains and dividends. (Romney would eliminate them only for people earning less than $200,000, who currently pay just 9.3 percent of them.) Huntsman’s thorough opposition to corporate welfare includes farm subsidies. (Romney has justified them as national security measures — food security, somehow threatened. Gingrich says opponents of ethanol subsidies are “big-city” people hostile to farmers.) Huntsman considers No Child Left Behind, the semi-nationalization of primary and secondary education, “an unmitigated disaster.” (Romney and Gingrich support it. Gingrich has endorsed a national curriculum.) Between Ron Paul’s isolationism and the faintly variant bellicosities of the other six candidates stands Huntsman’s conservative foreign policy, skeptically nuanced about America’s need or ability to control many distant developments.
And, besides, what’s a Mitt ‘n’ Newt?
Following up on his Washington Post op/ed, Will commiserated with Laura Ingraham on her talk show about the sad state of Newt Gingrich:
If you happened to catch Ms. Ingraham’s comment regarding President Bush II and big government conservatism, you may wish to remind yourself that her position regarding Dubya since the early days of 2002 has reversed itself as is illustrated here. Nothing wrong with that. But, the contrast does highlight the fact that establishment Republicanism has little changed over the past ten years despite being buried by the political avalanches of a mostly disastrous Bush presidency; the West’s financial meltdown, economic stagnation and a possibly pending Eurozone collapse; as well as what’s shaping up to be a catastrophic Obama first term that was at least partially foster-parented by the GOP’s reluctance — or is it inability? — to play principled hardball. Will they ever begin to dig themselves out? The problem seems to be that most establishment Republicans don’t really want to.
I think it’s safe to say that we need more of the same from neither Mitt nor Newt. Nor anyone else for that matter.