On the vetting, have you noticed how the questions he receives are relative softballs compared to the questions to the other candidates (especially if those candidates are up in the polls?). At the Fox News debate in Sioux City, Newt was asked this by one of the "moderators", Megyn Kelly:
Speaker Gingrich, let me start with you. You have proposed a plan to subpoena judges to testify before Congress about controversial decisions that they make. In certain cases, you advocate impeaching judges or abolishing courts altogether. Two conservative former attorneys general have criticized your plan, saying it alters the checks and balances of the three branches of government. And they used words like "dangerous," "outrageous," and "totally irresponsible." Are they wrong?
And after he answered the question pretty directly the follow up was:
When I watched it live, it was obvious that Megyn Kelly was obviously relishing being able to repeat "dangerous", "outrageous" and "totally irresponsible" even adding by herself, "ridiculous". I don't think I have seen such a slanted question from a Fox moderator in a GOP debate before that was so obviously meant to hurt the candidate. Then when Megyn Kelly went to Bachmann her question had nothing to do with Bachmann but was actually about Gingrich:
What of the former attorney general? [applause]
These are conservative former attorneys generals who have criticized the plan, as I say, dangerous, ridiculous, outrageous, totally irresponsible.
Do you agree that the Ninth Circuit should be abolished? And if so, what would then happen if a Democratic president came into office and we had a democratically controlled Congress that later took aim at the right-leaning federal courts. Where would it end?
When Romney's turn came there was a question about his choice of liberal judges for the court in Massachusetts, but no follow up questions (no mentioning of how it is "dangerous" to have liberal activist judges on the court). In fact, the next question was just a fluff question on who on the Supreme Court the people liked the most. Pretty much the entire debate was like this. The question before the one to Gingrich on judicial supremacy was one on his "right wing social engineering" comments he made in reference to Ryan's plan. For Romney it was "Over the next 10 years, in what sector or industries will most of the new jobs be created?" You've got to be kidding me.
Yes, Newt Gingrich is known for crazy ideas and it is definitely the right of journalists to ask about it, but then whey do they completely ignore Romney's record unless it is deliberate? How many questions did he get about his flip flopped abortion position? About his prior comments about being a progressive? About being against going back to Reagan-Bush (you can see the comments about being a progressive and anti-Reagan here) ? Or his record of raising taxes in violation of a no-tax pledge? Or signing a permanent assault weapons ban? Don't you think that would be something GOP voters would like to find out about? Also, he constantly claims that he created 100,000 jobs at Bain. Why has everyone taken this at face value for so long with no discussion about how he actually came up with that number of if it is even true? Perry had to explain a word written on a rock on hunting grounds he leased and Romney has not had to answer any questions about his actual record at Bain, which he claims is a major reason why people should vote for him?
RNME also seems to go out of its way to find reasons to vote for Romney. Take Fred Barnes' big piece on how Romney is "More Conservative Than You Think". This was just such a fluff piece which completely glossed over Romney's entire record as Governor of Massachusetts, focusing only on his current speeches. Fred Barnes writes:
To sum up, he's at least as conservative as his GOP rivals on jettisoning Obamacare and more conservative than some on entitlements, national security, and immigration. He's no match for Gingrich on taxes, but that's about it. Overall, he's to the right of Gingrich.
Really, the guy who is the only Governor to enact socialized medicine on the state level is more conservative than some of the other candidates on entitlements? Has Fred Barnes forgotten what an entitlement is? On national security, I really don't see how he is to the right of anyone other than Huntsman and Paul. He is a pretend hawk at best. He thinks we shouldn't have gone into Iraq, his big issue with our withdrawal from Afghanistan seems to be that we are taking troops out in September and not December. On Israel, his big criticism is that Obama criticized Israel in public and doesn't seem to want to promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem, despite the fact that it is clearly their capital. So Gingrich gets hammered about being on a couch with Pelosi while not actually promoting anything objectionable but Romney gets a pass after having a very liberal 4 year record as Governor?
Also, I think it is really rich (pardon the pun) saying a politician is better than you think based solely on the content of their speeches and not their record. As if politicians don't change their minds. We are talking about a guy who has flip flopped on just about every important issue at one time or another. This all reminds me of how some of my more moderate Republican friends said they were voting for Obama because he is a centrist. I pointed to his very liberal record and they excused it because he was from Chicago, just as people excuse Romney's because he is from Massachusetts. Well how did ignoring Obama's record work out? Obviously actual records matter.
RNME is also being completely intellectually dishonest in their attacks on Newt for his questioning of Romney's experience at Bain. Newt has a more aggressive plan to reduce taxes (personal and capital gains) and never actually said he wants anything that Romney did to be made illegal, yet somehow Newt is now in league with Occupy Wall Street for pointing out that Romney's experience at Bain hurt a lot of people. It's not a question of capitalism but of character. We are talking about a Presidential election after all. If Perry can get questioned about a rock on leased hunting grounds and Newt can get questioned about when exactly did he give his divorce papers to his first wife and exactly how much money did he make working for publicly traded companies, then Romney can get questioned about something that is the cornerstone of his candidacy.
Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post is a great case of a member of RNME who has become completely intellectually dishonest in this race because of her support for Romney (there actually is a great twitter account @fakejenrubin which openly mocks her Romney infatuation). She refers to Newt's anti-Bain attacks as "anti-capitalist" that "helps Democrats" and then writes on Twitter (in reference to the 30 minute film about Bain paid for by a pro-Newt Super PAC) "Sheldon Adelson who makes money off poor people gambling (disproportionately) paid for this schlock film". So if it's wrong to attack capitalism, why are you attacking a capitalist who actually made his money due to his own entrepreneurship and not through inheritance and financial engineering as Romney did? Sheldon Adelson made his money starting COMDEX, the first software trade show all the way back in 1979. Then he created one of the best casinos in Las Vegas, helped to create massive numbers of jobs by providing a service people actually want. So how can you defend Bain and attack that?
Another great example of her complete intellectual dishonesty is her defense of Romney's decision not to promise to move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. She lauds him for "not pandering" despite the fact that she lauded others for promising the same thing in the past. A great article on this, titled "Romney Tortures Jen Rubin" is here.
Anyway she is definitely not the only one. I don't seem to remember RNME going this batsh*t crazy over the comments that McCain made about Bain back in 2008. He said "as head of his investment company he [Romney] presided over the acquisition of companies that laid off thousands of workers." McCain's campaign manager said something similar when he said "He learned politics and economics from being a venture capitalist, where you go and buy companies, you strip away the jobs, and you resell them... And if that's what his experience has been to be able to lead our economy, I'd really raise questions."
I guess the difference is that back in 2008, McCain was more of the establishment figure and so RNME gave McCain a free pass on those comments just as they are giving Romney a free pass on, well, just about everything.
Anyway, there is nothing we can do about RNME though they are doing a great job in pissing me and other conservatives off. The only thing we can do is make up our own minds and not let these glorified English majors influence us too much.