Iowans have a chance to get it right on caucus Tuesday. The last time that state made a significant political choice was in the battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They chose Obama. How is that working out for the country? If the Republicans there choose Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, or Rick Perry; they have chosen to make themselves irrelevant. None of these people are electable in the general election. Never again should any candidate spend time or huge amounts of money convincing the folks of Iowa about anything. They will have proven themselves too stupid for words.
The only real choice for a candidate that has a chance to beat President Barack Obama in the fall of 2012 is between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Obama has over a billion dollars to spend in attacking whatever opponent he may have. The Republican candidate had better be up to the task.
So, now the choice becomes real. On the one hand there is a candidate that really has never been confronted with hard questions or pressed on the issues. He has mostly gotten a pass from the electronic media. He has run for office multiple times with success in a couple. He was a one term governor although he wanted to be two. He has changed positions on several issues depending upon how the political winds were blowing. He has had significant success in private enterprise but not without blemish. Some claim he cost hundreds their jobs while creating jobs for others in the course of buying, closing, consolidating, and starting businesses. The Republican establishment wants this candidate on the ballot in fall 2012 and will do about anything to get him there. This candidate reminds me a little of a department store mannequin with not a hair out of place that changes clothes and positions on issues as needed. Mr. Nice Guy, Mitt Romney. One minus with him is that he does not seem to engender passion from Republicans. One plus — he does have a ton of money behind him.
On the other hand, there is Newt Gingrich. Here is a candidate that does have a serious track record. He has warts, scars, and bumps to prove it. He is real. His positions are clear and reasonably consistent. There is no doubt at all that he is up to the job of the presidency. Many may not like the way he did business in the past in Congress, but he was able to lead the charge to balance the budget multiple years and get welfare reform passed among other significant matters. Yes, some have griped about how he got it done — wasn’t mister nice guy all the time. He, too, is not without blemish. He has changed position on key issues over time. He has been through two wives and is now on the third. He has become a Roman Catholic and adopted the “no abortion” and anti-gay marriage positions which appear to be politically expedient positions for today’s Republicans. His coffers for future advertising and organization are lacking.
But, we don’t need a nice guy. We need a strong leader who knows what the hell is going on domestically, in the halls of federal government, and internationally. The social issues will need to wait. This country must get back on course financially and internationally. There is only one proven candidate on these two key issues — issues about survival of the United States of America — and he is Newt Gingrich. We will see if Iowans are smart enough to make this choice.