Newt Gingrich is riddled with personal inconsistencies, but he has publicly acknowledged his failings before the American voters. In the January 19 GOP debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, he also acknowledged the folly of supporting a single-payer mandate while in Congress. Rick Santorum has also admitted to his wrongheaded support for No Child Left Behind. Ron Paul has changed his position on the death penalty. There is nothing wrong with changing one's mind, as long as one can offer a principled reason why.
Among the four candidates who have changed their views the most on fiscal and social policy in this country, there is no greater chameleon than Mitt Romney. His reason for changing is purely political
Yes, he took charge of a deep blue state as governor, which limited his capacity to enact free market reforms. However, rather than sticking to core conservative free market principles, Romney raised taxes, supported gun control, nominated pro-choice judges, and openly recognized and advocated for the rights of homosexual partnerships. And who can forget Romneycare? The Massachusetts health care mandate, and prototype for ObamaCare, is failing the very people who were expected to benefit from it.
Now the former governor cum future president has down a wicked about face to the right, claiming that he is the conservative standard bearer for the GOP. Unlike Newt Gingrich, who has waffled at times for personal gain, Mitt Romney appears to have no clear-cut values to begin with. He cannot run on his record of achievements in Massachusetts, many of which put him to the left of the GOP electorate, and in come cases to the left of President Obama.
He has not been persuasive as a candidate, beyond the faux-aura of inevitability which he has crafted for himself with money and key endorsements from other governors, including Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Chris Christie of New Jersey. Their endorsements fly in the face of the very caucus that brought the many of them to power, the irascible Tea Party voters who demand a conservative with a demonstrable record of hewing and proving fidelity to the cause of limited government. Those governors have chosen to play "See no evil" in supporting an establishment, but hardly established, presidential candidate.
Mitt Romney is a great businessman, but the United States government is not a business, pure and simple. Former New Jersey Governor Tom Corzine can vouch for the failure of CEO business savvy to turn a state around from bankruptcy to money in the bank. The United States federal government needs leadership, not acquiescence. Romney worked with a deeply Democratic legislature delivering mostly a more moderate version of an offensive ultra-liberal agenda. The GOP voters are waking up to this unavoidable truth, and they are turning down the most monied man in the race.
Newt Gingrich has been inconsistent, but Mitt Romney has no real consistency to deviate from. He is unreliable in policy and presentation, in sharp and more meaningful contrast to the former Speaker's past personal perversions.
Between an immoral manatee and an amoral moderate, at least the presentation of conservatism from Newt Gingrich is more inspiring and exhilarating. Mitt Romney has little to debate on. In the January 19 debates, Senator Rick Santorum pointed out the abject failure that Romney would be as the nominee for the GOP. Obama can criticize Romney's criticism of ObamaCare by pointing out that Romney supported -- and has not yet repudiated -- his own health care mandate in the Bay State.
Above all, this country wants to repeal that dreaded encroachment of the government into the health care industry. An amoral moderate cannot lead the fight to end ObamaCare. An immoral man can and already has.
Congressman Ron Paul is still my preferred candidate, a committed and reasonable libertarian who has towed the line and stuck to his views in the face of vocal unpopularity. Yet in the (now more likely) event that he does not secure the GOP nomination, I would support Newt Gingrich for president.