Rush to Newt: Stop whining about negative campaigning

posted at 1:55 pm on January 30, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Who’s up for another establishment RINO taking a whack at Newt Gingrich for his complaints over getting outboxed in Florida?  Click the image to watch:

I’m with Rush on this point, and I’ll offer another data point for his argument.  After the first debate in Florida, Newt Gingrich complained about NBC’s actions to minimize audience reaction and “served notice” that he would not allow that to happen again.  Of course, the general election debates don’t allow audience reaction either, which made Gingrich’s “great debater” argument somewhat suspect after offering that excuse — but what came next was a headscratcher.  After Mitt Romney outclassed Gingrich in the second Florida debate on Thursday and clearly had the crowd behind him, Gingrich’s team then griped that Romney had “stacked” the audience.

Gingrich isn’t mad that Romney and his allies are running attack ads where Gingrich and his allies aren’t; they’re mad that they have a lot more money to spend in doing so.  There isn’t anything wrong with negative campaigning per se anyway, as long as it’s honest, and in this campaign, the inaccuracies and cheap shots have gone in both directions.  As Rush says, if Newt’s whining about this, how can we expect him to handle what a billion-dollar campaign will lay out against him in the fall?

On Rush’s last point, though, I’ll disagree.  Romney has a streak of ruthlessness behind that cool exterior that has been on display now for weeks, and I’m sure came in handy in his private-equity career, too.  He’s a lot less likely to relax his bite on the jugular than John McCain was, who spent far too much time worrying how he would be perceived in the media for attacking Barack Obama.  Plus, Romney doesn’t have to delve into the subjects of 2008 to hit Obama hard; back then, Obama didn’t have any record at all to defend, which made most of the open attack lines personal.  After three years in office, Romney has a cornucopia of crony capitalism, Obamanomics, czars, Porkulus, and Fast and Furious attack lines to use.  Romney is likely to attack in less spectacular fashion than Gingrich, but that caution will keep  those attack lines from imploding like they have on occasion with Gingrich, too.  That doesn’t make Romney a great conservative candidate, but it does at least make him competitive.

Update: I had “crony capitalism” on the list twice.  Well, it is a great line of attack …

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