Thomas Sowell: Gingrich for president

A grudging endorsement, but sufficiently esteemed that it deserves a little publicity.

The fact that each of the short-lived front-runners in the Republican field gained that position by presenting themselves as staunch conservatives suggests that Republican voters may have been trying to avoid having to accept Mitt Romney, whose record as governor of Massachusetts produced nothing that would be regarded as a serious conservative achievement.

Romney’s own talking point that he has been a successful businessman is no reason to put him into a political office, however much it may be a reason for him to become a successful businessman again…

Much depends on whether you think the voting public is going to be more interested in Newt Gingrich’s personal past than in the country’s future. Most of the things for which Gingrich has been criticized are things he did either in his personal life or when he was out of office. But, if we are serious, we are more concerned with his ability to perform when in office…

There are no guarantees, no matter whom the Republicans vote for in the primaries. Why not vote for the candidate who has shown the best track record of accomplishments, both in office and in the debates? That is Newt Gingrich. With all his shortcomings, his record shows that he knows how to get the job done in Washington.

According to RCP, Newt hasn’t cracked 20 percent (or even 18 percent) in any of the last five Iowa polls. That doesn’t mean he’s sunk — he’s still the logical alternative for an undecided in the Not Romney and Not Paul camps — but I’ll never understand why he let so many negative ads go unchallenged. He was famous for scorched-earth politics when he was in the House, yet when he finally got his second look as a presidential contender, he turned into a nice-ish guy. It’s probably too late now.

Here’s his new nice-guy ad. Exit quotation from former GOP Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, discussing her vote in 2003 on the Medicare prescription drug bill: “Newt called me to vote yes.”