Gingrich isn't driven by a lack of compassion but by a surplus of it

Still, what his critics don’t — or refuse to — understand about him is that he’s not driven by a lack of compassion but by a surplus of it. The liberal bureaucratic mind-set seems to define compassion simply as spending more money on systems and policies that have made problems worse and keep the usual special interests happy.

Gingrich thinks compassion should be measured not by inputs but outputs. Spending trillions on poverty is beyond simply uncompassionate if you waste the money and make things worse. It’s evil…

Gingrich probably agrees with the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan more than any other leading conservative. “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society,” Moynihan observed. “The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.” A constant theme of Gingrich’s career is a desire to use government to fix the culture.

That’s the irony of the Gingrich surge. All of these Republican voters who once supported Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain, and are now flocking to Gingrich, seem not to have noticed Gingrich’s progressive bent.